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The reissue program moves forward, slowly but surely, adding interesting bonus audio to accompany the 1976 hit album.

Music Review: Paul McCartney and Wings – ‘Wings at the Speed of Sound’ [Archive Collection]

Speed of Sound coverA smash hit album that spent seven weeks atop the Billboard album chart in 1976, Wings at the Speed of Sound is the latest reissue in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. The original 11-song album has always been a bit wobbly in terms of quality, with only six tunes sung by McCartney. The remaining spots on the album were doled out to the other members of Wings, with Denny Laine taking two lead vocals. What makes this edition of Speed of Sound so essential is the dramatically improved fidelity. The endlessly imaginative arrangements have never sounded so effervescent. McCartney’s bass, especially, pops like never before on the chart-topping hit “Silly Love Songs” and throbs on Laine’s moody rocker “Beware My Love.”

A second audio disc includes seven bonus cuts (one of which, “Message to Joe,” is a silly snippet running less than a minute). The two highlights are alternate takes of “Beware My Love” and “Must Do Something About It.” Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham pounds the drums on the former, while McCartney handles lead vocals on the latter (Wings drummer Joe English sings the album track). There are charmingly simple piano-based demos for “Silly Love Songs” and “She’s My Baby.” We also hear demos for the album-closing ballad “Warm and Beautiful” and the album’s other big hit, “Let ‘Em In.”

A deluxe book package is also available, but the packaging wasn’t available for review. The DVD in that package was, however, and it’s a disappointingly short (about 22 minutes) program of two home movie/B-roll-based featurettes plus the “Silly Love Songs” music video. It’s a shame some previously unseen concert performances from the Wings Over America tour (which supported Speed of Sound) couldn’t have been unearthed. While not as interesting as the concurrently-released Venus and Mars Archive Collection reissue, the bonus audio is indeed welcome. Wings at the Speed of Sound may be one of McCartney’s weaker efforts of the ‘70s, but the remastering makes it a worthwhile addition to any fan’s collection.

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About The Other Chad

An old co-worker of mine thought my name was Chad. Since we had two Chads working there at the time, I was "The Other Chad."

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