Rick Galusha's Pacific St. Blues and Americana

Since inception (1989), Pacific St. Blues & Americana strives to be a discerning voice helping roots fans sift through the mountains of music released every year. We are not for everyone; we want to engage active, critical listeners that hear beyond d'jour. Interviews include: Johnny Winter, Bill Wyman (Rolling Stones), Jerry Wexler, Tommy Shannon & Chris Layton, B.B. King, Dr. John, Robin Trower, Robben Ford, Mato Nanji, Joe Bonamassa, Harry Manx, Sue Foley, Marshall Chess, Billy Lee Riley, Charlie Louvin, Kim Richey, Radney Foster, Eric Johnson, David Clayton Thomas, Al Kooper, Phil Chen (Wired, Blow By Blow), Ian McLagan, Art Neville, Southside Johnny, Miami Steve Van Zant, Nils Lofgren, Bruce Iglauer, Charlie Musselwhite, Studebaker John, Chris Duarte, Smokin' Joe Kubeck, Hamilton Loomis, Peter Karp, Roomful of Blues, James Harman, Hadden Sayers, Malford Milligan, Melvin Taylor, Otis Taylor, Dave Alvin, Coco Montoya, Jimmy Thackery, Marsha Ball, Maria Muldaur, Shelby Lynne, Magic Dick & J. Geils, Lil' Milton, BuddyGuy, Aynsley Lister, Matt Schofield, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, James Cotton, Robin & Jesse Davey, Hugh Coltman (Hoax), Sean Kelly (Samples), John Entwistle (The Who), Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Walter Wolfman Washington, Anthony Gomes, Bob Malone, Chubby Carrier, Buckwheat Zydeco, Murali Coryell, David Jacob Strain, DeAnna Bogart, Michael Lee Firkins, Guy Davis, Jason Ricci, John Doe, Little Feat, Matt Woods, MikeZito, Peter Buffett, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Corky Siegel, Todd Park Mohr, Watermelon Slim, Magic Slim, Corey Harris,- - - - - - ------------------------Radio archives: http://www.kiwrblues.podomatic.com/. Playlists: http://www.omahablues.com/ Reviews featured in http://www.blueswax.com/. Email: KIWRblues@gmail.com Live online; Sundays 9 a.m. (-6 GMT) http://www.897theriver.com/

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Album Review: Paul McCartney, memory half full

Artist: Paul McCartney
Title: memory almost full
Writer: Rick Galusha

These days there’s always some trepidation when opening a new album by an older artist. Yes, the Rolling Stones are releasing vibrant studio albums but they ain’t writing, ‘Gimme Shelter’ anymore. So you never know how good the album will be but there’s a very high percentage your favorite Classic Rock artist’s best days are still behind them.

As solo artists none of the Beatles reached the critical or mass popularity that their synergy gave them as a band. Paul McCartney’s, “Band on the Run” album defined a moment and while Ringo may have had the most post-Beatle hit singles, McCartney scored the best solo album. Unlike so many others, I thought his more recent effort, “Flaming Pie” was quite good and I actually still play two or three times a year. McCartney’s, “Memory Almost Full” gives the listener a glimmer of the best that Paul has to offer.

“Memory Almost Full” is McCartney’s first album after the financially costly divorce from model Heather Mills. As Neil Young once said, referring to a sax player in his band after a broken marriage, “I don’t know about the rest of the band but he’s gonna play his heart out tonight.” Like that ambiguous broken hearted saxman, McCartney has released a very fine album that, like any album destine for longevity, slowly opens after repeated listens. But before we discuss this album, let’s have an agreement; if McCartney, or any of the other three guys, had wanted to “sound” like the Beatles they very likely would have reformed the band or at least made a more serious effort to replicate that Every Brothers meets English seaside vaudeville sing-a-long sound that the Beatles spawned. Instead, it appears to me, that McCartney took some of his finest musical moments and recaptured them in vibrant settings. Heck, if Bob Dylan can awaken from a thirty year sonic slumber why not Paulie McCartney?

The opening track on the album, ‘Dance Tonight’ is pure contemporary McCartney, a mandolin perky tune that is well arranged; tooth-sweet and radio friendly. ‘Ever Present Past’ is a reduex version of a previous hit, ‘My Brave Face.’ The third track, ‘See You Sunshine’ is a perfect pop song that only a brilliant writer such as McCartney could muster – very English, light, fresh and while the issue is that ever-present pop topic, love, McCartney takes the listener along for a audio walk along a park path in spring sunshine. “Look what you do to me baby, You make me feel so fine. Step out in front of me baby, they want you in the front line, they want to see your sunshine.” This is an excellent pop song that Baby Boomers will appreciate.

On, ‘Only Mama Knows’ McCartney intro’s the song ala ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and quickly vamps the track into a higher energy Silver Beatles era style rocker with heavy pulsating bass and crashing high-hat that escalates into a somewhat exasperate chorus, “Only Mama knows why she laid me down in the God forsaken town, She was running too, What she ran from I never knew…Got to hold on, I got to hold on.” In the end the song transmogrifies back into a symphony of strings and slowly fades into the next track.
‘You Tell Me’ uses a chorus setting ala’ ‘You Never Give Me My Money’ while the singer clearly muses his memory as if asking a former lover, don’t I remember all these greats times? What happen to them then?

This is a very good album that, for some, will be a most gratifying listening experience. When McCartney sang, “Will you still love me when I’m sixty-four’ the song’s reference was beyond most listeners ability to realistically relate. Today, as many of the Beatles fans are amid that age range, the song has a whole new relevance. On ‘Memory Almost Full’ McCartney pens the tune, ‘The End of the End’ where he sings of his own death. “No need to be sad. On the day that I die I’d like jokes to be told and stories of old to be rolled out like carpets that children have played on and laid on while listening to stories of old.” In many ways McCartney brings his career full circle with this track. It is meaningful and sad yet wonderful. This is an excellent album full of melody line, textures and musical reference points.

No comments: