Paul McCartney Over Japan – McCartney Japanese CD Variations (Part 1)

I’ve shared several interesting Paul McCartney Japanese CDs before – shocker if you’ve ever read this blog.

I mean, what’s not to love?  Japanese CDs are well made, sound great and sometimes have interesting bonus content and/or different packaging. Basically a collector’s dream country for music releases.

So, as if you couldn’t guess, today I’ve picked some interesting CD variations from Paul McCartney’s solo catalog from, wait for it – Japan! To quote the great man himself, “here I go again”

* “McCartney” – the first Japanese CD issue from 1988

* “All the Best!” – Gold CD Japanese exclusive issue from 1987

* “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” – the first Japanese CD issue from 2005 with exclusive bonus track (“She is So Beautiful”)

Two of these gems I happened to stumble upon in the past year or so (“McCartney” and “All the Best!”) while “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”  I bought at its initial release because of the exclusive bonus track.

Okay, let’s take a look at each one:

“McCartney”

I found this copy a few months ago I believe, if memory serves, online through Amazon. The seller wanted very little for it and described it as the first CD issue so I thought why not?

This first solo album from McCartney is one of my all-time favorite of his albums. I love the warm folky and sometimes raw feel of the tracks with “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Every Night”, “Junk” and the bluesy “Momma Miss America” as some of the songs I would put on any McCartney playlist I would make.

And I would also say that this first CD issue sounds really nice. It’s possibly only bettered by the DCC issue of this album which was mastered by the esteemed Steve Hoffman. The DCC has such luscious and wonderful bass that it wins the race for the best sounding version of this album.

The McCartney Archive issue also sounds great too come to think of it so this Japanese issue may come in third. What I like about this Japanese CD is that it sounds much like the first vinyl issue of the album while the DCC and McCartney Archive sound fuller and with a bit more oomph.

If I want to hear a digital version of this album that sounds close to what the original vinyl sounded like from 1970 then this is the CD I pull out. Sometimes I just feel like time traveling and hearing the music as it was when it was released.

“All the Best!”

Now this is a CD I’ve know about for years and never got at the time as it was pretty expensive. In fact it’s still kind of pricey but again last year I happened to find a copy in great shape for a really good price so bingo, here it is.

(Note: notice a trend here? The price of CDs continues to fall because folks are wanting to get rid of physical media. Me the sicko that I am can’t wait to add these things to my collection.)

Anyway, I’ve read over the years that this gold CD version of McCartney’s late ’80’s  greatest hits was by far the best sounding version of this disc and beat the U.S. version hands down.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it does sound nice and it does follow the UK track listing which includes “Once Upon a Long Ago” and “We All Stand Together” (two of my all-time favorite McCartney tracks) which is nice.

(Note 2: I know several McCartney fans really dislike these two songs. I get the fact that “We All Stand Together” is a children’s song and I can see why some folks bristle at it. I’m not so sure why “Once Upon a Long Ago” gets so much flak though. Yes the lyrics are clumsy in spots but I have always found the song haunting and much like its video it conjures up images of warmth in winter and the holidays – all good things in my eyes.)

But as far as sound it’s probably better than the U.S. CD but I’d say that the original UK CD may be a tad bit better and warmer. This Japanese CD sounded a bit more digital but was nonetheless very good sounding.

If I didn’t own the original UK CD I’d be thrilled but since I do it’s probably second best.

“Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”

Now this particular Japanese CD is  one of the treasures in my Paul McCartney CD collection. Not only is this one of the better McCartney solo albums (IMHO) but it’s the only place I believe that you can find the exquisite “She is So Beautiful” on physical media.

I’ve always felt that “She is So Beautiful” was better than several songs that did make the album. To me this song is Paul McCartney meets “Pet Sounds”. Every time I hear it it reminds me of Brian Wilson and his golden era of 1966/67 production work.

This of course is my preferred way of listening to this lovely album that to this day stands as one of McCartney’s high moments in his solo career and is easily in my Top Ten of solo McCartney albums.

Well, that’s all for today. Just another trip down memory lane and another peek inside the world of Paul McCartney music collecting.

Photos above of all three discs in case you want to see these beauties up close.

Again, for those Macca geeks out there if you’ve never heard “she is SO Beautiful” from the “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” sessions it’s well worth your time tracking this Japanese CD. To me the album isn’t complete without it.

Until next time be well!!!