Venus & Mars
At The Speed of Sound
Paul McCartney & Wings
As Paul McCartney, the Energizer Bunny of rock, continues to play stadiums and issue new music, the archives have been shedding some sweet goodies. The reissues of Wings albums Venus And Mars (1975) and At The Speed Of Sound (1976) have been remastered and are accompanied by second discs filled with odd ball single releases, outtakes, previously unreleased demos and finished tracks. Deluxe versions feature DVDs with video from 1975-76, clearly a time when Wings was more of a “band” than an outlet for Paul McCartney.
Venus And Mars, the fourth Wings studio album, features the single “Listen To What The Man Said,” as well as one of the band’s heavier offerings, the epic “Rock Show.” McCartney hands a huge chunk of the vocals to guitarist Denny Laine on "Spirits Of Ancient Egypt," while lead guitarist Jimmy McCulloch takes the lead on his own rocking contribution, “Medicine Jar.” The bonus disc is highlighted by the inclusion of “Junior’s Farm,” the 1974 #3 single that features drummer Geoff Britton (Joe English played on the subsequent albums).
At The Speed Of Sound came along just as Wings toured America for the first and only time. This time Laine sings two, the ethereal “The Note You Never Wrote” and the snappy “Time To Hide.” McCulloch assumes the role on one of his own, “Wino Junko,” drummer Joe English provides an admirable vocal on “Must Be Something About It,” and Linda McCartney makes her mark with the jaunty ‘Cook Of The House.”The album’s #1 single “Silly Love Songs” was one of the poppier numbers on an album that was lighter than its predecessor. Fortunately, “Let ‘Em In” and “Beware My Love” add some weight.
Actually, the most curious song on the reissue may be an alternate take of “Beware My Love” with John Bonham on drums. It doesn’t quite boom like a Led Zeppelin song, but you can definitely tell who it is by the smooth fills and general swing. You put Venus And Mars and At The Speed Of Sound together with a bow and card, and any Beatles and/or Paul McCartney fan you give this to should bow in respect and reverence to your superior tastes.
~ Shawn Perry