Given that Paul McCartney is listed in the Guinness World Records book, that ur-text of veracity, as “the most successful composer of all time”, it’s no surprise his talents as a performer have been somewhat overlooked. This collection of jazz standards and showtunes showcases McCartney as a singer who, while not possessed of the most opulent timbre, has a sweet voice and a knack for making lyrics ring true, especially when it comes to lurve.
But the gazillion-dollar question still looms: why is the most successful composer of all time singing covers? OK, there are two originals on this disc, but neither My Valentine (guest harmonica from Stevie Wonder) nor Only Our Hearts (Eric Clapton on guitar) quite stand up to the gems of the American songbook on the disc. Normally you wouldn’t expect them to – but this is the man who wrote Eleanor Rigby.
As a singer, McCartney is most convincing on the songs made famous by Fats Waller. The title Kisses on the Bottom comes from I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter), and the album also includes It’s Only a Paper Moon and My Very Good Friend the Milkman. Diana Krall and her band provides a nicely idiomatic accompaniment, and is superb on When Shadows Fall.