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CHOBA B CCCP

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CHOBA B CCCP – 1988

CHOBA B CCCP (Russian: «Снова в СССР», Snova v SSSR, literally Back in the USSR; also known as The Russian Album) is the seventh solo studio album by Paul McCartney under his own name, originally released in 1988 exclusively in the Soviet Union. The album consists entirely of covers, mainly of rock and roll oldies (similar to John Lennon’s 1975 album Rock ‘n’ Roll). With the addition of an extra track, it was released internationally in 1991.

Following the tepid reaction to his 1986 studio album Press to Play, McCartney spent much of the first half of 1987 plotting his next album. In March he recorded an album’s worth of songs with producer Phil Ramone but those sessions only produced the single “Once Upon a Long Ago” backed with “Back on My Feet,” released only in the United Kingdom that November.

Following a series of jam sessions with various British musicians where they played some of his favourite songs from the 1950s, McCartney decided to record the songs live in the studio. Over the course of two days in July 1987, McCartney recorded twenty songs.

Other tracks recorded during the sessions but not included on the Melodiya album were “I’m in Love Again” and “I Wanna Cry” (an original song) released on the B-side of McCartney’s “This One” maxi-single in 1989 and “It’s Now or Never” on the New Musical Express album The Last Temptation of Elvis in 1990. A version of the Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There” was also recorded but remains unreleased.

Album title and cover
The title «Снова в СССР» (Snova v SSSR) is Russian for “Back in the U.S.S.R.”, the name of a 1968 Beatles song. In English, the title is often written in Latin characters as CHOBA B CCCP. The album is also known as Back in the USSR and the Russian Album.

The cover was designed by Michael Ross. The Russian release includes liner notes written by Roy Carr of New Musical Express, translated into Russian.

McCartney originally wanted to release the album in the United Kingdom outside regular distribution channels, making it appear the album had been smuggled in from the Soviet Union. EMI turned down that idea. Nonetheless, McCartney’s manager had a batch of LPs pressed, with Russian-language covers, as a Christmas present to McCartney. This gave McCartney the idea to release the album in the Soviet Union as a gesture of peace in the spirit of glasnost. An agreement was reached with the Soviet government-run record company Melodiya to license 400,000 copies of the album for release in the Soviet Union only with no exports.

The album was released in the Soviet Union on 31 October 1988. The first pressing of 50,000 copies contained 11 tracks and sold out almost immediately. A second pressing with two additional tracks was released about a month later.

Soon after its release, the album began appearing for sale outside the Soviet Union for prices ranging from $100 to $250 in the United States and up to £500 in the United Kingdom. The album was eventually given a worldwide release in 1991, reaching number 63 in the UK and number 109 in the US. On this release, the title is misprinted as СНОВА Б СССР (Б is the Cyrillic equivalent of the letter B in the Latin alphabet, rather than the B, equivalent to V, of the original).

Despite the fact that the album was not initially released in western markets, half of the album worth of songs were released as singles’ b-sides from 1987 to 1989: “Midnight Special”, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and “Kansas City” appeared on various versions of “Once Upon a Long Ago”, “I’m Gonna Be a Wheel Someday” and “Ain’t That a Shame” on “My Brave Face” and edited version of “I’m in Love Again” on “This One” single.

Track listing

CD edition

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Kansas City” Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller 4:02
2. “Twenty Flight Rock” Eddie Cochran/Ned Fairchild 3:03
3. “Lawdy, Miss Clawdy” Lloyd Price 3:17
4. “I’m in Love Again” (Bonus track on 1991 international release) Fats Domino/Dave Bartholomew 2:58
5. “Bring It On Home to Me” Sam Cooke 3:14
6. “Lucille” Richard Penniman/Albert Collins 3:13
7. “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” Duke Ellington/Bob Russell 2:51
8. “I’m Gonna Be a Wheel Someday” Fats Domino/Dave Bartholomew/Roy Hayes 4:12
9. “That’s All Right Mama” Arthur Crudup 3:47
10. “Summertime” George Gershwin 4:57
11. “Ain’t That a Shame” Fats Domino/Dave Bartholomew 3:43
12. “Crackin’ Up” Ellas McDaniel 3:55
13. “Just Because” Bob Shelton/Joe Shelton/Sydney Robin 3:34
14. “Midnight Special” Trad. Arr. Paul McCartney 3:59

Digital download edition

The digital download edition has the same track listing and running order as the original 11-track vinyl release.

Personnel

All tracks recorded 20 July 1987 except “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Ain’t That a Shame” and “Crackin’ Up,” recorded on 21 July.

20 July

Paul McCartney – bass guitar, vocals
Mick Green – guitar
Mick Gallagher – piano
Chris Whitten – drums
21 July
Paul McCartney – guitar, vocals
Nick Garvey – bass guitar, backing vocals
Henry Spinetti – drums
Mick Gallagher – keyboards