(Editor’s note: I moved from an apartment into a house starting January 1st, 2020, and I had to toss all my CDs into a big garbage bag during the move. The idea for this feature is I write a review about each CD as I unpack that bag, one CD at a time, and rank them.)
The Fourteenth CD Out of the Bag
1. Bluejean Bop; 2. She Said Yeah; 3. All Shook Up; 4. Run Devil Run; 5. No Other Baby; 6. Lonesome Town; 7. Try Not to Cry; 8. Movie Magg; 9. Brown Eyed Handsome Man; 10. What It Is; 11. Coquette; 12. I Got Stung; 13. Honey Hush; 14. Shake a Hand; 15. Party.
The 1999 album Run Devil Run is Paul McCartney’s homage to the original rock-and-rollers who influenced him as a teenager. The former Beatle covers mostly 1950s songs by the pioneers of early rock and roll like Gene Vincent, Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Big Joe Turner, Johnny Burnette, and Little Richard. McCartney’s eleventh solo studio album, Run Devil Run was his first after the death of wife Linda in 1998. The music is energetic and raw as McCartney transforms the three Presley covers, including “All Shook Up,” into electrified guitar-laced rockers. He turns the upbeat Vipers song “No Other Baby” into a smoldering, more urgent proclamation of love. McCartney faithfully delivers a bouncy rockabilly version of Perkins’ “Movie Magg” and offers up a rhythmic zydeco-flavored version of Berry’s “Brown Eyed Handsome Man.” He even matches the intensity of Little Richard in “Shake a Hand.” If you like the reckless energy of 1950s rock and roll, Run Devil Run certainly captures the spirit with a 57-year-old McCartney singing like a teenager but with the confidence of a former Beatle.
My favorite song
My favorite Ricky Nelson song is “Lonesome Town,” so I’m not surprised it’s my favorite cover on Run Devil Run. I am surprised I actually liked McCartney’s cover as much as Nelson’s. The Nelson version is gentle and melancholy delivered by a man resigned to his brokenhearted fate. There’s no surrender in McCartney’s version. Yes, he’s going to Lonesome Town to cry his troubles away and learn to forget, but his soulful vocal conveys the sense that his heart’s hurt but not broken.
My favorite lines of my favorite song
“You can buy a dream or two
To last you all through the years,
And the only price you pay
Is a heart full of tears.”