published: 12 /
Excellent vinyl reissue of Wings' 1971 debut album which while it received lukewarm reception on its initial release half a century on stands up in a more favourable light
As is clear in Peter Jackson's 'The Beatles: Get Back' documentary, Paul McCartney always loved just being in a band. So it was never a surprise when, in 1971, a year after The Beatles had finally split up, Paul was quick to put together another group, Wings, with his wife Linda plus former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine and capable drummer Denny Seiwell.
The new band's first album, 'Wild Life' received a lukewarm reception on its release in December 1971. However a newly remastered vinyl reissue more than half a century later casts it in a rather more favourable light.
Sales of vinyl LPs are now at their highest in over 30 years - so this is more than just a niche release. And, as was evident when he performed some old Wings songs on 2018's 'Freshen Up' tour, McCartney is keen on a critical reappraisal of his sometimes derided “other” band!
There is a certain intimacy and lo-fi charm to 'Wild Life' which was completed in less than a week, most songs being captured in single takes! And there are some forgotten gems here, too. The opening tracks have a real immediacy. 'Mumbo' is a blues-rock jam number. 'Big Bop' is a rockabilly tune with nonsensical lyrics. There's a workmanlike reggae remake of the R & B hit 'Love Is Strange' - a Mickey & Sylvia number from 1957 much loved by Paul and Linda McCartney. Linda adds harmonies on 'Some People Never Know' - and, for someone who had never sung professionally, she does so surprisingly effectively.
Perhaps the best tracks are 'Tomorrow' - a jaunty piano piece with more vocals from Linda - and 'Dear Friend' - where McCartney offers an olive branch to John Lennon at a time when both were at loggerheads. This is a heartfelt ballad which still pulls an emotional punch - though it has never been as celebrated as that other Paul-to-John song, 'Here Today' - released during 1982 in the the aftermath of Lennon's cruel 1980 killing in New York.
'Wild Life' started the career of Wings – laying foundations that would come to full fruition a couple of years later with the classic 'Band On The Run'. Its reissue also allows us to enjoy the authentic sound of one of UK music's greatest-ever performers and writers as he rediscovered the simple joy of playing spontaneously with others.
Love Is Strange
Some People Never Know
I Am Your Singer
Bip Bop Link
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