Thursday, June 19, 2014

It was U.S. capitalism that nearly brought the world economy down

"It wasn't Argentinean populist economics, Eastern European crony capitalism, or African kleptocracy that threatened the world economy with the worst recession since the 1930s; It was no-holds-barred American capitalism that did that."

- Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J., professor of ethics and global human development at Georgetown University.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

25th Anniversary - Paul McCartney's Flowers in the Dirt (June 5th, 1989). Also, remembering the 1989-1990 Tour and Tripping the Live Fantastic live album

Today, June 5th, is the 25th Anniversary of the release of Paul McCartney's Flowers in the Dirt album in 1989, arguably his best since 1973's Band on the Run. It is my personal favorite.

Paul's career had hit a plateau in the mid-Eighties. Paul found he was not selling as big as he was in the 1970's, when he enjoyed multi-platinum success with Wings. In 1984, he had a charming, but somewhat amateurish movie called Give My Regards to Broadstreet flop at the Theaters. Paul was booed on stage when his microphone was accidentally disconnected during his performance of Let it Be during Live Aid. His 1986 album, Press to Play, even though clever and well-performed and produced, did not even certify Gold in the United States.

Elton John suggested to Paul that he needed to go on tour to give a boost to his career. Paul had not toured since 1980, and that tour was cut short by Paul's infamous drug bust in Japan.

Paul listened to his friend, and decided to record a new album, and to go on a major world tour.

Paul assembled a crack band for his new project. Led by Average White Band alum Hamish Stuart, the new Paul McCartney band included Pretenders veteran Robbie McIntosh on Guitar, Paul “Wix” Wiggins on keyboards, Chris Witten (Dire Straits, Waterboys) on drums, and of course, Linda on keyboards. This band was arguably better as a unit than any of the configurations of Wings. Paul toyed with the idea of naming the band Wings for his tour, but decided against it. He wanted to write a new chapter.

Paul and the band recorded Flowers in the Dirt in 1988 and 1989. There was some work left over from the 1986 Press to Play sessions. Joining Paul and his band for the album were several other luminaries such as David Gilmour, Trevor Horn, and Elvis Costello, who also co-authored with Paul several songs on the album, including the hit, My Brave Face.

The album and the tour were a big success. The album reached #21 in the US, and quickly went Gold, and was #1 in the U.K. The tour was huge, garnering record ticket sales. The tour was called the Get Back Tour. Originally booked in arenas, Paul found he had to quickly move to stadiums to accommodate the large fan demand for tickets. On this tour, Paul performed several songs from his Flowers in the Dirt album, but also was comfortable again playing Beatles songs, some of which had never been performed live before. Such Beatle hits as Back in the U.S.S.R., Things We Said Today, Get Back, Eleangor Rigby, Let it Be, Fool on the Hill, Hey Jude, and many others were performed on the tour. Many Wings and solo McCartney hits such as Maybe I'm Amazed, Band on the Run, Ebony and Ivory, Coming Up and others were also performed. 

There is no doubt that the success of Flowers in the Dirt and the tour that supported it from 1989-1991 rejuvenated Paul's career, and put him back on a level where his subsequent albums began selling gold and platinum again.

There are two live CDs that capture the excellent performances from the tour, Tripping the Live Fantastic! (GOLD) and Tripping the Live Fantastic! Hightlights (Platinum). I have both CD versions, and the single record vinyl version of the album.

There is also an award-winning performance video of the Tour, Get Back, produced by Richard Lester, who also produced A Hard Day's Night and Help!

Flowers in the Dirt  is my favorite Paul McCartney album. I have this album both on vinyl and CD. Much of it sounds very Beatle-esque, and the hit single, My Brave Face, can stand up to anything Paul did with the Beatles. One critic compared it favorably with She Loves You, the Beatles biggest selling single in Britain of all time.

For the tour and album, Paul used, in addition to his famous Hoftner Beatle-Bass, a five-string Wal Bass Guitar that Linda bought him for his birthday. It provided a deep powerful bass line for the song, Rough Ride.

Below is my video play list for both albums and the tour. I do not feature all the songs, but four of what I think are the best ones- My Brave Face, This One, Figure of Eight, Rough Ride.

Flowers in the Dirt Track List:

1. My Brave Face
2. Rough Ride
3. You Want Her Too
4. Distractions
5. We Got Married
6. Put It There
7. Figure of Eight
8. This One
9. Don't Be Careless Love
10. That Day Is Done
11. How Many People
12. Motor of Love
13. Ou Est le Soleil

Buy Flowers in the Dirt here.

Tripping the Live Fantastic! Track listing

All songs by Paul McCartney, except where noted.

Disc one
"Showtime" – 0:38
"Figure of Eight" – 5:32
Recorded in Rotterdam, 10/11/89.
"Jet" – 4:02
Recorded in Wembley, 17/01/90.
"Rough Ride" – 4:48
Recorded in Paris, 10/10/89.
"Got to Get You into My Life" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 3:21
Recorded in Dortmund 17/10/89.
"Band on The Run" – 5:09
Recorded in Wembley, 16/01/90.
"Birthday" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 2:43
Concurrently released as a single to commemorate what would have been John Lennon's 50th birthday, recorded in Knebworth, 30/06/90.
"Ebony and Ivory" – 4:00
Recorded in Rotterdam, 08/11/89.
"We Got Married" – 6:38
Recorded in Wembley, 16/01/90.
"Inner City Madness" (Paul McCartney/Linda McCartney/Hamish Stuart/Robbie McIntosh/Paul Wickens/Chris Whitten) – 1:22
A soundcheck jam by McCartney and his touring band, recorded in Birmingham, 02/01/90.
"Maybe I'm Amazed" – 4:41
Recorded in Rotterdam, 08/11/89.
"The Long and Winding Road" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 4:18
Recorded in Rio de Janeiro, 19/04/90.
"Crackin' Up" (Ellas McDaniel) – 0:49
Recorded in Los Angeles, 23/11/89.
"The Fool on the Hill" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 5:01
Recorded in Wembley, 13/01/90.
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 6:23
Recorded in Los Angeles, 23/11/89.
"Can't Buy Me Love" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 2:14
Recorded in Munich, 21/10/89.
"Matchbox" (Carl Perkins) – 3:09
Recorded in Wembley, 21/01/90.
"Put It There" – 2:43
Recorded in Gothenburg, 28/09/89.
"Together" (Paul McCartney/Linda McCartney/Hamish Stuart/Robbie McIntosh/Paul Wickens/Chris Whitten) – 2:17
Another soundcheck jam, recorded in Chicago, 05/12/89.

Disc two
"Things We Said Today" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 5:01
Recorded in Madrid, 02/11/89.
"Eleanor Rigby" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 2:36
Recorded in Worcester, 08/02/90.
"This One" – 4:28
Recorded in Detroit, 01/02/90.
"My Brave Face" (Paul McCartney/Declan MacManus) – 3:09
Recorded in Wembley, 19/01/90.
"Back in the U.S.S.R." (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 3:15
Recorded in Tokyo, 05/03/90.
"I Saw Her Standing There" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 3:25
Recorded in Montreal, 09/12/89.
"Twenty Flight Rock" (Eddie Cochran/Fairchild) – 3:09
Recorded in Wembley, 13/01/90.
"Coming Up" – 5:18
Recorded in Tokyo, 03/03/90.
"Sally" (Haines/Leon/Towers) – 2:03
Recorded in Wembley, 21/01/90.
"Let It Be" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 3:53
Recorded in Miami, 14/04/90.
"Ain't That a Shame" (Fats Domino/Bartholomew) – 2:40
Recorded in Tokyo, 09/03/90.
"Live and Let Die" – 3:11
Recorded in Gothenburg, 28/09/89.
"If I Were Not upon the Stage" (Sutton/Turner/Bowsher) – 0:36
A faux beginning to the next song, Recorded in Cincinnati, 26/09/89.
"Hey Jude" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 8:03
Recorded in Cincinnati, 12/02/90.
"Yesterday" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 2:06
Recorded in Worcester, 09/02/90.
"Get Back" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 4:11
Recorded in Tokyo, 13/03/90.
"Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) – 6:41
Recorded in Toronto, 07/12/89.
"Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" (Greene) – 4:31
Recorded in Montreal, 09/12/89.

Tripping the Live Fantastic: Highlights!
"Got to Get You into My Life" – 3:15
"Birthday" – 2:43
Concurrently released as a single to commemorate what would have been John Lennon's 50th birthday
"We Got Married" (McCartney) – 7:09
"The Long and Winding Road" – 3:48
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" – 6:21
"Can't Buy Me Love" – 2:14
"All My Trials" (Traditional) – 3:14 (UK only)
"Put It There" (McCartney) – 2:44 (US only)
"Things We Said Today" – 5:01
"Eleanor Rigby" – 2:36
"My Brave Face" (McCartney, Declan MacManus) – 3:09
"Back in the U.S.S.R." – 3:15
"I Saw Her Standing There" – 3:25
"Coming Up" (McCartney) – 5:18
"Let It Be" – 3:53
"Hey Jude" – 8:03
"Get Back" – 4:11
"Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End" – 6:41

Tripping the Live Fantastic: Highlights! Single Record Vinyl limited edition

Side One
The Long And Winding Road
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Can't Buy Me Love
All My Trials

Side Two
Eleanor Rigby
My Brave Face
I Saw Her Standing There
Coming Up
Let It Be
Hey Jude
Get Back