McCartney, Paul - Chaos And Creation In The Backyard - Special Edition

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Capitol/EMI
Catalog Number: 00946 318325 2 7
Format: CD
Total Time: 101:54:00

I have always felt that a true solo album was the kind of album on which the actual artist delivers all sounds. When I hear the word "solo" I think of someone like Mike Oldfield who masters all those different instruments. In that domain no doubt Tubular Bells is like the number one "solo" album, so imagine how I felt when I listened to this brand new Paul McCartney "solo" album on which Macca, believe it or not, also plays ? tubular bells next to flugelhorn!

Whenever an album comes with a DVD, I tend to look at the DVD first as in a lot of cases the DVD contains images from the actual recording sessions which often give you a guided tour behind the scenes if you like. I was quite pleased to see that that was indeed the case with this new McCartney album. On the DVD you see how initially "Riding To Vanity Fair" was an uptempo song. Then late one evening, as everyone inside Ocean Way Recording in LA was feeling laidback, Macca slowed down the tempo and came up with the slow version that now graces the album. It's magic to be able to witness this change in approach, as undoubtedly a lot of aspiring young musicians will learn heaps from this! Paul confesses to have written "Friends To Go" thinking he was George Harrison and if you listen carefully and you put George's voice on top of it in your imagination, it would indeed have been a wonderful Harrison song. The DVD also shows Paul playing "Follow Me" at Glastonbury sporting his "no more land mines" T-shirt, illustrating that you can still keep a gigantic crowd interested with a simple acoustic song with Paul almost in the role of a busker. The link with Michael Jackson gets re-established when Paul confesses that "Too Much Rain" has been based on Charlie Chaplin's "Smile." It's the perfect illustration that someone who is always regarded as being funny can also have a high level of sentiment. It's plain wonderful how Macca admits that "Jenny Wren" is very much like the well-known "Blackbird." Three tracks are included in an instrumental version as background music for the Line Art feature. Here instrumental takes of "Riding To Vanity Fair," "At The Mercy" and "Anyway" back a close up film of drawings, studies of hands. The videos for "Fine Line" and "How Kind Of You" conclude this nice DVD.

Cramming thirteen brand new songs into a little over 46 minutes means McCartney has tackled his new album like he approached music during the best days of his life. Paul asked George Martin whom he thought would be an ideal producer. Martin didn't hesitate one second and recommended Nigel Godrich. This has proven to be a fantastic choice as Nigel has left the entire production open enough for the true melodies to shine. He also gives plenty of music to Paul who has a field day here and is enabled to play all kinds of instruments. It's as if he's a kid in a toyshop, whilst Godrich does suggest certain sounds obtained through unconventional play, which we know from Radiohead amongst others. The production is top notch with every song recorded as crystal clear as possible. Listening to "Jenny Wren" through headphones is like Paul sitting next to you (dream on Bobo, dream on!) even if it sounds like "Blackbird 2." The occasional orchestrations also are a real treat and complement the songs perfectly. Because of the acoustic nature of most of the new material, these songs could easily be performed in an unplugged setting as well as fully arranged. I had to think of Percy Thrillington when I heard the violins introduce the absolutely British "English Tea." With the smell of fresh cake, lemon curd and a pot of steaming tea beside you watching the kids play croquet, this is the best promo for England to be made in a long time. A soft stroke of Calypso brings a smile on your face when you listen to "A Certain Softness" where Paul reaches rather high notes as if he's still twentyone!

The vocal harmonies in the intro for "Promise To You Girl" contain some Beach Boys magic, whilst the uptempo rocker mixes Wings-era McCartney with Ray Charles. The final track "Anyway" sounds like an "all systems go" track with everyone involved letting off steam. It sounds like the recording sessions were over and both Paul and Nigel could toy around with ideas and sounds. There's even a tiny bit of The Fireman involved if you know what I mean. However, when the piano starts it sounds almost identical like "People Get Ready" with Paul's vocals still sounding as fresh as when he started singing all those years ago.The actual song stops after around 3:50 yet only a handful of seconds of absolute silence later you get these improvised sounds that cover a wide spectrum of influences and ideas. Luckily Godrich didn't go as far as turning all of Chaos And Creation In The Backyard into a second Kid A or Amnesiac. However he did have the guts to tell Macca that he didn't like certain ideas and songs only to push Paul even further. Mutual respect finally resulted in an absolute treasure chest of musical ideas. This is the best album the Beatles never made!

The new single pulled from the album is "Jenny Wren." There's a two-track edition in a cardboard sleeve that houses both the album version as well as an extremely short radio edit. Fans will probably be more interested in the 3-track jewel case edition which also includes two unreleased songs in "I Want You To Fly" and "This Loving Game."

CD: Fine Line (3:05) / How Kind Of You (4:47) / Jenny Wren (3:47) / At The Mercy (2:38) / Friends To Go (2:43) / English Tea (2:12) / Too Much Rain (3:24) / A Certain Softness (2:42) / Riding To Vanity Fair (5:07) / Follow Me (2:31) / Promise To Your Girl (3:10) / This Never Happened Before (3:26) / Anyway (7:23)

DVD: Documentary between chaos and creation (30:00) / Studio performance video

Paul McCartney - vocals, bass, guitars, grand piano, spinet, drums, shakers, tambourine, flugelhorn, cello, vibrachime, B3 organ, Hohner melodica, recorders, tubular bells, autoharp, maracas, upright piano, harmonium, Paiste gong, cymbal, triangle, toy glockenspiel, Wurlitzer electric piano, block, Moog
Jason Falkner - electric guitar, classical guitar
James Gadson - drums
Rusty Anderson - acoustic guitar
Brian Ray - acoustic guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr. - percussion, block, tambourine
Pedro Eustache - duduk
Millennia Ensemble - strings
The Los Angeles Music Players - strings

McCartney (1970)
Ram (1971)
Wild Life (1971)
Red Rose Speedway (1973)
Band On The Run (1973)
Venus & Mars (1975)
Wings At The Speed Of Sound (1976)
London Town (1978)
Wings Greatest (1978)
Back to The Egg (1979)
McCartney II (1980)
Tug Of War (1982)
Pipes Of Peace (1983)
Give My Regards To Broad Street (1984)
Press To Play (1986)
All The Best (1987) (USA only)
Flowers In The Dirt (1989)
Tripping The Live Fantastic (1990)
Liverpool Oratorio (1991)
Uplugged (The Official Bootleg) (1991)
Choba B CCCP (1991)
Paul Is Live (1993)
Off The Ground (1993)
Flaming Pie (1997)
Liverpool Sound Collage (2000)
Wingspan: Hits And History (2001)
'From A Lover To A Friend' (single) (2001)
Driving Rain (2001)
Back In The U.S. Live 2002 (2002)
Back In The World Live (2003)
Chaos And Creation In The Backyard - Special Edition (2005)
Ecce Cor Meum (Behold My Heart (2006)
Memory Almost Full (2007)
Amoeba's Secret (ep) (2009)

Back In The U.S. Live 2002 (DVD) (2002)

Genre: Rock

Origin UK

Added: December 11th 2005
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 830
Language: english


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