Monday, February 11, 2013


True story - I found an album entitled "Cold Cuts" in a pile of throwaway religious albums and bought it thinking it was some sort of McCartney cover band.  It ended up in my "also ran" pile where it sat for a couple of years before I realized it was a Paul McCartney album.

As it turns out, the collection's tortured history is almost as interesting as some of the songs.  In the wake of Wings' ongoing successes, in 1978 McCartney planned  to release a double album hits and odds and ends collection entitled "Hot Hitz and Kold Kutz" (I've also seen it listed as "Hot Hits and Cold Cuts").  Capitol Records executives weren't thrilled with the double album concept and the project was shelved in favor of the abbreviated "Wings Greatest".  The following year McCartney took another shot at pulling together previously unreleased material, but again ran out of steam.  In early 1981 he resurrected the idea, going as far as selecting songs from his catalog and undertaking some post-production work.  John Lennon's death saw the projected shelved.  Six years later, following the release of "Back To the Egg",  McCartney gave it another shot, but after bootlegs of the sessions hit the market, he walked away from the project.  

"Cold Cuts" seems to be drawn from that last go-around.  Chronologically the set pulled together eleven tracks spanning the 1971 "Ram" through 1978 "Back To the Egg" sessions.  Musically the set was all over the map including raw, unfinished demos and some top notch finished takes that were actually better than some of the stuff actually released.   Given McCartney's deep catalog of unreleased material (he could easily release a double album set of shelved material), I'll tell you this track line-up was somewhat disappointing.  Out of the eleven tracks, there were a couple of nice performances including one lost pop classic .... 'Waterspout'.    

Recorded during the "London Town" sessions, I suspect McCartney tossed out the delightful 'Waterspout' in a couple of minutes.  One of those incideously catchy melodies that he seemed to effortlessly toss around, the song had a dream melody kicked along by some tropical percussion and one of McCartney's brightest vocals. It gets even better during the last 20 seconds when McCartney and Denny Laine start trading vocals (shame it faded out at that point).  No doubt it would have made a fantastic single - far better than anything on "London Town", let alone many of his  late-'70s singles.   McCartney apparently resurrected the song in 1987 with the intention of including it on the "All the Best!" compilation, but it was dropped from that set as well.  You just have to wonder why.    rating: ***** stars

Here's a YouTube link to the track:

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