Beatles and McCartney completists unite! There’s a juicy item seeing proper CD reissue this summer, which was padded and repackaged once before, but this time gets a standalone reproduction earnestly culled from the original mono masters. It was around ’65 or ’66, as the Beatles were growing increasingly ambitious in leaps and bounds, probably just finished with Rubber Soul, stirring the tuneful cauldron of Revolver, soaking in the tutelage of producer George Martin (a.k.a. “the fifth Beatle”‘) and generally exploding as artists. McCartney and Martin picked up a gig on the side, scoring a little dramedy called The Family Way, based on the play All in Good Time (1963, by Bill Naughton), adapted for silver screen by identical-twin producer/director team the Boulting Brothers.
The music was written by McCartney, produced by Martin, performed by Paul and a bunch of session musicians in a variety of arrangements, recorded in ’66 and released in ’67 by Decca in the UK and London Records in the US. Though the album was attributed to the George Martin Orchestra, The Family Way (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) was the first published solo composition work by McCartney outside the Beatles. In fact it was the first musical work of any Beatle off the reservation, though it’s not considered the first “solo” record by a Beatle because it wasn’t in Paul’s name. (That designation goes to George Harrison‘s 1968 film score, Wonderwall Music.)
The Family Way score is both pleasant to hear and a fascinating study of McCartney’s songwriting style at the time. The original album has no titles for any of its 13 tracks, as all are “Variations” on either the movie’s theme or the song “Love in the Open Air”. According to a report by Examiner.com, the new CD will include one bonus track in the form of a previously unreleased stereo mix of “A Theme From The Family Way“, which appeared as the b-side of a 1966 UK/US 7″ by the Tudor Minstrels. The CD comes out July 26 by soundtrack/vintage compilation label Varèse Sarabande, and though it has no relation to the actual early solo McCartney reissues this summer, the timing couldn’t be handier.