Pure Imagination, Pure Gold, Pure Genius … Pure McCartney

Okay, today we’re taking a look at Paul McCartney.

Well, more specifically Paul McCartney’s music.

Paul McCartney’s SOLO music.

Last year in June of 2016, McCartney released a lovely compilation of his solo years entitled “Pure McCartney”; the first time McCartney has chronicled his entire solo career.

The set was made available in three configurations: a 2 CD set with 39 songs, a 4 CD set with 67 tracks and an exquisite 4 Lp package with 41 tracks.

It’s about time too as McCartney has needed a more comprehensive overview of his solo career which I feel is well deserved.

Now those of you old enough to remember the 1970s and 1980s may remember that McCartney’s post Beatles music (1969 to present) had a decidedly mixed reception.

The public loved it giving McCartney 23 Top Ten hits along with 26 gold and platinum selling albums in the U.S. alone.

Critics on the other hand have mostly slagged off his work saying that it doesn’t hold a candle to his Beatles output. I of course disagree.

As a second generation Beatles fan I grew up with McCartney’s solo music intertwined with his Beatles music; I discovered them side by side at the same time. McCartney’s musical output has always seemed like the same career to me and I’ve grown to love his solo output nearly as much as his Beatles work.

Yes, his Beatles work his stunning but his solo work includes just as many gems that need to be discovered¬† or re-evaluated which is a role the “Pure McCartney” album fills quite nicely.

Songs like “Dear Boy”, “Jenny Wren”, “Calico Skies”, “Every Night”, “Wanderlust”, “Beautiful Night”, “Don’t Let it Bring You Down”, “Flaming Pie”, “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five”, “English Tea” and “Baby’s Request” get to shine on the 4 CD set along side all the hits from McCartney’s illustrious solo journey.

Even the 2 CD set, for those who aren’t necessarily interested in 4 CDs of music, has a really nice ratio of album tracks and hits that gives the listener a much better overview of McCartney’s solo career than his previous hits collections.

Beginning in 2010 Paul McCartney began a campaign to reissue his solo work in what he has called the Paul McCartney Archive Collection which has also helped bring about re-evaluation of some of his best solo work including the magnificent “Ram” album from 1971.

This archive collection so far has issued ten titles including: McCartney, Ram, Band on the Run, Venus and Mars, Wings at the Speed of Sound, Wings Over America, McCartney II, Tug of War, Pipes of Peace and Flowers in the Dirt.

All of these reissues came out on the Concord Music Group label except for “Flowers in the Dirt” which came out on Capitol Records earlier this year.

In August of 2016 shortly after the release of the “Pure McCartney” collection, McCartney returned to Capitol Records leaving the Concord Music Group who had released his music (and back catalog) since 2007.

Most likely because McCartney knew he was rejoining Capitol Records, the “Pure McCartney” collection not only served as a nice overview of his solo career but as a nice way to end his relationship with the Concord Music Group.

Whatever the reason “Pure McCartney”, though slightly flawed as it skipped songs from the “Flowers in the Dirt” album, is a great way for novices (the 2 CD set) or die hard fans (the 4 CD or 4 Lp sets) to have a handy overview of McCartney’s solo output.

Plus for those vinyl hounds, the 4 Lp set is one of the most attractive packages I’ve ever seen. Nice cardboard inner sleeves and protective rice sleeves along with the enlarged booklet just look stunning. Sounds stunning too.

The 2 CD and the 4 CD set especially (well U.S. versions anyway lol) are inexpensively priced and are a great way to add some McCartney to your music collection.

Check out some photos of the “Pure McCartney” configurations I own (above and below):

2 CD set, 4 CD set (Japanese pressing) and rear cover from 4 Lp set (front and inner sleeves above)

Note: My 4 CD set comes from Japan and the CDs are what’s called SHM-CDs (Super High Material). These CDs play on any CD player but are made of a supposedly better material which helps CD players reproduce the music better. A lot of music fans think this is snake oil but I do notice improved bass (much smoother) and stereo separation. I will do more posts in the future featuring SHM-CDs.

Happy McCartney Monday!

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