An Invigorated Paul McCartney
Returns to his Pre-Fab Roots

Paul McCartney - Run Devil Run
(Capitol Records)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)

By Tony Bonyata

With the recent loss of his wife and best friend - Linda, Paul McCartney wasted no time in rekindling an old flame with his first true love - rebellious '50s rock-n-roll. McCartney's latest album, Run Devil Run, is filled with the very music that enticed and influenced him and fellow Beatles - John, George and Ringo, when they were mere Liverpudlian teenyboppers. But Run Devil Run is much more than a walk down memory lane for McCartney. On it he manages to successfully recapture some of the excitement and fervor of his early pre-Beatlemania days while giving a fresh, high-energy feel to this collection of '50s standards and obscurities.
Although this isn't his first solo attempt at covering the music that inspired him to pick up a guitar (his first was a Russian-only release of '50s covers in 1988) it certainly is his strongest. Recorded over a speedy one-week period in Abbey Road Studios (where the Beatles recorded the majority of their albums) McCartney recruited the unlikely, at least for this type of material, bandmembers David Gilmour (from Pink Floyd) and Mick Green on electric guitars, drummer Ian Paice (from Deep Purple) and Pete Wingfield and Geraint Watkins on piano and keyboards. McCartney's vocals, which are at top form, and stand-out bass playing along with the raw, raucous spontaneity and fine musicianship from fellow bandmates makes this a true return-to-form for the former fab one, a return that's been a long time-a-coming
The album opens with a stripped-down, finger-snappin' version of Gene Vincent's rockabilly number "Blue Jean Bop", immediately followed by the rowdy "She Said Yeah", by Larry Williams who also wrote "Slow Down", Dizzy Miss Lizzy" and "Bad Boy" all of which the Beatles covered early in their career. The swinging house party continues through a few Elvis covers ("All Shook Up", which turns up the intensity from Presley's version, the hip-twitching "I Got Stung" and the freewheeling, spiked-punch number "Party"), as well as a delightful country-fried version of Carl Perkins "Movie Magg" and "Brown Eyed Man", a song written by Chuck Berry and made famous by Buddy Holly, only McCartney makes it his own by adding a lively accordion giving a spicy cajun flavor to it.
Never one to ride on the coattails of his mentors, McCartney has written three new numbers which fit this set like a glove. The rowdy title song is a rocker in the finest Chuck Berry-tradition, while the bluesy "Try Not To Cry" and the bouncy "What It Is", dedicated to his late-wife, Linda, both give the album a refreshingly updated sound.
McCartney also revisits numbers from two of his childhood idols, Little Richard on "Shake A Hand" and Fats Domino on a faithful version of his obscure B-side "Coquette", before the band rips into a roof-raising cover of Big Joe Turner's "Honey Hush" as Mac soulfully screams out, "Well come into this house, stop all the yackety yak, 'cause your sugar daddy don't want no talkin' back", which definitely dispels the myth that 'Paul is dead' but raises a new one - 'Paul is black'.
No longer concerned with the need to shake anymore trees in the music world, and Lord knows he made the forest rumble in the '60s, Paul McCartney now is a man who is more content in shaking off the dust of his own roots.

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