Of all of the early McCartney albums, this one has been the best to dislike. Band on the Run was acknowledged as prime quality and fashionable from the start, whereas McCartney and Ram ultimately developed a robust avant-garde pedigree. Wild Life wasn’t even making an attempt.
However Red Rose Speedway doesn’t match the image, not even for the pro-McCartney revisionists. It doesn’t have sturdy avant-garde parts (“Loup” being the exception), nor did it have the perfection of Band on the Run, which just about may have been Beatles materials. It’s McCartney shoving his traditional romantic McCartneyisms in your face. It’s a Paul and Linda album. It has a closing medley as Abbey Highway did. It’s not afraid to be corny. There’s something relentless about it. It doesn’t in each regard reject the notion of monotony.
Robert Christgau decreed it was “fairly probably the worst album ever made by a rock and curler of the primary rank.” Dave Marsh stated it was “rife with weak and nostalgic drivel.”
Not like among the Wings albums, Paul dominates each track, however together with Linda. “Man devotedly in love along with his spouse” was not the optimum 1973 message, however it has held up higher than plenty of different concepts from that period.
Purple Rose Speedway has a lot of Paul’s finest vocal performances. Simply strive the tip of “My Love” or the “ows!” in “Get on the Proper Factor.” The bass taking part in is uniformly glorious (finest on “Loup”?), and Paul cuts free on piano, mellotron, and synthesizer greater than he had accomplished earlier than, or was to do since.
Lots of the lyrics are medciore. The love notes apart, Paul was not impressed in how he “set” his materials. On this regard he’s a lot the inferior of John Lennon.
“Massive Barn Purple” is a programmatic opening, promising you…one thing. Possibly it set the mistaken tone for what was to observe. However in actual fact I’m absolutely on board.
“Little Lamb Dragonfly” — A whole lot of blather on this one, perhaps the weak level of the album? The melody is sweet, however the track is overlong and missing in vitality.
“My Love” — certainly one of Paul’s finest songs. And his finest track to Linda. The Henry McCullough solo was accomplished in a single take, and sure it’s higher than what George would have provide you with. Nobody will admit this, however “My Love” is healthier than “Yesterday” or “Michelle,” and additionally it is extra actual.
“Loup (First Indian on the Moon)” — An early inspiration for what would later develop into Paul’s improvements in techno and electronica.
“Hold Me Tight” — There may be an early Beatles song with the identical identify, so perhaps Paul is reclaiming the legacy as his personal or a minimum of asserting some continuity? Are the melody and vocal right here actually worse than on the initially titled track? It’s debatable.
The closing medley — melodically and harmonically glorious. Possibly it’s pointless, however the Abbey Highway medley is fairly improvised too and missing in any actual dramatic middle till you get to the very finish, when it turns into a goodbye to the Beatles.
Purple Rose Speedway initially was to be a double album, with plenty of Wings illustration, extra rockers, and even some reside materials. Sure, I’ve heard all of these cuts, they usually belong elsewhere. Macca saved the love songs, saved the Macca/Linda dominance, saved the love orientation, and prompted the earlier incarnation of Wings to dissolve in protest. He mainly made the proper selections.
This album was recorded just a few years after the “Get Again” Paul you noticed within the Peter Jackson film — have some religion in him! It was surrounded by materials comparable to “Hello Hello Hello” and “Stay and Let Die,” and adopted by Band on the Run, all of that are extra critically acclaimed however I believe these things is absolutely good too.