2013 Grammy WIN for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.
Sir Paul!! I mean, how can you not get excited to hear just about anything from this living legend?
Did you know that Paul's Wiki breaks his albums into three categories? Rock/Pop, Classical, and Electronica. That was a bit of a surprise. "Kisses on the Bottom" is under the Rock/Pop section, if you were curious.
You may have heard a little about this one before. It's an album full of covers of traditional pop and jazz music. It's a little weird to think that this man is usually the one who gets covered. Time to turn things around, I suppose!
"I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter" starts things off with a strong string bass taking the opening bit. Paul comes in with a softer voice than I can ever remember hearing from him. It's weird and unexpected. Not sure how this one's going to all work out. Ah, but there's the lyric that must have spawned the title of the album - he's talking about a letter with a bunch of kisses on the bottom from her to him (this is all make believe, by the way). This is a cute new rendition of Fred E. Ahlert & Joe Young's 1935 jazz number, done in "Ain't Misbehavin'."
"It's Only A Paper Moon" was originally written for a Broadway show called "The Great Magoo," set in Coney Island. Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole did the most popular versions though, during WWII. It was revived in 1973 for the movie "Paper Moon." Here, we get Paul singing in the more cute way I think I'm more comfortable with hearing. He seems to groove right along with the band, feeling the rhythm straight through his approach to the vocals.
Frank Loesser wrote our next number, "More I Cannot Wish You," which is incredibly familiar. It's a gentle love song wishing the world for someone, but nothing more than love. The drums are doing that incredible brush beat in the back that can be annoying if not done correctly. Here, trust me, all is done perfectly.
"The Glory of Love" is a heart-warming one in that it's something you've surely heard and loved before. It was written by Billy Hill and sung by Benny Godman in 1936. The Five Keys, an R&B group, made this a #1 song in 1951 as well. It was also redone by Bette Midler for "Beaches." Paul's version seems to have a little laugh of understanding within it. It's genuinely perfect.
Now, "We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me)" certainly comes off as a tad desperate. It's a cute and clearly older song, but it just doesn't hit home at this moment. It hangs there in around the middle of the album as a less than thrilling number, though I have to give props to that bit of jazz piano going, since that's just plain lovely and inspiring.
"Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate THe Positive" is an old familiar track for sure, but would anyone else out there be surprised to hear it's an old hymn originally? Johnny Mercer heard a preacher use the phrase in a sermon and thought it was great. He recorded the song with The Pied Pipers in 1944, and it has been done many times over in the close to 70 years since. Sir Paul brings his own style to it, with that funky little curl of a voice he has always had.
"My Valentine" is an original. Okay, so that whole thing about this being a CD of covers was a little off. But maybe the man is trying to create his own standard as well. Eric Clapton is playing that guitar back there, so, permission to swoon granted. The song has an interestingly sad and Italian nature to it. It was the first single from the album, and just gentle as all get out.
Irving Berlin, an always and forever amazing songwriter, originally brought us "Always" in 1925. Everyone seems to have done their own version of this as well. It was originally a wedding gift for Irving's wife, Ellin McKay. It's an absolutely gorgeous standard that Paul sings with such a beautiful take that I am blown away. I hadn't expected, this far in life, that the guy could still make such beautiful music, especially when so much of the rest of his tunes some out so cutesy, but I love that he pleasantly surprises me!
"My Very Good Friend The Milkman" is back to the cuteness. It's a nice break from the past few most intense love songs. The trumpet's muted sound brings the old charm to this, and if I could whistle, I would probably be whistling this infectious little tune all day long.
I would've thought the theme from "The Godfather" was about to play as those strings lead in "Bye Bye Blackbird." It's an intense beginning to what seems to remain a quieter song throughout. While I'm finding it hard to commit to this song emotionally at all, the music is a welcome addition to the background of my day. How absolutely pretty and classic.
"Get Yourself Another Fool" has a more modern sound than anything else on this album thus far. I think we can attribute that to the steady blues guitar going along the whole track, which I'm pretty darn sure you didn't hear in the 20's or 30's, where most of these track came from. Again, not loving this down to my roots, but it is so well done musically. Everyone is there and the sound is smokey and damn near perfection.
And then we get what I can only describe as a children's song. "The Inch Worm" is comprised of math problems and what literally sounds like children singing the background music. This was just a very odd little experience. I did look it up - and yes, it was a children's song. Ah, I love when I can confirm my assumptions. Frank Loesser, the guy that wrote it in 1952, was even clever and threw in counterpoint toward the end as a challenge to singers. Why is it included here? Maybe for the musical complexity, or maybe just as a sweet memory from another life.
The final track is also the only other original number, and includes Stevie Wonder on the Harmonica. "Only Out Hearts" was the second and only other single to be released from this album. When it comes in, I wouldn't have pegged it as something new. The orchestral work in the backing, along with the recording style, so seem to boast of another time long ago.
Added to My Playlist:
- "More I Cannot Wish You"
- "The Glory of Love"
- "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive"
If I haven't expressed my undying love for Paul McCartney in the past, I mean, just go ahead and assume it's there. He's just got a timeless sound, especially in this arena and body of work, yet manages to make everything his own. I'm continually surprised by what he does. I always say he probably is my least favorite Beatle based on their solo work, but that must just elevate the others into the heavens, because this man is no short-comer on his work by any means.