Oxford Point

The vocals are no worse than Yoko's....

THE VOCALS ARE NO WORSE THAN Yoko’s. In a Most Talented Beatles’ Wives poll she’d rank in the Top Five. Oh, it’s no use. No matter how hard you search for the faintest trace of merit in it, ‘Wide Prairie’ – a complete collection of the Lovely Lady Linda’s songs recorded over almost 30 years – merely serves to confirm that humane burger visionary and top mother she may have been, but musician she wasn’t.

It’s an ambitious and painfully personal record, inevitably. Linda documents her fight against cancer with touching resilience on ‘I Got Up’ and her fury against the meat trade on ‘The White Coated Man’. She even enlists Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry for bizarre reggae exploits (‘Mister Sandman’). But the whole thing comes across as a project destined solely for the McCartney family archives. Which, for dignity’s sake, is where it should have stayed.

[I]”You say I’m simple/You say I’m a hick/You’re fucking no-one/You stupid dick”[/I], Linda howls like a C&W Johnny Rotten on ‘The Light Comes From Within’, a biting response to her critics recorded only months before her death. She gets the last word, but the critics get the last, desperately unwanted laugh.