Monday, November 7, 2011

500th Post: Macca Teams Up With MacManus

I know. I know. Five hundred blog posts. Big deal. Well, it is to me. Maybe it will be to you when you see what I'm posting to celebrate this small achievement. Back in the day, my favorite record store was this little hole in the wall in New York called Midnight Records. When I lived in Washington, D.C., in the '90s, I used to make trips up there for hard-to-find Brian Wilson bootlegs, and this store always had them. The brick-and-mortar version of this place has long since closed, but they still have a thriving online business. I digress. Today and tomorrow I'm sharing my favorite bootleg I ever found there.

In the fall of 1987, Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello were meeting at McCartney's office in Soho to write and record demos together. The goal was to assemble songs for McCartney's upcoming album, 'Flowers in the Dirt.' By most accounts, they recorded nine or 10 songs there, as well as writing or finishing (at least on paper) several more. During the next nine years, the results of this collaboration (and others) would show up on their records, including McCartney's 'Flowers in the Dirt' and 'Off the Ground,' as well as Costello's 'Spike,' 'Mighty Like a Rose' and 'All This Useless Beauty.' Some of these songs, such as "My Brave Face," "Veronica," "So Like Candy" and "Shallow Grave" were, in my opinion, huge successes. Other songs weren't as likable when transitioned from demo to finished product. Usually, this was because of slick overproduction, particularly the ones that appeared on McCartney's albums.

Truth be told, I'll take these demos over the official studio versions any day. I love the intimacy and simplicity of it all. It's like having the Everly Brothers in your living room. I hope you enjoy them, too. I'll have a few more nuggets from this one tomorrow. Like the 500 home-run mark in baseball, 500 blog posts doesn't mean as much as it used to, but I'm still proud, and I promise you I never took the juice.

Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello
'The McCartney/MacManus Collaboration'

1. The Lovers That Never Were (mp3)
2. Twenty-Five Fingers (mp3)
3. Tommy's Coming Home (mp3)
4. So Like Candy (mp3)
5. You Want Her Too (mp3)
6. Playboy to a Man (mp3)
7. Don't Be Careless Love (mp3)
8. My Brave Face (mp3)

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