Paul McCartney & Wings – One Hand Clapping

It was meant to be a documentary shortly after Paul McCartney’s band Wings finally broke through to the general public with the bestseller “Band On The Run,” which convinced the critics who blamed him for The Beatles’ breakup. “One Hand Clapping” was a session at Abbey Road Studios that was filmed and intended as a TV special. However, it ended up in the vault. Over the decades, many bootlegs of the recordings emerged. In 2010, the film was finally included as a bonus DVD in a reissue of “Band On The Run,” albeit with outdated visual quality. Fortunately, the audio could be restored. Now, after 50 years, there is finally an official release of the session as a live album.

The setlist included not only early Wings material from the first half of the ’70s but also a few covers (Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky”), the old Moody Blues classic “Go Now” powerfully sung by Denny Laine, and even three snippets of Beatles songs. While McCartney’s setlist in 2024 primarily features Beatles songs, it was a different story in the ’70s. “Let It Be,” “The Long and Winding Road,” and “Lady Madonna” are played here almost like an improvised jam.

More interesting are the tight performances of Wings’ songs. At the beginning of “Jet,” it’s noticeable how Linda’s synthesizer is a bit too prominent, but that disappears with the tight rocker “Soily.” Or how beautiful “Maybe I’m Amazed” sounds with the Hammond organ. But the biggest surprise is the song “Tomorrow,” originally from the first Wings album “Wild Life.” McCartney sings and accompanies himself on the piano as if it’s a soul ballad, very different from the original album version.

Aside from the improvised jams in between (such as the trivial “Baby Face”), this would have been a perfect setlist for Wings in 1974. McCartney’s voice was at its best, and Wings had become a well-oiled live band by then. It’s a must for Beatles and McCartney fans that after half a century, this beautifully crafted recording has finally been released. (8/10) (Universal)

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