Saturday, 30 June 2018

London Pie

Timing is everything - boiling an egg, the 100 metre dash, buying newly released vinyl; in 1977 and most of 1978, despite being a huge Beatles fan, there was no way I'd be seen dead in a record shop asking for the new Wings album. They were tribal times: the only albums (and singles) acquired* during those heady days of punk and the subsequent new wave (and Wings were obviously as old wave as you could possibly get) were by the likes of the Buzzcocks or the Clash, 999 and the Damned: turns who would regularly feature between the covers of Sounds and/or the New Musical Express, basically. Wings were more Melody Maker, or Record Mirror.

Of course when the dust settled, and the battle lines become less blurry, it was safe to not only bring your old Emerson Lake and Palmer albums out of hiding, but you could once again walk into record emporiums, politely ask for the new, say, UFO album (other second division English rock bands are available) and not be ridiculed by the punk police.

Yet still I never went back and bought the album Macca and Wings recorded in '77 and put out the following year: London Town was released hot on the heels of Mull of Kintyre which had occupied the number one slot seemingly forever (and alienated a lot of Macca fans to boot). In fact, he and the missus, together with Denny Laine, had recorded it in the same sessions but (thankfully?) never put it on the album.

But I digress; all this preamble comes on the back of a Tweet that caught my eye earlier in the week from Eoghan Lyng at the magnificent We are Cult, who had the audacity to claim that London Town was in his Top 5 Macca post Beatles albums. Surely not I thought. Better than Flaming Pie (which didn't feature) I fired back? Oh yes, came the the reply: the exchange went something like this:








So I said to myself I'd live with a copy of London Town for a week and see how I got on; of course, in that short time, it couldn't possibly compete with an album I'd emotionally invested so heavily in over the years: Flaming Pie, for me, was Macca's last hurrah - the last time he was truly reevant. In 1997 he came out with a set of songs that seemed to chime with the very times it was released. 

But in the week that Macca came back to Liverpool (here's his visit condensed into 20 minutes) and, for once, appearing quite humble to be back in his hometown, I wasn't in the mood for a pointless slanging match. You know what, both albums stand up just fine in 2018 and Macca should be proud of both sets of work, bookended, funnily enough, by the birth of his son James and, twenty years on, the same young lad's first recorded guitar solo.

So in the end, I say to Eoghan and all at We are Cult, London Town is the perfect companion piece to Flaming Pie. And, here, to prove same I give you the two standout songs - one from each. The title  track from London Town, here, in the form of a rough and ready promo film of Mr. & Mrs. McCartney and Denny Laine cruising down the Thames eating a bag of chips.



And here's Heaven on a Sunday from Flaming Pie, twenty one years later, with James providing *that* solo.



I really must dig out the notebook I kept at the time that details all record shop purchases from the arse end of 1974 to, I think, mid 1979. And I can assure you that from 1st. January 1977 till the day the Pistols imploded, all my purchases were coated in a fine film of gob.

21 comments:

  1. Nice to meet another McCartney fan. Better not tell CC. I hope you're sitting down. I wouldn't have Flaming Pie or London Town in my top 5. Chaos and Creation In The Backyard would be there. I'll get back to you.

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    1. Woaaah! Yes, you *had* better get back to me, Brian. And fast!

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  2. '....Flaming Pie....the last time he was truly relevant...' I'd definitely go along with that assessment. But, wot? No love from anyone for 'McCartney'?

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    1. TS - Of course McCartney; McCartney is his tour de force. McCartney is what Macca will play in its entirety when he finally gets round to playing that house concert in my kitchen...

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  3. A great blog post - I also saw that return trip to Liverpool and was pleased that Paul seemed so humble. The looks on the faces of the people in that pub was a joy - If it was a total surprise, he made a lot of people very happy.

    I have great love for Wings but am saddened by what I see written at times about them. He's in his late 70s now for goodness sake - Give the guy a break!

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    1. Alyson - there was a lot of love in the room, wasn’t there? I would love to meet the fella, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t.

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  4. ''Wings were the band the Beatles could have been'' - Alan Partridge.

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    1. Partridge may have been on to something.

      I always liked this from Radio Norwich at five o’clock In the morning: “Ladies and gentlemen, pray silence please for the Electric Light Orchestra.”

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  5. In no particular order, my five:
    RAM
    Tug of War
    McCartney
    Band on the Run
    Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (just edging out Flowers in the Dirt)

    Let the skewering begin!

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    1. That’s not a bad call Brian! No skewering from me! We like to play the ball, not the man at ‘Are WeThereYet?’

      For what its worth:

      McCartney
      Flaming Pie
      Band on the Run
      Wings Over America
      Flowers in the Dirt

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  6. Grammar, bloody iPhones - for what it’s worth!

    Also, ‘Are We There Yet?’ is thinking of making a case for Pipes of Peace...

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    1. I like your style. I probably rank that one higher than I should. I think it has to do with being 14 when it came out. An absolute fanatic at that time. When Pipes is good, it's very good, but there are a few weak moments that keep it some distance from my top 5. When So Bad was out as a single, I would run home from school as fast as I could because if I got in the door by 3:00 I could catch the video at the top of the hour on MTV. The rotation was pretty stagnant at the time. Loved seeing Ringo and Paul together. I like a few unusual McCartney/Wings albums like Chaos... unusual meaning not ones most would rank highly. I actually pull out Back to the Egg with regularity. I know. I know.

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    2. I know what you mean Brian: I was *this* close to nominating Venus and Mars, but played safe and put Wings Over America in there instead - where they play a few selections from it (it was current at the time).

      Macca is no stranger round here; and after the James Corden thing (which was brilliant btw) I've started to cut him a bit more slack!

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  7. If I could only save 5 from the flames they'd be...
    McCartney
    Wild Life
    Band on the Run
    Venus & Mars
    Flowers in the Dirt

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    1. TS - It looks like Band on the Run is everyone's banker, and why wouldn't it be? It's got everything - the shimmy, the nutmeg, and it contains my 2nd. favourite track Macca track (of all time?).

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    2. Have we done Top 5 Macca tracks yet?

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    3. Nineteen Hundred & Eighty Five
      C Moon
      Vanilla Sky
      My Brave Face
      Maybe I'm Amazed

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    4. An impressively quick answer. You've obviously considered this long and hard. I couldn't even give you my Top 5 Clash or Dylan songs without weeks of tears, tantrums, cogitation and much nashing of teeth.
      What I can tell you is that in my current line of work, totally random earworms are wont to get stuck in my head for hours at a time as I toil and Macca's tunes regularly feature. The most recent five examples are Queenie Eye, Figure of Eight, Press, You Gave Me the Answer and Ballroom Dancing. Honestly, when Ballroom Dancing gets stuck in your noggin, ain't nuthin' gonna shift it.

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    5. You may only have asked me yesterday, but I’ve been listening to Macca since, well, ‘Yesterday’.

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  8. You know what my answer to this question is ;)

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