McCartney, Paul - Driving Rain

Year of Release: 2001
Label: EMI
Catalog Number: 7243 5 35510 2 5
Format: CD
Total Time: 67:10:00

Since Paul McCartney's Flaming Pie, a lot has happened in his private life what with his wife Linda passing away and the encounter with his new found love in the person of Heather. Paul also unleashed his rock'n roll passion in the form of Run Devil Run, continued to work on his Fireman alterego and delved into more classical exploits. The brandnew Driving Rain however is yet another collection of vintage McCartney songs, pure and simple yet with that distintive nature that was also the trademark for many a Beatles classic.

On Driving Rain Paul is accompanied by a new band, the new Wings if you like. However, in listening to the 16 tracks -- the booklet mentions fifteen songs, though "Freedom" has been added in a hurry to meet the demand regarding the September 11th disaster -- you can clearly hear that these all result from the solitary acoustic nature of Paul and his guitar or Paul and his piano. The sound on this album leans heavilly towards the "back to basics" principle by making sure that the arrangements are not taking over the main intention of the song(s). Driving Rain is also a very personal record, which is heavilly illustrated in the sleeve design showing photographs taken by Macca himself by means of a miniature camera inside his watch. Paul has even added his own handwriting on both the inlay and the booklet. But it's once again the music that lets us look into the heart of one of the remaining Beatles, resulting in material which could have been on the White Album or on some of Paul's earlier solo outings. The eternal love for Linda is there in "Magic" and the love for Heather in "I Do" whilst the nature of life in losing a loved one and replacing them with someone else is the main subject for the opening song "Lonely Road." The "joie de vivre" which had been out of Paul's life after Linda died has been re-injected by Heather and that's what "Back In The Sunshine" is all about.

The band that Paul has gathered around his persona feels like a resurrection of the Beatles, as the sound is very tight and you can hear the interaction as time passes by. "Lonely Road" contains a fair bit of unpolished rock'n roll so that it nicely follows the atmosphere that Paul introduced on his Run Devil Run album. Paul's voice sounds as good as it ever did, which for most of the time becomes the lead "instrument" in many a song. Take the wonderful "From A Lover To A Friend" whose structure gets close to that of "Blackbird," very simple yet very catchy. "She's Given Up Talking" sounds like Paul is combining the past and the present in one song. The past by means of the acoustic introduction, the present by means of a very contemporary groove. "One two three four five, let's go for a drive" is not really the most impressive piece of lyric you have read in your life, yet this na?ve little text fits perfectly within the musical magic which is Driving Rain. At times Paul goes back to his sixties roots, sometimes stepping into the wonderful world of soul. With "About You" it's like Paul is heading back to the White Album period with hints of "Back In The USSR" especially where the hard hitting guitars are concerned. "Heather" goes right back to the heydays of Wings around their Venus And Mars period holding a little bit of Rockshow inside.

100 % laidback is the soft r&b of "Back In The Sunshine Again" introducing the fabulous sound of the Fender Rhodes taking the song towards Steely Dan and New Orleans, jazzy atmospheres. With "Your Loving Flame" it's as if Paul is giving us the Beatles recipe of how to write a good song. Starting off with voice and piano this song grows and grows putting on layer after layer of arrangements finally resulting in yet another splendid piece of songwriting. I also love the inclusion of the Hammond here, adding a slight gospel feel. Written long before the death of what he calls his "baby brother," "Riding Into Jaipur" sounds like a tribute to good "old" George what with the Indian feel, the sitar and the tablas. Contrary to what you'd expect the "normal" album closes with the lengthy "Rinse The Raindrops," which lasting over 10 minutes, is not the kind of song you'd associate with Macca at all. After all, this is not Fireman material here but clean honest Paul McCartney! It's like there was the intention to record the song as it was meant to sound but then, just for the fun of it, one nod from Paul and the band took on a different rhythm and started jamming, adding electric piano along the way. Paul's playing is rough here, loud and almost muddy in the mix and when you close your eyes you could imagine he's doing this way back in Hamburg in the early days of the Beatles with no facilities whatsoever. Just music for the fun of music. Art for art's sake! As mentioned, although both the booklet and inlay only mention fifteen songs, the actual disc contains sixteen. A sticker that has been hastily pasted on the top left corner of my jewel case reminds us that the studio mix for "Freedom" has been added. In the wake of the September 11th disaster Paul became close to New York because on that same day he found himself in New York, soon unable to leave because the airport closed down. Then he almost became one with the firefighters especially as his dad had been a fireman when he was young hence the McCartney pseudonym The Fireman. Paul went on to write a brand new song which he performed in a special event raising money for the good cause. It soon became clear that "Freedom" would be a better choice to push the album Driving Rain than "From A Lover To A Friend' which they had chosen earlier. So in a hasty decision "Freedom" was added to new copies of Driving Rain making it difficult to say which issue will be collectable in years to come. The song itself however is one of the weaker ones on the album as Driving Rain contains some of Paul's best songwriting he has delivered in a long time. Heather is there and Linda's still there. Boy, Macca will have some explaining to do once he leaves the driving rain of life on earth for the eternal sunshine of heaven!

Lonely Road (3:16) / From A Lover To A Friend (3:48) / She's Given Up Talking (4:57) / Driving Rain (3:27) / I Do (2:56) / Tiny Bubble (4:21) / Magic (3:58) / Your Way (2:55) / Spinning On An Axis (5:16) / About You (2:54) / Heather (3:25) / Back In The Sunshine Again (4:22) / Your Loving Flame (3:43) / Riding Into Jaipur (4:07) / Rinse The Raindrops (10:12) / Freedom (Studio Mix) (3:33)

Paul McCartney - vocals, bass, guitars, piano
Rusty Anderson - guitars, backing vocals
Abe Laboriel Jnr. - drums, percussion, backing vocals
Gabe Dixon - keyboards, backing vocals
David Kahne - programming, orchestral samples, synth, guitar

Guests :

James McCartney - percussion (9) and guitar (12)
Ralph Morrison - violin (11)
David Campbell, Matt Funes, Joel Derouin, Larry Corbett - string quartet (13)

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: February 8th 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 612
Language: english


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