Review by Darren Gawle
Inspired by the sessions involved in producing The Beatles Anthology, Flaming Pie stands as a cautionary tale against expecting something great to come of an assembly of forces that used to produce great things. It might seem that working with George Martin, Ringo Starr, Geoff Emerick (one-time Beatles engineer) or even the double-bass once owned by Elvis sideman Bill Black would mean a return to the salad days of "Penny Lane" or "Hey Jude," but McCartney continues to write the same easy-listening oriented music he has since the mid-seventies. And, although Flaming Pie is the best effort from him since God-knows-when, that's still not saying very much.
Songs like "Souvenir" and "Calico Skies," with its folk finger-picking, do show that the McCartney of Abbey Road and the white album (respectively) is still lurking about, vaguely; but, with an occasional collaboration with Jeff Lynne, McCartney fumbles these achievements by sounding like the Traveling Wilburys (especially on "The World Tonight"). And the ill-advised Tex-Mex blues jam with Steve Miller that is "Used to Be Bad" is just plain crap.
No one will debate that Paul McCartney was, at one time, one of the greatest songwriters of the twentieth century, but let us not forget that this is the same man who wrote "Ebony & Ivory," "The Girl is Mine" and "Spies Like Us..."
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