letstalkbeatles.com

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to Let's Talk Beatles

Author Topic: Band On the Run  (Read 967 times)

Mervap

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1110
Band On the Run
« on: March 22, 2013, 02:54:29 PM »

Released in 1973
Logged
If love is blind, how will it ever find a way?

Mervap

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1110
Re: Band On the Run
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2013, 02:54:39 PM »

I have tried for a long time to try to figure out why this album, above all his other solo output, has been considered his finest recorded achievement. I am certainly not saying "BOTR" does not deserve that honor, but I like to find why things are as they are...with that in mind, I set it alongside his solo albums that preceeded it and found four factors that set it apart from those albums:

1. It was recorded in a locale, outside his comfort zone, where Macca could focus on the task at hand.

2. It was his first solo project to be engineered by Geoff Emerick.

3. All of the songs on it at least vaguely relate to the album theme, "Band On the Run".

4. Two band members quit the day before Macca was to leave England for Lagos, Nigeria, where the album was recorded.

Even though most of the tunes were already written before he left, by isolating himself and the two remaining Wings from outside distractions, Macca created an environment where all involved could devote a maximum amount of focus to the project. Granted, it was an uncomfortable locale...Lagos was not a safe place, and they got there at the end of the rainy season...but Macca was not well known there, so I would imagine he felt a great freedom not having people surrounding him and wanting a piece of him constantly.

Point two is, at least to my ears, the most important...even though the songs on "BOTR" still cover a wide spectrum of styles, Emerick never allowed the album to end up sounding like just a collection of songs. Rather, his expert recording techniques give the album a very consistent, very intimate overall feel...and that leads almost directly to....

All of the songs here sound as though they are aimed at creating a sort of travelogue, a feeling of going places, doing cool things and meeting exotic people. There are several modes of travel mentioned in the lyrics...this was truly a story of a band on the run.

Lastly, Henry McCullogh and Denny Seiwell quit just before the trip to record the album...the gauntlet had been thrown, and Macca answered the bell superbly. With his trusty bass pushed well to the forefront, Macca's versatility shines through in his fine drumming...I had no idea before this album he even played drums. He played much of what you hear, save for Denny Laine's guitars, and he did it all with an admirable dose of understatement...not much in the way of flashy solos and such. Nope, here were great songs, well played and presented with a consistency he had not shown since his days with the Beatles.

All in all, this album could be considered Macca's crowning achievement...many still feel it is. However, McCartney has continued to produce fine work over the many years since "BOTR", with some of the best just in the last few years.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 07:23:38 AM by Mervap »
Logged
If love is blind, how will it ever find a way?

2 of 3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1682
    • Email
Re: Band On the Run
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2013, 03:34:03 PM »

Yeah, great album. Odd thought that I never listen to it anymore...not sure why.  ???
Logged

Mervap

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1110
Re: Band On the Run
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2013, 07:26:11 AM »

"Mrs. Vanderbilt" is on my ipod in a playlist I call "High Energy"....the bassline is worthy!
Logged
If love is blind, how will it ever find a way?

Keri

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 300
    • Music from under my skin
Re: Band On the Run
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 12:31:13 AM »

Thanks for writing about BotR as it hasn't been a favourite of mine, but I decided to give it a fresh listen, take it for what it is rather than trying to think of it in terms of his other work.

I liked it. It's a good listen, there is plenty of space in the music, but the music is supple, his use of musical references in Picasso's last words and the BotR reprise in the outro of 1985 make the album feel unified. By supple I mean partly the way the music will turn into something quite different but the turns seem so inevitable. Brian Wilson also has this gift.

McCartney likes his story songs of ordinary people, they give me a sense of friendly life and project a warmth which is enhanced by Paul's melodic gifts.

It's an easy album to like, I just have to stop those voices that say "no Ram's better" or "but I prefer.." It's nice to be able to put an album on that i've had for a long while and discover it anew and get a real feeling of enjoyment. Good stuff!
Logged

Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 861
Re: Band On the Run
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 08:08:07 AM »

I like the fact that the songs all seem to fit together as part of an album.  I was always a bit on the fence when he'd put things like Baby's Request on Back to the Egg or other songs that just seemed to be an exercise in Paul's diverse skills and tastes.   Some of London Town seemed that way. 

My dilemma is that the diversity in him is one of the reasons I love the man. 

As usual it comes down the fact that I wish he would have consulted with me on some of his 70's albums before recording them.  I swear I would have done a better job choosing which songs to keep and which to reject.  Maybe someday he'll call for my opinion.  I still hear the phone ring and think, "Maybe it's him."
Logged

Mervap

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1110
Re: Band On the Run
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2013, 10:00:12 AM »

Keri, funny you should point out your feeling that "Ram" is better...I always looked upon "Ram" as Paulie's version of The Beatles' "White Album" and "Band On the Run" as more like his "Abbey Road". "BOTR" is better produced, but less diverse...."Ram" points in every direction at once, which is a testament to Macca's talent. That they sprung from the same man's creative force is amazing to this day.
Logged
If love is blind, how will it ever find a way?

Keri

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 300
    • Music from under my skin
Re: Band On the Run
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2013, 11:41:38 PM »

Merv, I see the connection of BoTR with Abbey Rd, but for me one of the reasons I like Ram so much is I don't connect it to any Beatles album. It feels like Paul discovering a new space for himself. I find it much more coherent and sane than White album, it kind of has a theme of starting a new life in the country and it is just full of vitality. Although maybe the veiled digs at Lennon undermine it a bit.

I think i may have resented BotR a bit because it is pretty universally regarded as Paul's best and there were others i preferred. But that's a really silly reason for not enjoying what it is which is a really tight album, and  as you pointed out really well produced,with killer bass lines and great drumming from Paul.

I suspect I may start listening to it more often.
Logged

Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 861
Re: Band On the Run
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2013, 12:27:39 PM »

I wish Bluebird and Let Me Roll It were shorter by about a minute each.  omg Let Me Roll It just keeps on rolling and rolling.  (That's just me.  I know it's fine with 99% of the public.)

Paul's drumming really makes this album great for me.  Also the extensive use of acoustic guitars was good.

Emerick probably played a significant role.

If he was ever going to do a double album, then this would have been a great time.

His voice, at this age (31), was one of my favorite periods in his vocal career.

Logged

Roger

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: Band On the Run
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2013, 08:28:58 PM »

This album took me some time to like. i thought RAM was better in most ways, but i still play this one too.
Logged