This week on #askNat I respond to Tom Kelly in Cameron, Texas who has sent me this message:
I am interested in the Paul McCartney & Wings recording sessions in Nashville during the early 70s. Do bootlegs or complete recordings of these sessions exist? What is the story behind the sessions? And what about “Sally G?”
Thanks for writing in Tom! Wings held sessions in Nashville, Tennessee from early June into July 1974 at a time when their line up consisted of Paul (of course) with his wife, Linda, along with Denny Laine, guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and drummer Geoff Britton, who had just signed up with Wings on May 16th. The main idea for going to Nashville was just a different place to rehearse. After all, it was known as the center of the music industry and was even nicknamed “Music City.” Things went well and by July they ended up doing some recording there at Soundshop Recording Studios.
The most well-known recording from these sessions is the Wings single “Junior’s Farm” which Paul had written after being inspired by Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” written some years earlier as a track for his Bringing It All Back Home album (1965). While “Junior’s Farm” was undoubtedly a great rocker, the song that ended up on the b-side of the single had more of the Nashville influence. In fact “Sally G” was actually written while they were there. According to Skull Schullman, owner of the Printer’s Alley Club (mentioned in the song), Paul wrote the song in his bar. It was originally to be “Diane G” after country singer Diane Gaffney but Paul changed the name after learning that Diane had once sued a newspaper. Paul invited Nashville musicians Lloyd Green (pedal steel guitar) and Johnny Gimble (fiddle) to join in with Wings on the recording, which took place on July 9th.
During the July sessions, Wings were also joined by music legends Floyd Cramer and Chet Atkins. Together they recorded an instrumental track written by Paul’s father, James, many years earlier. The song, “Walking In The Park With Eloise,” was also released on a single the following December with the artist billing credited to The Country Hams. The same Country Hams line up had just recorded a second McCartney-composed instrumental titled “Bridge On The River Suite” which served as the b-side to the single.
The two singles recorded at the Nashville sessions are pictured below (click to enlarge).
Other songs recorded during the Nashville sessions included Denny Laine’s “Send Me The Heart” which was left unreleased at the time but later appeared in remixed form on his 1980 solo album Japanese Tears. Paul also added some overdubs to a few earlier recordings to include Linda’s “Wide Prairie” (now available on Linda’s posthumously-released 1998 CD of the same title) and “Hey Diddle” (which appears on the Wingspan compilation 2-CD set or in the bonus material from the deluxe edition of Paul & Linda’s Ram album from the Paul McCartney Archive Collection series).
Tom also asks if material from these sessions has been bootlegged and as you probably have guessed the answer is yes. An additional instrumental likely recorded around the time “Bridge On The River Suite” known as “Proud Mum” has surfaced on various bootlegs along with out-take versions of a few of the tracks already mentioned above.
That about covers it, Tom. Thanks again for a good topic and to everyone else for reading. Naturally if anyone has something to add, you can do so in the comments section below.
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Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase music related to this post:
1) All The Best! – Paul McCartney late eighties gits compilation containing complete version of “Junior’s Farm” recorded at the Nashville sessions in June 1974.
2) Wingspan (Hits & History) – 2001 2-CD compilation of the best tracks by Wings including the DJ edit of the hit single “Junior’s Farm” (recorded in the 1974 Nashville sessions) and “Hey Diddle” (actually recorded prior to the formation of Wings and embellished by Paul at the 1974 sessions in Nashville).
3) Wide Prairie – 1998 posthumously-released Linda McCartney collection containing the title song worked on by Paul McCartney at the Nashville sessions in 1974.
4) Wings At The Speed Of Sound – CD re-issue of origianl 1976 Wings LP with bonus tracks “Sally G” and (by The Country Hams) “Bridge On The River Suite” and “Walking In The Park With Eloise” from Wings’ Nashville sessions.
5) Japanese Tears – re-issue of Denny Laine’s 1980 solo LP on CD containing renixed version of “Send Me The Heart” from the Nashville sessions with Wings in 1974.