Run Devil Run

Paul McCartney

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Run Devil Run Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

When Paul McCartney returned to the studio a year after his wife Linda's death, he wanted to cut loose and have a good time. He gathered a bunch of friends, most notably guitarist David Gilmour, with the intention of cutting a collection of rock & roll oldies with minimal rehearsal and a handful of takes. On the surface, that makes Run Devil Run like Choba B CCCP, but there are subtle differences that make Devil a far superior effort. This time around, there's a real freshness to the performances. Gilmour, in particular, amazes, turning in some of his finest playing in years. Similarly, McCartney is invigorated, leaving behind his vocal schtick, laying back and rocking out with a set of fairly unfamiliar oldies. Only three songs -- "All Shook Up," "Lonesome Town," and "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" -- are radio staples; and while "I Got Stung," "Blue Jean Bop," "She Said Yeah," "Honey Hush," and "Movie Magg" are known by aficionados, they're not ubiquitous standards. This leaves room for a few more obscure numbers, such as Little Richard's "Shake a Hand," the Vipers' "No Other Baby," and the Fats Domino B-side "Coquette," plus three terrific new songs from McCartney: "Run Devil Run," a fantastic Chuck Berry-styled narrative; "Try Not to Cry," a strong bluesy pop number; and "What It Is," a catchy up-tempo shuffle. Best of all, McCartney and co-producer Chris Thomas create an appealingly out-of-time production -- heavily compressed sound, yes, but cleaner than '50s recordings and livelier, grittier than most '90s albums. It all adds up to a dynamic, loose, carefree, and utterly infectious record, one of his best solo albums.

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