Band On The Run
(Hear Music / Concord)


In the aftermath of The Beatles putting the ‘60s on ice with Let It Be, John and George were filling the airwaves with gargantuan sounding, promethean, Phil Spector-sized productions that were alternatively singing the praises of karma, giving peace a chance and wanting to meet the lord. At the same time, the other song writing Beatle, no offense to Ringo, Paul McCartney was writing songs about junk, flies with three legs, smelly feet, navy admirals taking baths and eating butter pies and songs about well... “Mumbo” for instance. So much for going the other way man, but don’t forget, this was McCartney, the Beatles' own self-styled A&R mogul. Macca was the guy who could be counted on to produce the million selling timeless hit—from “Yesterday” to ”My Love”, from “Michelle” to “The Long And Winding Road”—when needed, anytime at all. Paul was the Beatle who could bring in the girls and even please your parents in an effort to make it all seem legit and above all, non-threatening to the masses. This aforementioned whimsicle side of Paul went on for several years after the Beatles, but by 1973 things began to change again. I remember when Band On The Run took off in early 1974, even John Lennon stepped back into Paul’s corner, calling it a “great” album. No offense to John, but Paul buffs will point to other great love songs and rockers on each of Macca’s first three solo albums (not including Paul's early foray into orchestral soundtracks with The Family Way album). By the time of Band On The Run, credited to Paul McCartney & Wings, Macca was all but primed for his stadium years, which by the time of “Silly Love Songs” in 1975 was well underway. All of this history decades later makes the long awaited 2010 remaster of Band On The Run an auspicious choice as a first release to initiate the start of The Paul McCartney Archive Collection, handled in the U.S. by Hear Music and Concord Music Group. Well known for reissuing the back catalogs of some of the biggest artists of the jazz world, the Concord Musical Group has really been asserting itself in the pop world these past couple years with a number of critically acclaimed releases, but who would have guessed McCartney would have gone this way with his entire solo catalog, especially considering EMI still handles all the Beatles and John Lennon and George Harrison CD remasters. That said, the 2010 three disc version of Band On The Run is a major revelation for long time McCartney listeners. With the original album superbly remastered on disc one, disc two combines assorted singles and audio tracks from the famous One Hand Clapping movie, which itself is featured in movie form on the third disc here—a DVD with amazing animations, documentary footage and the aforementioned movie with Paul, Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCulloch and Geoff Britten at Abbey Road studio performing Band On The Run, while adding performances in of assorted Mac classics like “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “My Love”. Similarly styled like the 2010 John Lennon solo CD remasters, the all cardboard packaging of the three disc Band On The Run is pretty good, complete with those original Lp pics of Wings recording in Lagos, song lyrics and fresh liner notes. The remastered sound of the album on this 2010 remastered original is excellent—clearly the best to date, as is the echo soaked soundtrack on the second CD while the DVD should prove to be a major highlight for long time Beatles and Wings fans. Concord / MPL and Hear Music has so many versions of this 2010 remastered version of Band On The Run it kind of makes your head spin. Even though it was actually released over the Christmas of ‘73, looking back... if one album summed up the adventurous, "on the run" spirit of 1974, for those of us lucky enough to have grown up in the Beatles era, that one album would have to be Band On The Run.


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