Wings – London Town (1978)

History: Recording for the album started in 1977 on a yacht in the Virgin Islands. The band took a break because Linda was pregnant, and during that time Joe English decided to return to America and Jimmy McCulloch left to join another band, so Wings was down to three members once again when they finished recording in 1978.

My own personal history and initial prediction: The only song title I recognize is “With a Little Luck,” and while it’s one I’m familiar with I wouldn’t call it one of my favorites. I can’t remember much of it beyond them singing the title right now. That said at this point Wings’ albums have been going fairly well so I look forward to giving this one a try. I do notice a lot more co-writing credits between Paul and Denny Laine so it’ll be interesting to see how that changes the sound if at all.

What I worked on while listening:

Feeling the Halloween spirit

Review: This album definitely has a different feel than most of the other Wings albums so far. I’m not sure if it’s the use of certain synthesizers, or just that the fact that the album is overall just very mellow in tone with a few exceptions, but there’s something about this album that screams “easy listening” to me. The kind of sounds you would expect to hear playing in your dentist’s office.

There are exceptions, “I’ve Had Enough” stands out as a great retro rock and roll number that reminds me of something Smokey Robinson and the Miracles could have done. “Name and Address” sounds very Elvis. “Famous Groupies” is a fun bouncy number. But otherwise we’re dealing with a lot of quieter numbers, some with a folk sound, others leaning a little more toward the blues. The music is literally quiet, to the point that as the second song began I double checked to make sure I didn’t have the volume turned way down by accident, it was all just coming through so softly. This isn’t inherently a bad thing, of course. But I do personally greatly prefer when Paul is more bouncy and upbeat. As such I left the album with the feeling that most of this just isn’t my cup of tea.

Some of the songs almost feel like they belong on a different concept album. “Morse Moose and the Grey Goose” in particular is this weird meandering story between these two characters. It’s not bad, it just feels a little out place compared to the rest of the album. I had a hard time grasping a cohesive whole for it in general. Maybe it speaks to Joe and Jimmy’s departure, or the fact that they took a break in the middle and the recent birth of James was probably far more a priority to Paul and Linda at the time, but the album just feels disconnected and strange to me. I feel like I may be a little harsh on it over all, which really isn’t fair. It’s ultimately just not an album I plan to return to.

Singles released around this time:

“Seaside Woman” – I actually first listened to this one when it was included in the Red Rose Speedway special edition and could have sworn I talked about it then but didn’t. This song was written entirely by Linda in relation to accusations that she wasn’t an actual song writer and didn’t deserve credit on Paul’s previous solo work. The single was credited to Suzy and the Red Stripes. There’s a degree of simplicity to the song but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s got a fun reggae beat to it.

“B-side to Seaside” – A fun play on words and a good bouncy beat. Lyrically Linda seems to take the method of just coming up with one verse, having some musical breaks in between, then repeating the verse again.

“Mull of Kintyre” – I thought for sure this was an old Scottish folk song that Paul was doing a cover of, that’s how classic it sounds. I can understand why this was such a huge hit in the UK for that reason.

“Girls’ School” – There’s a bit of cultural stereotyping going on here in the lyrics that we could do without, but otherwise it’s a fun rock number. I can see how this would have been the more appealing side of the single for America at the time.

Next Time: Ringo returns once again with Bad Boy.

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