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Customer Review

174 of 186 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Macca Plays the Cocktail Lounge, February 7, 2012
This review is from: Kisses on the Bottom (Audio CD)
Let's face it - these cover albums from veteran, heavily-moneyed legends of rock and pop are often pretty mundane, or at the very least inconsequential. In spite of this, Paul McCartney delivers quite well on "Kisses on the Bottom," with his iconic, velvety voice singing an eclectic, elaborate array of some of the best tunes ever written - as well as two extremely impressive new ones.

The gorgeous, lilting "My Valentine" recalls a fond romantic memory without a trace of sap or sickly-sweetness. It is a damn solid McCartney original that, save for his now-huskier vocal range, would fit in well on one of the classic Beatles albums. "Only Our Hearts" is similar in its theme and melancholic edge, but better showcases McCartney's expressive, stirring lower register. Eric Clapton plays guitar on the latter while Stevie Wonder contributes harmonica on the former. It helps to have friends.

This is not a Valentine's Day album, but it is very fortunately released in the days leading up to the holiday, for its ambiance is certainly warm, balmy and lush - that is to say, romantic. Whether he's singing the nuances of the evocative "Bye Bye Blackbird" or the timeless, drippy "Always," McCartney's delivery is consistently restrained, contemplative and sentimental, yet, importantly, he never sounds insincere or premeditated. Each selection is well-rendered and straightforward.

Much of the reason for this cohesion is owed to Diana Krall's backing band, hired specifically for this project. Backing McCartney with a fervent glow on the likes of the brilliant "The Glory of Love" and the relatively funky "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," they earn their keep here.

McCartney has set many records in his long and varied career, and "Kisses on the Bottom" won't break any of them, yet it is also a highly listenable set of mellow, lovely tunes that goes perfect with a bottle of wine, whether or not the evening skews romantic.

(Certain retailers carry different editions, some featuring bonus tracks, so do your homework.)
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 14, 2012 2:29:41 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 14, 2012 2:31:11 PM PST]

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 2:30:43 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 14, 2012 3:08:47 PM PST
Gengler says:
It's charming. It's slight. It's pure Paul.

Don't kid yourself - it's also most definitely a Valentine's Day album. Purely for marketing purposes. And it worked. I bought it. My wife loved it. So do I.

Singing in a soft upper register (remarkable in and of itself - Sinatra at a similar stage of his career only managed a coarse bark. Good thing you gave up the ciggies Paul. And the not-quite-legal ciggies.

Sir Paul recorded this CD at Capitol Studios - the "house that Sinatra built". Finest recording acoustics in the world. Irony? I think not.

Sir Paul doesn't "mail it in". He does an admirable job. It will never erase one's memories of The Chairman of the Board singing Paper Moon, but it is admirable. When he breaks into full Paul voice on Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive (a high point) it's quite refreshing. The disc did run the risk of having all songs sound like Honey Pie, off of the White Album. It doesn't. But let's face it - there IS a reason why Sir Paul wrote all those songs that we all found slightly embarrassing 45 years ago. Why? Your Mother Should Know. Now you know as well.

My Valentine is a fine song - it has stuck in my mind - but the middle bridge does not grow "organically" from the verse (think My Funny Valentine - a true masterpiece) but it is not a hackneyed knock-off - it sticks in your mind. And it fits in perfectly with the other songs from The Great American Songbook. Dare I say the word "classic"? Yea -

I too, regretted that the amazon "deluxe edition" didn't include Sir Paul's reworking of Baby's Request (a personal favorite from Back To The Egg, nearly 35 years ago ! ) so if one if looking for that - go to Target, as mentioned by other reviewers.

But why, Sir Paul, did you change the lyric to More I cannot Wish You? From "with the sheep's eye" and "licorice tooth" to "with a sheepish eye" and "luck of the truth"? Frank Loesser knew eactly what he was writing. Sheep's eyes yield sharp vision - sheepish eyes convey skepticism. And the locorice tooth conveys a taste for sweetness. The luck of the truth doesn't...really..make...sense. Ah well. Even Sinatra changed lyrics of some songs he sang.

I've always suggested that Sir Paul has brought more joy and more happiness to more people than any other person on the globe. His concerts are unique - there is nothing quite like hearing a stadium full of people, ranging in age from 6 to 70+ singing the coda to Hey Jude. Godspeed Sir Paul. Whether its the Liverpool Oratorio, A Garland for Linda, a remastered Band On The Run, or Kisses On The Bottom - I'll buy it.

Just keep recording, old friend. It'll be a sad day when you no longer sing love songs. So, I'm thankful for this new batch.

Four Stars. (From the guy who greeted you and Nancy at the popcorn counter at the Zeigfeld Theater at the opening weekend of the last Indian Jones movie at the Zeigfeld Theater in NYC)

Posted on Feb 14, 2012 6:50:11 PM PST
hr says:
is it better than his grammy performance (first song)?

that was a bit underwhelming . . .

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2012 9:45:46 AM PST
Donald Inks says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2012 10:04:51 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 15, 2012 10:30:32 AM PST
Gengler says:
Have to respectfully disagree. First, I'd never compare McCartney directly of Sinatra but I am a huge fan of each and have quite a Sinatra collection. McCartney singing Paper Moon is actually much more of a success than Sinatra's recordings of either Yesterday or - god help us - Something ("You stick around, Jack; it may show....")

Second, I wouldn't say this is deaf worship - I buy many CDs of artists I enjoy - pop, jazz, classical - to see, or hear, what they're currently up to. I can't say I've enjoyed all of Yo Yo Ma's forays into world/pop/jazz - but I've always found them to be interesting. McCartney's forays into the world of classical music are not complete successes - but the second movement of Ecce Cor Meum is both charming and moving. A Garland For Linda, made up of works composed by noted modern composers and commissioned by McCartney as a memorial to his beloved wife Linda is moving, and substantive.

My Valentine is hardly "muzak" - The songs are standards, Paul sounds great, Krall et al are superb, and there is no sense of mismatch between artist and material as was so painfully obvious with Rod Stewart's making hash of "The Great American Songbook". All artists run the risk of critical barbs when they cross genres. George Gershwin went to Paris to study classical composition with Maurice Ravel, who famously refused his request saying: "Why become a second rate Ravel when you're already a first rate Gershwin?"

And McCartney is first rate. I teach hgih school science. High school students can be a very cynical bunch. What performance were they discussing in one class on the day following the Grammys? McCartney's The End medley.

If it's not your cuppa, fine. But these songs deserve to be heard and Mccartney does them pretty well. Better, in my opinion, than the celebrated stylist Theo Bleckmann who is the current toast of the cabaret circuit.

Chacun a son gout.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2012 11:41:12 AM PST
Donald Inks says:
Actually, I have an extensive musical library,
from Bach to Beatles, Sinatra to Sinfield....

It wasn't Paul's choice of the old was the "performance".

If you enjoy that "cup-of-tea", may I highly suggest another set done right:

Harry Nilsson: "A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night".

A Little Touch Of Schmilsson In The Night


In reply to an earlier post on Feb 15, 2012 2:35:09 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 15, 2012 2:35:25 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2015 7:23:06 PM PST
Wayne Engle says:
Good points. And, as to your remark about never comparing McCartney and Sinatra directly -- OK. But let me ask you this: How many songs did Frank Sinatra write? How many instruments could he play? Hmmm?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2015 2:15:10 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 18, 2015 2:17:17 PM PST
Gengler says:
Absolutely! Look, in my book McCartney is a true god of popular music, but as Jim Morrison of the Doors once said, "Sinatra? No one can touch him."

Now Nilsson was also in a class in himself, before EtOH destroy his voice - and him.

Of course, if you want to really amuse yourself, you might give this upcoming Sinatra tribute release a listen: (links not working - but its Dylan's debacle, Shadows In The Night - again, I'm a big Dylan fan - dozens of bootlegs alone - but Dylan at 70 singing Sinatra? Yech!)

Cheers -
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