Tuesday, March 20, 2012

All My Trials

All My Trials paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Paul and Linda performing "All My Trials."

"All My Trials" is one of the more obscure Paul McCartney Top-40 singles, and you are a true Paul expert if you even know that it exists. "All My Trials" is a track appearing on 1990 "Tripping the Live Fantastic - Highlights" live album. "All My Trials" also was released as a single in the United Kingdom. It hit No.35 there, making it one of those Paul songs that had some success but is virtually unknown in the United States (the leading example of this being "Mull of Kintyre").

All My Trials paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Somewhat creepily, given the theme of "All My Trials," Linda is featured prominently in the performance video. She would pass away within a decade.

During this period, Paul sometimes sounded like he was doing a Billy Joel impression, which doesn't come across very well, and it also throws in a lot of unusual Biblical references for a McCartney song. Overall, "All My Trials" may be one of the most unusual songs that Paul has ever released. It is, perhaps, the only spiritual that Paul McCartney has ever released, or even recorded. Linda McCartney makes one of her last appearances in a music video, steadfastly playing the keyboards in the background and contributing backing vocals as if it was 1976 again.

All My Trials paulmccartney.filminspector.com

"All My Trials" isn't a McCartney song at all, in fact, beyond the fact that he and his band (which looks a lot like Wings in the performance video he released) performed it. It is a US folk song from the 1950s/1960s that has been recorded by artists as diverse as Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, and Nick and Gabrielle Drake (you probably won't see them in the same sentence anywhere else). This is Paul's "interpretation" of the standard. To Paul's credit, it appears that his version reached the highest on any major chart, but why he went to the trouble of recording "All My Trials" at all is a bit of a mystery. The story goes that Paul heard it on a Joan Baez record (many think she did the best-recorded version) and decided on the spur of the moment to record it himself because he liked the chord progression. "All My Trials" expresses a theme that Paul first tackled with "Blackbird" in 1968 and continued with "Ebony and Ivory" in 1982.

The official (non-performance) music video is a bit odd, interspersing ordinary people going about their business, some ordinary people who appear annoyed at having a camera stuck in their face, and nuclear power plants, among other things. All this for a very simple song about what really matters in life.

There's only one thing that money can't buy?
True love, that will never die
All my trials Lord, soon be over??
If religion was a thing that money could buy?
Well the rich would live and the poor would die?
All my trials, Lord, soon be over

Well, the river Jordan is chilly and cold?
Chills the body but not the soul
All my trials, Lord, soon be over?
All my trials, Lord, soon be over?
All my trials, Lord, soon be over


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