By Gillian G. Gaar
Even Paul McCartney fans who aren’t interested in upgrading their copies of this classic album will want to pick up the “Special Edition” version for the DVD extras, which includes the first-ever official release of McCartney’s 1974 “One Hand Clapping” documentary.
This is the first release in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, the first major overhauling of the McCartney catalogue since the 1993 “Paul McCartney Collection” CDs (which weren’t released in the U.S.) Concord pulled out the stops for this reissue, which is available in four editions. The standard edition is a straightforward reissue. The Special Edition features the album and nine bonus tracks, including “Helen Wheels” (which appeared on the U.S. version of “BOTR” and as a single in the U.K.) and its B-side, “Country Dreamer;” “Zoo Gang,” which was the U.K. B-side of the “BOTR” single; and six songs from the “One Hand Clapping” film. The album itself is among McCartney’s best, and in a sense something of a solo album, as Wings was down to three members at this point: McCartney, wife Linda, and Denny Laine (who gets a co-writing credit on “No Words”).
The Special Edition also has a DVD with the “BOTR” videos, and the charmingly amateurish video for “Helen Wheels.” There are also promo films on the shooting of the band’s iconic cover. But “One Hand Clapping” is the highlight, showing McCartney working with what was to be the next version of Wings, including guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Geoff Britton (who left the following year). After years of being on the collector’s circuit, it’s great to have this film finally available in pristine quality. The performances are excellent, and McCartney’s noticeably more open in his interviews, compared to the canned responses that have became common in later years.
The Deluxe Edition adds another CD with the same “Making Of” audio documentary that appeared in the 25th anniversary edition of the album, and a 120-page book with new photos and info. There’s also a vinyl edition that includes the 18 tracks on the Special Edition CDs, along with an MP3 download of the tracks.
For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
• Get a Goldmine collective on The Beatles, “Meet the Fab Four CD”