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Monday, July 11, 2011

Paul McCartney - McCartney / McCartney II

Paul McCartney - McCartney and McCartney II
2011, MPL/Concord Music Group

The Paul McCartney Archive Collection got two more entries last month with the long-awaited re-release of McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980), the two albums that bookended his career phase with Wings.  McCartney followed close on the heels of the breakup of The Beatles, and featured three fan favorites, including what might be the pinnacle of McCartney's love songs, "Maybe I'm Amazed".  McCartney II was a #1 album in the UK and #3 in the US, and signaled McCartney's continued relevance in the pop world with such tracks as "Coming Up" and "Waterfalls".  Both albums are presented fully re-mastered by the same team that recently re-mastered the Beatles catalog, with Paul McCartney supervising the project.

The real treat for each collection, however, are in the expanded editions.  Each CD is available as a 2-CD "Special Edition" set with bonus tracks.  McCartney is also available as a 2 CD/1 DVD "Deluxe Edition" with rare footage, a 128-page hard-bound book and high-resolution downloads of the original album and bonus tracks.  McCartney II gets even more expansive, with a 3 CD/1 DVD "Deluxe Edition" featuring seven additional audio tracks and unreleased footage, including a video for the unreleased song "Blue Sway".    Like the first album, this special expanded set includes high resolution downloads and a 128 page hard bound book.  180gm audiophile vinyl recordings of both albums will also be released.

For the truly hard core Beatles/McCartney collector, nothing but the Deluxe Editions of each album will do.  For most, the single-disc versions will be fine, but the two-disc versions of McCartney and McCartney II probably provide the most bang for your buck.  McCartney's early solo material was uneven, prone to bizarre flights of fancy that sometimes turned to genius, and sometimes to stone.  But both albums are offered up in pristine sound quality, and there are versions available to please all levels of McCartney fandom.  On the whole, these are solid collections that add to the collectible material available from McCartney, but are more about re-packaging a proven product that truly offering something new.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
 Learn more about Paul McCartney at
McCartney is available from as a Special Edition CD, Deluxe Edition CD, on Vinyl or as a Download.  The album is also available via iTunes.
McCartney II is available from as a Special Edition CD, Deluxe Edition CD, on Vinyl or as a Download.  The album is also available via iTunes.

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