Flaming Pie Remaster Review
SHE Can See The world Tonight through the release of Paul McCartney’s 1997 album, Flaming Pie, remastered, Another Blazing Archive Edition for Fans
The next Paul McCartney Archive Edition set was recently announced as 1997’s Flaming Pie and it was time to “start saving” I thought. Past editions have been worth every penny and the latest installment from Sir Paul is not a disappointment. I was given the opportunity to listen to four of the five discs in the new archive collection and here’s what I heard:
Disc 1 is THE ALBUM, remastered of course. I bought this CD when it came out in 1997 and managed to get a hold of a vinyl copy as well (which were getting very scarce in the American market by that time). There is a definite difference with the new release. The sound is amazing. For example, I feel like I am sitting in the studio while Paul plays “Calico Skies” to me. “Flaming Pie” just grabs you with that pounding piano. I didn’t realize how well Steve Miller duels vocally with Paul in “Used to Be Bad” until I heard this remastered version. Ringo Starr’s drums are prominently grooving in the “new” take on “Really Love You”. “Beautiful Night” has always been my #2 favorite Paul song, and the original remastered version was only the beginning of hearing this song in this new collection. To someone who has listened to this album a bunch, one can even hear new extended fade-outs with “If You Wanna” and “Used to Be Bad”. “Great Day” ends this disc and I now find myself singing this song on my way in to work as I don my mask.
Disc 2 is comprised of home recordings and demos representing almost every song on the official release. Many of the tunes are Paul and his guitar, with a guest appearance rhythm box accompaniment. I love how “The Songs We Were Singing” went off in a different direction from the officially released track (and I swear it sounds like an airplane is taking off in the middle of this recording!) Mr. McCartney really jams in his acoustic version of “If You Wanna”. “Young Boy” is sung as “Poor Boy” in the demo version at times. “Flaming Pie” is on the piano of course and is just a simplified version of the final cut, as what more do you need than that strong vocal and versatile keyboard playing? I was startled by the telephone ringing during Paul’s recording of the “Souvenir” demo – he just kept on going! The second offering of “Beautiful Night” in the deluxe set presents a very bare version of the tune that I enjoyed just as much as the official release. These tracks must have been kept in a vault as I never heard any of these versions!
As I listened to disc 3 for the first time, the progression of this collection reminded me much of the Flowers in the Dirt Deluxe edition, where Paul gives us a listen to the evolution with each of the songs on this album. “Great Day” brought me a memory of a real great day, as I could hear Paul call Geoff by name. This could only be Geoff Emerick, long time engineer for The Beatles and Paul’s musical efforts and Recording Engineer of “Flaming Pie” I fondly think of the day I got to meet Mr. Emerick at the Abbey Road on the River festival, sadly before he left us all in 2018.
The disc also surprised me with some “ad libs” as the McCartneys called it with songs “C’mon Down, C’mon Baby” and “Whole Life”. These were two tunes I haven’t heard before. It was nice to hear Ringo ready to roll with Paul in yet another version of “Beautiful Night”, and this take sounded like it was nearing the finish line for final production with orchestral support conducted by none other than George Martin being added later. The disc ends with “Heaven on a Sunday” (Rude Studio take), which starts like one of the tape loops Paul was so fond of creating. This was yet one more pile of songs buried deep for apparently no ears to hear as this whole disc was also new to me.
What makes me happiest about this latest release is American fans get the opportunity to own material previously unreleased in the States. Being a die-hard fan in the 90s, hearing about these tracks put me on a quest to gather 6 CD singles, 5 of which could be found from the UK and 3 imported vinyl picture disc singles. Disc 4 of the new deluxe edition comprises what was on these releases. One of my all-time favorite Paul McCartney songs is called “Same Love”. The piano and Paul’s voice are incredible. The song still gives me chills. Each CD single from the 1990s had a snippet from the Oobu Joobu series Paul produced as weekly radio shows in the 1990s. And yes, I am one of the crazy people that tape-recorded each program on a cassette so I could keep forever. Fans can now get quality-sounding excerpts on this new release. Little gems like “Atlantic Ocean”, “I Love This House” and yet another offering of “Beautiful Night”, surrounded by Paul’s musical career memories are just instances while listening that make this disc special to say the least.
Now this is just the music, I haven’t even gotten to the spoken word documentary on Disc 5, the 2 DVDs and extra goodies in the box set yet…that’s gonna have to be for a future piece.
Did I have any disappointments? If I had to say something, it would have to be the cost to own the collection. I did not hesitate to order The Deluxe Edition, however some friends of mine were not as eager to jump when seeing the price tag. Thankfully, Paul’s team has crafted various editions of the re-release to fit various budgets. Read about ALL the various versions in Beatle Brunch news
The affordable 2-disc package looks like a healthy collection of material to please any Paul fan. My recommendation: Indulge in the latest archive edition, for we never know when the next one will arrive. Besides, it’s our consolation prize for not getting to see the new and improved Let It Be Peter Jackson film release this year.
Thank you Dr. Jennifer Sandi of The Beatle Brunch Club for this special contribution to Beatle Brunch. Copyright 2020