Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Paul McCartney - Pizza And Fairy Tales

Label: Vigotone, VT-189/190
Total time CD1: 73:30 CD2: 73:30

CD 1:
Tr Title Time
1 I Love This House 3:51
2 Lindiana 5:50
3 We Got Married 5:10
4 Move Over Busker 4:03
5 Good Times Coming/Feel The Sun 7:10
6 It's Not True 4:30
7 Press 4:24
8 However Absurd 4:40
9 Stranglehold 3:32
10 Footprints 4:30
11 Write Away 3:03
12 Tough On A Tightrope 4:24
13 Yvonne 4:21
14 Pretty Little Head 4:54
15 Talk More Talk 4:04
16 Only Love Remains 4:28

CD 2:
Tr Title Time
1 Beautiful Night 6:14
2 Loveliest Thing 4:02
3 Squid 6:35
4 This One 3:27
5 Love Come Tumbling Down 4:26
6 Atlantic Ocean 6:50
7 Love Mix 3:27
8 Return To Pepperland 4:53
9 Once Upon A Long Ago 4:13
10 P.S. Love Me Do 3:44
11 Big Day 5:38
12 Christian Pop 2:21
13 Peacocks 7:04
14 Rough Ride 4:45
15 Figure Of Eight 5:09

Compiled from the finest sources available, Pizza and Fairy Tales is a detailed examination of Paul McCartney's mid-80's era of "finding himself" in the new musical world order. Working with several esteemed producers, Macca veered from style to style looking for a direction. The result was a lot of music, much of it unheard previously, which is featured on this two-CD collection.

Disc One: 73:30
1. I Love This House (3:51)
2. Lindiana (5:50)
3. We Got Married (5:10)
Producers: Paul McCartney / David Foster
Engineers: Jon Kelly / Jon Jacobs
Studio Location: Sussex, England
Recorded: September - October and/or December 1-10, 1984

4. Move Over Busker (4:03)
5. Good Times Comin' / Feel The Sun (7:10)
6. It's Not True (4:30)
7. Press (4:24)
8. However Absurd (4:40)
9. Stranglehold (3:32)
10. Footprints (4:30)
11. Write Away (3:03)
12. Tough On A Tightrope (4:24)
13. Yvonne (4:21)
14. Pretty Little Head (4:54)
15. Talk More Talk (4:04)
Producers: Paul McCartney / Hugh Padgham
Engineers: Matt Butler, Jon Kelly, Matt Howe, Steve Jackson
Studio Location: Sussex, England
Recorded: Summer - Fall 1985

16. Only Love Remains (4:28)
Recorded Live: Royal Variety Performance - November 24, 1986

Disc Two: 73:30
1. Beautiful Night (6:14)
2. Loveliest Thing (4:02)
Producers: Paul McCartney / Phil Ramone
Engineers: Steve Rinkoff / Dave O'Donnell
Studio Location: Power Station, New York City
Recording: began August 21-29, 1986
Additional Recording: June 2-30, 1987

3. Squid (6:35)
Producer: Paul McCartney
Recording: began December 12, 1986

4. This One (3:27)
5. Love Come Tumbling Down (4:26)
Studio Location: Audio International Studios, London
Recorded: February 2, 1987
Previously unreleased alternate take
Producers: Paul McCartney / Phil Ramone
Engineers: Jon Jacobs / Steve Lyon
Studio Location: Sussex, England
Recording: began March 10, 1987
Additional Recording: June 2-30, 1987

6. Atlantic Ocean (6:50)
Producers: Paul McCartney / Phil Ramone
Studio Location: Sussex, England
Recording: began March 10, 1987

7. Love Mix (3:27)
Producers: Paul McCartney / Phil Ramone
Studio Location: Sussex, England
Recording: began April 24, 1987

8. Return To Pepperland (4:53)
9. Once Upon A Long Ago (4:13)
10. P.S. Love Me Do (3:44)
Producers: Paul McCartney / Phil Ramone
Studio Location: Sussex, England
Recording: began June 2 - 30, 1987

11. Big Day (5:38)
Recorded: 1986 -1987
Previously unreleased

12. Christian Pop (2:21)
13. Peacocks (7:04)
Recorded: March 1987
Previously unreleased: later adapted for "Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio"

14. Rough Ride (4:45)
15. Figure Of Eight (5:09)
Producers: Paul McCartney / Trevor Horn / Stever Lipson
Engineer: Steve Lipson
Studio Location: Sussex, England
Recorded: December 21 - 24, 1987 + January 2-21, 1988

Paul McCartney was a busy man in the mid-to-late 80's, working on much in the way of quantity but producing little of quality. This collection features Macca trying to find his way in the music marketplace that existed during the period between 1984's Give My Regards To Broad Street and 1989's Flowers In The Dirt. On January 21, 1988, a compilation tape of many unfinished sessions from the last four years was assembled by Paul to give to prospective producers. That tape is the basis of Pizza and Fairy Tales. In addition, we've included several other tracks from the period, including the alternate Press To Play material (heard here in its finest quality to date), to give a fully-rounded view of a career in flux.

The earliest songs here fall between the Give My Regards To Broad Street and Press To Play sessions. Paul got together with MOR producer David Foster and recorded the basic tracks for three songs. Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, who had recently added a wonderful lead guitar to "No More Lonely Nights", also sat in. "I Love This House" is a decent little rocker, and was overdubbed further during the Press To Play sessions. However, it remained unheard until a section of it was used in episode four of 1995's Oobu Joobu radio series, and a slightly shorter mix than the one heard here was issued on the US "The World Tonight" CD single in 1997. "Lindiana" has a strong chorus melody and little else (the lyrics being especially horrid), and Paul has yet to release it in any form. "We Got Married", the clear winner of the three, made it onto Flowers In The Dirt after more overdubs were recorded in the summer of 1988. The version heard here is lacking the Robbie Macintosh and Hamish Stuart contributions as well as Guy Barker's trumpet.

Paul spent 1985 and early 1986 recording Press To Play with co-producer Hugh Padgham, the veteran of several albums by the likes of The Police and XTC. It was a left-turn for Paul, very different than anything he had recorded before, and its lack of commercial success upon its release in August of 1986 has soured him on the record in retrospect. However, it was a brave move, and while not completely successful as an artistic venture, it still had much to recommend it. Many early and alternate mixes of the tracks on the LP are included here. All are at an earlier stage of the recording process, with different vocals and instrumentation (in some cases) than the released versions. Highlights include "Good Times Coming / Feel The Sun", which is much longer than the releases version due to the bridge having an additional verse with a different melody, and a much tighter production on "Move Over Busker". This was possibly due to its being considered as a single at one point; when issued as a 45, "Pretty Little Head" underwent similar production slimming. It's very interesting to hear these tracks with less production; for example, "Press" is heard here with much less instrumentation (some guitar / synth overdubs are missing), so one can examine Paul's bass playing in greater detail, since it is not as audible in the released versions of the tracks. "Yvonne" was a completely unissued song co-written with Eric Stewart; it did show up ten years later on European copies on 10cc's Mirror Mirror album. Disc one concludes with Paul's presentation of "Only Love Remains" from his return engagement (23 years down the line) at the Royal Variety Show, thus the "clever" opening remarks he makes prior to the performance. It closely mirrors the 45 mix of the track, which added a synth introduction to what was originally a cold vocal intro.

Disc two begins with work done with another esteemed producer. While promoting the release of Press To Play in New York City in August 1986, Paul hooked up with Billy Joel's producer Phil Ramone (who first worked with Paul the previous year on the "Spies Like Us" 45). Billy's band plays on the next two songs, "Beautiful Night" and "Loveliest Thing". These songs were reportedly worked on further during sessions with Ramone held the next June. This is the first release of the full early version of "Beautiful Night"; a re-make with George Martin's orchestration and rave-up coda was of course released on Flaming Pie in 1997. "Loveliest Thing" was later heard on one of the many UK "Figure Of Eight" CD singles in 1989.

The next three songs were probably recorded by Paul alone (note the presence of a drum machine) at his home studio in late 1986 or early 1987. "Squid" is an instrumental, and "Big Day" might as well be, with only the monotonous title refrain serving as a "vocal track". Luckily, from this period we also have a lovely demo for "This One" with unfinished lyrics and a different arrangement (starting with the middle eight). The song would be revisited a couple of years down the road for Flowers In The Dirt, becoming the second single from that LP.

Paul was evidently impressed enough with Ramone's work to invite him to produce several sessions at Paul's home studio in Sussex during the spring of 1987. "Love Come Tumbling Down", "Atlantic Ocean", and "Love Mix" are all unimpressive dance-type compositions, and Ramone can hardly be faulted for the weak material. Nonetheless, waited until 1995 and Oobu Joobu before airing any of these in public. "Christian Pop" is a bit more interesting, as it evolved into a motif heard in his 1991 Liverpool Oratorio. A Linda track, the lengthy, mostly instrumental "Peacocks" is also included.

The month of June was spent trying to complete enough material for a 12" single to be released in September to promote the forthcoming All The Best compilation. Among the songs Paul and Phil completed were "Once Upon A Long Ago" and "Back On My Feet" (both eventually issued as part of the forthcoming single; the former is included here in its single version), "P.S. Love Me Do" (a horrid dance coupling of the two songs on the first Beatles single, thankfully not issued in the U.S., but issued in Japan as part of a special Flowers In The Dirt 2-CD tour package in 1990), and "Return To Pepperland". The latter, a bit of nostalgia inspired by the 20th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper, hasn't been released in any form.

On August 21, 1987, Paul copyrighted "Beautiful Night", "Once Upon A Long Ago", "Return To Pepperland", and "Love Come Tumbling Down". The latter two titles were considered for the 12" single, but in the end Paul went with "Long Ago" and "Back On My Feet" and wisely supplemented them with two oldies from his July CHOBA B CCCP oldies sessions.

Clearly in a creative slump, Paul fortuitously began a songwriting collaboration with Elvis Costello that summer and fall of 1987, and together they whipped up eight fantastic songs (which can be heard on The McCartney / MacManus Collaboration). Paul dismissed most of the work from the previous years and forged ahead with what would become Flowers In The Dirt album. Still searching for a producer, he turned to Tevor Horn and Steve Lipson, the team who had recent success with Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

The initial Flowers In The Dirt sessions were held in the winter of 1987-88, and produced four finished songs: "Rough Ride", "Figure Of Eight", "How Many People" and "Ou Est Le Soleil". Rough unfinished mixes of the first two titles are included here. "Figure Of Eight" is especially interesting, having an extra repeat of the final verse and chorus ultimately edited from the final mix.

While the material found on Pizza And Fairly Tales may not rank among his absolute best solo work, it is still an invaluable look into a personal period when Paul was unsure of himself as a performer, write, and producer. He would rediscover his music and his drive to perform live in the next decade, but this collection displays the road Paul traversed to get to the much-friendlier 1990's.

Ogden Richards (with thanks to Papa John)
February, 2000


Side A:
Return To Pepperland / Love Come Tumbling Down / Christian Pop / Atlantic Ocean /
Lindiana / I Love This House / We Got Married / Rough Ride / Figure Of Eight

Side B:
Squid / Big Day / Beautiful Night / Loveliest Thing / Love Mix / Peacocks / This One

Pizza And Fairy Tales

According to a Summer 1986 interview with Kurt Loder, Paul attempted in 1977 to patch up his personal relationship with John amid ongoing Apple rancor.

"I happened to be on my way to the Caribbean, so, passing through New York, I rang John up. But there was so much suspicion, even though I came bearing the olive branch. I said, 'Hey, I'd like to see you." He said, 'What for? What do you really want?' It was very difficult. Finally... he had this great line for me: he said, 'You're all pizza and fairy tales.' He had become sort of Americanized by then, so the best insult I could think of was to say, 'Oh, fuck off, Kojak,' and slam the phone down. 'Pizza and fairy tales' - I almost made that an album title."
Rolling Stone Issue 482

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