Earlier this month Paul reissued the 11thand 12thtitles in his GRAMMY-winning Archive Collection: Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway. Both feature numerous unreleased items including scrapbooks, the never-before-seen ‘Bruce McMouse’ film and a recreation of the Red Rose Speedway “Double Album”.
But what was the “Double Album” and what happened to it? To learn more about this title, PaulMcCartney.com is today handing over the reigns to Paul’s MPL office to tell us more about it…
One of our favourite things about working with Paul on his Archive Collections is looking through all the drawers and shelves and down the back of the sofas to see what curiosities we can find. On average, it usually takes us around 18 months to put the packages together, from starting the research to getting them in to your hands. In that time we work closely with Paul, the designers and essay book writer on the story of the release and – let’s be honest here - we get to see some incredible items!
We were always aware that Paul and Wings had considered releasing Red Rose Speedway as a double album from our reading up on everything and anything we can get our hands on (when you have such a rich music history as Paul, you need to do a lot of reading to try and keep up!). So after Paul decided the next two reissues in his Archive Collection, we set ourselves the task of finding out what happened to this double album.
Looking through the archives (which is actually a pretty comprehensive digital library) we found paperwork alluding to acetates of the double album… but with different track listings! So that started another treasure hunt: what was the correct version?!
During the research, either the essay writer or MPL aim to speak with as many of the musicians, producers and engineers from the period as we can - we always want the story to be as complete as possible. So we jumped out of our seats when we learned that Denny Seiwell (drummer on Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway) still had three of the four acetates of a version of the touted release. And luckily the tracklisting for the fourth side was also written on there – so we had a physical document from the time! (You can see scans of these acetates in the 128-page essay book included in the Deluxe Edition.)
Denny’s acetates were dated 13thDecember 1972. So was this the final version? Our subsequent research suggested not – ‘My Love’ wasn’t recorded until January 1973! But it was a great leap forward.
Then, as luck would have it, Paul’s archive department found another version of the tracklisting from 30thJanuary 1973 (these archive folks are the people you REALLY want on your team if you’re ever in a pub quiz about our boss – they know everything, maybe even more than Paul himself!). As Red Rose Speedway was released in May 1973, we felt reassured this version would be pretty final. What’s more, this version also fitted perfectly onto four sides of vinyl. [Techie Note: You can only fit up to 22 minutes comfortably on a side of vinyl.]
With this new tracklisting in our pockets, we had one more test to run: Paul’s memory! Now, you might think with everything Paul has seen and done, there can only be so much room in one man’s brain and he might not remember every little detail of every release? Not true. We don’t know how he does it, but he never ceases to amaze us with what has filed away in his head!
So after several months of research, we proudly went to show Paul our homework and to see if it tallied it up with his memories of the time. We sat down with him in his office on a beautiful early spring day, presented what we had and after a few minutes of looking through it we got our answer… yes!
Paul told us: “You know, this is actually how I recollect that double album. I don’t remember exactly why we changed it. Possibly because of the label? But, to be honest, it’s more likely that I would have just said it’s so much easier to deal with a single album. I mean, this one we’re making at the moment [Egypt Station] – we’ve already said, ‘There’s too many tracks!’ But, ultimately we’ll pick the best and make it a single album. They’re so much easier to deal with! But it’s great the double album will finally get a release!”
So there you have it – a little look behind-the-scenes and into how Paul’s Archive Collections are put together. It really is a fascinating process. Below is the tracklisting for the _Red Rose Speedway “Double Album”._Does this match what you were expecting? Let us know in the comments below…