Paul McCartney – Kisses On The Bottom

January 01, 1970

(Hear Music/Concord)


Paul McCartney take on the
standards of his youth was a long time coming. His dad was a trumpeter in Jim
Mac’s Jazz Band. Paul sang “A Taste of Honey” on the first Beatles’
album and “Til There Was You” on their second. The Cute One strolled
down Memory Lane
on “Honey Pie” and “When I’m Sixty Four” and gave his regards to the Tin Pan
Alley-ish Broad Street.


Sweetly, with an intimate spare
(too spare at times, but still solid) set of arrangements, the help of Diana
Krall’s band and producer Tommy LiPuma, McCartney swerves handily through the
jump of “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” and Harold Arlen’s
dippy delight, “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” Arlen gets another go-round at
McCartney-ish immortality when McCartney croons blowsily through
“Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive.” These slightly hippity-hoppity standards are
like candy for McCartney’s aging baritone. They bring out the kid in him. Same
with the sand-dancing shuffle of “Bye Bye Blackbird.” Throughout the tunes, you
can hear that McCartney loves the language of the old songs. He enjoys the
phraseology, tickles and teases each lyrical phrase. You can hear that he’s
waited forever to do as much such as this. The ballads, though, bring out the
cornball man. “More I Cannot Wish You,” is a fatherly song from Frank Loesser’s
Guys & Dolls and is a wee too creaky. Irving Berlin’s “Always” is richly
romantic but a stiff melody nonetheless.


There are dozens of Broadway and
jazz ballads you could (well, I could) have imagined him singing his teeth into
and hopefully Kisses is but a
precursor to more of the yore. Smartly, McCartney has included two off his own
tunes into the mix – he’s a decent songwriter you know – and the easy breezy
“My Valentine” co-starring guitarist friend Eric Clapton
and “Only Our Hearts” with harmonicat Stevie Wonder are gently jiving tracks
filled with illusions of an earlier simpler sweeter time.


 DOWNLOAD:  “Home (When
Shadows Fall),” “We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me),” “My Very Good Friend
the Milkman” A.D. AMOROSI


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