I am an unabashed a fan of the album Band On The Run. There - I said it. It feels good to let it out. Unlike many other 70's LPs that came into my collection back in the day (including several by Wings), this is a record that I still listen to, and always with a big smile on my face. In Geoff Emerick's must-read Here, There, and Everywhere not only does he cover his engineering days with The Beatles from Revolver through Abbey Road but he also includes a chapter on his experiences as producer for BOTR.
One of Paul's crazier ideas was to record his next record in a small EMI studio in a tropical land far away from the UK. Only after he had signed up as producer did Mr. Emerick learn that the studio was in fact in Lagos, Nigeria. Paul had recently ejected Wing's drummer and lead guitarist, leaving only the core of Paul and Linda, and the ever-faithful Denny Laine. Upon arrival in Lagos the hardy travellers were met with hostile locals, flooding monsoon rains, and a recording studio which was - shall we say - something less than modern.
In the process Paul pulled himself together to write what is likely his finest collected batch of post-Beatles songs. No worries about his departed band mates - Paul was more than up to the task of playing drums and guitar along with his vocals and always stellar bass work. And no solo McCartney or Wings record ever sounded as good as this album. Whatever was in the water in Lagos, Paul should go back for another drink.
The album closing track, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five finds Mr. McCartney in a rockier groove with a super fine bass sound. Then there are the lovely vocal harmony sections that weld together all the pieces. When the final buildup occurs at about 3:45, the smile on my face gets so big that my moustache touches the bottom of my reading glasses. Brass, synthesizer, piano, bass, and a final explosion that leads back to a reprise of the Band On The Run chorus. Thank you Paul -- all memory of At The Speed of Sound has been erased.
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