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[V/A] Listen To What The Man Said:
Popular Artists Pay Tribute To The Music Of Paul McCartney
Oglio Records

 


[V/A] Coming Up:
Independent Artists Pay Tribute To The Music Of Paul McCartney
Oglio Records


For years now, Paul McCartney has been the rock icon that fans like to forget. Sure he has written songs like "Maybe I’m Amazed" and rockers like "Hi, Hi, Hi" and "Rock Show", but critics and listeners seem to only remember songs like "Ebony And Ivory" "Say Say Say" and "Goodnight Tonight". One reason that Paul is so overlooked is because of the recognition of fellow ex-Beatle John Lennon. Ask almost anyone who their favorite Beatle is and most will say Lennon. As for post-Beatle recordings most will again say Lennon. Is it because they have listened to his work or is it because of the martyrdom that comes out of being murdered? I suspect much of it is the latter. McCartney has been out there for over 30 years doing his own thing, writing his "Silly Love Songs", selling millions of albums and is still overlooked by many artists and listeners. It even took the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame five years to induct him as a solo artist after he became eligible. "About fucking time," as his daughter Stella exclaimed at the induction ceremony. So, when I first heard about a tribute album for Paul, I thought to myself "finally". This is someone who has not only changed the face of music in the ‘60s, but has redefined himself, successfully, in the 70’s, 80’s and ‘90’s.

Tribute LLC has released two tribute discs and they’re a full spectrum of McCartney’s solo career, titled: Listen To What The Man Said: Popular Artists Pay Tribute To The Music Of Paul McCartney and Coming Up! Independent Artists Pay Tribute To The Music Of Paul McCartney. This collection contains songs that are taken from Paul’s first solo album McCartney in 1970 through his 1997 Grammy nominated Flaming Pie. With high hopes, I started with Coming Up and was pleasantly surprised. I thought this might be eight different versions of "Band On The Run", "Jet" and "Live And Let Die". However, I was amazed to find both familiar hits, such as " Let ‘Em In", "With A Little Luck" and "Another Day", along with a number of deep album cuts including a song that was only released as a B-side. Listen To What The Man Said is very similar in content, although it contains more hits than Coming Up!

Songs like "Band On The Run" by Owsley, "Every Night" by Matthew Sweet and "Mull Of Kintyre" by Kyf Brewer are presented much like the originals, no new ground broken, but nice covers non the less. One of the most satisfying things about this tribute is how the personality and style of each of the artists give many of the songs more of a blatant energy than even McCartney first gave. We get to hear versions that sound like classic rock songs, rather than the sometimes over-produced work that Paul is famous for. "My Brave Face" by SR-71 takes the mid-tempo song and makes it up-tempo rocker. "Temporary Secretary", "Waterfalls", and "Coming Up" taken from McCartney II (the album that got Lennon back into the recording studio) sound the best. Originally released in ’80, McCartney was experimenting with the synthesizer and the originals sound very thin and bare. These new versions give these classic songs a new vibrant flare.

There are a few shadows on this otherwise bright tribute, Robyn Hitchcock’s "Let Me Roll It", The Shazam’s "Helen Wheels" and Ray Paul’s "Oh Woman, Oh Why" don’t have the energy of the originals nor the vocal stamina. As hard as it is for many people to admit, Paul’s use of Linda to compliment his back-up harmonies actually blend well into his songs. If you listen closely you’ll notice how strained some of these artists sound as they try to hit the notes that were so natural for Paul and Linda. The McCartney’s voices blend perfectly in songs like "Helen Wheels", but The Shazam just can’t get the sound I was hoping for from this classic rocker. As a nice tie-in, due to Linda’s death in ’98 to breast cancer, part of the proceeds of these albums sold will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Another disappointment is that there are not more popular artists on the line-up. Artists such as Lou Reed, Dave Matthews and Moby are lining up to pay tribute to John Lennon, it would have been nice to have some of these names on a tribute to McCartney. It is apparent while listening to these albums that the artists do have a love for McCartney and his music and that they have put a great deal of effort into their versions of his famous works. Some of the songs don’t live up to the original classics, while others revive tunes which have been lying dormant far too long, either way these albums fill a void that is long past due. With a total of 31 songs, these albums will open the ears of listeners who might not have had the interest, or the chance, to hear the works of Paul McCartney, a sometimes-overlooked legend of rock.

Scott Hexum

Track Listing:

Listen to What The Man Said: Popular Artists Pay Tribute To The Music Of Paul McCartney

  1. Band On The Run-Owsley
  2. My Brave Face-SR-71
  3. Junk-Steven Page and Kevin Hearn of Barenaked Ladies, and Stephen Duffy of The Lilac Time
  4. Jet-Semisonic
  5. No More Lonely Nights-The Merrymakers
  6. Let Me Roll It-Robyn Hitchcock
  7. Too Many People-Finn Brothers
  8. Dear Friend-The Minus 5
  9. Every Night-Matthew Sweet
  10. Waterfalls-Sloan
  11. Man We Was Lonely-World Party
  12. Coming Up-The John Faye Power Trip
  13. Maybe I'm Amazed-Virgos
  14. Love In Song-Judybats
  15. Warm And Beautiful-Linus Of Hollywood
  16. Ram On-They Might Be Giants)

Coming Up: Independent Artists Pay Tribute To the Music of Paul McCartney

  1. Let 'Em In-Starbelly
  2. Take It Away-The Jellybricks
  3. Every Night-Mark Bacino
  4. This One-Cliff Hillis
  5. My Brave Face-Star Collector
  6. Temporary Secretary-The Andersons
  7. Mull Of Kintyre-Kyf Brewer
  8. With A Little Luck-The Masticators
  9. Somedays-Phil Keaggy
  10. Getting Closer-Michael Carpenter
  11. Maybe I'm Amazed-Gadget White Band
  12. Helen Wheels-The Shazam
  13. Oh Woman, Oh Why-Ray Paul
  14. Another Day-Cherry Twister
  15. Back On My Feet-Cockeyed Ghost

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Mike Doughty



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