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Paul McCartney’s “Kisses On The Bottom” Reviewed

Just to be clear, as these sorta rockers covering the great American songbooks go, album # 42, 2012’s  Kisses On The Bottom is just fine. This is right where Paul McCartney lives, I mean he covered “A Taste Of Honey” on Please Please Me,so  the songs on Kisses On The Bottom are well within his skill set, and produced by legendary jazz guy Tommy LiPuma, it sounds exactly as it should. Indeed, with the exception of the two originals, “My Valentine,” which has made its way onto his setlist, and “Only Our Hearts,” which hasn’t, there is an easy going perfectness about the set.

The album title, which comes from the ever charming Fats Wellers’ “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter” is, well, disarming and pleasant, a rinky dinky sound to keep you smiling. “It’s Only A Paper Moon” is a standard’s standard, dating back to 1933, the fake peace before WWII, and it is a daydream of a song, and that sense of the dream is even sweeter when McCartney whistles in counter harmony to the banjo and, well now, Bucky Pizzarelli plays lead guitar. “Bye Bye Blackbird” is maybe a little too obvious but “Get Yourself Another Fool” is right on the money, the solo is a beauty and by one Eric Clapton: this songs veers towards the blues before steering itself into jazz. The other person all over the album is Diana Krall, the drop dead blonde Bond girl as jazz great handles all the piano almost, and there is a whole lot of  it, try “Ac-Cent-Tcua-Ate The Positive” for the cool breeze of Krall like greatness. One day Krall will be Tony Bennett… no, really! And it is nice to see her here, nice that the greats came out to cheer a great, it is a fond  sensibility at work here, some  ,jazz greats of the early 21st Century invite Paul in, to show him he is welcome and the only person missing is a Marsalis or two.

Any complaints? Well, actually in retrospect I underestimated “My Valentine,” it sounds better than mid-set at a stadium. However, I have no regrets for disliking the album title and don’t go to it to hear any of the standard when I want to. Still, his last solo album was 2007 so five years and a divorce and a marriage later, welcome back..

Grade: B




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