SW 3386 Wild Life
Produced by Paul and Linda McCartney
Released on December 7, 1971
UK CHART POSITION #8 . . . US CHART POSITION #10 . . . GOLD RECORD (1/13/72)
Find it at GEMM
SW 3386 cover  

L ike Ram before it, the songs on Wild Life are credited to Paul and Linda McCartney, only this time I believe it. Looking back, it’s a wonder Wings ever got off the ground after this inauspicious start. The group doesn’t line up much different than the last McCartney record, with Denny Seiwell returning on drums and Denny Laine joining on guitar. But where Paul’s first two records suggested a surplus of ideas from The Beatles’ days, nothing on Wild Life seems so premeditated. From the sound of things, the wine flowed freely, and the songwriting process consisted of a keyboard line from Linda embellished with a melody from Paul. Some critics have likened this to an audition, others to a garage jam. Certainly, it’s an informal affair. “Mumbo” (which likely takes its name from Paul’s mumbling) makes “Three Legs” from Ram sound polished; “Bip Bop” is as good as it sounds. A cover of “Love Is Strange” at least feels like a serious audition, and as unguarded moments go isn’t an embarrassment. “Wild Life” is far and away the highlight of side one, a pro-animal rights song that smolders with some of Abbey Road’s intensity (think a lighter version of “She’s So Heavy”). A breezy, twangy performance on “Some People Never Know” suggests Nashville Skyline-era Dylan and could be seen as one of Wild Life’s more interesting animals. It’s a short-lived sobriety, however, as Wings wobbles through throwaway melodies on “I Am Your Singer” (I’m guessing it took a lot of restraint not to touch the volume knobs when Linda sang), “Tomorrow” and “Dear Friend.” In between are a pair of uncredited tidbits that reprise the melodies from “Mumbo” (on acoustic guitar) and “Bip Bop.” It’s important to note that Wild Life isn’t just a cut below Paul’s usual work -- it’s a cut below his worst work. Red Rose Speedway sounds like Band on the Freakin’ Run next to this album. I know I just lit into Pipes of Peace, but Wild Life is truly the last Paul McCartney album you need to own. Of course, every Beatle has some meatless skeleton in their closet: George’s early electronic albums, John’s sound collages with Yoko, Ringo’s um, well, most of Ringo’s stuff actually. I might concede Wild Life the upper hand in that Zoo of the Damned, if you’re intent on being bitten.

SW 3386 back cover
SW 3386 back cover

TRACK LISTING

  1. MUMBO    3:50
  2. BIP BOP    4:05
  3. LOVE IS STRANGE    (Smith/Baker/Robinson)    4:45
  4. WILD LIFE    6:30
  5. SOME PEOPLE NEVER KNOW    6:35
  6. I AM YOUR SINGER    2:10
  7. TOMORROW    3:17
  8. DEAR FRIEND    5:42

    CD reissue bonus tracks
  9. OH WOMAN, OH WHY
  10. MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB
  11. LITTLE WOMAN LOVE

    Tracks 1-8 written by Paul and Linda McCartney unless noted

CREDITS

DENNY LAINE -- guitar
LINDA McCARTNEY -- keyboards, vocals, label photo of Paul
PAUL McCARTNEY -- bass, vocals, label photo of Linda
DENNY SEIWELL -- drums
Tony Clarke -- engineer
Alan Parsons -- engineer
Barry Lategan -- front cover photo
Gordon House -- typo
Clint Harrigan -- back cover liner notes

return to WINGS discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
UK December 7, 1971 Apple LP PCS 7142  
US/CAN December 7, 1971 Apple LP SW 3386 picture labels
FRA/GER 1971 Apple LP 06204946  
BRA 1972 Apple LP 06604946  
US   Capitol LP SMAS-3386 black label reissue
UK 1984 Fame LP FA 4131011 reissue
US 1984 Columbia LP PC 36480 reissue
US 1989 Capitol CD/CS 52017  
  1998 EMI CDX 89237 w. bonus tracks
JPN 1999 EMI/Toshiba CD TOCP-65502 lyric booklet

 

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