Wingspan

Priced as one CD, this two-disc set of Paul McCartney's early solo and Wings recordings sifts through some two decades of remarkable pop craftsmanship.

Priced as one CD, this two-disc set of Paul McCartney's early solo and Wings recordings sifts through some two decades of remarkable pop craftsmanship. Divided by the man himself into a disc of "Hits" and another of "History" (album cuts and B sides), Wingspan ranges far and wide across McCartney's genius for lyrical melody ("Maybe I'm Amazed," the inexplicably touching "Let 'Em In" ), pure rock'n'roll insouciance ("Junior's Farm," the hip, Lennon-esque "Let Me Roll It"), and epic theatricality ("Band on the Run," "Live and Let Die"). There are also wonderfully wacky pop experiments ("Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey") and balladry that stretches beyond silly love songs into something more deeply poetic ("Tug of War," "Junk"). The 40 tracks have been remastered with loving care by Peter Mew and Geoff Emerick, and the booklet features a photo gallery of Wings' various incarnations from 1971-80, with guitarist Denny Laine and the late Linda McCartney the leader's constant partners.—BB