Sunday, November 09, 2008

Album Of The Day #107: WINGS OVER AMERICA - Wings

Title: Wings Over America
Artist: Wings
Label: Parlophone/EMI/MPL
Released: 1976
Songs: Venus And Mars/Rockshow/Jet/Let Me Roll It/Spirits Of Ancient Egypt/Medicine Jar*/Maybe I’m Amazed/Call Me Back Again/Lady Madonna**/The Long And Winding Road**/Live And Let Die/Picasso’s Last Words (Drink To Me)/Richard Cory#/Bluebird/I’ve Just Seen A Face**/Blackbird**/Yesterday**/You Gave Me The Answer/Magneto And Titanium Man/Go Now^/My Love/Listen To What The Man Said/Let ‘Em In/Time To Hide##/Silly Love Songs/Beware My Love/Letting Go/Band On The Run/Hi Hi Hi/Soily
Written by: Paul McCartney, except *by Jimmy McColloch & Collin Allen, #by Paul Simon, **by Paul McCartney & John Lennon, ^by Larry Banks & Milton Bennett and ##by Denny Laine
Produced by: Paul McCartney
Thoughts: This certainly isn’t one of the greatest live albums of all time, but it’s pretty up there, considering it is practically an entire show (which for some odd reason is very rare for live albums, but I guess we can’t all afford to release triple albums…and consumers can’t all afford to buy them). There is an ungodly amount of tracks on this and the vinyl issue was spread over six sides of plastic that actually separated the sets. Side three, for example, was Paul’s entire solo acoustic set and side five focused on the new songs from Wings At The Speed Of Sound.
The highlight of the set is, of course, “Soily”, a song Paul had been toying with (and performing) since the Red Rose Speedway/College Tour days of 1973. A studio version was recorded, but never released, making this the only place to (legally) hear it. It’s a cool song, filled with all the oddball lyrics that appeared to be standard fare for McCartney songs in the 1972-1973 period. Other highlights include the rousing version of “Maybe I’m Amazed” (which is not better than the McCartney version, I might add) and “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, one of my favorite Beatle tracks, which Paul has never performed live since. Most of the other tracks just feel too close to the studio versions, though, especially the Venus And Mars material. Another disappointment is “Richard Cory”, which proves to be a pedestrian version. Denny Laine adds nothing new to the song. On top of that, Denny runs through “Go Now”, the only song that made him a legitimate rock star before joining Wings. I never thought “Go Now” was a special song, and the version here is nothing to go nuts about. Denny trots this song out to this day when he performs and he always records versions for whatever cash-in compilation he puts out.
Overall, it’s a nice live set that anyone who is a fan of McCartney needs, but I think non-fans will have more fun listening to the studio versions.

1 comment:

Forkmode said...

We are hearing it now.