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The wait is over... Nearly three years after Press To Play, a new Paul McCartney album hit the shops on 8th June. Chosen from a wealth of material, polished but never slick, Flowers In The Dirt contains a host of talent harnessed to one man's vision.

            Don't Be Careless Love: "We have stuff that I wrote with Elvis, and we recorded it ourselves, to see if we could just get a kind of energy in there and stuff...They were nice tapes, but they weren't making it. So I re-recorded them with Mitchell Froom, who's the American guy who did Crowded House...we kind of fixed one of the recordings Elvis and I had done ('Careless'), because we liked the vocal and we just needed to fix it up a little bit." Another 'ground-up' song. Mitchell on keyboards, Elvis harmonies and keyboards.

            How Many People: "Me in Jamaica, on holiday...you can't help going reggae, everybody is, the climate is. I've been a reggae fan since the early Tighten Up albums... this very simple song called 'How Many People' came out. I thought it was too simple." Jah Bunny is on per-cussion. Horn and Lipson are involved again. Great opening yodel, fine guitar in the middle.

            That Day Is Done: "We kept the piano (Nicky Hopkins) and vocal and added some Hovis brass to give it a silver band/New Orleans marching band feel...I said to Elvis, 'Oh yeah, I get it, New Orleans funeral music. House is finished, right?' It's turned out a nice track set against every-thing else on the album," Mitchell and Elvis have the same roles as on 'Careless'. A suspicion of 'Let Me Roll It' about this one.

            Motor Of Love: "We made a version I wasn't too happy with, but I liked the song. It was gonna get dumped off the album...so I said why don't we give it to some independent people...get some objectivity? I think it's a good song and it might get back as a contender. I'd liked Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum's work with Tears For Fears...and they worked up a more modern, hi-tech version...'Heavenly Father' is like an old trick for me, it's like 'Mother Mary'. I have a father who's no longer with us...but I realised the moment you say 'Heavenly Father' or 'Mother Mary' there's also that connotation. I like a bit of God though, nothing wrong with that." Greg Hawkes and Dave Clayton play keyboards.

            Ou Est Le Soleil: "A very wacky thing where we decided to make something up...Trevor said 'Have you got anything for one of the verses?' I said 'Well I've got this really silly idea...', which is like just some French words that say 'Ou est le soleil? Dans la tete. Travaillez.' Those are the complete lyrics...So we've got this silly French dance track now, which I love!" This one is on the CD and cassette only.

            In addition to the above, Mitchell Froom and Neil Dorfsman are involved in production and engineer-ing all over the shop. The four where Elvis Costello is mentioned are McCartney-McManus compositions, though Elvis does not perform on 'My Brave Face'.

            So there you are: technique combined with soul, technology blended with 'natural' ingredients like brass, strings, organ and piano. I'm enjoying Flowers In The Dirt for what it is, but can't help anticipating what the songs will sound like live.

Club Sandwich 52