Paul McCartney and Wings : One Hand Clapping

Paul McCartney and Wings One Hand Clapping review

Paul McCartney, that post-Beatles dude who looked like Guy Lafleur? Never made it into the house I grew up in. We had The Beatles in the collection for sure—alongside Al Green, Aretha, Elton, CSNY, Miles, Janis, Jimi, Chaka, and those Stones. But the rents did not have a version of Paul on wax that resembled an ice hockey defenseman. Homeboy was cool and got the AM radio green light for trips through the Catskills and such, but those albums, no matter how many times he decried “My Love,” did not make the cut. I don’t believe it was intentional, they just stayed within the box. Beatles-era Paul looked safe I guess. Or they knew what to expect, is a better explanation. But that wild-haired version? You get a sense that he’s unloading the vaults, unlocking the gates of creations that the previous band might not have welcomed so much.

The One Hand Clapping Wings 1974 Abbey Road Sessions, shelved for decades, arrives with 26 songs recorded live without an audience that showcase a bandleader only interested in unexpected results and amusing his delights. After initially writing solo artist, heart-wrenching, break-up poetry songs like “Maybe I’m Amazed,” filled with self-revelation, Paul, moves on. Finds his swag, deep in the mullet.

Selections go short or a bit extra long here, in a loose, soulful setting that you imagine band members would shoot the shit about in between takes. Tripping joyfully on the beautiful mistakes, ones you don’t know how to write. According to the Paul McCartney website, in August 1974, when Band on the Run was enjoying a seven-week consecutive number one stint at the top of the UK album charts, Paul McCartney and Wings headed to Abbey Road Studios for the filming of a video documentary and possible live studio album, One Hand Clapping. Despite overwhelming demand for newly recorded material from one of the biggest bands in the world at that time, the session was never officially released.

Don’t get fooled though. Paul, along with Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, Jimmy McCullough on guitar, and drummer Geoff Britton, gets the freaking lead out, embracing that Marvel Gods rockstar reimagining of his persona, and it sticks like a mug. But the real heroic moments exist in the oddball pop choices, many of which arrived during the Wings phase which I’m starting to come around to. Quirky moves, like the bossy, take-no-stuff version of “Let Me Roll It”—recently brought back into the cultural zeitgeist by way of PT Anderson’s 2021 stellar flick Licorice Pizza—equipped with the nasty guitar lick intact, gets framed as the scuzzy love statement that it is.

The front-facing “Jet” is a prog rocker, built-ready. Down to hang. Just bang on the Moog all day, until platforms and polyester suits enter that pre-disco dancefloor.  Right after, “Soily” advances the project, with more synthesizer laser energy, extra heavy hooks, and big rock show bulge: Paul’s soul leaps out of his knit sweater to sing in between the crevices, while that mullet shimmers and sways in the light.

This long-lost ark, now found, is deserving of all the special talk. “One Hand Clapping” is Paul fast-forwarded five years from The Beatles’ last dance, “Get Back,” through that Doctor Who time machine, emerging John, Ringo and George free. He’s ready to start a proper rock band built for speed and a gaggle of fun. The pressurized environment of selling merchandise is gone, and that mop-top, teen-beat, Paul, is for sure, dead.

Label: MPL

Year: 2024

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Paul McCartney and Wings One Hand Clapping review

Paul McCartney and Wings : One Hand Clapping

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