Monday, December 22, 2008

Paul McCartney 9: London Town

Just when we were getting used to this new lineup of Wings, Paul and Linda didn’t make it through the sessions before being pared back to three. Denny Laine had been the only constant thus far, and they kindly rewarded him by including his picture on the cover and letting him sing and write more.
Much of London Town was recorded on a boat in the Caribbean where they could presumably smoke pot in peace, yet the bulk of the music still has a more continental flair to it. The title track has been described as the lost song from a Broadway show. It’s not unpleasant. One would think this has the other two guys on it, since the drums and screaming lead guitars sound too, well, polished. “Café On The Left Bank” takes us to Paris for some more foreign intrigue. “I’m Carrying” is too sweet for its own damn good. “Backwards Traveller” doesn’t do anything, and neither does the “Cuff Link” that’s about as clever as its title. “Children Children” is a nice kids’ song, but sits too close to the Michael Jackson homage “Girlfriend”. Paul wrote it for him, let him use it and began an acquaintance that would bite him in the ass in ten short years. The midsection with its nasty guitar solo salvages the tune. “I’ve Had Enough” is the first rocker here that would have worked onstage. But it’s pretty pointless.
“With A Little Luck” is too long, despite the creative use of the synthesizers. This was classic McCartney tailor-made for AM radio, except for his insistence on including the word “damn”. At the same time, “Famous Groupies” went right over most kids’ heads. It seems odd that Paul would sing about groupies at this stage in his career, not having seen one in over a decade; maybe the roadies had good stories. “Deliver Your Children” was a mild radio hit, another folk departure for Denny. “Name And Address” has a Sun rockabilly flavor to it, and though it was recorded before the death of Elvis Presley, it’s a fitting tribute. It also winds down to a halt right when it should and after the album has already worn thin. “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” does just that, sadly, and “Morse Moose And The Grey Goose” is his most pointless song since “Loup”. The first minute or so is good in a “Beware My Love” kind of way, but it just leaves the listener stranded in the middle of the sea.
With its poster, lyrics and custom labels, fans were getting spoiled with the packaging. Too bad the album doesn’t stand up to repeated listening. London Town was his longest album yet, so we get a lot of music packed into the grooves, but the recipe doesn’t seem prepared correctly. Not enough salt? The good moments were starting to become farther between, if not necessarily fewer. (The CD includes the rocking and risqué “Girls’ School”, a contemporary B-side. We will discuss the A-side shortly.)

Wings London Town (1978)—
1989 CD reissue: same as 1978, plus 1 extra track

No comments:

Post a Comment