‘Country Dreamer’ was the b-side of Wings’ 1973 single ‘Helen Wheels’.

Paul McCartney recorded a demo of ‘Country Dreamer’ in 1970. According to drummer Denny Seiwell, it was played again during the Ram sessions, although no studio recording from that time has been released.

The song was recorded during the sessions for Red Rose Speedway in September 1972.

Leftover feelings from the McCartneys spending time at their farm in Scotland. Paul played acoustic, Denny was on bass and Henry played a pedal steel guitar. Never played one before. Not bad, uh?
Denny Seiwell
Paul McCartney Recording Sessions (1969-2013), Luca Perasi

A two-disc acetate version of Red Rose Speedway, dated 13 December 1972, shows how the album was originally conceived. Side one featured ‘Big Barn Bed’, ‘My Love’, ‘When The Night’, and ‘Single Pigeon’, while side two contained ‘Tragedy’, ‘Mama’s Little Girl’, ‘Loup (1st Indian On The Moon)’, and ‘I Would Only Smile’.

Side three contained ‘Country Dreamer’, ‘Night Out’, ‘One More Kiss’, and ‘Jazz Street’, and side four featured ‘I Lie Around’, ‘Little Lamb Dragonfly’, ‘Get On The Right Thing’, ‘1882’ (live) and ‘The Mess’ (Live).

My song starts ‘I’d like to walk in a field with you/Take my hat and my boots off too’. It was very much what we were doing in Scotland in the summer, and I like the idea that he’s got a hat and boots. In Scotland, it would be raining and muddy a lot, or we’d be on the farm, so you would often have wellies on. They wouldn’t be very glamorous boots. But you’d come to a stream, and you’d take them off and get in.

‘Would you like to do it too, May?’ I’m calling her ‘May’, and I’m aware that it can be taken as ‘would you like to do it to me’, so there’s an erotic aspect to it. But I’m always doing that – putting in something sort of mildly cheeky. It’s allowed, as Linda would’ve said. That was one of her sayings: ‘It’s allowed.’

May becomes a country dreamer: ‘You and I, country dreamer/When there’s nothing else to do’. It’s just the very simple things in nature that I actually do like to do. ‘I’d like to climb up a hill with you/Stand on top and admire the view/I’d like to roll down a hill with you.’ Like Jack and Jill. It’s what all kids like to do. It’s what you should do on a hill. As we get older we don’t do it quite so often. It starts to hurt after a bit.

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Country Dreamer

The release

The ‘Helen Wheels’ single was released as a single in the United Kingdom on 26 October 1973, as Apple R 5993. It reached number 12 on the singles chart.

In the United States it was issued on 12 November 1973, as Apple 1869. Its chart peak was number 10.

In 1987 Red Rose Speedway was first issued on compact disc, with ‘I Lie Around’, ‘Country Dreamer’, and ‘The Mess’ as bonus tracks.

Band On The Run was reissued on CD in 1993, with ‘Helen Wheels’ and ‘Country Dreamer’ as bonus tracks.

In November 2010 Band On The Run was the first release in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection series. The expanded multi-disc versions included performances from One Hand Clapping, filmed on 15 August 1974 at Abbey Road Studios. An unused segment, titled The Backyard, featured McCartney seated in the Abbey Road gardens, performing a number of songs including ‘Country Dreamer’, which was included on the album reissue.

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