Monday, April 8, 2013

Paul McCartney & Wings - Red Rose Speedway 2LP




Paul McCartney & Wings – Red Rose Speedway
(soniclovenoize double-album reconstruction)


Side A:
1.  Big Barn Bed
2.  My Love
3.  When The Night
4.  Seaside Woman
5.  Get On The Right Thing


Side B:
6.  Best Friend (live)
7.  Tragedy
8.  I Would Only Smile
9.  Only One More Kiss
10. Single Pigeon
11. Little Lamb Dragonfly


Side C:
12. I Lie Around
13. Loup (1st Indian On The Moon)
14. 1882 (live)
15. The Mess (live)


Side D:
16. Night Out
17. Mama’s Little Girl
18. Country Dreamer
19. Hold Me Tight/Lazy Dynamite/Hands Of Love/Power Cut



I was overwhelmed by requests for this, so I thought I’d finally get it out of the way so you guys can stop bugging me about it! 

This is a reconstruction of the proposed double-album version of Paul McCartney & Wings’ Red Rose Speedway.  As you know, Wings had such a wealth of recorded material from 1972 that the highly anticipated follow-up the lackluster Wildlife was originally intended to be a double-album.  Due to label pressure—as well as unselfish sound advice from fellow Wings members—McCartney chose instead to prune the album down to a more marketable single-album.  While some claim this was a wise move that ‘trimmed the fat’ of what might have been a weak album, others believe it was mistake and in effect created the great unreleased Wings treasure.  Either way, this reconstruction attempts to collect all the serious-contender material from the Red Rose Speedway sessions (gathered from two official remasters, three bootlegs and a posthumous Linda McCartney album!) and to sequence them into the double album that never was.  Almost all of the tracks have been either crossfaded or closely edited to make four continuous vinyl-sides of music. 

At first glance this may appear to be an easy task: we have two authentic and completely different early double-album tracklists for reference.  But a test-listen of both sequences will show you the glaring errors that most likely contributed to Red Rose Speedway’s eventual single-disc release.  The first sequence (info provided by Chip Mandiger with sides articulated by cbseventy’s Recording Sessions) is a two-disc acetate dated 12/13/72 that features an A-side running time of 13 minutes and a D-side running time of 27 minutes.  Surely this cannot be feasible, neither for a 1972 album release nor our purposes here!  The second sequence (info provided by Bruce Spizer) is a 2-disc acetate, seeming to be a revision of the Mandiger acetate that excludes “1882” and “Jazz Street” but replaces them with “Best Friend”, “Seaside Woman” and the “Hold Me Tight” medley.  While this appears to be a more refined sequence, the track flow is simply atrocious and lacks all cohesion and sonic progression completely.  No wonder McCartney scrapped his dream of a double-album from the sessions!  For our purposes, our only solution is to use elements of both tracklists as a guide to create our own unique sequence that would unify the material. 

To reconstruct an improved Red Rose Speedway double-album, we must do what both acetate trackslists did not (especially Spizer’s) -- evenly distribute the material.  We must separate the rockers, the acoustic ballads, the epic songs and the contributions from other members of Wings onto separate sides of the album.  “I Lie Around”, “Seaside Woman” and “I Would Only Smile” are to be placed on one-side each; the acoustic songs “Mama’s Little Girl”, “My Love” and “Tragedy” must all be placed on their own sides; and idiosyncratic mid-tempo numbers such as “When The Night”, “Only One More Kiss” and “Country Dreamer” should all be evenly-distributed as well. 

And now to assemble the sides…  Taking cues from both 2LP acetates, we can identify the four intended “side-openers” to the album: “Big Barn Bed” and “I Lie Around” from Mandiger’s sequence and “Night Out” and “Best Friend” from Spizer’s sequence.  Just as well, we are able to identify the side-closers: “The Mess”, “Little Lamb Dragonfly” and the “Hold Me Tight” medley (the choice to close side A with “My Love” was trumped by McCartney’s obvious intention to place it as track 2, following “Big Barn Bed”). 

With these key track positions established, we are able to simply fill in the gaps to create four 20-minute sides, turning our attention to side continuity and flow.  Since there was such an amazing number of tracks recorded for the album in 1972, I have decided to only consider the songs included on both acetate sequences, thus excluding the 1972 single releases (such as “Hi Hi Hi” and “C’Moon”), the soundtrack smash hit “Live and Let Die” and any number of noted unreleased McCartney gems from this era (such as “Soily”, “Henry’s Blues” and “Thank You Darling”).  The one exception is my choice to drop the lengthy instrumental “Jazz Street” for two reasons: a) its 8-minute running time would offset our four 20-minute LP side length and b) it’s not really an interesting track, despite its novelty.  We are left with 19 songs, totaling a tad over 80 minutes: the perfect length for a double-album!

Disc one begins with what I call ‘The Commercial Half’ of the album, starting off close to what McCartney would authorize on the final single-disc album, with “Big Barn Bed” followed by “My Love.”  The same-key songs “When The Night” and “Seaside Woman” are next, with the side closed with a positive note with “Get On The Right Thing”.  Side B opens with roots-rocker “Best Friend” followed by a contrasting acoustic cover of “Tragedy” (using the unreleased ‘vibes mix’), which is followed by “I Would Only Smile” expertly crossfaded into its sister-track “Only One More Kiss”.  “Single Pigeon” acts as a link track into the closing song of disc one, the epic and un-followable “Little Lamb Dragonfly”. 

For those in the camp who feel a concise single-disc Red Rose Speedway was the wisest move, beware of my second disc!  Starting off what I call ‘The Deep-Cut Half’, we have the lush and vibrant “I Lie Around”, followed by the quirky instrumental “Loup” that has been crossfaded into my own remaster of “1882” to reinstate its missing first beat.  “1882” was remixed to match the EQ of the side’s concluding track “The Mess” (which were taken from the same concert performance) and both were crossfaded to replicate a continuous concert recording, finishing up the side.  The final side of my double-album reconstruction begins with the admittedly throw-away yet fun-for-all rocker “Night Out” followed by one of McCartney’s most ethereal acoustic ballads, “Mama’s Little Girl”.  The album concludes with the hokey “Country Dreamer” and the eleven-minute medley of “Hold Me Tight/Lazy Dynamite/Hands Of Love/Power Cut” which really is the only track that could end this album.   

lossless FLAC (part1, part2, part3)
 
Sources used:
Paul McCartney & Wings – Red Rose Speedway (1996 Steve Hoffman remaster)
Paul McCartney & Wings – Band On The Run (1993 remaster)
Paul McCartney – Unsurpassed Masters vol 1 & 2 (bootleg)
Paul McCartney – Got Any Toothpicks? (bootleg)
Linda McCartney – Wildflower


flac --> wav --> editing in SONAR, Audacity & Goldwave --> flac encoding via TLH lv8
*md5, artwork and tracknotes included

11 comments:

  1. What a great idea. Thank you very much indeed!

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  2. I love this blog. Great album reconstructions. Keep up the great work

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  3. McCartney's never fully released "Return to Pepperland" might be a good one to look into

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  4. Thanks for the work you put into this. I love this version.

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  5. Intriguing... I just readjusted my Red Rose Speedway to this track list... I agree, it does flow better.

    I did swap 1882 for Jazz Street mainly because I do like the latter better than the former even after a long and considerate listen of both... Perhaps I'm just weird.

    I also swapped the places of the Medley and Jazz Street+The Mess so that the Medley concludes side three and the other two end the album. That may be even more of a personal preference but I like ending the album with The Mess (with Paul saying, "We're gonna take a break... and you are too." which would be a neat little nod to the end of the album in this case).

    It reaffirms what Red Rose Speedway was supposedly going to be: a presentation of Live Wings circa 1972 as well as Paul's usual majestic productions... and also it balances the sides out with the addition of Jazz Street. Total running time is about 83 minutes.

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  6. Most interesting because it doesn't look as the next "Archive" issue. Thank you!

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  7. I'm listening to this again as I type this, and for my money this could well be the finest reconstruction you've ever done. It flows well. It makes a case for Red Rose Speedway being a major album, whereas the released version falls a little short (though not as much as critical lore would have it). And, best of all, there's absolutely nothing I can find to nit-pick or criticise. Good work!

    Jules

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  8. Freakin' awesome!!

    As stated above, Return to Pepperland would be a cool one to do next.

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