McCartney II (Archive Collection)
Deluxe Edition, Rmst DLX ed.
DVD + Audio CD | Remastered, Box Set
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Vinyl, Original recording remastered, June 14, 2011
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Digitally remastered and expanded deluxe four disc (three CDs + DVD) edition of the former Beatle's 1980 solo album. McCartney II was McCartney's return to solo work after nine years touring and having released several massively successful albums with Wings. Reaching #1 in the UK, and #3 in the U.S., the album produced enduring classics such as "Coming Up," "Waterfalls," and "Temporary Secretary." The bonus CDs includes previously unreleased demos and live tracks. The DVD contains videos and previously unreleased footage.
Top Customer Reviews
REVIEWING THE MCCARTNEY II REISSUE, HOWEVER, TENDS TO PUSH MY RATING UP FROM 2 STARS TO 3 STARS. There are obvious reasons, mainly the bonus disc, which has the live at Glasgow recording of 'Coming Up' and 'Wonderful Christmastime.' That is probably my favorite thing to hear at Christmas. It is cutting edge at Paul's best, because it is melodic and digitally engaging all at once.
The remastering on the double disc set is excellent, per all of the Macca Archive Collection releases are. They have been gloriously treated by the staff at Abbey Road. Frozen Jap is even more beautiful. I enjoy instrumentals, just like John Lennon's "Beef Jerky" on Walls and Bridges. The bonus disc song "All You Horse Riders/Blue Sway" is a fun listen. I wouldn't listen to these over and over. It can be a bit tiresome. I do think Paul did a nice job with the risky songs he made during the sessions.
While this isn't Macca's greatest album, it's his most experimental, and a nice left-field listening experience.
The first disc of the Deluxe Edition features the original album in best-ever sound quality. My favorite tracks are the Lennonesque "On the Way," the beautiful ballad "Waterfalls," the "Get Back"-like "Nobody Knows," the fun rocker "Bogey Music," and the wistful ballad "One of These Days," plus the two instrumentals.
The bonus audio on Disc 2 is a mixed bag. "Blue Sway," with its Richard Niles orchestration, is an absolutely gorgeous piece of music. "Coming Up (Live at Glasgow)" has an extra verse that was edited out of previous releases, and it also has been remixed. Like previous CD releases on ALL THE BEST! and WINGSPAN, the closing "crowd chant" has been edited out (it's only on the original Columbia and Parlophone 45s, and the one-sided white label Columbia promo that was included in original copies of the U.S album). "Check My Machine" (a fun track) and the overly long "Secret Friend" are B-sides that were used as bonus tracks on the previous CD editions. "Bogey Wobble" doesn't measure up to "Bogey Music," "Mr H Atom / You Know I'll Get You Baby" is experimental and doesn't quite work. Neither does "All You Horse Riders / Blue Sway" (the latter track is much better in its orchestrated form, as noted above). "Wonderful Christmastime" is finally where it belongs (not on BACK TO THE EGG). The B-side, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reggae," was recorded in 1975, but it was not included on the 2014 edition of VENUS AND MARS. Who knows where it will wind up?
Disc 3 features long versions of six songs. The two instrumentals are better in their long versions, as is "Wonderful Christmastime." The other tracks are better in short form. "Summer's Day Song" actually works better as an instrumental than a vocal. "Waterfalls" is the DJ edit from WINGSPAN.
The DVD features a "Meet Paul McCartney" interview with Tim Rice of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR fame, music videos for "Blue Sway" (gorgeous), "Coming Up," "Waterfalls," and "Wonderful Christmastime" (the latter two are in better quality on THE MCCARTNEY YEARS), the version of "Coming Up" from CONCERTS FOR THE PEOPLE OF KAMPUCHEA (hope that film and album see release someday), a 1979 Lower Gate Farm rehearsal of "Coming Up," and a "Making of the 'Coming Up' Music Video" minidoc that uses an extended version of the commentary track from THE MCCARTNEY YEARS.
I wish that the original version of "Coming Up (Live at Glasgow)," with the crowd chant, had been used (the other version should have been considered a bonus track). I also would have liked a CD version of THE MCCARTNEY INTERVIEW album that was released as a Limited Edition by Columbia Records in 1980. A 1981 UK Parlophone release of that LP, issued with the catalog number CHAT 1, was withdrawn after just one day at Paul's insistence. Perhaps that is the reason for its exclusion.
Overall, 3.5 stars for content, 4 stars for sound/audio quality, and 5 stars for the beautiful packaging. A worthwhile purchase for McCartney fans.