Kisses On The Bottom
Recorded in Los Angeles, New York and London throughout 2011, Kisses On The Bottom is a collection of standards that Paul McCartney describes as “old songs that my parents' generation used to sing at New Year.”
“But,” he continues, “We tried to work out a slightly different approach, and used a selection of songs that wouldn't be the obvious ones...that everyone tends to cover." Enlisting producer Tommy LiPuma and Diana Krall and her band, McCartney did indeed mount a different approach, forgoing his bass and guitar playing skills, and focusing on singing.
From its bouncy opening track, “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” with a fantastic upright bass and Diana Krall on piano, this record from Sir Paul McCartney is unlike anything you ever heard from the ex-Beatle. “Home (When Shadows Fall)” opens with lush strings and we hear the singer using his still melodic voice in an entirely unique light. With some tight guitar, this is a nice tune, more notable for what McCartney’s doing vocally then for the song itself.
“More I Cannot Wish You” is masterful, short, slightly sad and well-played by Diana Krall and her band. There’s that great upright bass again on “The Glory Of Love,” a song you’d be hard-pressed to know it’s McCartney singing. “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive” is where we hear that Macca voice we know while Krall does her best Vince Guaraldi. The first of only two originals, “My Valentine” is as perfect and strong as any tune this guy has ever written; a slightly sappy love with some great acoustic guitar from Eric Clapton. “Bye Bye Black Bird” is a solid read on a classic, with Krall at her finest. Her band really kicks in on “Get Yourself Another Fool” with McCartney in full voice. This is also one where he plays acoustic guitar as he does as on “Inch Worm.”
The last tune, “Only Our Hearts,” is another McCartney original that features Stevie Wonder on harmonica. This is not a release you’d expect from Paul McCartney nor is Kisses On The Bottom going to be ever one’s cup of tea. But it is a masterfully done collection, ex-Beatle or not.
~ ~ Ralph Greco, Jr.