Graham Reid | | 1 min read
With the current reassessment of Paul McCartney's career immediately post-Beatles -- driven by the reissue of Band on the Run and the McCartney and McCartney II albums -- Mojo magazine offered a 15 track cover CD of "The Roots of Paul McCartney" which was a collection of songs which had influenced him.
This 29 song collection however is far more extensive and interesting.
Both collections inevitable replicate each other to some small degree (Eddie Cochran's Twenty Flight Rock, Chan Romero's Hippy Hippy Shake, Wilbert Harrison's Kansas City, the Jodimars' Clarabella, Larry Williams' She Said Yeah) and some of the same artists appear although the song selection is different (Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Chuck Berry).
But where this collection scores is not just in the important inclusion of Buddy Holly (whose catalogue McCartney owns) with That'll Be the Day and the Everly Brothers (Cathy's Clown), but in those later influences when McCartney was hanging around in swinging London with the avant-garde set (an extract of John Cage and David Tudor's Indeterminacy, his longtime friend Allen Ginsberg's Supermarket in California, Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Dog) as well as music which challenged him and his fellow Beatles (the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations).
There are also nods to McCartney's pre-Beatles listening (Ella and Ellington's Don't Get Around Much Anymore, Fred Astaire's Fascinating Rhythm), Lonnie Donegan's skiffle hit Midnight Special and the Hamburg days (Lloyd Price's Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Carl Perkins' Matchbox, Sue Rainey's version of Till There Was You).
The excellent liner notes offer a synopsis of each song and explain why it is included. Many were on McCartney's '82 appearance on the BBC's Desert Island Discs show, some are those he covered on albums like Choba b CCCP, Run Devil Run or his Unplugged album.
The current reconsideration of McCartney is acknowledging the breadth of his influences and post-Beatles music (from lo-fi acoustic through country, rock'n'roll to experiments with the new fangled synthesizer technology) and this collection adequately represents that.
The only missing ingredient here however is his longtime interest in music hall (When I'm 64, Admiral Halsey etc).
Studying this won't help you write another Yesterday or I'm Down, but it does explain why he could.
Like the sound of this? Then check out this.