Certain Songs #1451: Paul McCartney & Wings – “Junior’s Farm”

Single, 1974

From the second half of 1973 though the end of 1974, Paul McCartney & Wings put out five straight rockin’ singles: “Live and Let Die,” “Helen Wheels,” “Jet,” “Band on the Run,” and the rockin-ist of them all, the now criminally neglected “Junior’s Farm.”

I say “criminally neglected,” because “Junior’s Farm” has neither had the Bond connection nor a parent album, and it has only shown up on a couple of his compilation albums and exactly zero of his live albums — not even fucking Wings Over America — despite seemingly being tailor-made for live performance.

Recorded in Nashville while Wings were breaking in new guitarist Jimmy McCullough, “Junior’s Farm” is as about as simple as it gets: a couple of big riffs, a few chords, a straight-forward beat and shittons of guitar, all in support of a lyric that is halfway pitched between the Continuing Adventures of The Band on the Run and impressionistic nonsense.

You should have seen me with the poker man
I had a honey and I bet a grand
Just in the nick of time I looked at his hand

I was talking to an Eskimo
Said he was hoping for a fall of snow
When up popped a sea lion ready to go

But who cares? Most of the time, the Paul McCartney songs I love are the ones that get stuck in my head, regardless of the lyrical content. And “Junior’s Farm” has a chorus that utterly slayed me in 1974, and I still love fiercely 45 years later.

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go
Down to Junior’s farm where I want to lay low
(Down to Junior’s farm)
Low life, high life, oh, let’s go
Take me down to junior’s farm
(Down to Junior’s farm)

Low life, high life, oh, let’s go
Take me down to Junior’s farm
(Down to Junior’s farm)
Ev’rybody tag along
(Want to tag along)
Take me down to junior’s farm

After the first chorus, McCartney ad-libs “Take me down, Jimmy!” and McCullough — who’d already been tossing out licks after the verses — kicks off an absolutely classic solo. He also remains utter fire for the rest of the song, especially during the two stop-time parts McCartney tosses in to break things up, but also so he can shout a phased-out “Take me back!” a few times near the end of the song.

Maybe it was just a trifle, but “Junior’s Farm” did make all the way to #3 on the Billboard charts at the time, so I clearly wasn’t the only person who loved it, and given the silliness that was just over the horizon, it probably represented the peak of my fandom for Sir Paul.

“Junior’s Farm”

“Junior’s Farm” performed live at Abbey Road, 1974

“Junior’s Farm” lip-synched on some TV show, 1974

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