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The Complete EP Collection

4.3 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Audio CD, November 22, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The release and international success of James McCartney's debut digital-only EPs, Available Light and Close At Hand, introduced a talented singer-songwriter and his music to the world. Now, James McCartney embarks on the next phase of that introduction with his first-ever physical release: The Complete EP Collection. This special two-disc set, produced by David Kahne and Paul McCartney, includes James's debut EPs in their entirety, along with an additional EP's worth of five never before released bonus tracks.

The Complete EP Collection is the result of James McCartney working on and off in the studio for over two years. He played most of the instruments, including bass, guitars, and piano - and of course, he sings. ''I really wanted to wait until I had the strongest possible collection of songs before introducing them to the world,'' says McCartney. ''I so believe in this music, and these songs. With the two digital EPs being released earlier this year and now this special two-disc set arriving, I'm right where I've hoped I would be.''

The songs on Available Light, Close At Hand, and the five exclusive bonus tracks on The Complete EP Collection were recorded at Hog Hill Mill Studios in Sussex, Abbey Road Studios in London, and SeeSquared Studios and Avatar Studios in New York.

Rolling Stone calls the opening track on Available Light, Angel, a ''light and cheerful pop track.'' The upbeat nature of Angel and the innocence of the song My Friend are deftly balanced on Available Light by the dark and dynamic tracks Glisten and Denial, and finally framed with a heartfelt rendition of Neil Young's classic, Old Man.

If Available Light is the 'side one' of James McCartney's debut, then Close At Hand is very much the second side, and James had specific ideas for it. ''There is only one thing to do with high expectations, and that is meet them,'' says McCartney. ''I wanted to follow Available Light with something that showed a progression...that had an even deeper meaning, both spiritually and musically.'' From the first moments of Close At Hand, that progression is crystal clear. Above driving guitar lines McCartney asks, ''Are you receiving what you're believing / Are you sure just what you are,'' in the EP's opening track, I Only Want To Be Alone. The powerful vulnerability of Wings Of A Lightest Weight is the expression of a son's feelings of love for his mother (''Watching you fly away / Whilst your wings of a lightest weight / Carry you back through the heat of the wind / Carry you back to me''). 12-string-guitar arpeggios reminiscent of Glisten from Available Light return for the uplifting song The Sound Of My Voice. The playfully esoteric Else And Else But Dead is followed by an emotional tour de force, Jesus Be My Friend, where McCartney plumbs the depths of his own convictions (''Boulder in a stream / Water on a stone / God is close at hand / You never understood / Just who I really was / Just who I really am''). Fallen Angel provides a hopeful dawn after this dark night of the soul.

''Some artists are happy doing the same thing again and again, but my favorite artists are the ones who evolve and grow, and I want to be one of them,'' says James. With Available Light, Close At Hand, and now The Complete EP Collection, James McCartney has again and again dared to raise the stakes, and in doing so he's succeeded in filling some very big shoes...his own.

Review

Strong pop hooks. --Rolling Stone

James has inherited his father's musical gifts and more... It's not easy doing this sort of thing; in fact, it's down right brave. --Parade

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Angel
  2. Glisten
  3. My Friend
  4. Denial
  5. Old Man
  6. New York Times (Bonus Track)
  7. I Love You Dad (Bonus Track)
  8. Moonstar (Bonus Track)

Disc: 2

  1. I Only Want To Be Alone
  2. Wings Of A Lightest Weight
  3. The Sound Of My Voice
  4. Else And Else But Dead
  5. Jesus Be My Friend
  6. Fallen Angel
  7. Spirit Guides (Bonus Track)
  8. Your True Love (Bonus Track)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 22, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Engine Company Records
  • ASIN: B005ZVIMSG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,763 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
James McCartney made his recording debut at age 9, on his dad Paul's 1986 album Press to Play, with a brief spoken-word comment ("Dad...you didn't say OK!") on the track "Talk More Talk." He also played guitar on Paul's 1997 Flaming Pie LP. as well as his mother Linda's posthumous 1998 release, Wide Prairie. In addition, James and Paul co-wrote a couple of tracks on 2001's Driving Rain album.

Over the last couple of years, James issued two solo EPs (Available Light and Close at Hand) as digital downloads. They have now been issued as a standard two-CD set, with additional bonus tracks. Although the contents could have fit on a single disc, apparently James chose to maintain the integrity of the EPs by issuing them as separate discs.

The results are quite good; James has the melodic gifts and the lyric-writing capability of his dad. While his voice is not quite as strong as his father's, that may improve with time. As good as James' originals are, my favorite track is the rockabilly cover of Carl Perkins' "Your True Love" (Dad suggested that one, I'm sure).
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They say the apple does not fall far from the tree. In this case, it is true. James McCartney's debut disc is a great first effort, and hopefully the tip of the iceburg of what he has yet to record and deliver. Most of these have a more modern sound that fits today's rock sound. There is one track called "True Love" that would not sound out of place on a Buddy Holly or Gene Vincent LP. James must have listened to his Dad's record collection. I saw James make his live US TV debut on the same stage as his Dad did. (January 30,2012 on David Letterman). They seemed to downplay his lineage. This is probably better, because while he is a melodic singer, his vocal style is quite different. On some of the songs, his voice reminded me a little of Guitarist Dave Davies of the Kinks.His intense wails on the more intense portions of the songs were reminisent of the vocals of Mr. Davies.
Overall, James is his own man. Some fans of the elder McCartney may like and approve it, but I believe he will win an audience of his generation and younger. The piano and use of violins expanded some songs beyond the rock palette. James will hopefully branch out into a diverse composer /arranger. The future may hold a place for another McCartney.
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ok, i'm a sucker for the beatle brats, but this is really good power pop/ballad type rock n roll. not quite as melodic as his pops, this is really enjoyable, and just gets better with repeated listens.
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James McCartney shines throughout this compilation. He truly is a chip off the old-block and can hold up to his old man's, McCartney, so very famous name, in that he truly knows how to write a catchy riff and terrific, touching lyrics. Many of his lyrics remind me of those his late mother Linda may have penned, as she was as well a wonderful humanitarian and lover of life, such as some of his lovely lyrics in, "Angel."
Maybe I'm an angel waiting to start to live my life
Maybe if you could make it then that would be great
Let me tell you something that you don't know
My love for you has always been shown
I've had some hard times in my life
But I don't want to feel them anymore
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I was surprised to hear the voice of my favorite Beatles' son. He is not Paul, and it's not fair to compare, he has quite a different sound. He would be great performing in a small club. I would truly like to see him perform live.
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Format: Audio CD
This double CD collection consists of:

Disc 1:
Angel
Glisten
My Friend
Denial
Old Man
New York Times
I Love You Dad
Moonstar
(all songs written by James McCartney except for “Old Man” by Neil Young)

Disc 2:
I Only Want to be Alone
Wings of a Lightest Weight
The Sound of my Voice
Else and Else But Dead
Jesus Be My Friend
Spirit Guides
Your True Love
(all songs written by James McCartney except for “Your True Love” by Carl Perkins)

It must be incredibly hard to make a career in music when you are the son of Paul McCartney and I have to admit that I was worried that I would compare this too much to my favourite musician. However, having listened to it a few times, I found that I really liked it in its own right. Of course, there is a nod to his father in “I Love You Dad” (simple, but heartfelt). My personal favourites were the pop flavoured “Angel”, the wistful, “Wings of a Lightest Weight” and the rocking cover of “Your True Love.” Some reviewers have suggested James has a weak voice, but it grew on me as I listened – perhaps it is not a heavy, rock voice, more pure and clear, but he certainly has an interesting musical style, as well as writing some very beautiful songs. I will look forward to discovering the rest of his musical output and wish I hadn’t delayed listening to him for so long.
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