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Microscope: Band On The Run

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Band On The Run
Yeah, we all know about the circumstances in which this album was made. Lagos didn't appear to be the most appropriate place to record an album, certainly not in 1973. Nevertheless, this opening track shows Paul's meanings and development as a songwriter. I even dig Linda's keyboard solo from 1.30. I have always loved the great rhythm guitars in this song and Paul's drumming is steady and good. Still I wonder what Denny Seiwell had made of this. The handclaps are excellent and really add something. Orchestration at around 2.00 is a breakthrough and the acoustic guitars coming in at 2.14 are just wonderful. What can I say? I have listened to this song hundreds of times and it remains a great song till this day. Paul at his best. Band On The Run and Jet are the songs I recognized on the radio as a little Bobber and get me hooked on Paul McCartney. I soon discovered he once was a member of the legendary Beatles.

Tony Visconti did another great job here with the orchestration, as proved in the opening section. Wonderful brass. Another great song in my humble. Denny's and Linda's backing vocals are spot on all through the song. Great rhythm guitar once again. Love the little piano lick (1.59) followed by the keyboard solo. Simple and effective. Good rocking tune this. The sax solo to finish the song of is just pure genius.

Not one of my favourites on the album, although a great song. I'm just not to fond of the percussion, which gets a bit annoying in the end. The cowbell gets a positive mention tho. Harmonies as good as they can get. Howie Casey's saxophone solo (from 1.54) is magnificent and adds to the whole atmosphere of the song. Is that guitar lick out of tune at 3.00? I could never make up my mind.

Mrs Vanderbilt
Paul's bass makes the song in my opinion. It's great to really hear the strumming on the acoustic guitars and therefore it's great to play the song by yourself. The 'Ho He Ho' refrain is catchy and works great at live shows. Good drumming by Paul. Another great saxophone lick by Howie Casey. The laughter at the end is a bit over the top for me, but I understand something was needed to break through the Ho He Ho pattern.

Let Me Roll It
Paul McCartney doing John Lennon. And probably better. The characteristic lick is reminiscent of John's Cold Turkey and makes the song for a great deal. The song doesn't even need a guitar solo, the gaps are filled with the lick. Why is there some much reverb on Paul's voice? Not nice, but probably typically 1973. The little trick with the drums at the end of the chorus is something for the drummers to discuss. Strange edit at 2.59, a sudden change of sound and atmosphere. A pity the song ends in a fade out.

A lightweight. Great bass work by Paul again. Nice acoustic guitars and ditto harmonies. I always join at the little 'ah's' (who's doing that?) at 1.09 and 1.11. The cross singing from 2.50 and 3.25 onwards is a highlight in this song. Synthesizer at the end is well done by Paul.

No Words
A Denny Laine composition, finished by Paul. Nice orchestration by Tony Visconti. Lead guitar reminds me of George Harrison and therefore it sounds a bit like a George song. A good one tho. Somehow I never really get into the song very well and a fade out at 2.30 makes it a candle going out slowly.

Picasso's Last Words (Drink To Me)
Many people think this is the masterpiece of the album (so I've learned in the past few weeks), but I don't really agree. Paul wanted to make the song consisting of fragments to express Picasso's cubistic style of painting. The brass playing in the second fragment is great tho, but the reprise from Jet is not. Then comes an orchestrated 'Drink To Me' part, which is a bit over the top, and so is the instrumental section that comes after that. The drunken-sounding 'Drink To Me' is, looking at the song complete structure, understandable and so is the French part. It sounds as if Paul is having troubles (or is that Linda in the background) with the high notes in the Drink To Me part. The Ho He Ho ending is too much for me. I've heard enough Ho He Ho's earlier on the album.

Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
And what a great finale Paul brings to this great album. Great piano, that comes in a couple of times to sort of restart the song. Great powerful orchestration to finish the song of and a little reprise of Band On The Run at the end. Is that a clarinet or alt sax solo? Maybe the best song on the album.

Not on the UK version of the album, but it was in the US:
Helen Wheels
Simple but great rocker that I really like. Paul has really improved his drumming since his debut solo album. He's got to work on the lead guitar parts tho. They remain not very fluent. Nice how they hammer on at 2.25 tho. I can clearly hear Linda sing 'Hell On Wheels' in the harmonies. There's a little Kansas City (say bye bye) (3.03)

Overall: a great album with a wonderful feel. No bad songs.

glass onion:
all agreed bobber.......i never really got into band on the run until quite recently,and i now realise what a superb album it is.not only because of the circumstances it was made in/under,but really there is no filler on this album,which is remarkable when you think of the album/albums recorded before seemed to all come together for the three wings members,and if i was henry or denny s. i think i would have felt a little miffed.however,they must have had their reasons for quitting.
pauls' drumming is great throughout,he really shows his versatility on this album.the songwriting is absolutely second to none and wings ended up with a fantastic record that lifted the band into the major league again.or at least gave them a massive lift.

The only Paul's post-Beatles album that I really care about. The lyrics are weak as usual on Paul's solo records, but here the music compensates it. In my opinion, high points are the title track, "Jet", "Let Me Roll It", "Helen Wheels" and "1985". I'm not a fan of the backing vocals here (Linda was not Grace Slick), but it's still an enjoyable record full of hooks. Easily Wings' best album and the one where Paul has more control of the instrumentation (just a coincidence?).

the way he changes pace in Band on the Run reminds me in a odd way of A Day in the Life.  The song has multiple legs to stand on and having different "sections" is awesome writing.

1985 rocks, Helen Wheels is very cool.  I enjoy all the tracks, probably some out of repetitiveness but nonetheless it holds up well for me.

Old 'Band On The Run'. Everybodys preferred Paul album, or so it seems. Not mine, but its easily one of his best. Theres just a few songs on it that I think are sketchy, but i'll get to that soon. I've been waiting for this review to see where everybody stands.


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