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Paul McCartney - Cold Cuts

Paul McCartney - Cold Cuts

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Genre: pop
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  Cold Cuts
Company: Club Sandwich
Catalog: SP-11
Year: 198?
Country/State:  Liverpool, UK
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: bootleg
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 257
Price: $80.00

Best time to play: when you need to shut up your Beatles know-it-all friend ...

True story - I found this one in a pile of throwaway religious albums and bought it thinking it was some sort of McCartney cover band. It ended up in my "also ran" pile where it sat for a couple of years before I realized it was a Paul McCartney album.

As it turns out, the collection's tortured history is almost as interesting as some of the songs. In the wake of Wings' ongoing successes, in 1978 McCartney planned to release a double album hits and odds and ends collection entitled "Hot Hitz and Kold Kutz" (I've also seen it listed as "Hot Hits and Cold Cuts"). Capitol Records executives weren't thrilled with the double album concept and the project was shelved in favor of the abbreviated "Wings Greatest". The following year McCartney took another shot at pulling together previously unreleased material, but again ran out of steam. In early 1981 he resurrected the idea, going as far as selecting songs from his catalog and undertaking some post-production work. John Lennon's death saw the projected shelved. Six years later, following the release of "Back To the Egg", McCartney gave it another shot, but after bootlegs of the sessions hit the market, he walked away from the project.

"Cold Cuts" seems to be drawn from that last go-around. Chronologically the set pulled together eleven tracks spanning the 1971 "Ram" through 1978 "Back To the Egg" sessions. Musically the set was all over the map including raw, unfinished demos and some top notch finished takes that were actually better than some of the stuff actually released. Given McCartney's deep catalog of unreleased material (he could easily release a double album set of shelved material), I'll tell you this track line-up was somewhat disappointing. Out of the eleven tracks, five were great including the lost pop classic 'Waterspout'; four songs were okay, and three were simply dreadful.

- Originally recorded during the 1971 "Ram" sessions, it was pretty easy to see why 'A Love for You' was left off the album. The bubbly song clearly had potential, but this rough demo didn't show much of that promise with McCartney turning in an extremely uncomfortable and barely in tune vocal over some of the worst drumming and keyboards (Linda), you've ever heard. Yeah, this one was for hardcore fanatics. Yech !!! McCartney trotted out a more polished version for inclusion in the 2003 soundtrack "The In-Laws". rating: ** stars
- 'My Carnival' was recorded for 1975's "Venus and Mars" LP, but didn't make the final cut. Shame it was cut since the track found McCartney sounding relaxed, soaking in the local New Orleans atmosphere including support from The Meters and some killer horn tracks. An updated (and inferior) version of the song actually saw a release in 1985 when it was dumped on the 'B' side of the 'Spies Like Us' single. This is the superior take. rating: **** stars
- Recorded during the "London Town" sessions, I suspect McCartney tossed out the delightful 'Waterspout' in a couple of minutes. One of those incideously catchy melodies that he seemed to effortlessly toss around, the song had a dream melody kicked along by some tropical percussion and one of McCartney's brightest vocals. No doubt it would have made a fantastic single - far better than anything on "London Town", let alone many of his late-'70s singles. McCartney apparently resurrected the song in 1987 with the intention of including it on the "All the Best!" compilation, but it was dropped from that set as well. You just have to wonder why. rating: ***** stars
- One of the prettiest songs McCartney ever wrote, 'Momma's Little Girl' was an acoustic ballad full of strumming acoustic guitars, sweet harmonies from Wings, and an interesting orchestrated middle section (clarinets ?). With it's raw, unsophisticated mix, the song actually bore a slight resemblance to 'Mother Nature's Son' which might explain why it was dropped from the final "Red Rose Speedway" track listing.. The song finally saw daylight as a 'B' side on 1990's 'Put It There'. rating: **** stars
- Opening up with some blazing lead guitar, 'Night Out' may be the toughest rocker Wings ever recorded. To be honest, it sounds like an unfinished demo, but it sure has a razor sharp edge. Shame it wasn't complete. The song was apparently another "Red Rose Speedway" outtake. rating: *** stars
- The strangest song on the album ... 'Robber's Ball' sounded like a mash-up of 'Waterfall', Alvin and the Chipmunks, and something stolen from a much of drunken Bolsheviks. I can't say I found it particularly enjoyable. rating: *** stars
- 'Cage' was intended for inclusion on the "Back To the Egg" album, but inexplicably dropped from the final track listing (replaced by the inferior 'Baby's Request'). The title was seemingly inspired by the song's chord progression and stood as a classic McCartney pop song displaying his penchant for stitching together seeming song fragments and sudden shifts in tempo and direction. Backed by one of his best early-'80s melodies, it was actually far better than most of the material that made it on the album. rating: **** stars
- McCartney supposedly wrote 'Did We Meet Somewhere Before?' for the Buck Henry directed film "Heaven Can Wait", but it was ultimately rejected. Kind of a bland, forgettable, adult contemporary ballad, I can't blame director Henry for turning it down. Pleasant, but nothing more than that. rating: ** stars
- The country-tinged 'Hey Diddle' had its roots in the "Ram" sessions and lay fallow until McCartney's Nashville sessions (the same sessions that saw 'Sally G' and 'Junior's Farm'). The song was originally intended as a Paul and Linda duet and to her credit, Linda didn't sound half bad on the song. The song's just a touch too country for my tastes. There are actually a couple of versions of the song, including an early acoustic version that you can see courtesy of YouTube: rating: *** stars
- Thomas Wayne had a hit with 'Tragedy' in 1959 and The Fleetwoods had a hit with it in 1961. The Wings version is actually quite touching with some killer harmony vocals and some prominent sitar in the mix. The song was supposedly recorded during the "Red Rose Speedway" sessions which McCartnrey planned on releasing as a double set. When the album was paired back to one album, the ballad ended up on the shelf. Shame, since the song is that good. rating: **** stars
- Recorded off a soundboard during a 1972 date in Antwerp, the blues 'Best Friend' may not have been McCartney's most exciting composition, but it did a nice job showing that the ''72 era Wings (guitarists Henry McCullough, Denny Laine, drummer Denny Siewell) were a pretty tight live outfit. Another "Red Rose Speedway" castoff, the song was shelved when the album was released as a single set, rather than double album. rating: *** stars
- Another McCartney song written and rejected for a film, 'Same Time Next Year' was intended for the Robert Mulligen comedy (starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn). The film wasn't particular good and McCartney's vapid ballad was equally lame, which probably explains why it was rejected. It pains me to say this one was simply horrible. ** stars

It's far from a perfect collection, but McCartney fans will be intrigued. (Not particularly easy to find a copy.)
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