I was fourteen years old when it was released and loved the album and, listening to the newly released remastered, plus contemporary odds and sods, I love it still. For all its charm and ease in its own body, it lacks the arrogance of some of the stuff yet to arrive.
Written in Scotland, recorded in nyc, it feels like a long Sunday of an album, it drifts in martial joy, of love for family, for their children and, today, it digs deep at a nostalgia implied in the youth of their children: it is as if he is singing for them but including us in.
The reticently extended version is really good: "Another Day" and "Oh Woman Oh Why" still sucks, though Macca's scream is still impressive on the latter. "Ride On" is a wonder and "Little Woman Love" is a terrific boogie number. "The instrumentals, especially a rag time New Orleans improv are fine.
As for the album proper. It is hard to claim greatness for it but still I have to. At least, I love it. Look, if you wanna make a case that the US hit "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" is amazingly irritating, it might be tough to disagree but… how about the "little little be a gypsy" portion. And the horns are lovely even while the vocals make you want to ounch him. And that's in hindsight. At the time I adored the song.
Even snapshots of a love and peace togetherness like "Eat At Home", "Monkberry Moon Delight" and "Long Haired Lady" need some excusing. They are trifles, but melodic well meaning trifles and not the extracts that littered Paul's first solo album. There is a sense of his children simply wrapped in love, family, safety, a dream of childhood -his kids have all but confirmed this time after time. And, if you're stuck in boarding school as I was, and your parents were always tottering on the edge of oblivion (my dad would fall into oblivion two years later), this is a more important connection than McCartney's "Jealous Guy" or "Crippled Inside". This isn't a claim that Macca was better but that as a teenage boy I was more finely attuned to one version of reality to the other. I had had precisely one girlfriend by the time I was 14 years old, but I had had family all my life. McCartney's close knit togetherness dealt out the fantasy of family as surely as, say, the Stones dealt out the fantasy of promiscuity.The thing is McCartney isn't pretending to be a family man here, he is a family man. This is the real life he is leading.
The masterpiece here is the album closer, "The Backseat Of My Car" . Directed to his daughter, words of affection so personal, a whispered conversation between the two: "listen to your Daddy's song, making love is wrong…" The song is adrift in time, it is like a hug between a father and child, "We believe that we can't be wrong" is such a promise for a happy, endless childhood. It makes me miss something that never happened to me.