Paul McCartney – Run Devil Run (1999)

History: Paul took a full year off of music after Linda’s death, and when he did return he wanted to do something stripped down and easy to record, so he settled on another cover album, choosing a lot of the favorites from his teenage years. There are also three originals included that are written in the same style. Most of the songs were recorded by the band together with little post production. To promote the album Paul did a performance at the Cavern Club.

My own personal history and initial prediction: This album looks like an interesting choice with the combo of classics and some originals. I do wonder if they will flow together or if his songs will be noticeably different. “All Shook Up” is the only one I know by name, though I’ll be interested to hear if some of them are ones I know by sound.

Review: Choosing a lot of obscure covers and mixing them with originals was a pretty great idea for Paul, because honestly without checking the liner notes I couldn’t easily tell you while listening which ones were covers and which ones were his. “All Shook Up” is of course the one exception to this, but I really applaud Paul for making it his own here rather than just trying to emulate Elvis’ version. The songs overall really give you that early rock and roll feel, or occasionally drifting more over into country styles, but they all sound right out of the 1950s while also feeling like they belong to Paul.

It’s clear that Linda’s death was on his mind, in both the selections of some of the other cover songs as well as his own. “No Other Baby,” “Lonesome Town,” and “Try Not to Cry” are a trilogy in the middle of the album that touch on some of his feelings he was going through. But overall the album is a joyful, fun mix with upbeat numbers. It shows a man who is learning to smile and laugh again despite the pain he’s been through.

About the only complaint I could have about the album is that these songs are so short. There are only two songs on the whole album that pass the three minute mark. Of course that was pretty common for the 1950s, so it’s not Paul’s fault, and it makes sense that his new ones would follow that pattern as well. It just made it hard for me to take my usual notes per song as I listened because I felt like one song was done just as I was starting to get to know it. But that said, with it being so breezy and quick it also loans itself to repeated listens very easily. I preferred this album to his last cover album as it just felt more authentic. I could definitely see myself returning to these songs again in the future.

Next Time: I try to get excited for Christmas in July because Ringo released I Wanna Be Santa Claus.


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