A Flaming Delight – Paul McCartney’s “Flaming Pie” is Reissued With a Souped-Up Recipe (Part 1 – the 2 CD Set)

Who doesn’t love a Paul McCartney album reissue? Speak up, I can’t hear you.

Okay, okay, I may be in the minority here but anytime there’s a reissue of a classic Paul McCartney album, that my friends, is always a reason to celebrate. In my humble opinion anyway.

And as luck would have it today is just that kind of celebration day as I finally got my hands on a choice McCartney reissue that just came out this past Friday, a lovely remastered version of Paul McCartney’s 1997 album “Flaming Pie”.

The “Flaming Pie” album came out hot on the heels of the very successful and critically acclaimed “Beatles Anthology” series and CD sets which were released in 1995 and 1996.

The Anthology project must have really inspired McCartney and brought his creative juices to a boil as the “Flaming Pie” album turned out to be one of his best solo albums (so far) and included several songs that would fit comfortably on a late era Beatles album.

Songs like the haunting acoustic ballads “Calico Skies”and “Little Willow” (a tribute to Ringo Starr’s first wife Maureen who had just recently died), the emotionally stirring “Somedays” (inspired by his first wife Linda’s battle with cancer) as well as the first single “The World Tonight” are all top tier McCartney.

Add the wonderfully playful title track as well as the majestic album closer “Beautiful Night” (featuring drumming by none other than fellow ex-Beatle Ringo Starr) as well as several others and you have one of the true gems in McCartney’s solo music canon.

So here we are today with this fantastic new reissue of the album that’s a part of McCartney’s ongoing (and superb!) Archive Collection.

What do you get with this new remaster you may ask? Well it depends on which version you buy as there are several choices and formats depending on your interest level in the album and the size of your wallet.

Here’s what’s available:

* A 2 CD set with the remastered album on Disc 1 with a second disc that contains 21 tracks that features several outtakes, rough mixes and demos as well as stray bonus tracks. This is the cheapest option available and the one that has the most bang for your buck

* A Deluxe Edition housed in a lovely large cloth covered box that contains 5 CDs and 2 DVDs as well as several books and reproductions of photos and documents like McCartney’s handwritten lyrics for songs on the album

* A two Lp vinyl version of the album with just the remastered album

* A 3 Lp vinyl version of the album plus the bonus tracks from the 2 CD set

* A Super Deluxe Collector’s Edition limited to 3000 copies which is much like the one above but in a much bigger box (and price tag $$$) with added goodies like the 3 Lp set as well as the 3 Lp set from above and an exclusive vinyl record featuring McCartney’s collaboration with Allen Ginsberg (“The Ballad of the Skeletons”) as well as extra art prints but with basically the same musical content as the regular Deluxe Edition

Whew!

Today in Part 1 of this “Flaming Pie” extravaganza I’m taking a look at the basic 2 CD set of the remastered album.

First off I have to say that the remastering of the album on Disc 1 featured in this set is superb! The album sounds a bit less compressed than the original CD release (shocking but great news!) with clean and clear dynamics throughout.

On several songs I notice lovely little flourishes either with the orchestrations or the clarity of the vocals that now jump out at me. It’s really fun to rediscover this album with better dynamics making the songs so much more impressive all these years after they were originally released.

The absolute mind blower of this set I must say is the 21 track Disc 2 which features several terrific home demos and rough mixes.

Highlights for me include the home demo of “The Song We Were Singing” which features a later dropped middle eight section as well as the charming home demos of “Young Boy” and “Beautiful Night” plus the truly rocking and great rough mix of “Whole Life” which really should have been on the album and the cassette demo version of the languid “Heaven on a Sunday”.

I was kind of worried that all the demos would have a sameness sound to them but I really enjoyed listening to these bonus tracks as a nice look into the making of the album and was surprised at how much I really enjoyed the flow of the selection of songs on this disc.

Really the 2 CD set contains most of the bonus tracks from the Deluxe Edition (minus about five or six rough mixes) so really this 2 CD set is the perfect purchase for fans of this album who aren’t Macca heads who need everything.

Don’t get me wrong though the Deluxe Edition is a thing of beauty and well worth the time if your a McCartney fan but this 2 CD set is a great buy if you just want the lovely new album remaster as well as the majority of truly fun bonus tracks.

The thing about the “Flaming Pie” album that most appeals to me as a long-time McCartney listener is that the emotional pull of the material gives you a rare peek inside McCartney’s emotional core. Not the kind of raw emotion of John Lennon’s first stark solo album mind you but for a musician like McCartney who usually holds his emotions close to his chest this album is a revelation.

Of course Linda McCartney died a year after the album was released so obviously McCartney was going through quite a lot at the time.

Linda’s voice and presence in McCartney’s solo work really defines the Wings era sound and even on this later album her presence, though not as big as earlier albums, really evokesĀ  ’70s and ’80’s McCartney music which is some of my favorite (and most free-spirited) work of his solo career.

It’s nice to revisit the songs on this album in better sound quality and equally nice to hear the behind the scenes demos. To me the end of the Linda era signifies a real change in McCartney’s solo work and this album is a great way to end that era on a high note.

Well, that’s all for now. As usual I’ve posted a few photos of the new 2 CD set above.

Next up is my look at the 5CD/2 DVD Deluxe Edition!!!

Until then be well and take care.