Hello out there in Webland!
Speaking from the snowy white tundra that has engulfed the state where I live I hope this weekend finds you either snowless and happy or snowy yet shoveled and content. I know there are a lot of people out there who enjoy snow and February but I’m not one of them.
So, what better way to get through this drab and dull February and to celebrate being alive than taking a look at some newly released vinyl. And not just any new vinyl mind you but some new Paul McCartney vinyl!
Well not new exactly but rather a new reissue as yesterday, February 4th, was the release of another 50th anniversary Paul McCartney vinyl reissue – Wings’ first album release “Wings Wild Life”.
Released in late 1971 “Wild Life” was McCartney’s third album release since his split from The Beatles in 1970. To say that this album was greeted with a muted and lackluster reception is an understatement.
Not only were reviews pretty much terrible for this first fledgling Wings release but quite a few McCartney fans to this day still disdain this album and rank it fairly low in all of McCartney’s recorded catalog. McCartney was not in good critical standing after the break-up of The Beatles and this third album didn’t help matters one bit.
What most people didn’t like was that many of the songs on “Wild Life”, especially from side one, seemed rushed and half-finished. To ears accustomed to the fairly recent polished and melodic McCartney of the “White Album” and “Abbey Road” era the songs on “Wild Life” seemed weak and unfocused and down right dull.
McCartney purposely recorded the “Wild Life” album quite quickly and was going for a spontaneous and care-free feel that focused more on a vibe than on being a meticulously crafted and honed product that he was known for in his The Beatles songs.
McCartney’s first two solo releases – “McCartney” (1970) and “Ram” (1971 and credited with his wife Linda) – both sold quite well but were also greeted with scorn and apathy from music critics. Even McCartney’s three ex-band mates through shade at these albums saying he could do much better.
But as time has gone on both “McCartney” and “Ram” are now seen as two of the highlights of McCartney’s now long and winding solo career. In fact “Ram” is now viewed by many fans (me included) as McCartney’s high water mark since leaving The Beatles.
Lo and behold as “Wild Life” reaches its 50th birthday it too has also grown in stature and though not as fondly regarded as his first two solo albums it is now seen by many as a very good record. In fact its because of its looseness and carefree vibe that it stands out among McCartney’s many recordings as a rocking and low key burst of creativity that relies more on feel than structure.
There is quite a large group of younger folks who also love this album and see it as a quite lovely, lo-fi yet terrific album. In fact a lot of people in their twenties and thirties see “Wild Life” as a sort of birth of the indie style, low key album approach that has been very popular in the last twenty years or so.
As for me I’ve always quite enjoyed side two of “Wild Life” very much but as time has gone on since I first heard this album in the late seventies I too am really fond of the whole record. I’ll be damned if it’s not one of the better, though certainly quirkier, releases of McCartney’s solo career.
Long ago I stopped questioning the lyrical content of songs like “Bip Bop” and “Mumbo” and now really enjoy them as a burst of energy filled with that classic rock McCartney vocal style that was at its peak around this era.
Which finally brings me to this new 2022 vinyl reissue of the “Wild Life” album.
“Wild Life” was recently reissued in a lovely deluxe CD box set (see my previous review on this blog) a few years ago in 2018 as well as on a double vinyl set.
I bought the CD box set but skipped the vinyl reissue which is a good thing as this new 2022 remaster is based on that 2018 vinyl transfer but tweaked for this release without any sort of compression from a hi resolution transfer from a digital copy of the original master tape from 1971 (see photos above).
Much like the previous 50th anniversary vinyl reissues of both “McCartney” and “Ram” this new issue of “Wild Life” mimics all the elements of the original UK vinyl release from the cover down to the original labels that graced the first British pressing.
As for the sound you say? The sound of this new 2022 reissue of “Wild Life” is superb. The pressing I got was dead quiet and everything sounded full and alive and nearly perfect in every way.
Much like the original vinyl issue of “Wild Life” this new 2022 pressings isn’t a sonic masterpiece as the original is a bit dull in spots and not the best engineered recording of McCartney’s career yet this new pressing is probably as good as you’re going to get this album to sound and is quite enjoyable and definitely a pleasure to listen to and enjoy.
There is supposedly a digital glitch somewhere in the song “Love is Strange” though I didn’t hear it. I’ll have to pay more attention in the future but really overall I found this new reissue terrific sounding and it stacks up quite nicely to the original UK pressing that I also own of this album.
My UK pressing is a bit worn so the quietness of this new 2022 issue may make it the better listen overall though pretty much in line with how an original UK vinyl copy sounds.
So there you have it. If you want to brighten up a dull February day and your a McCartney fan than you need to pick up a copy of this new issue of “Wild Life” and have some fun.
And maybe if you’ve never heard the album you might be pleasantly surprised at how good it sounds and see another side to Paul McCartney that shows off his mastery of pop music even in its rough and ready form instead of the softer McCartney sound from his later seventies and more polished eighties hits.
That’s it for now. As usual take a gander at some photos above of this groovy new “Wild Life” vinyl reissue.
Be well, safe and warm and see you next time!