Pilgrim’s Playlist: New McCartney Compilation, Plus A Father’s Day Special

New And Noteworthy

Paul McCartney — Pure McCartney (Deluxe)

I keep thinking that Paul McCartney is endangering his legacy by being so very visible in the last few years. Concert tours, new albums, talk shows, interviews, the guy has been everywhere, and showing his age (as we all do). I kind of miss the days when he was a virtual recluse with the lovely Linda in the Scottish Highlands, and I’m sure part of him does too.

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The good news is that Sir Paul is keeping an eye on his legacy too, and on that score, I think this personally curated, four-disc selection of 45 years of post-Beatles material goes a long way towards confirming how under-appreciated he really has been as a solo artist.

McCartney never released a compilation with anything post-1984 on it, which was a shame because his creative edge was unquestionably revived on 1997’s Flaming Pie, a masterwork that followed a somewhat fallow period that lasted, oh, 20 years or so. Eight of the 67 tracks on the Deluxe Edition (and you gotta go with the Deluxe for full effect) are from Flaming Pie, and the high points from his 21st century albums are also well represented.

Oh sure, the familiar McCartney dreck is all here too – you know what songs I’m talking about. But even though I have to suppress a gag reflex when “Silly Love Songs” comes on, I still marvel at the incredible, unique touch he shows on that bass line. And damn, so much of the stuff from his first three albums, his Beatles hangover days, still holds up so well.

My favorite aspect of the album is his selection of more obscure album tracks. Knowing he’s picked them enhances their appeal. There are quite a few hidden gems that are finally seeing some deserving light of day, songs like “Big Barn Bed” from 1973’s Red Rose Speedway, “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” from 1978’s London Town, and “Appreciate” from 2013’s New.

You know, despite how much of Paul’s voice has left him these days, and despite how cringeworthy his various public appearances in mom jeans sometimes are, the truth may very well be that his legacy is bulletproof and impossible to diminish, because he stands upon this staggeringly great and unparalleled body of work. I suppose no amount of cringing can ever negate any of that. Buy it or stream it, this album is a must for all Rock fans.




Obscure Classic

Nobby Clegg — “My Old Man”

The Younger Generation will always think certain ways of the Older Generation are crazy. This is a universal truth that I discovered when my kids started making fun of certain things I did. The grown-up child will always see some things differently than the father, no matter how much love and respect there may be between them.

Sometimes the generational disconnect is wide, especially when Dad’s indiscretions are bigger and more serious. But like all important relationships, our relationship with Dad is a complicated thing, and sometimes a little love and especially forgiveness can go a long way in bridging the gap between the generations.

All of this is the takeaway from this startling and poignant little number released at the height of punk in 1979. Nobby Clegg goes through a litany of his father’s failings, in rather extreme terms, but in the end he stands by him, saying “three cheers for my old man”.

The song really touched a nerve in many of those who heard it. It didn’t really matter that it turned out the song wasn’t autobiographical at all and was actually a conceptual piece created by two British expats. The two went on to a long career writing for Hollywood. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction.

Anyway, three cheers for my old man up there, and three cheers for all Dads everywhere.


Photo credit: By Oli Gill (originally posted to Flickr as Paul McCartney) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


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