“McCartney” vs. “McCartney” – A 50th Anniversary Celebration of Paul McCartney’s first solo album

Has it really been fifty years? Yikes these anniversaries are rapidly making me feel old.

As any fan of Paul McCartney’s solo career can tell you in April of 1970 McCartney did indeed release his first full-fledged solo album, aptly called what else “McCartney”. 

Not only did the “McCartney” album herald a new era of music for Paul McCartney it also generated a fare bit of controversy as press copies of the album included an interview in which McCartney stated that The Beatles had broken up and had no intention of ever recording together again.

Of course that little tidbit of information caused a major stir in the press leading to on the one hand great publicity for the “McCartney” album but on the other a massive amount of animosity toward McCartney as it seemed to portray him as the cause of The Beatles’ break-up.

As a result, at the time of the “McCartney” album’s release, critics took their venom out on McCartney’s more or less homemade and low-key solo debut despite the universally acclaimed track  “Maybe I’m Amazed”.

Coming so soon after the superbly crafted “Abbey Road”, The Beatles’ last recorded album together, I’m sure the almost folky and relaxed “McCartney” album must have seemed like a major left turn.

All these years later though this first Paul McCartney solo album simply reeks of charm and melody and of course pure McCartney pop music especially the exquisite “Every Night”, “Junk” and the previously mentioned stone cold classic “Maybe I’m Amazed”.

In celebration of this lovely and warm album this past week a new pressing of the “McCartney” album was released exclusively to independent record stores around the world as part of the second Record Store Day drop of exclusive releases.

Limited to 7,000 copies, this new version of “McCartney” is said to be cut at half-speed from the original master tapes at Abbey Road Studios in November of 2019.

Since I can’t resist anything McCartney, I acquired a copy of this nifty new pressing and decided to stack it up against an early British copy of the album that has a -2U on side one and a -3U on side two.

So how does this new pressing stack up against the lovely sounding early UK version? Pretty well actually. Very well if I do say so myself.

The first thing that this new pressing has going for it is that it’s dead quiet. My early UK pressing has some pops and clicks throughout which makes it a less engaging listen.

What I did notice about the new pressing is that on certain songs like “Every Night” and “Maybe I’m Amazed” there was an almost holographic feel to the sound; much smoother and fuller bass as well as nice full and clean vocals.

Don’t get me wrong the early UK pressing has nice bass too but this new pressing seemed to have a bit more detail and smoothness especially on the tracks McCartney did in EMI Studios as opposed to the other songs he recorded strictly at home.

I’d say the original UK pressing has more of a raw feel to the whole album and this new pressing kind of smooths out the rawness and makes the album seem a little more polished.

It’s not like a night and day thing but I was impressed at how lovely this new pressing sounds and while not every track seemed better there were quite a few that did sound very nice and on the whole this new pressing is well worth tracking down if you’re a fan of this album or Paul McCartney in general.

I also own the colored vinyl pressing of this album that was released a couple of years ago which sounds very much like this new pressing. I would actually give the nod to this new pressing as it sounds a bit more detailed.

Really playing this new pressing side by side against the early UK pressing I’d be surprised if anyone would be disappointed  as it stacks up very well and in some ways betters the UK pressing.

Well, that’s all for now. As usual above and below you’ll find photos of both pressings  I’ve talked about in this post.

Until next time be safe and well and Happy 50th “McCartney”!

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