Review: "Pure McCartney", Paul McCartney's Four-CD Career Compilation, Somewhat Misses the Mark

by Roger Wink, VVN Music

It's hard to review compilations because, in most cases, it's all been heard before. Fans own most or all the albums and those acquainted with an artist's music will be interested only if they know a lot of the songs.

The new Paul McCartney compilation, Pure McCartney, was created much more for the fans and less for the occasional listener. With four-CDs, there are 67 tracks, only about 25 of which would be familiar to the drive-by fan which is, in fact, a pretty amazing number when compared to most other artists. Nonetheless, are those people interested enough in the other 40+ tracks to invest in this set?

The aim of most box sets is to provide an overview of an artists career, including their most popular cuts and important deep tracks. Preferably, the music is presented in chronological order, so that a listener can hear the development of the artist's talent over the years.

Here, though, McCartney is at a bit of disadvantage as his development started ten years before with the Beatles and this set only concentrates on the post-Fab Four days. Still, Paul's voice has matured over the years as has his songwriting. Unfortunately, you won't be able to hear that in Pure McCartney as Paul has decided to sequence the music based on his own whims.

Another problem with the set is in the song selection. McCartney curated the set and his own selection process concentrated heavily on some albums while leaving a couple out in the cold. Sets like Red Rose Speedway, Venus and Mars and Memory Almost Full are relegated to only two tracks while 1997's Flaming Pie has over half of its tracks (8 of 14) among the four discs and his latest, 2015's New is represented with five, the same as the classics Ram and Band on the Run. Flowers in the Dirt, Run Devil Run, Driving Rain and two of the three albums by The Fireman are not represented in any way.

Then there is the actual song selection. McCartney has had 22 top twenty hits in the U.S. so it would seem that, with 69 tracks, there would be room for all of them. Missing from Pure McCartney are:
  • Helen Wheels (1973 / #10)
  • Getting Closer (1979 / #20)
  • Take It Away (1982 / #10)
  • Spies Like Us (1985 / #7)
Still, will all my quibbles about the album, it is still an enjoyable listening experience. It just falls short of everything it could have been.

Here is the track list from Pure McCartney, placed in chronological order and by album:
  • McCartney (1970)
    • Every Night (Disc 2, Track 16)
    • Junk (Disc 4, Track 16)
    • Maybe I’m Amazed (Disc 1, Track 1)
  • Non Album Single (1971)
    • Another Day (Disc 1, Track 12)
  • Ram (1971)
    • Too Many People (Disc 1, Track 15)
    • Dear Boy (Disc 1, Track 6)
    • Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (Disc 1, Track 9)
    • Heart Of The Country (Disc 1, Track 2)
    • The Back Seat Of My Car (Disc 4, Track 10)
  • Wild Life (Wings, 1971)
    • Bip Bop (Disc 2, Track 6)
  • Non Album Single (1972)
    • Hi, Hi, Hi (Disc 2, Track 10)
  • Red Rose Speedway (Paul McCartney & Wings, 1973)
    • Big Barn Bed (Disc 1, Track 11)
    • My Love (Disc 2, Track 5)
  • Live and Let Die Soundtrack (1973)
    • Live and Let Die (Disc 2, Track 1)
  • Band on the Run (Paul McCartney & Wings, 1973)
    • Band on the Run (Disc 2, Track 12)
    • Jet (Disc 1, Track 3)
    • Mrs Vandebilt (Disc 2, Track 18)
    • Let Me Roll It (Disc 1, Track 16)
    • Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five (Disc 2, Track 8)
  • Non Album Single (1974)
    • Junior’s Farm (Disc 2, Track 17)
  • Venus and Mars (Wings, 1975)
    • Venus and Mars/Rock Show (Disc 4, Track 13)
    • Listen To What The Man Said (Disc 1, Track 5)
  • Wings at the Speed of Sound (Wings, 1976)
    • Let ‘Em In (Disc 2, Track 7)
    • Silly Love Songs (Disc 1, Track 7)
    • Warm And Beautiful (Disc 1, Track 4)
  • Non Album Single (1977)
    • Mull of Kintyre (Disc 2, Track 3)
  • London Town (Wings, 1978)
    • Girlfriend (Disc 3, Track 14)
    • With a Little Luck (Disc 4, Track 6)
    • Don’t Let it Bring You Down (Disc 4, Track 9)
  • Non Album Single (1979)
    • Goodnight Tonight (Disc 4, Track 4)
  • Back to the Egg (Wings, 1979)
    • Arrow Through Me (Disc 2, Track 15)
    • Baby’s Request (Disc 4, Track 5)
  • McCartney II (1980)
    • Coming Up (Disc 4, Track 1)
    • Temporary Secretary (Disc 4, Track 14)
    • Waterfalls (Disc 2, Track 11)
  • Tug of War (1982)
    • Here Today (Disc 3, Track 9)
    • Wanderlust (Disc 3, Track 11)
    • Ebony and Ivory (Disc 3, Track 7)
  • Pipes of Peace (1983)
    • Pipes of Peace (Disc 3, Track 3)
    • Say Say Say [2015 Remix] (Disc 3, Track 1)
  • Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)
    • No More Lonely Nights (Disc 4, Track 11)
  • Non-Album Single (Paul McCartney & the Frog Chorus1984)
    • We All Stand Together (Disc 3, Track 16)
  • Press to Play (1986)
    • Good Times Coming/Feel the Sun (Disc 4, Track 3)
    • Press (Disc 3, Track 10)
  • Flowers in the Dirt (1989)
    • None
  • Off the Ground (1993)
    • Winedark Open Sea (Disc 3, Track 12)
  • Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest (The Fireman, 1993)
    • None
  • Flaming Pie (1997)
    • The Song We Were Singing (Disc 1, Track 8)
    • The World Tonight (Disc 3, Track 4)
    • Calico Skies (Disc 2, Track 9)
    • Flaming Pie (Disc 1, Track 13)
    • Souvenir (Disc 3, Track 5)
    • Little Willow (Disc 4, Track 7)
    • Beautiful Night (Disc 3, Track 13)
    • Great Day (Disc 4, Track 12)
  • Rushes (The Fireman, 1998)
    • None
  • Run Devil Run (1999)
    • None
  • Driving Rain (2001)
    • None
  • Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005)
    • Fine Line (Disc 3, Track 8)
    • Jenny Wren (Disc 1, Track 14)
    • English Tea (Disc 2, Track 2)
    • Too Much Rain (Disc 4, Track 2)
  • Memory Almost Full (2007)
    • Dance Tonight (Disc 3, Track 6)
    • Only Mama Knows (Disc 4, Track 8)
  • Electric Arguments (The Fireman, 2008)
    • Sing The Changes (Disc 2, Track 14)
  • Kisses on the Bottom (2012)
    • My Valentine (Disc 3, Track 2)
  • Destiny Original Soundtrack) (2014)
    • Hope For The Future (Disc 4, Track 15)
  • New (2015)
    • Save Us (Disc 2, Track 4)
    • Queenie Eye (Disc 3, Track 15)
    • Early Days (Disc 1, Track 10)
    • New (Disc 1, Track 17)
    • Appreciate (Disc 2, Track 13)

1 comment

Unknown said...

"give my regards to broad street" not wall street.

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