Sunday, 3 June 2018
Paul McCartney & Wings - Venus And Mars (1975)
Released May 1975
Recorded at Abbey Road Studio, London and New Orleans
Originally released in 1975, after the monumental success that was "Band On The Run" this was a somewhat patchy album, but the good patches were very good.
"Listen To What The Man Said" is still one of my favourite Wings' songs, a perfect summer single, and "Love In Song" is one of those beautiful slow songs McCartney seemed to be able to produce at will every two years or so. The upbeat "Spirits Of Ancient Egypt" and the bluesy "Medicine Jar" are also up there. "You Gave Me The Answer", while being from "When I'm 64" territory, is impossibly catchy and, however much, I am not a fan of "McCartney whimsy", I have a weakness for this and often find myself putting on a ludicrous 1920s voice and singing it.
"Magneto And Titanium Man" is silly, lyrically, but it has an appealing, full, warm sound to the backing. Great guitar and keyboards sound on it. Again, its melody and refrain sticks in the head. The same applies to "Rock Show", which I have always felt was spoiled by its irritating "Mademoiselle Kitty" bit in the middle. The "alternative version" of this included in the second CD of extras is much better, fuller and bass-driven with a better McCartney vocal. "Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People" is a sensitive song, the sort McCartney does so well. It would not have sounded out of place at the end of "Band On The Run".
"Letting Go" is another of my favourites - a powerful, bassy, rumbling slow burning rocker, with excellent horns and a sharp lead guitar throughout the song. Possibly the best song on the album. “Call Me Back Again” is a heavy-ish number with echoes of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” from “Abbey Road”.
Of the extras, the impressive. rocking non-album single, "Junior's Farm" is the standout. The country singalong "Sally G" is pleasant enough, but not essential. The Instrumental "Bridge On The River Suite" is interesting, as is "Lunch Box/Odd Sox" and while "Crossroads" is certainly inessential, it is just so nostalgic. "Soily" is a great rocker and there is more whimsy in "Baby Face" and the jaunty "Walking In The Park With Eloise”. The extras here are probably the best bunch of such material in the McCartney remasters.