Monday, May 29, 2017

ES-Say #94 Salt And Pepper Over Scrambled Eggs-The Beatles at 50+
Sgt. Pepper 2017 Subway Poster   (Tottenham Court Road, London Underground, Photo:MFloate)

I have to ask- when is Sgt. Pepper 50th Anniversary 2017? Was it on Friday the 26th of May(original UK 1967 release day), when the Apple 2017 remix releases came out and everyone declared it "Pepper Day"? Is it coming up next week on June 1st? or maybe the 2nd(the original 1967 US release day)?  

For all I know, with all the media attention, special events, and a tie-in film, etc etc, it's about a two month celebration that started in May and will finish sometime in June. Hooray?

But, this has now been shifted to pre-celebration for the 50th Anniversary re-release of the White Album, which is only about 18 months away, but it was suggested by Giles Martin it would be upcoming as the next release from Apple.

Don't get me wrong. I really like Sgt. Pepper and I tell everybody that my favorite Beatles album is the White Album. It's nice to have these great albums given the appreciation they deserve on their 50th Anniversaries." But-

What is the deal with the omission of other 1960s Beatles Albums and their corresponding 50th Anniversaries?  

Generally, in 2014, this seemed to be the launch year of celebrating the Beatles in the 1960s.

We had highly profiled chronological Beatles 50-year milestones that were celebrated. Such as-
  • The Beatles arrival at JFK and the British Invasion of 1964(USA LPs CD Box Set January 2014)
  • The film re-release of "A Hard Day's Night" (1964)
  • 15th Anniversary Re-Release of "1" (November 2015)
  • Ron Howard's Eight Days A Week-The Touring Years film (September 2016)
  • SGT Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band LP Release (May/June 2017). 
I'm a bit confused as to the lack of attention for Help!(film and album), Rubber Soul(album), Revolver(album), just to name a few. (I don't even think Magical Mystery Tour, the film, which was re-released in 2012 is going to get a nod).

Sgt. Pepper's anniversary is now the talk of the summer that not only praises the LP but the Summer of Love 1967. A big opportunity for hippies to reminisce about Peace, Love, Drugs, and the Far Out music they enjoyed. The release of Pepper is noted for being a main "turn on, tune in, drop out" trippy record of the time. Yet, the album has it critics.

Journalist Ray Connolly wrote about his problems with the Sgt. Pepper album in the Daily Mail(27/5/17 edition) and pointed out that the exclusion of Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever made the album "A bit like playing the final of the World Cup and leaving your two best players in the changing room."

The Beatles actually won "The World Cup" of record releases without the help of Penny Lane or Strawberry Fields. This idea that the album would be so much better is rubbish. Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever getting looped into an already experimental album could have toppled it over. We don't have to rewrite history to potentially improve a Beatles album.

The stand along Double A-Side of Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever have gotten enough media attention lately that it runs the risk of being considered their greatest single ever. For many, it already is, but just because it was applauded during the "1+" (2015) for the singles' ground breaking music videos and recently re-released on 7" for Record Store Day 2017, it shouldn't overshadow the importance of other Beatles singles and album cuts.

It used to be songs like Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, Ticket To Ride, In My Life, or Michelle. Earlier releases that were considered turning points in the progression of the Beatles music. All of a sudden, prior releases to Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields, don't need as much attention in Today's press.

Paul McCartney has recently been interviewed about mishearing someone say "Sgt. Pepper" when they only said "Salt and Pepper."

In my 25-ish years of Beatle Fandom, I've never heard about this leading to the concept of Sgt. Pepper. What I have heard time and time again for 25-ish years is this little story(maybe you've heard it).

Interviewer- "Paul, how did you come up with Yesterday?"
Paul- "It came to me in a dream..."
Interviewer- "Wow, really!!!! How did Y-
Paul- (interrupting) *Sings* Scrambled Eggs...Oh My Baby How I Love Your Legs...."

Where is this repeated story about condiments? Have I been sleeping when Sgt. Pepper is discussed?

                                    My Couch Tribute for Sgt Pepper 26/5/17(photo:MFloate)
Maybe, but I seem to have memories of the album cover being a huge discussion overshadowing any small detail about the inception of an idea that Paul may or may not have had with the Pepper band themes. Peter Blake's cover design and the Paul McCartney Death clues are what keep me up at night.

I'm also kinda grateful for Paul Howard's 2016 Tara Browne biography book because it prequels what really led to the creation of the album- A change that ended Swinging 60s culture.  "A Day In The Life" has a strong backstory to be considered the most important song of it's time.

Giles Martin as a producer, what ever he is doing, hasn't knocked my socks off by remixing the entire album in stereo. In the same breath, he hasn't ruined the way the songs have always sounded. The songs all stand up for themselves.

Personally, I have to agree with the backlash against "Within You Without You" because I think it's way off base, but this is where Harrison head was at, so it should be respected on the album.  I can't fault any of the rest of the album and I don't think I need to go into the dynamics of why these songs work so well together.

I don't think the people listening to it in 1967 had any deep thoughts about these songs either. It's just the way it was.

It shouldn't be more than it was either, for what came before it needs as much attention as well.

...And Now For Some Cranberry Sauce-Not Saying Anything To Paul McCartney welcomes your thoughts, opinions, and interest in our current Twitter and Facebook group.  



Sunday, May 21, 2017

ES-Say #93 Vegetarian's Flock To Linda Mac Food Demo

                  Plenty of HOT food at Linda's Veggie Table event in Shoreditch(19/5/17)

Friday Night in London, I had a ticket for an event held by Linda McCartney Foods. This was a cooking session held for National Vegetarian Week. As some of you are probably chomping down on a hot dog right now reading this, my blog will not try to convert you into adapting a wheatgerm diet. Equally, I want to convey this was an event I would recommend to others interested in plant-based diets and hope it will return next year.

Then, of course, there were the purely fantasy reasons that I paid £10 to attend one of the nine sessions- Maybe a McCartney family member would show up. It seemed logical- each session was limited to about 20 places, it was located in a somewhat-snooty-area of Shoreditch, Paul McCartney was actually in London* this week, and accounting the Times article I reviewed (ES-Say #92) it could have happened. (I mean, I bought a pack of Sharpie markers along just in case.)

However, the "Star Vegetarian" originally unknown when purchasing tickets was revealed to be(drum roll, please..)



Despite having the same amount of syllables in his name as Paul, I had to google McGuiness and ask younger co-workers of mine if they heard of him being in a band called "The Wanted." I found out that McGuiness also won a series of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing(a hugely popular British program that I can't stomach). It had not yet been revealed whom the guest chef would be so I was hopeful I would have some knowledge of who it would be when I got to the session(Nope! Chef Glen was fantastic though).

So, I navigated my way on the Overground to Hoxton, a short walk to the venue located within a courtyard. I was let in to an upstairs wood interior designed studio loft. It had a stage featuring free mocktails and canapes (aka Linda's Lounge). There were also a couple of display tables-

One had a basket with blank index cards and pens to submit questions for Glen and Jay.

Another, had a contest to win an old cookbook...


                             Well, at least I got a shadow of my hand on the book in the photo!

Naturally, I asked a host when I would find out if I won this signed copy by Paul, Mary, and Stella. I thought I had read that every guest had automatically be entered into this contest. I didn't enter the other contest to win £100 worth of vouchers for Linda McCartney Frozen Food because I only wanted to win this colossal prize.

The host explained that she would take a photo of me with a chalk board standing next to a promotional Linda foods wall. All I had to do was write my favorite veggie dish down and then they would email the photo to me to stick up on social media for a chance to win.

I started to prattle on about my love for Linda's Frozen Lasagne and complain I hadn't seen it in years at the supermarket. So, due to being disappointed with finding the product, I scribbled that in chalk. Maybe I should have continued the complaining so the host would lose the will to pay attention and the displayed book would suddenly be gone.

A criminal record? I did consider it for a second, but I was afraid to handle the book at all. (I mean, if I win this thing I'm not going to let them mail it, I'll go get it person with a bodyguard).

The contest entry had made me feel numb, so I wrote down a jumbled question about Stir Frying on a index card and then proceeded to drop canapĂ© sauce on my jeans and nearly fall off a chair.

Pinup Jay McGuiness began to offer canapes around the room. I told him would take one of the canapes because "he was offering it." (worst. icebreaker. ever. Crickets started chirping and he moved on quickly).

It was clearly time to move on to the cooking session. Things began to improve because the next room was set up like a kitchen studio inspired by Linda. It contained free tote goodie bags on all the seats. I didn't want to risk falling again from stools in the back so I sat in the center second row on a bench seat facing the kitchen island.
          A Slightly Better Photo Can Be Found In Our NSATPM FACEBOOK GROUP

Hosted by Jay McGuiness and a chef-named-Glen** the 1-hour session went like this:

Jay McGuiness cracked some jokes and explained things in the way you would expect a member of a boyband to speak, sounding rehearsed but able to "get with the program" of presenting.

A Chef-Named Glen did all the hard work of making three dishes while Jay and a couple members of the audience assisted with slicing and presenting the finished products on platters. (My favorite member of the audience insisted in peeling down a carrot to the nub, brilliantly guaranteeing herself more time on stage with McGuiness).

Every time, ACN Glen finished cooking a dish, we all got to eat a sample in a paper cup.

In order:
Vegetarian Pulled Pork Fajita
Warm Catalan Salad With Vegetarian Chorizo
Vegetarian Duck, Ginger and Mango Rice Bowl

The entire session was filmed, but later they went live on Facebook. Early on, They decided to ask the questions off the blank index cards from the previous room.

I believe it was only one question: Mine!

Jay was struggling to read my handwriting. Where is Meredith?!?


I decided to speak directly to ACN Glen, explaining that I had no idea when preparing veggie mince was cooked properly during a stir fry. Glen was asking if I was talking about the Linda McCartney brand, basically my cue to agree that it indeed was. I admitted cooking sometimes with ketchup. I didn't care what any of the "trendy" snickering people in the room thought. I had the attention of an actual Chef, who could properly cut into an avocado. I needed all the help I could get to cook Linda's frozen food well done. (believe me, over or under cooked convenience meals taste horrific despite a proper McCartney connection).

Overall, I learned to cook my stir fry's in separate dishes based on what Glen explained. I went home in a good mood, ready to receive the contest entry picture in my inbox.

It took about 24 hours.

The photo(check out our Blog Twitter Feed) has been posted.

now we wait for the disappointment that I lost. Stay Tuned!

I promise to listen to a song by The Wanted every day for the rest of my life if I win***

All proceeds from Linda's Veggie Table were given to 

* The Paul McCartney was spotted in Mayfair and appeared in Liverpool at LIPA this week.
**It cook me an hour to find out his first name, I didn't need to put another hour of research despite liking the Chef
***my chance of winning is slim so I'm comfortable knowing I won't ever have to listen to Jay McGuiness again.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

ES-Say #92 Magazines! I I Me Me Mine!
             After a successful day of searching, more Macca magazines clutter up my house!(photo: MaccaMeri)

...And so how did you spend your Saturday? Well, I ran out of my house in a daze with one thought in mind-"go and get it." The "It" in question is the The Times Magazine with Mary, Paul, and Stella on the cover, available for one day only-May 6, 2017.

Back in 1980s Brooklyn, I used to do a similar thing when I heard the jingle of the Ice Cream Truck passing my house- drop everything and run barefoot, scream "Ma! I need a dollah,"and reach the end of the block just in time to get into the line for a "Fat Frog" with other shoeless children.

Today, thirty years later, I'm on facebook with all the hip people, and Linda McCartney Foods page shows up on my "feed" with a photo of the Times Magazine cover. So, I- drop everything, waddle quickly to the local London corner shop displaying a large Times newspaper sponsored rack, and...nothing!?!?

"We had two copies, light delivery today." the shop owner replied, so back out on the street I went. Still transfixed, unaware I had two holes in the back of my sweatpants, I proceeded to walk another ten minutes to the supermarket. Upon arrival, I couldn't see the newspaper within the piles of the daily papers for sale but before thinking "great, I gotta get on a bus now.." I spotted The Times!

I had used one of the time saving scanners to scan and pack my own shopping. I packed that newspaper and the new special McCartney copy of Classic Pop Magazine (that fell into my bag) to my satisfaction of being crease-free. Fast Checkout? No, my scanner had flashed a message that I translated as "DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT PAUL MAGAZINES!"(it actually said I had been selected for a random shopper service check). After they were satisfied that I actually did scan £22 worth of groceries, I was only relieved the employee listened when I instructed-"please scan everything but the newspapers!"

Back to the responsibility of payment for the £22 bill of magazines and random groceries, my face froze when I remembered I left my wallet at home. The one thing you laugh at friends for doing and I had gone and done it. But, I somehow realised when I opened my bag, that I miraculously had £50 in cash floating around on me. I would not have to do any empty-handed-walk-of-shame out of the store! Thumbs Aloft! 

Casually back at home and horrified that my derriere might have been exposed for an hour, I looked at the treasured Times magazines-


The Times- The supplement cover story was about The McCartneys and the 25th Anniversary of the Linda McCartney Frozen Food range. The journalist was slightly disappointed by the fact the interview was a publicity piece and the topic of discussion would be the Food Range and not about THE all.  The journalist played up this omission throughout the article by not ever directly saying "The Beatles" and prattling on about attempting to receive Stella McCartney clothing discounts in lieu of this. It sounded like something I might write with a tounge-in-cheek theme about meeting McCartney but without any mention of needing my heart restarted every five-to-ten minutes.

In other words, if a journalist is going to suggest being adopted to the McCartneys (she actually said to them she was up for adoption), she should have convinced me as well. It came off as pushy wishful thinking rather than genuine sentiments. "Deborah Ross has since given up meat" was her ending post-script after the interview discussed several pro-vegetarian view points.

"Meredith Floate has since given up vegetables. She couldn't take the McCartneys refusal to discuss anything but salad during a 45-min interview opportunity."

Let the clan read the phone book for 45 minutes, I'll take the opportunity to sing/shout his entire back catalogue of his work whilst starting only at McCartney, forget the serious interview and possible merchandise discounts. Use your time wisely and don't joke about vegetarians, Deborah Ross, this is how we choose to live our lives....why does nobody get that???????

I digress and cry that nobody reads this blog.*

Also, please don't mug me, I never have more than £5 in change on me. I still ask my mother for ice cream money, she can vouch for me.

I'll take the opportunity to discuss my magazine collecting obsession in detail another time.

*might be a genuine statement

For genuine McCartney and Beatles news and Not Saying Anything To Paul McCartney Updates(such as the skinny on Classic Pop Magazine):

Monday, May 1, 2017

ES-Say #91 The "1Day" I go- Attending Beatles Festivals

                                           Here Today, Gone Tomorrow In Stamford Brook, London(photo:MFloate)

Sunday, 30th April 2017- I paid £15 to attend a Beatles Festival in London called 1Day(please see the end of this blog for related-Beatle links from this event). Please understand 1 thing- I am giving an account of my experience and mean absolutely no offense to the organisers, attendees, public, venue, celebrity impersonators, Beatle people, or the one lady I met. I would be highly flattered if anyone decided not to attend next time because of my "review" but I encourage people to make up their own mind about these types of events. For £15, can 1 really go wrong?

Oh yeah...yeah...yeah- 1 can go a bit wrong, especially if they have high hopes to devote their attention to 1 aspect of a Beatles Festival- Merchandise. This festival seems to be have been going on in Twickenham in the past few years and was known for having Beatles Tribute acts playing for the whole day. I suspect they wanted this year to expand the festival to facilitate talks and merchandise. A meeting of music, special appearances, and a record show all rolled into...yup, you guessed it "1"!

It was held at Chiswick Club Society, a social club that can be rented out for events, such as 1Day. After doubting I would get there in time after being on public transport for two hours, I actually was on time for the 11am opening. Intially, there was a handful of people arriving including myself, Roy Orbison Live's "Roy Orbison", and I believe, a person associated with British Beatles Fan Club Magazine(he left a stack of free back issues for attendees and I grabbed a bunch, claiming it was for my "research" and I left it at that. Free is free!).

My next stop was to look around and find merchandise for sale. It was about four dealers with tables out. I didn't expect miles of tables, but I expected several more dealers. These four were: Beatles Days, Beatles International, Beatle Style, and a crowd funding Beatles-related book project(think "Pledge Music"). I had just arrived and I saw these tables and a futher open area where Roy Orbison Live would be performing first in the next hour or so. Despite the amount of tables, there was enough merchandise for me to throw my money at, but I didn't really put a lot of though into what I wanted.

In the time I was hanging around, more people started to arrive but I wasn't fighting for space at the merch tables and I was greatful I didn't have an urge to go find a cash machine. But, I did a great job spending my money quickly. As this was one of the highlights of my three-and-a-half hour visit, this was some of what I picked up:

Paul McCartney New World Tour Penlight(shockingly, burnt out after 20+ years)
Paul McCartney New World Tour Badge(to replace the one I had stolen, unbelievably)
Paul McCartney Press To Play Picture Sleeve 45 "Video Edit"(not needed, bought in error)
Paul McCartney and Wings Mrs. Vandebilt P/S Netherlands(beautiful!)
Paul McCartney Sgt. Pepper Pillow Case(I liked it, my partner doesn't: Big Shock).

After walking away from the merchandise tables, I didn't know anyone so I had to look busy by sitting down and pulling out my phone. I quickly became bored sitting alone and posting on Facebook, and decided look up "penlight repair" on the internet. (Paul McCartney's penlight would not open to change the battery and this pissed me off for no valid reason.)

After fighting with the £1 penlight, I got up to move to where a stage had been set up and the solo act of Roy Orbison Live began playing. I sat off to the side and started to write some notes and doodle(another spur-of-the-moment decision). I wrote some notes about this tribute act and the onstage talks that occurred next. It had started to get more crowed and by the time the talks started I could really only half-hear the Beatle People talking.

This might explain some of these jumbled-up notes:

When I could hear-

1. Roy Orb Live- looks the part, vox nice, too bad I'm not that into it...sounds like a nice day out at the beach. I know the hits. This guy got here when they opened like I did! Some bum notes, but not really that important..about 20 people watching.

When I couldn't really hear too well-

2. Talks-unscheduled(?) NEMS and Apple Shop workers, talking about stuff like not being starstruck with seeing The Beatles(?). Moderator: Travelling Wilbury's. London Beatles Secretary-MMT. Only half-listening because of the noises behind me. One of the guests apparently saved James McCartney(SR-Paul's Father) life by preventing a road accident and from then on James Mac used to buy him lunch. Again, not really understanding whom these people are but I'm getting very hungry. Where is Roag Best? I need to get up and roam!

Yeah, let's talk about Roag Aspinall-Best. As the 1DAY scheduled timetable was presented on the day, I noticed that the talks were spread out between the tribute acts. Aspinall-Best was scheduled for about 6pm. I asked where he was and was told he was coming down from Liverpool. I went back to where I had been sitting for the talks and told the one lady I had been chatting with that I had to go. I had enjoyed meeting her and talking her photo with a look-a-like George Harrison but I reached the decision that this 1day would be ending. I could have waited four hours for Mr Aspinall-Best but I had a remembered I had a prior engagement with eating a sandwich.

I needed some fresh air and got on the trains and decided to visit Baker Street, where I got lunch and dipped into the tourist attractions(mainly London Beatles Store). I got an Abbey Road ashtray and Beatles postcard for my troubles and two-hours later I was back home.

For myself, this 1Day event was similar to, London Beatles Days, that are organised by Beatles Days. There was a difference, 1Day is perfect if you dig Beatles Tribute Acts and London Beatles Days are perfect if you like merchandise(& special guests). I think I've made it clear that I am the latter.

I hope I don't get banned I try to go next year...there's always Liverpool International Beatle Week to consider...


The Beatles 1Day
Beatles Days-
Beatles International-
Beatle Style-
British Beatles Fanclub-
London Beatles Store-

Not Saying Anything To Paul McCartney "Fun Club" on Facebook

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

ES-Say #90 Vinyl Gone Wild-DeAgostini Magazine Re-Issued LPs

Hello Peeps! Once again, it's time for another exciting episode of  "Not Saying Anything To Paul McCartney"- the blog that has never said anything to Paul McCartney since 2015!

Happy Easter and Happy Passover! April is a busy month of holidays and what's better way to relax and unwind than to read about collecting Beatles vinyl?!?!? My collection is now growing and I want to explain why I'm running out of room this month to store my "new" vinyl!

Actually, all the vinyl I want to talk about are reissues. none of them are actually new but newly re-released for 2017. The craze of owning new reissued vinyl usually makes me feel ill. Why should I be paying £16.99 for an album I could find a similar, older copy for £5? However, I recently bought a new budget priced record player and then I got suckered into the world of DeAgostini.

What is DeAgostini? Well, even the people who are selling UK magazines from the "leading partwork publisher" are giving me blank stares. I might not be able to pronounce the company name, but when I described exactly which of their magazines I was looking for (A vinyl copy of "Help!" by The Beatles) at a leading uk magazine chain, it took fifteen minutes to get a reply that it would be available the next day. Nevermind that DeAgostini magazines ranging from piece-by-piece model making to mostly re-reissued 2009 Beatles albums takes up a lot of noticeable large shelf space in a store. However, you would think that the potential ridiculous revenue a store could get from people addicted to the laughable amount of bi-weekly DeAgostini issues might warrant some general employee knowledge.

Or not. Who cares? Apparently, now I have become one of DeAgostini's Biotches, I care way too much about stores getting in my re-reissued vinyl. Previously, I had decided not to purchase the 2009 Beatles RE-Issues(that's one "re"). These have been available from HMV for prices that seem to slightly more from what DeAgostini is asking. (£9.99 for a copy of "Abbey Road" from DeAgostini seems more justifiable than possibly $8-£10 more from HMV. The same goes for the further new issue albums priced from £16.99-£30+, still cheaper than other retail outlets).

But, saying all that about saving money, with 23 issues to collect bi-weekly, that's going to cost hundreds of pounds! But, since your paying in these handy instalments, you forget what the actual total is going to be. So, since I keep denying that I actually am one of their Biotches, I have come up with a cost-efficient plan...

My Cheepo Plan

Rule One: Do not buy so many double albums and don't buy any triple albums.
Rule Two: Do not subscribe directly to the company to receive very lame-o free gifts.
Rule Three: Purchase what you feel you need to avoid running out of more storage space.

It's that simple- my plan maybe a bit "anal-retentive" and cutting some corners, but it's my money and this is what I want to spend it on. I'd like to have a collection of Beatles vinyl that I can listen to. This is a new concept to me of playing the vinyl and not caring about keeping it sealed and untouched. It could be considered of some interest since the records have DeAgostini credits on the back covers and record labels of the vinyl. (They can easily be told apart from the original 2009 re-issues). I can't tell you if the 180g vinyl is something exclusive(didn't do the research, I still don't understand why 180g weighted vinyl is so wonderful and my record player is pretty basic for sound).

Anyway, here's what I will be harassing retail workers for in the upcoming DeAgostini bi-weekly schedule with a brief reason why I want it.

1. Abbey Road- It's Abbey Road
2. Sgt Pepper- Same As Above
3. Help!- See Above
4. The White Album- See Above
5. Rubber Sole- As mentioned previously
6. Magical Mystery Tour- Coo Coo Ca-Choo
7. Beatles For Sale- Yes, I'm buying some Beatles albums...
8. A Hard Day's Night- whatever I said about this...can't remember
9. With The Beatles- includes an album by The Beatles...duh
10. Revolver- It's Revolver
11. Let It Be- next to last LP contains "Let It be"
12. The Beatles Past Masters- whatever was missing
13. Please Please Me- all together now- It's "Please Please Me"

So, I have ignored ten other releases. Firstly, there's my Yellow Submarine problems(don't ask). Secondly, why do I need the Cirque Du Soleil Lp? I've listened to the CD once. Thirdly, well everything else I'd rather hope I have on a CD, because I really don't want to listen to demos, unreleased tracks, alternate takes, etc on vinyl.

The struggle is real. Did you know that Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is being re-re-re-something-released for the 50th Anniversary? The vinyl copy? yeah, I'm going to Carnival of Light anyway but that type of a song doesn't make my "cut" for playing vinyl at home(it's an unreleased track).

Thanks DeAgostini, I should have chosen to build a Starship Enterprise piece-by-piece instead... 



Saturday, March 25, 2017

ES-Say #89 Put It There On A Single Disc-McCartney's "Flowers" Re-Issue
                                         Picking Up "Flowers In Dirt" After A Long Neglect 
On March 24th, The Paul McCartney Archive Collection, an on-going series of solo career album re-releases, released 1989's "Flowers In The Dirt"(Remaster, 2017, UMD). Since losing my Japanese CD version of the album at least a decade ago, I was pleased to be buying the updated version. I think it's unique because it was a change of direction for Paul, whom in 1989 hadn't toured majorly for at least a decade, and finally had a strong-enough, current-sounding album to return to the "road" with.

Fortunately, the type of late 1980s/early 1990s Popular Music Paul McCartney got caught up with was considered to be MOR AC(Middle Of The Road/Adult Contemporary) Billboard-Charting Hits. This was a time when it was not embarrassing to own an album from an artist that was over the age of 35. That's right, middle-aged artists were releasing AC albums that were crossing over to the Top 40. Can you remember who went on to win 1991's Grammy for Record Of The Year taken from their 1989 LP? A very socially conscious, famously ugly Phil Collins nabbed the accolade and suddenly was coming up roses in his late-30s. Paul McCartney was his senior at 46, when releasing Flowers in June of 1989. By all accounts, it was a highly-rated album and made some notable impact on the charts. (Press To Play, McCartney's 1986 album re-entered the charts during the new '89 release).

Along with the middle-aged artists becoming trendy, the sound of the music was styled in maturely written lyrics and light rock, soft jazz way. Flowers In The Dirt checks all these boxes and possibly was the beginning of a change of tune for McCartney. Just as his 1980s output could be considered too self-involved, but experimental as many of the solo releases from 82-88 were, Flowers began a new chapter. He left the 80s sound behind by with a little help from his friend Elvis Costello, another artist expertly riding the new AC wave. But, maybe this collaboration was better on paper, and not how it turned out?

I'll try to explain. Firstly, not unsurprisingly, I got vital(or Vinyl) issues to discuss about this 2017 re-release. It had been available in several formats-Deluxe, Special and Vinyl.

Once again, I have chosen the cheapest edition-(2-CD Special) to review. I had ordered it from Amazon which automatically made it available for Streaming on my Amazon Music App. Before the postman delivered my physical copy that evening, I was able to listen on my phone on the way to work. While I was first listening to the beginning of the album, I suddenly started cursing out loud on the bus- "What The Hell- It's skipping songs!". My "Streaming Service" played the first four songs in order and then I realised I was listening to one of the album demos that would be found on the second, not first,  physical CD. I planned to avoid listening to any demos until I was done listening to the studio album. I had only retained a copy of my original Japanese bonus disc, so I really had waited years to properly own the album again.

My interest in low cost, subscription-free streaming was biting me in the butt. Despite being entitled to a streaming copy, I obvious hadn't paid enough to Amazon to get a bologna-free-playback-of-said-Macca-album. Getting home in the evening, I ripped off the physical CDs plastic and was confused as to why the CD Booklet was stapled to the inside of the front cardboard case. (Shouldn't this be removable and the last page not glued to it?). Checking my other Archive re-releases, all of those booklets, sans some inserts, were released in the same way. (I must not be listening to this collection physically enough *slaps self*). Anyway, I did listen to it completely through a Blu-ray player, but ironically, I mentally had opinions about the album and songs while skipping through tracks during a long bus ride the next day.

What's good and what isn't? Revisiting the album, I'm quite dead set on what my favorite songs are and which "tracks"(or "album cuts," had I shelled out £30 for the re-issue LPs) don't do anything for me. Basically, I wish the album had been released like this:

My Brave Face
Rough Ride
We Got Married
Put It There
Figure of Eight
This One
That Day Is Done
How Many People

This mix of songs checks all these nostalgic boxes for me when I too was caught up in the AC 90s craze that McCartney embraced. So, Elvis Costello was involved? He co-wrote songs, influenced the sound on the album(two heads are always better than one!). Well, I'm a little slow when it comes to two great musicians bouncing ideas off each other. There are lyrics in "My Brave Face" that either Elvis Costello wrote directly or Paul McCartney equally tried to sound-like Elvis Costello singing the lyric. For example Paul singing-

"Ever since you went away
I've had this sentimental inclination
Not to change a single thing
As I pull the sheet back on the bed,
I want to go bury my head
In your pillow"

Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

As far as I can think, with my knowledge of a handful of Costello songs and not enough to give a winning sound-a-like example, to me, THAT IS THE ELVIS COSTELLO BRANDING and it's stamped around the entire album depending if you are a Costello fan looking out for it. The Costello/McCartney duet on "You Want Her Too" is one of those songs that either wasn't going the duet route or probably has a demo that either better or wor-

Wait, hold on there is a demo of "You Want He Too" which democratically has both artists SHARING the lyric of the song in a acoustic version. Yeah, it's better. McCartney always has a presidential veto to use in this democracy due to being the English Head of State of all popular music. "Elvis won't really mind if I release the song with the sound of a Carnival playing in the beginning of the song...and maybe again with a big band!" (Of course not, as the 1985 b-side song repeatedly overstates "Well, It's MY Carnival, It's a lovely day"). To me, the left over 80s Me mentality was too strong to give up fully on this album. In other words, Costello is present on the album to assist McCartney in his eventual comeback.

This was the comeback album, plain and simple, but it wasn't a 50/50 Lennon/McCartney effort(let's go 80/20, 20% is more than enough for Costello's contribution). It was right for the time yet missing the praise that a 2017 retrospective will now highlight Costello's signature gems with McCartney's dominate style of "lets kick-some-ass rock and roll razzmatazz". It paved the way for McCartney's 90s releases, which made me a solo fan to begin with. If McCartney is truly selfish, I think it only hurts him when he doesn't utilize any support when working with other "adult contemporary" peers.



Sunday, January 29, 2017

ES-Say #88 Beware My Love! Men Are Selling Vinyl! Part 2
                              Successful Beatle finds at VIP Events 

In ES-Say #87 Part 1, I explained a bit about attending record shows and not being male. I do not want to be offensive but it's obvious that the majority of the patrons and sellers are male. So what? I can only speak for myself and I do have to be prepared for a bit criticism. However, it's not offensive to remind people that some women a) buy vinyl, and b) on a regular basis.

Chances are if anyone goes to a record show, they aren't there by mistake. Twenty years have taught me a lot and I'm there to mingle in and get my stuff and leave. I really can't keep stopping to remind people I'm a customer first. So, I'm going to talk about what I bought this weekend and how I got to save £25. These are not secrets- it could be my charm or dumb luck. The kind of non-sexist luck of a dealer just wanting to get rid of stuff and willing to bargain prices down with anyone. At the heart of this, it's a business and I can let some attitudes slide. (That's some, not all!)

Let's begin. I was looking forward to attending Saturday's record show for a few months now. I hadn't had time or money during the holiday season, so for my first show of the year, I budgeted for £60 including the entry fee. I've learned that a budget keeps you focused and worry-free for spending money on something implusive. I also prepared by dressing appropriately.

No, not warmly, appropriately for the event. Layered clothing, casual trainers and a strong bag sized to fit 12" records. On this occasion, I used a bag with a non-Beatles logo. Yes, I wanted these dealers to think I was trying to buy nothing Beatles related. Why? It a whole other topic, but boils down to not being "Help!(ed)" into buying Beatles records.

This time, when I arrived, I dropped £15 in five minutes at one table containing bins of £3-£5 vinyl. I bought McCartney II and RAM because the sleeves looked to be in good condition and I planned on playing them on my new record player. I wasn't planning on collecting these copies. I also found a UK copy of Flowers In The Dirt with the lyrics sheet(below).

These McCartney albums are standard releases but I also found a K-Tel release that was £3 and made me so happy to find! Not only did it contain 40 songs(2 LPs) but it had a magazine in it! Why aren't you jumping up and down with me! It contains My Bonnie by "Beatles With Tony Sheridan"! And...It's a "Limited Collector Edition" (It says so on the back cover!). Seriously, I don't think it's worth much, but I like that it's a Story Of Pop magazine promotional tie-in to get readership in 1973.

 I think it's got the wrong copy of the advertised magazine enclosed but I loved the mix of songs on it. I might be more thrilled that "The Knife" by Genesis is included("Tony Sheridan with The Beatles" songs are featured on many old LP releases due to being separated from The Beatles song catalogue and therefore was easier to obtain*)
Part 6 of the "Radio One" Story Of Pop included in the German K-Tel release

I moved along in the rows of rectangular tables to a box that said "All books- 1/2 price" but when I saw a "Beatles For Sale On Parlophone Records"(2011) outside of this box for £40, I wanted it. "Is this book half price? This sign says "All Books". A couple of chuckles later between the "men talking", I got a reply of "Yeah, OK!" A Harty Har Har from me, and I handed over £20. Tony Barrow wrote the forward for this book, but I was more interested in this as a reference book. It's quite nice.

I only got two 45s Picture Sleeves but I was happy to find the European releases. The first was a German copy of "Paperback Writer"(1966) in which after I paid £10, the seller and a tall odd fellow discussed my purchase and how wonderful a release it was. I interrupted and said "thanks, I'll consider that a complement" and I walked on.

Finally, I bought a French 45 PS of Wings "Let 'em In" (1976). It was £8 but I asked "Would you go £5?" when I got the seller's attention. He looked like he was going to say "No, I'm sorry" but then I pulled out the "Kermit-The-Frog-Finished-His-Song-And-Dance" smile (yeah, very very wide....) and got the discount.

I left with £5 from the original £60, but I felt it was a good group of items despite not buying any DVDs or CDs. When I got home, The Foot asked "Did you get any of that record that you have 15 copies of?"

He was talking about my Goodnight Tonight 45 LP collection. He was dead serious, I just had to laugh but answer honestly- "No, Sweetheart- I completely forgot but didn't find anything to add."

I think I'll take a break from buying records in person. Watch out, eBay....

Flowers In The Dirt will be re-release in March. In the spring, we will be reviewing the review and blogging about Liverpool. A magical mystery time will be had by all...Men, Women, Girls, Boys, Old Men, Old Women, sarcastic women, sarcastic men, Vegans and whomever else reads this blog. 

* Song Copyright laws and record labels discussions are long-winded including the discussion of these six tracks. BTW, Paul has recently been in the news for walking down the street, clearly more important than lawsuits with winning back song rights....