Paul McCartney and Wings
Wild Life [50th Anniversary Edition]
After Paul McCartney’s initial two homespun solo albums away from The Beatles, the Cute One was ready to blossom out and buddy up beyond his wife Linda. To that end, the married McCartneys welcomed one-time Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine (a prominent songwriter on his own, having been covered by The Zombies’ Colin Blunstone) and American session drummer-percussionist Denny Seiwell to their fold, called their project Wings—even though this first fruit of Winged union sounded more like the cozily domestic union of husband and wife than that of a true band.
Band or no band, Wild Life is merely OK, the weakest spot in McCartney’s solo career featuring everything from a slack cover of the Mickey & Sylvia hit “Love is Strange,” to two takes each on two of the direst, twee-est tracks the man ever recorded in “Bip Bop” and “Mumbo.” Terrible songs aside, two of McCartney’s (or McCartneys’) longest pre-jam-band-era wonks—the piano- and vibraphone-heavy “Dear Friend” and the curiously clumsy “Some People Never Know”—sound fantastic and crisp.
That’s the point of this limited-edition, half-speed mastered vinyl pressing: Other than work to complete any Fab Four completist’s collection, the job of this freshly remodeled package is to heighten the stellar, grungy-but-clean studio mix given to the original Wild Life sessions by Tony Clark and Alan Parsons, as well as strip the Wings album from the folderol given in previous repackagings which added the limp likes of “Scotland, 1971” and “Give Ireland Back to the Irish.” So then, be thankful for this 50th-anniversary release: it could have been worse.