It may be denial, but it's sweet denial: It's hard to imagine any serious Beatles fan not cherishing this lark. Unlike John Lennon's ''Rock 'N' Roll,'' which offered sober versions of rock classics, McCartney's homage to his youth opts for less-heard oldies by the likes of Gene Vincent and Carl Perkins, many performed with a furiously fun gumption that suggests a sonically updated ''I'm Down.''
Amid the 12 covers, he throws in three self-penned ringers, one of which, ''Try Not to Cry,'' comes within a mid-album suite of lonesomeness, which may just be his tribute to Linda. But ''Devil'' is, in its details, simply a shamelessly wonderful party album in which you hear one of the great voices of rock act his shoe size. It's a testament to its terrific fun that I immediately wanted to hear McCartney cover every song from Rhino's four-disc '50s anthology, ''Fast, Loose & Out of Control.'' Well, a nearly middle-aged boy can dream, can't he?