John Lennon “Imagine” – New Deluxe 2 CD set (a detailed review)

As luck would have it, today I was lucky enough to get a hold of a copy of the brand new 2 CD Deluxe reissue of John Lennon;s classic “Imagine” album!

The reissue is scheduled to be released next Friday, October 5th but I thought I would give those Lennon or Beatlephiles out there a sneak preview.

This new 2 CD set features the complete album plus some stray single and other songs on Disc 1 newly (and I must say excellently) remixed with Disc 2 featuring some tasty element mixes of the songs as well as out-takes of each song on the album.

I spent the better part of the day listening to this terrific new reissue/collection and I’ve decided to share my first thoughts of it below.

So let’s take a look at this set from top to bottom.

The Remix: Disc 1

Imagine – superb bass, Lennon’s voice front and center. Very respectful of the original mix but MUCH clearer. Certainly not as loud as the re entry Tug of War remix. Love how  the strings stand out but aren’t obtrusive

Crippled Inside – again very clear and clean. Sounds like the original mix but with a layer taken off. Not nearly as loud as previous remix from 2000.

Jealous Guy – this song has never sounded better. The strings, just like Imagine, take on a new freshness and clarity without being overbearing. Bass too. Strings and bass biggest improvements on this new remix

It’s So Hard – the bass and sax just dance in the mix. I’m impressed with how much this sounds like a much improved version of the original mix! Things stand out better like Lennon’s two vocals and the piano but aren’t in your face. There’s a smoothness to the mix that’s very easy on the ears

I Don’t Want to Be a Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die – very similar to the original mix. Still thick sounding but certainly better than any other version out there and more open separation. Drum work is a highlight but not in your face, just sounds more present than before and so respectful of Lennon’s mix.

Gimme Some Truth – again very similar to original mix. More like getting a two generations better sounding tape than sounding like a modern remix. The guitar has such sting and presence but doesn’t hurt your ears. Sound has been widened and stereo but not losing the vibe of the original

Oh My Love – STUNNING is the only word that comes to mind. Dramatically better sounding mix, everything is defined beautifully and so damn clean and clear. Oh how I wish Tug of War was remixed like this. Perfect sounding.

How Do You Sleep? – again, shit this sounds SUPERB! they certainly made their goal of a much better sounding version of Lennon’s mix. Strings are superb!!! Sounds like stereo and more open but still thick just less murky than the original

How? – again, superb. The strings stand out as never before but aren’t in your face.

Oh Yoko! – the vocals really shine on this mix! Superb bass too but the vocals stand out in such clarity but thankfully aren’t glaringly so. Lovely. Nice extended harmonica at the end.

Power to the People – the bass is superb. Still a bit murky like the original mix but more powerful. Sax stands out more as well as background vocals but still feels like original mix just cleaner and fade goes on longer

Well … (Baby Please Don’t Go) – clean mix, sounds like Plastic Ono Band material with sax added. Actually reminds me of Hendrix funnily enough

God Save Us – If this was remixed you cant tell a huge difference, it just sounds like a cleaner version of an original vintage mix. Bill Elliot sounds so much like Lennon. I prefer Lennon’s vocal but this is a nice punchy mix

Do the Oz – same as above, sounds like a nicely mastered version of the original not overdone unlike the song lol

God Save Oz – Lennon vocal. Much cleaner mix, Lennon’s vocal up front, great mix. Clean and crisp and slightly murky but not as closed in as an original Lennon mix

Happy Xmas (War is Over) – now we’re talking, stunningly clear mix. Great bass, much more presence and the vocals and separation are outstanding. Yoko sounds great too. Best mix I’ve ever heard of this song by far

There’s no contest for me, this new remix is the best remix I’ve ever heard of any of The Beatles or solo Beatles material! So well done and so listenable – no trace of jacked up sound that I can hear.

You never think you’re listening to a new mix, its the same album it just sounds like you’re listening to a much better master – cleaner and clearer, more presence and separation but the same vibe as Lennon’s mix.

I can hear things down in the mix more, more open but they never sound as if they are some kind of reworking of what Lennon created, just improved.

Hands down from now on this is the mix I will listen to when I want to hear this album, it’s that good. I really hope that McCartney takes note of this set. his reissues sound good as well but the way this set was put together with all the out-takes and elements is just great!

Disc 2 – Elements and Out-takes 

Imagine (elements mix) – superb strings only. Reminded me of a 1940’s Christmas movie. Lovely by itself, seems like a whole new song

Jealous Guy (elements mix) – lovely piano  driven instrumental mix with just piano, bass and drums. Damn fine piano playing by Nicky Hopkins. So good I can’t wait to dig into more of this on the bigger box version. Thought I may be bored with elements but this is superb

Oh My Love (elements mix) – Stunning vocal only mix. Just lovely with Lennon’s vocals alone. Great stuff.

How? (elements mix) – just the strings. SUPERB. Like Imagine previously sounds like it could come from some movie  soundtrack, gives the song whole new feeling with just strings, lovely

Imagine (demo) – Fantastic demo with just Lennon on the piano and a ton of echo. The Plastic Ono version of this track

Imagine take 1 – Love this. More hesitant and world weary sounding than the finished take. Sounds more childlike on this take

Crippled Inside take 3 – so clean and laid back. Nice take, the vocals area bit more hesitant than the finished take but instrumentally this take sounds great!

Crippled Inside – take 6 with alt guitar solo – this is where multiple takes can be a bit overkill. Nice take, nice alt solo but I prefer take 3 because it sounds more different from the finished take and is cleaner sounding than this take

Jealous Guy – take 9 – really nice take. Much different feel from the finished version, I may prefer this actually. Reminds me of the alternate version of Across the Universe from The Beatles Anthology disc. Lighter version but nice. Not complete though

It’s So Hard – take 6 – great sounding take  with nice fat bass! Less echo om Lennon’s vocal which is nice actually. Fun listen more bluesy sounding than the finished take.

I Don’t Want to Be a Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die –  take 11 – more raw take. Sounds interesting but I prefer the finished take. This one is a little more tedious to listen to but okay

Gimme Some Truth – take 4 – nice raw take. Sounds good but not dramatically different than the master but no solo.

Oh My Love – take 6 – lovely, does this song ever sound bad! Nice alt take but very similar to released take. Fun to hear though vocals are rougher

How Do You Sleep? – takes 1 & 2 – nice funkier takes on the song! I like the way Lennon sings on these. Nice, one of the highlights of the out-takes. Take 1 superb, with great Harrison slide work. Says takes 1 & 2 but I only heard one take, take 1

How – take 31 – nice alternate take, again not dramatically different but nice. Softer approach.

Oh Yoko! (Bahamas 1969) – Low-fi demo of just John and Yoko. Charming actually. Nice

Power to the People – take 7 – nice raw version without all the echo of the finished master. Nice, another highlight of the set.

God Save Us – demo – love this demo. Better than the actual master. Typical Lennon demo, unfinished but fun with congas

Do the Oz – take 3 – Yoko version, heavier and funkier. Not much of a track but fun

Happy Xmas (War is Over) (alt mix) – love this mix. No choir but really nice. Lovely stripped down version.

There’s a ton packed into this 2 CD set. I feel there’s more than enough to satisfy even major Lennon fans with just this set. You get the terrific remix plus the various elements and out-takes.

Truth be told I could be just fine with this set but the elements were so enjoyable I’d love to hear more. I have the box on order but this set is so nice I’m not sure if more would be overkill or not. I may just stay with this set but odds are I’ll wonder into overkill territory.

The out-takes actually sound a bit more closed in than the superb remix of the album but are a nice listen. Not sure that the box would be better or a bit too much.

Surprisingly the highlight of Disc 2 was listening to the element mixes of the songs. i really enjoyed hearing just the strings and/or stripped down parts of the songs as it gives a whole new feeling to the music and sounded just beautiful.

TERRIFIC SET!!! One of, if not the best reissues of a classic album I’ve ever heard. The sound throughout is great, no added compression, very respectful of the original vision of the material while making it sound improved and more engaging.

Grade: A+


Way Back Machine: 1972 – Shopping with The Partridge Family

Okay, it’s Friday. After such a long contentious week I think it’s time for some lighthearted fun.

Lighthearted fun circa 1972.

Ahhh, the 1970s. Bad clothes, questionable politics but oh such good pop music.

Television also wasn’t so bad from the decade of the big yellow smile either – cheesy, yes, but good.

The place where two of my favorite things from the 1970s collided – cheesy television and good pop music – was The Partridge Family.

I know a lot of people find The Partridge Family to be crassly commercial and strictly teen girl magazine fodder but I’m not one of them.

I find that the pop music created under the banner of The Partridge Family is quite good actually and very well sung by David Cassidy. Of course I was very young and grew up with the music and show as a sweet childhood memory but still to this day I enjoy the lush pop sounds of the fictitious Partridges – a fun way to lighten up a dark day.

Which leads me to this blog post.

I was inspired to write it after browsing through Half Price Books the other day and spotting an old cassette of The Partridge Family “Shopping Bag” album for sale in their cassette bin.

Since the cassette was beat up and looked like the tape may not even play I passed on buying it but decided to take a few photos (see above) as you rarely see old Bell Record cassettes from the 1970s anymore and I thought it might be fun to do a blog on some of the vinyl and CDs I own of this album.

The “Shopping Bag” album came out during the second season of The Partridge Family TV show in March of 1972 and was a best-seller being awarded a gold record and spawning the Top Twenty hit “It’s One of Those Nights (Yes Love)” which to this day remains one of my favorite Partridge tracks ever released.

Now I have to say that even at the time the “Shopping Bag” album was released it seemed to me to sound a bit formulaic but still quite good. Cassidy could sing his hind end off and gave the songs an emotional lift that elevated them beyond their teen appeal.

Looking back though the album has quite a few stronger tracks on it then I remembered including “Am I Losing You” (also released as a single and a minor hit), the lovely “Girl, You Make My Day” (written by Monkees songwriters Boyce and Hart), “Something New Got Old”, “Hello, Hello”, “Every Song is You” and the David Cassidy penned “There’ll Come a Time” which reflected his mixed feelings of being a teen idol with it’s lyrics about being human and not just a circus clown attraction – certainly a much more poignant listen since Cassidy’s death last year as a result of alcoholism.

All in all a very good collection but not quite as strong as the first three albums released under The Partridge Family banner but still worth checking out. Plus the original vinyl pressing actually comes with a plastic shopping bag imprinted with the album artwork on it – what’s not to love lol!

As far as CD releases go there have been three – the first issue on the Razor &Tie reissue label from 1993, an Arista/BMG Heritage reissue CD from 2003 and an imported reissue on the 7t’s Records label from 2013.

The best CD issue in my opinion by far is the first release on the Razor & Tie label. It’s a very good sounding CD and sounds very similar to the original vinyl release – good dynamics and balanced sound.

The other two CD releases sound okay but are much more compressed which makes the bass sound better but you lose a lot of the dynamics and they sound decent only when played a low volume.

Surprisingly my somewhat worn original vinyl copy from the 1970s still sounds pretty darn good I must say! A bit crackly but nice. I usually stick to the Razor & Tie CD if I want to take a dip back into 1972 Partridge land but a good quality vinyl copy of this album is probably the way to listen to this album while you stare at your groovy plastic shopping bag!

Take a gander above at some of my “Shopping Bag” swag and enjoy feasting your eyes on this little trip back in time.

Until we meet again – Have a Nice Day!!!



So Much to Say … The Monkees “HEAD” – The Movie and The Rhino Handmade Deluxe Box Set (A 50th Anniversary Celebration)


“Open your eyes, get up off your chair, there so much to do in the sunlight …” – from “As We Go Along” written by Carole King/Toni Stern and recorded by The Monkees

Today I am continuing my look back at The Monkees “HEAD”, both the film and the soundtrack in celebration if its 50th Anniversary:

The Film

Open your eyes indeed. The Monkees only cinematic creation, the feature film “HEAD”, celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and truth be told is just as confusing and mysterious as when it first premiered in theaters in November of 1968.

For fans of the group the cinematic version of The Monkees was quite a different experience than watching the them on their madcap TV show.

The film “HEAD” encapsulated the surreal and almost nightmarish quality of underground art films while featuring some sublime ’60’s pop/rock music and performances by what was considered at the time as one of the most commercial and safe bands of the era – The Monkees.

The film is a whirlwind of scenes and images that both pay homage yet ridicule at the same time some of the most popular Hollywood film genres of the golden age of film making.

To say that the film is a trip is an understatement.

To me “HEAD” – both the film and its accompanying soundtrack – are much more like a surrealism painting that’s come to life.

For starters “HEAD” has no traditional structure or plot. Instead of a longer version of the television show, “HEAD” consisted of a series of vignettes that featured The Monkees in different places, different times and different movie genres.

Basically the gist of the film is that the four actors who portray The Monkees are trying to escape from this imaginary black box which encases them.

To me the black box represents a brand – The Monkees – that while highly successful creates a stifling environment in which the members are treated like props to be used as cogs in this big Hollywood machinery.

Pop culture mavens have long commented on how “The Monkees” TV series was inspired by avant-garde film techniques but the film “HEAD” is really much more informed by the avant-garde than the television series ever was even taking into account some of the freakier second season TV episodes.

Instead of telling a linear story, the film  “HEAD” features vignettes that create different moods and reactions that end up leaving the viewer experiencing the movie on an emotional level rather than just a visual level.

The film goats the viewer into feeling frustrated, confused, amused, perplexed and entertained all at the same time.

The fact that you can watch this movie a dozen times and still not be able to concretely say what it’s all about speaks to the avant-garde bent the film makers melded into The Monkees project.

“HEAD” also manages to encapsulate the late 1960s counterculture vibe in a much less clichéd way that actually gives the viewer a better time capsule of the era than the typical Hollywood-ized depictions of the 1960s which focus on the stereotypical hippies and flower power slogans that one would see in a print or TV ad.

The film “HEAD” is also one of the first times something very commercial – The Monkees – was analyzed by its own creators and used as a means of jumping off in a new direction of creativity and film-making for that same team.

Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider who created The Monkees TV show and project took the success generated by The Monkees and helped usher in a new era of film-making that stood outside of the old Hollywood system and was grounded more in gritty and real subject matter than traditional Hollywood fare.

Bob Rafelson, co-creator of The Monkees TV show and director of the film, along with screen writer Jack Nicholson (yes, that Jack Nicholson) seem to try and expose The Monkees as some sort of fake group much like everything else in Hollywood which is fake, tinsel and disposable.

I’m not sure if Rafelson’s aim was to completely wash his hands of the group but Peter Tork has said in interviews that Rafelson tends to focus on the dark side of life so that does seem probable.

But I don’t think Rafelson really took into account that while yes The Monkees on the one hand are fake – they were created to be a TV show not a group – with the success of the music from the show the group sort of morphed into being a genuine group thus becoming what they pretended to be.

I don’t think the producers and creators of The Monkees took into account the quality of the music produced for the project.

Since they hired other people to produce and create the music – and later the group itself took on that role – they didn’t see the music (at least initially) as anything other than promotion for the show.

But like most quality music produced whether in the 1960s or now, the quality of the music transcends its origins.

It didn’t and doesn’t matter how or why the music was created, the lasting quality of The Monkees music is just as much of a driving force for their continued success as the television show. They both enhance each other and are equally important.

Looking back, the film “HEAD” also seems to appeal to a lot of rock performers as I think they can see their own story.

In the late 1960s being genuine was “hip” and “cool” and not being genuine was lame. BUT dear friends ALL rock groups then and now cultivate an image and try to brand themselves in some way.

The Beatles manager Brian Epstein took them out of leather and put them in suits and cultivated the “Fab Four” cuddly image.

The Rolling Stones cultivated the “anti-Beatles” blues grunge image while all the Motown acts were groomed to be stage performers and their music was part of a large machine created by Barry Gordy that cranked out hits featuring a stable of songwriters and studio musicians.

Even Elvis, the “King” himself, was branded and Hollywood-ized into a product to be consumed by a mass audience.

Music is and always was “show business”. There’s a lot of fake aspects to most musical acts but in the end its the music that was created which either stands the test of time or it doesn’t.

So the fact that The Monkees had their origins on the TV screen, one of the most divisive things about the group at the time, matters little when looked through the lens of 21st Century entertainment where everything is a brand and everything has become a product.

What the film “HEAD” portrays – the Hollywood effect on entertainers where they are manipulated and controlled – is the by product of all fame no matter what genre – be it music, film or now politics.

The film “HEAD” was just more honest and took an artistic and avant-garde way of peeking behind the curtain of The Monkees project in a way that actually endures The Monkees project to future generations rather then tear it down.

The film “HEAD” and the morphing of the group from television show to real performers is what makes The Monkees so interesting and so relevant today.

It’s amusing that at the end of the film The Monkees are carried away in a tank of water on a truck driven to be filed in the prop department at Columbia Pictures.

Little did the film makers realize at the time but The Monkees never would stay on the shelf and be forgotten like the props from a TV show – they live on like Frankenstein’s monster only to live again and again!

The Soundtrack

The soundtrack to the movie “HEAD” is also a unique and interesting thing itself.

Put together and sequenced by the the film’s writer Jack Nicholson, the soundtrack album creates a separate yet equally mystifying listening experience that mirrors the oddness and beauty of the film itself.

Dialogue from the film is liberally sprinkled through out the soundtrack which gives the listener a rather trippy and odd listen as most people who bought the record never saw the film and have no context for what the dialogue represents.

Yet the dialogue does convey the same subtle message that film does – there’s manipulation going on and who’s putting on who?

It also doesn’t hurt that the soundtrack contains six of the best songs The Monkees ever recorded: “Porpoise Song (Theme from “HEAD”), “Circle Sky”, “Can You Dig It?”, “As We Go Along”, “Daddy Song” and “Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again”.

For anyone who is really interested in all things Monkee or all things “HEAD” related the best and most complete representation of the “HEAD” soundtrack is the terrific three CD Deluxe box set that was released online in 2010 by Rhino Handmade, a division of Rhino Records who owns The Monkees catalog.

Not only does this box set feature every possible version and mix (both mono and stereo) and demo of songs from the film but it also includes some really tasty outtakes from the “HEAD” recording sessions and filming.

Chief among these outtakes are live 1968 recordings of The Monkees that were recorded in Salt Lake City while filming the “Circle Sky” segment of the film.

This short live set features lovely and searing versions of “You Just May Be the One”, “Sunny Girlfriend”, “You Told Me” and “Circle Sky”.

While a bit rough and crude, the vocals were recorded too low, it’s nonetheless a very exciting and lively recording that illustrates just how powerful and grungy the band sounded live playing as a foursome.

There’s also a really fun 22 minute session excerpt of all four Monkees being directed by Rafelson and Nicholson to record the “Ditty Diego” chant.

Three CDs may seem like overkill for the small number of songs that are a part of the soundtrack but really as a fan it’s fun to hear all the alternate takes and mixes just maybe not all at once. It’s really nice to have them but I usually don’t play them back to back but cherry pick from the set.

As per usual take a glance above at photos of the Rhino Handmade box set.

This box set, like all of the Deluxe Rhino Handmade sets, is the definitive look at the “HEAD” soundtrack and recordings and is a must to try and track down if your at all a fan of this Monkees album or film.

If you’ve never dipped your toes into the waters of the film “HEAD” or its soundtrack you must seek them down and give it a whirl. Just don’t expect the same Monkees experience from the TV show and you’ll find yourself digging a whole new Monkees vibe!

Until next time, be well and enjoy the onset of Fall this week!

(Note: There’s a brand new Monkees album being released in three weeks – The Monkees “Christmas Party” – more on that soon!!!)





Whiter Than White – Three Shades of “The BEATLES” (White Album)



When this year began, I mentioned that throughout the year I would post some blogs celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles landmark “White Album.”

Well now that the year is almost over I decided to hop to it and finally share some posts about a few of the different copies of the White Albums I have in my collection.

Now as most rabid Beatle fans know there will be a super nice (and expensive I’m sure) White Album box set coming out probably in November of this year which will feature all sorts of goodies like outtakes, remixes and who knows what else.

So until that collection comes out and possibly readdresses the best sounding version of the album, I thought it might be nice to take a look at some of the best sounding versions of “The BEATLES” I own.

(Note: the album is actually just called “The BEATLES” but its nickname of the “White Album” has become so prevalent that it’s now mainly known by that name but I’ll refer to it both ways.)

Today I am featuring two of my favorite White Albums: one vinyl and one CD and both stereo versions. I’m also throwing in a first pressing U.S. vinyl copy of the White Album I acquired earlier this year not because its the best sounding but because it’s in great shape and fun to see.

In my opinion out of all the vinyl pressings you may find of The BEATLES (White Album) the best in terms of quality of sound would have to go to the 1978 UK white vinyl pressing.

This pressing is superb and I think sounds so clear and so vibrant that it easily takes the top spot of all the pressings I own.

Don’t get me wrong,  a first pressing UK regular black vinyl issue is right up there neck and neck with the white vinyl pressing from 1978 but there’s just something special about the sound of the 1978 pressing that makes it stand out from all the others.

And I happened to stumble on a really beautiful condition copy of the white vinyl issue (see photos above) a couple of years ago at a record show. The dealer must not have known what he had as he only charged me $40 for it and it goes for well above that most places online as its sought after by collectors for its sound and is relatively rare these days.

My other favorite way to listen to The BEATLES (White Album), if I’m listening to a CD version, is the first pressing numbered CD issue that came out in 1987.

I just love the sound of the original 1987 mastering as its not as pumped up with bass as the 2009 remaster CD and just sounds right – lovely, nice bass and sounds near the first UK vinyl pressing in terms of dynamics.

I like the 2009 remaster but tend to reach for the 1987 CD whenever I’m in the mood for listening to the stereo version of the White Album.

(Note 2: For the mono version hands down the 2009 mono CD wins but that’s not a part of this blog post so never mind lol.)

And lastly take a look at the beautiful U.S. Apple numbered pressing copy of the White Album (also see above) I got just this year. It has the song “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” listed as just “Bungalow Bill” which indicates a first issue label but also has a higher number on the cover which is almost 2 million.

I’m guessing the cover and album are both first pressings as the album sold in vast quantities but I thought the first issue labels were found with lower numbers but who knows if it was switched over the past fifty years or so – still a very lovely copy.

And the cover is actually still pretty white as most U.S. pressing get very grimy and dirty over the years but this is is still in really nice shape!

As for sound, I’ll never say a U.S. pressing is the best listening experience for this album as British copies beat it hands down, but this U.S. copy does actually sound pretty nice.

So take a gander at some of the photos above!

As usual you’ll see hype stickers (the person who had the UK white vinyl pressing actually kept the hype sticker yay!!!) and the CD longbox for the 1987 CD issue as I’m a pack rat with music and love to see them as most people threw them away.

More on more versions of the White Album soon!

Until next time be well and TTFN!!!



“Egypt Station” Second Stop! Exclusives – colored vinyl and more

“My name is James, I’m a McCartney/Beatles addict. It’s been three days since I bought my last vinyl album …”

Okay, sometimes even I go off the deep end a bit in the collector’s pool. Every year I say I’m going to do better and then WHAM here I am again.

When it was announced that there would be multiple versions of McCartney’s new album on different colors of vinyl I said to myself ‘nah, I’m okay with skipping these’. Until I made the mistake of walking into Barnes & Noble just to see what their exclusive vinyl looked like – big mistake.

I even took a ride on the rationalization train (at the Egypt Station of course – I know, groan right) saying to myself I’ll buy it just to show on this blog.

Oh well, my madness is your gain.

Today I’m going to take a look at some of the exclusive versions of Paul McCartney’s new (and I must say excellent!) album “Egypt Station”.

There are several different colored vinyl versions of “Egypt Station” available at various locations on the Web and in retail stores as well a version of the CD with two bonus tracks that’s available only at Target stores int he U.S. (overseas its available at HMV stores).

For those who are sane, and you know who you are lol, the best deal going is by far the Target exclusive CD for the two bonus tracks. One-stop shopping and you have what I would consider the complete album.

Now, you may think bonus tracks means lesser but as is usual with Paul McCartney he sometimes leaves tracks as bonuses that are better than some tracks that made the album.

The two bonus tracks on the Target CD are:

“Get Started” – a really nice slice of Wings like pop that has shimmering guitars and a ’60s/’70s vibe that sounds just great. The riff that runs through out the song reminds me of the riff in The Monkees song “You Bring the Summer” from 2016  for those who are familiar. Nice track and nice production by Greg Kurstin who produced most of the tracks on the rest of the album.

“Nothing for Free” – this lovely slice of modern pop, produced by Ryan Tedder and Zach Skelton who produced “Fuh You” as well, is a much better realized song than “Fuh You” which did make the album. It’s modern sounding and very quirky but damn near irresistible if you ask me. It’s very much like McCartney’s bonus track from his 2013 “New”  album called “Struggle”. Weird yet oddly enchanting.

I would have preferred these two songs on the album proper so suffice to say if you’re interested in this album track this exclusive CD down, you won’t regret it.

Now, on to the vinyl.

I will admit that McCartney’s marketing people saw collector’s coming. My first thought was yikes, who would buy these knowing damn well I would!

So far the vinyl comes in black, red (Barnes & Noble exclusive), orange and blue ( exclusive) and green (a version offered to Spotify users – don’t even ask lol – and again a exclusive).

But wait, just like the limited concertina style CD cover some of the vinyl covers are special one print concertina style covers that fold open and some are just regular covers that hold two vinyl albums but don’t fold out in any way.

There are both covers with the black vinyl pressings, the red vinyl isn’t a concertina cover but has printed inner sleeves, the orange and blue vinyl comes in a concertina style cover and has a lovely fold out lyric sheet as well but no printed sleeves and the green vinyl is in the same cover and style as the red vinyl.

Got all that?!!

Anyway, so far (he says admittedly) I’ve bought the regular CD, the Target CD, the red vinyl and the orange and blue vinyl. I must admit that the concertina cover is a must have as you get the two Egypt Station paintings by Paul McCartney that make up the album cover in all their glory in a magnificent deluxe cover that’s really worth tracking down.

(Note: I realize that this is all pretty wacky looking from the outside but welcome to the collector mindset. Aren’t you glad if you’re not inflicted?!!)

Feast your eyes above at my “Egypt Station” madness as it stands today. Btw, the Target exclusive CD also comes with a green sash to hold the concertina cover together as the regular CD comes with a red sash. Just in case you were wondering.

Until the train brings me to another stop next time  … be well!

“Egypt Station” (a review) – Paul McCartney returns! … and well worth the wait!!





While today was a mixture of good and bad – I hate cars just sayin’ – and while it won’t go down as one of my best days ever I did manage to get a hold of a copy of Paul McCartney’s new CD entitled “Egypt Station” three days before its official release date!!! Yay!!!

Okay, in my mind that makes it a great day overall so without further delay I’m going to take you through my first listen so those who are curious as to what it sounds like can get some kind of feel for what to expect.

(Note: of course you’re all buying it right lol!)

First off, I have to say that I love the cover and title. The cover is taken from two McCartney paintings called Egypt Station I and Egypt Station II. I’ve read online that some think it looks like George Harrison’s album “Gone Troppo” which I guess it does but I just love the Egyptian and mystical feel of the painting and love the theme of the album – a journey thorough some sort of mystical train station of life.

(Note 2: This is the regular version of the CD without bonus tracks. More on the bonus tracks and “Egypt Station” vinyl in a future post!)

Okay, the first issue of this CD comes with what’s called a “Limited Edition Concertina” cover which folds open to reveal the full Egypt Station paintings as well as lyrics and photos.

The inner sleeve which holds the CD was shrink wrapped which was odd but overall the cover is lovely and the red sash wrapped around the concertina cover was also a nice touch (see photos above).

It’s been five years since Paul McCartney has released an album of new music so I’ve been eagerly waiting for this new music and I must say was well worth the wait.

Unlike 2013’s “New” which featured several producers and was quite slick and modern sounding, I would say “Egypt Station” is definitely more earthy and quirky sounding and very much like McCartney’s album “Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard” mixed with Wings – at least in my mind.

This new album feels more low key and sounds more personal to me than the songs on “New”.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of what sounds a bit experimental mixed with nice instrumentation and orchestration (and quirkiness) yet this album feels more personal sounding, more restrained and less overly polished than “New”.

Because the album was mainly produced by one guy – Greg Kurstin – it forms more of a whole and seems less disjointed and is very much like McCartney’s 2005 album “Chaos” as I mentioned above but with fuller production touches that hint at The Beatles and Wings quite a lot, in my humble opinion.

My first impressions of the songs on “Egypt Station”:

Opening Station  – sound of train station and people which segues into next track …

I Don’t Know – still love this song, great instrumental work, very “Chaos” Paul. (8 out of 10)

Come On to Me – nice song, has grown on me since it was first issued a few  weeks ago. Love the sound and production of this track. (7 out of 10)

Happy With You – like others have said this is very similar to “Calico Skies” from McCartney’s 1997 album “Flaming Pie”. Lovely acoustic song, lyrics are much more frank/personal than McCartney usually gets. (9 out of 10, one of my favorite songs on the album)

Who Cares – nice Jim Hendrix intro. Love the lyrics. Nice cross between Wings and “Chaos” era Paul. Nice tune, very bouncy pop with a bite and nice organ stabs. Would have made a nice single, very relevant in this time of online comments on every Website. (8 out of 10)

Fuh You – I’ve warmed to this song dramatically from the first time I heard it. I hated it the first time I listened to it but its now grown on me to the point where I really enjoy it. Still the goofy Fuh You joke is sort of lame but not a bad track. Definitely modern Paul pop. Lyrics could be better but not bad. (7 out of 10)

Confidante – acoustic song like other reviews have said. Nice vocals from Paul. Supposedly written about his guitar. Reminds me of ELP vocally but really nice McCartney acoustic track. Hints of “Off the Ground” era as well. (7 out of 10)

People Want Peace – love the sound of this track. Almost sounds like Paul is an announcer, lovely strings. Nice vocal from Paul. Still hear lots of “Chaos” on this one. Much nicer than the similar themed “C’mon People” from “Off the Ground” in 1993. Nice pop track. (7 out of 10)

Hand in Hand – another “Chaos” sounding piano track. Good wedding song, a little sad sounding with more nice strings. Paul sounds weary vocally but nice. Love the flute like sound. (7 out of 10)

Dominoes – really nice Paul vocals on this one. Wings reborn, very 70s pop sound. Acoustic pop again. Jeff Lynne touches on the vocals and production. Love the electric guitar near the end. (7 and 1/2 out of 10)

Back in Brazil – nice jaunty track. Very like Biker Like an Icon but more interesting. Not what I was expecting but I like it actually. More atmosphere than story but fun. Hints of early 80’s “McCartney II” Paul experimentation. (7 out of 10)

Do It Now – reminds me of listening to a music box in intro.  Paul piano track. Slightly repetitive but lovely song. “Chaos” era again but strong Paul vocal. Actually sounds like 70s pop, reminded me of a Partridge Family track in spots – seriously. That’s a good thing for me lol. Love the silky vocals at the end. (8 out of 10)

Caesar Rock – nice Brian Wilson influenced pop track. Weird yet accessible. “Ram” era like vocal from Paul, think “Oh Woman, Oh Why”. Lyrics are slight but nice groove. (6 out of 10)

Despite Repeated Warnings – very cool track! Love this one! Great vocals, nice twists. Mini suite of songs. A bit of “Wanderlust” mixed with a Lennon like piano and vocal to begin then a nice upbeat middle followed by a nice horn driven (or synth?) bit with rock guitar and strings. Reminds me of Lennon and Wings – Plastic Ono McCartney! (9 out of 10)

Station II – more train station atmosphere with an Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter twist followed directly by …

Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link– love this track. What I would call a Wings track. Reminds me of “Red Rose Speedway” and “It’s Not True” mixed together. One of my favorite tracks on the album! (9 out of 10)


Overall I would give the album a solid 8 out of 10. There are no real stinkers in the set and quite a lot of really solid tracks. I was surprised at how low key the album felt as the preview singles were a bit more modern sounding but I think the album as a whole feels like classic McCartney and I’m sure will grow on me even more with each listen.
I love the sound of the album – lovely instrumentation and production throughout and a really nice collection of McCartney songs.

I would say toward the middle of the album there was a bit of sameness to a couple of the songs but nothing that I really disliked and three songs that I think are just terrific.


So pleased with this new collection of McCartney magic and can’t wait to see how these songs age with me.
McCartney albums usually get better the more time I spend with them and I look forward to seeing how this album stacks up over time.
As for now, I  have to say I really think its a strong album!

Until next time be well and run out and buy some “Egypt Station”!!!