This is an album I have wanted to hear for years, but high collector’s prices have kept it out of my reach for all this time. That situation has finally changed with the new Real Gone Records release of McGough & McGear, which is appearing for the first time ever in the U.S. The album was released in 1968, and features a number of uncredited superstars of the era. One element in the duo’s favor in soliciting these contributions had to have been their excellent connections. For example, it probably helped that Mike McGear is actually a pseudonym for Mike McCartney, whose brother’s name is Paul.
Over 40 years after the fact, the list of guest stars can be revealed, and it is impressive. Besides brother Paul, contributors to the album include Jimi Hendrix, Graham Nash, Dave Mason, Paul Samwell-Smith, and even Paul’s girlfriend at the time, Jane Asher.
McGough & McGear is not just a Beatle-brother’s vanity project however. These two had real talent, and even though the album was overlooked upon release, it is quite adventurous. Roger McGough and Mike McGear began their careers in a musical/comedy troupe called Scaffold. When they decided to strike out on their own as a duo, they decided to incorporate some of the comedy into their music, as well as straight poetry, and some ringing pop.
The lead track, “So Much” should have been a hit. It has everything going for it, but never caught on. Because of record label restrictions in the sixties, they were not allowed to list the people who played on it. But even without the credit, it is very clear that the great psychedelic guitar solo is played by Jimi Hendrix. Paul’s harmonies are very much in evidence as well.