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Those small shiny discs continue to take over the planet. More specifically, the last three Wings albums still restricted to ye olde tape and vinyl will soon be homing in on record shops, though dates and prices had still to be decided at presstime. However, we can tell you the extra tracks:
Wings At The Speed Of Sound:
'Walking In The Park With Eloise'
'Bridge Over The River Suite'
Back To The Egg:
'Daytime Nightime Suffering'
'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reggae'
Those lucky enough to own CD players can therefore soon acquire some pretty collectable tracks. The first two additions to Speed of Sound are of course the A- and B-sides of the 1974 single by the Country Hams, alias Wings. Both instrumental 'Eloise' is the only composition by Paul's Dad, James McCartney, to be recorded, though another James McCartney may see his name on a record label (or CD) in a decade or so. This and the less countrified 'Suite' prompt the thought that anyone with the complete works of Paul and Wings could make up an intriguing, all-instrumental tape. Ever mindful not to follow the Shads, the Beatles only twice failed to vocalize, on 'Cry For A Shadow' (Hamburg) and 'Flying' (Magical Mystery Tour). Paul has certainly made up for lost time!
'Sally G' has a chequered past, poor girl. First concealed behind that brazen rocker, 'Junior's Farm', some American DJ's spotted her charms. She enjoyed (we hope) a brief flirtation with the US charts and was later granted A-side status in good old Britain. Sadly, the Brits did not succumb, sending her into prolonged decline. Recently, however, her 1983 portrait of Paul and Linda made the sleeve of All The Best and, with her inclusion on the Speed Of Sound CD, friends say rehabilitation looks hopeful.
The belles of 'Girls School' had a tricky time, too: granted joint A-side status, they were soon dwarfed by a Scottish headland with shortbread tartan edging - yes, 'Mull Of Kintyre'. (But not in the US, where the girls charted respectably at 'Mull's' expense.) Well described in the February issue of America's Musician magazine as a "loopy, memorable rock track", many will be pleased to see it plucked from obscurity.
Where possible, the extra songs are contemporary with the original album for cohesion's sake. Apart from 'Mull', no other new songs were issued in 1977/78, but then like Ram (which appeared on CD without additions), London Town had beaucoup de tracks to start with. For the record, the Venus And Mars CD (a stop press item in CS46) contains 'Zoo Gang' (flip of 'Band On The Run'), 'My Carnival' (ditto 'Spies Like Us', but recorded at the V & M sessions: see CS39) and 'Lunch Box-Odd Sox', a bonus track on the flip of 'Coming Up'.
'Daytime Nightime Suffering', one of Paul and Linda's favourite Wings tracks, is a welcome newcomer to CD, as is the Yuletide coupling of 'Wonderful Christmastime' and 'Rudolph The Red Nosed Reggae'. That leaves poor old 'Goodnight Tonight', whose razor-sharp guitars and sultry organ will surely sound even better on CD, and several tracks from '80's singles. Perhaps these will be on the Cold Cuts CD, if and when this much-revised collection appears.
Good news on the video front too. McCartney, a BBC/MPL production released through The Video Collection, came out in time for Christmas. This was the BBC programme shown to coincide with Press To Play in 1986 and repeated with revisions last year. Based round an interview with Richard Skinner, it includes previously unseen live footage. Also out in the US and Australia, it will soon be shown on TV in Puerto Rico and Malaysia.
Once Upon A Video followed soon after from EMI's Picture Music International arm. Besides 'Once Upon A Long Ago', this video EP contains 'Stranglehold' and 'Pretty Little Head', both featured in CS43. One was previously unseen in Britain and the other had surfaced once only, when an extract was shown on The Tube. The 'live' feel of 'Stranglehold' and the imagination and technical wizardry of 'PLH' fully deserve a wider audience.
And that's not all! Also included is the video for 'We All Stand Together', complete with Paul and his Rupert annual in the attic. The TV adverts for Rupert And The Frog Song and All The Best complete a fascinating package.
Unfortunately, the EP is not out in the US, but it is on sale in France and Japan. By the time you read this, both videos may be on sale in other markets, or at least shown on TV in more countries.
It has been well said that opinions are like a central part of the anatomy: everybody's got one. Thus the Beatles story has drawn comment from the biased and the ignorant, all guaranteed attention due to public interest in the group. So we should be grateful to Mark Lewisohn, whose appetite for facts first became widely known with his 1986 book The Beatles Live!, where Mark unearthed some amazing info from the obscurity of their early shows and the chaos of Beatlemania. No wonder Paul has called it the best Beatles book he's read.
Last year Mark followed this with The Beatles-25 Years In The Life, a day-by-day account of the main events in their lives over the quarter-century from the release of 'Love Me Do'. Later this year, he is likely to top even these efforts when his book on all the Beatles' EMI recording sessions is published, complete with dates and full personnel. So Mr. L. was the ideal choice to compile Past Masters Volumes One And Two, the CD's collecting all the songs not on the Beatles' original albums.
Issued on 7th March, Vo/s. One And Two entered the CD charts at no. 8 and no. 5, respectively. As suggested in CS46, Vol. One is similar to the UK Rarities album, excluding the later tracks. Thus you get the Long Tall Sally EP in all its glory and both 'She Loves You' and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' in German as well as English. The original 'Love Me Do' (different from the Please Please Me version, which has session man Andy White on drums) was long unavailable until both versions came out on a 20th anniversary 12" single, so its inclusion here is welcome. Seven tracks are mono, four are number ones. 'This Boy' and 'She's A Woman' are in their rare stereo versions.
Vol. Two has seven number ones (counting the double-A coupling 'Day Tripper'/'We Can Work It Out' as two), 'The Inner Light' in stereo and a real oddity in mono. This is 'You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)', Which crept out as the flipside of 'Let It Be' (included here in its single version). 'You Know My Name' features the late Mai Evans (Beatles roadie and right-hand man) and really belongs with the Plastic Ono Band's output. It also featured one Brian Jones on sax: released after the Rolling Stone of that name had died, it prompted an amazing 'Dead Stone would have joined Beatles' story in one ' paper. It also featured Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones on sax: released after Jones had died, it prompted an unlikely 'Dead Stone would have ioined Beatles' story in one paper. Another rarity is 'Across The Universe' in its World Wildlife Fund charity album version.
The booklet with each CD contains advance extracts from Mark Lewisohn's Beatles sessions book. Talk of booklets brings to mind the HMV record shops and their enterprising series of Beatles CD boxes. Each volume of Past Masters has indeed been boxed and 10,000 of each produced. Besides the booklet, each contains eight black-and-white photographs and retails at £13.99 - if there are any left by the time you read this.
Finally, HMV have something up their sleeve (or in their briefcase) for the fan who must have everything. A jumbo box containing the complete set of 14 single CD's and one double (The Beatles) is planned for June. A hologram of a typical early Beatles drumkit ("the most easily recognizable item", says HMV's Malcolm McGlinn) with '60's backdrop will adorn the lid and each CD will be individually numbered.
The CD's will be stored at an angle with matchbox-style drawer beneath. This will contain a 64-page booklet with a 3,000-word introduction by Derek Taylor. The rest of the booklet will consist of album-by-album sleeve notes by Johnny Black, re-written and expanded from those included with previous HMV boxes. Quantity is undecided, but the price will be about £200.
As many readers will know, All The Best crashed the CD charts at number one and bounced back to the top spot later. When there's any further news on CD's involving Paul or the Beatles, Club Sandwich will provide full coverage.