When I heard Tony Bennett duet with Paul McCartney on “The Very Thought of You” on Bennett’s 2006 “Duets” album, I recall wishing that the former Beatle would go ahead and make an album of standards. McCartney’s musical formation came from many of these songs (his father led a jazz band in Liverpool, and even penned a few songs of his own). Six years later, I got what I wished for—and then some.
With the backing of Diana Krall’s band on most of the tracks, he sounds very comfortable taking on songs like “Always” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon” while giving the musicians a chance to shine on their own. Guest guitarist John Pizzarelli adds some great shuffle grooves on “”My Very Good Friend The Milkman” while a lush orchestra arranged by Johnny Mandel (who worked with Frank Sinatra) for “Bye Bye Blackbird” complements McCartney’s aging voice like a glove.
Eric Clapton plays his trademark licks on the McCartney-penned “My Valentine” and on the minor Sam Cooke hit “Get Yourself Another Fool,” but it’s on the latter that we hear the Clapton we know—the bluesy groove allows for Slowhand’s guitar to shine, while Stevie Wonder makes a great appearance on “Only Our Hearts,” the second original number on the disc.
“Kisses on the Bottom” is a surprisingly good album. Some critics confessed they expected something crass but instead were presented with something close to art. I couldn’t agree more. (Ernest Barteldes)
“Kisses on The Bottom”