With this new edition of Ram, Paul McCartney has continued to reissue his albums, following on from McCartney, McCartney II and the Grammy winning Band on the Run with several versions of the only album credited to Paul and Linda McCartney. There is a standard edition re-mastered CD, a 2CD edition with a bonus CD, vinyl versions in mono and stereo, download versions and this, the Deluxe Edition Box Set.
So, what does this set give you for the money? There are 4 CD's and 1 DVD. This includes the re-mastered Ram album, the bonus Audio CD (with eight tracks), the re-mastered Mono album, the Thrillington CD (an instrumental version of Ram, released in 1977 under a pseudonym ), a DVD, a 112 page book, 5 prints, 8 full size facsimiles of Paul's original handwritten lyric sheets and a book of outtakes from the original album cover photo shoot.
What does it look like? It takes the form of a coffee table sized book shaped box, beige in colour, covered in cloth and which opens up to show the items snugly encased within it. On top is the book, which has loads of unseen photo's, info on the albums, song lyrics, etc. In my opinion, it was worth getting the deluxe set just for this. Next is an envelope with the photo prints. There is a card enabling you to get premium membership to Paul's website, with lots of extra features - such as advanced access to news, facts, advanced access to collections, etc. Another card offers free access to the High Resolution audio download of the re-mastered album and audio tracks from the website. There is "A Small Book of Sheep" (only Paul could think of that one!) with photos of Paul doing a spot of shearing. Another envelope contains the facsimiles of Paul's handwritten lyrics. Lastly, the CD's are neatly tucked away in a corner, each in a black paper cover.
Ram was Paul's second solo album and was heavily criticised at the time, with John Lennon parodying the cover and the dissolution of the Beatles overshadowing the music. Saying that, it reached number one in the UK and number two in the US and has since been reappraised by critics as the excellent album it is, while it has always been regarded fondly by fans.
Having recently been disappointed by the George Harrison album of supposedly unreleased outtakes, with little information or notes, it is excellent that Paul is releasing his albums the way us obsessive collectors long for - particularly good to have the mono version of the album, previously only available to record stations and a real sought after item among fans. The sheer amount of material in this collection is aimed to please - a new documentary, "Ramming" on the DVD, narrated by Paul, along with the music videos for "3 legs" and "Heart of the Country" , `Hey Diddle' and `Eat At Home on Tour' shows just how involved he was in creating this set and in the quality control in making sure this set is just how he, and we, want it to be. Re-mastered at Abbey Road by the same team who re-mastered the Beatles boxed set, it is a real bonus that Paul is now turning his attention to his solo work. I, for one, would be happy to buy every solo album released in this format and it is a fantastic addition to my collection.