on 13 January 2004
There was a time when I blithely assumed that John & Yoko was where it was really at. In terms of the Beatles, Paul was just the old sweet-toothed loverboy with a penchant for writing saccharine songs while John provided the real meat. Everything I once thought I knew was consigned to the bin when I heard this album. Because, while John & Yoko were ploughing their lonely furrow of po-faced holier-than-thou realpolitik, Paul and Linda were down on the farm making one of the most beautiful albums of the 70's. I cannot believe that I never heard this album before. It is exquisite. It rocks, it's boisterous, it's funny, it's tender, it's deeply funky: it has everything. Two very wealthy young people making music that is brimming with simple, unassuming, confident love and putting a big cheesy smile on my face. If you only buy one Macca album this has got to be the one. You can even give Band On The Run a miss if you like. I listen to this album and I think - I'll have what they're having. It's beautiful. It's amazing. Buy it and get drunk on it. Maybe the 70's weren't so naff after all...
From way back in 1971. I think this was Pau’ls second album post Beatles.
On the surface a simple album of simple melodies and ditties. I think I dismissed it at the time after one listening. Fortunately got re-aquainted after taping a friends copy. Happy now to have on my second CD, first one was stolen. Their is a highly enjoyable naive/childlike ambience about the whole proceedings. You can imagine Paul and Linda making this up to keep a bunch of kids entertained. A vast amount of it just makes you want to sing along. It kinda sounds very off the cuff and refuses to take itself too seriously.
Despite critical slaggings off this album higjhlights in fact a very happy songwriter on the top of his form. It is a sheer Monkberry Moon Delight from start to finish. Like the best Beatles albums the flow from track to track is absolutely perfect, seemingly a natural progression.
There is a huge variety of musical styles from pop ballads, rockers, blues, country, almost the lot.
It is also a lot better and more genuine than the later pomp of Wings when they went mega (Band On The Run excepted).
This album stands up alongside the best of The Beatles. I am sure not many will agree with me but there you have it. Buy, absorb and be amazed. Not sure if we need the bonus tracks though, they often detract from the overall canvas of an album.
on 5 December 2002
It's easy to forget how wonderfully witty & quirky Paul McCartney once was.
This is such a fluent & confident album.
It's deeply romantic, all about finding the right person to love & hiding away from the world together, which is exactly what was happening in this man's life at the time.
Some people were critical about it at the time, but this album is an absolute gem.
On some of the songs, this man, sings like a bell (check out 'Dear Boy')...so sweet, so tuneful, like no one before or since.
Not all the songs are sweet & melodic, there's also the wonderful, raunchy 'Monkberry Moon Delight' & yes, there are a few clangers that, after a time, you will want to skip...but the good, vastly out-weighs the bad.
I have a vast record collection & this was the very first LP I ever owned & it's still one of my all-time favourites.
To anyone who loves The Beatles & is now looking around to discover stuff the did after the great party was over, this will not disappoint.
Forget the Paul McCartney of 2002 & slide back to his glory days of 1971, when Paul was giving true love it's rightful chance & expressing it through his music.
on 30 March 2002
This is my favourite McCartney album, it should not be compared to Beatles albums, because it is not the Beatles! The album opens up with 'Too many people' this is a great song with the hooks Paul is king of, this song has a few hidden messages towards John eg "Too many people preaching fantasies". 'Three Legs' is an exellent blues workout. Ram On is has a beautiful melody and sound, and a reprise apears later on the album. 'Dear Boy' is fantastic. 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Hansley, is an experimental track that has severals songs in one, and is arguably the highlight of the album. Smile away is the rocker of the album and is quite bluesy. 'Heart of the country' is a bouncey country number reminiscent of Johns 'Crippled Inside' written a year later. 'Monkberry Moonlight' is a fun song and has an exellent vocal from Paul. 'Eat at home' is in the same vain as ' Too many people' and is just as good. 'Long haired Lady' is a fantastic tribute to Linda. 'Back seat of my car' is a fantastic prodution number and is right next to 'Uncle Albert..' That is the original album in full, but now it contains the coinciding single, the beautiful 'Another day' with the B side ' Oh woman why' which is a weak track, and is the only song on this exellent album that is not brilliant. If you expect a slick produced album, then you will be suprised. This not an album full of 'Let it be' and 'Yeserday' type songs, this is a raw sounding album, full of Pauls versitality as an artist, this represents his life at the time. If you buy it with an open mind for music, you are in for a treat.
I bought this album when I was 16 or so and when I first heard it I didn't like it. Then I listened to it a second time and came under its spell- hynpotised by its romantic and melodic splendour. I cannot understand why this album was slammed and Band on the Run venerated so much more. Or why Back Seat of My Car is singled out as the strongest track when to me it has always been the weakest and slightly contrived. The album oozes precocious but real talent and those critics who were paid to write that they thought this album was rubbish ought to count on their fingers how many pop stars today write tunes so well crafted and performed. Indeed, if you trawl through the archives of Rolling Stone magazine and see how many classic albums they have slammed and bad ones praised you can see that no one should be paid to write reviews. Ok, taste is subjective but I think as time goes by this album will still sell because it is well worth buying when others that are 'subjectively' good have long fallen by the wayside. The lyrics also deserve praise. McCartney was seldom as mature or as sincere as Lennon but he writes impressionistic lyrics that are often overlooked for how clever they are in an abstract way. Check out 3 legs.
on 25 August 2003
This is just a fabulous album. Although a lot of people may think that the short pieces are inconsequential, they obviously needed to be there for Paul (and Linda). However, all of the songs work almost like a tapestry. It's amazing how a lot of people write off Paul as the lesser of the Lennon/McCartney partnership. Wherehas John was happy to just get the ideas down, Paul seemed to fret over perfection in all aspects of the material.
The first track, Too Many People, is a great opener with a strong rhythmic backing and, as with all the songs here, a fantastic sound production wise! Because of what Paul was going through at the time with the ex-Beatles, it seems to me to have an hidden message speaking of an inner depression he was most likely feeling at the time. 3 Legs is an absolutely cool song, just try it as a straight vocal and acoustic guitar and you'll see. Again there's an under current of his state of mind. I don't think like others that it's a jibe at John, but almost a jibe at himself! Ram On is just beautiful with it's (I think) ukulele and almost earthy tone. It would have worked perfectly on The White Album if it had been written back then.
Dear Boy is a touchingly honest look at how he was sorry for the court procedings I think? To me it seems like he's saying that he just couldn't carry on as the business of The Beatles was depressing him (even though they had already split!) Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey is a very well conceived song for someone who was down at the time. It must have been almost therapeutic for him to just throw himself into songwriting. The influence of Linda can be spotted if you know what to look for as well (the style change and the almost nursery rhyme styled ending). Smile Away is a good rocking tune for the whole band to go wild on. A purposely funny set of lyrics too!
Heart of the Country is a great acoutic number. Monkberry Moon Delight, mmm, am I the only one who can see the drug metaphor in this? Still, a great song, and one I've admittedly learnt too! Eat At Home, a straight no messing song about something mundane and normal. It works though! Long Haired Lady is a nice multi-styled piece. It's almost as though it started out as two or three different musical pieces expertly placed together. Still a nice filler. The return to Ram On is good, but almost feels like a copy of the trick pulled on Sgt Pepper (with the reprise). Still nice, and I would say a different take that is more full than the first version. Back Seat Of My Car is a great finish to the album. I first had a copy of this album on vinyl, and this just seemed like a perfect ending to a perfect album!
While John was busy with flogging himself and everyone around him in his songs, Paul was showing that he had the ability to deliver when necessary some great songs that were not all the same (shame the following album, Wild Life, let him down though)!
on 2 July 2014
When the journos said it was inconsequential, they obviously weren't listening properly...surprise surprise. There's some uncertainty of direction, maybe, but actually there's plenty of consequence: songs with real emotional depth about the end of the Beatles and about finding the love of your life, mirroring Lennon's at the same time - only it isn't all laid out with sloganising remedial-class obviousness, and it's a lot more musical. You have to listen, you have to think - eg 'Paul Ramon' was his early stage name; Ram On is a sort of Hey Jude to himself, 'give your heart to somebody, soon, right away'.
Back Seat, despite its apparent teen subject (and slightly overblown production), is in its own way a shift of perspective as significant as Lennon's "GOD". It doesn't cajole, like other people's songs on the same theme; it doesn't need to, because suddenly McCartney is not on the make. The Girl is no longer just an object, 'her' or 'you'; it's *we*, 'we believe that we can't be wrong'. Lennon and the critics who saw this line as part of the Beatles' war of words were, in my opinion, reading too much into it - or too little - and failing to listen to the song as a whole. It's clearly a celebration, not an accusation. Musically it resembles the end of Abbey Road, and feels similarly far-reaching: the nation's heartthrob has grown up although (the opposite of Lennon) he's trying not to sound like it. Whether 'make it to Mexico City' is a euphemism, I couldn't say...
Lennon may have had a slight dose of the crazies about that one, but that's not to say there aren't lines elsewhere with him and the others in mind. McCartney has admitted to a couple in the opening number, but surely there are others - 'sharing party lines', ouch Yoko! I feel certain that Three Legs is about the group, although the message is heavily coded (which, from him, is suspicious in itself) - only the sad 'when I thought you was my friend' comes through clearly. It was of course Lennon who had first made the partnership a subject for his songs, and it's funny - considering that he professed to think this album bland - that he was so stung by McCartney's slights real and imagined, reacting with the genuinely vitriolic How Do You Sleep.
Despite the critical panning, the album's music must have made an impression too. Among other things, here you find the germs (that is probably the right word) of Glam Rock, and Back Seat has the kind of soaring guitar climax that would become Brian May's trademark. But McCartney doesn't allow himself to be pinned down; every song here has its own individual sound whether it's ukulele and electric piano (Ram On), fuzzy rock (Smile Away), acoustic blues (Three Legs), Beach Boys polyphony (Dear Boy), reverb rock'n'roll (Eat At Home) or a big orchestral production (Back Seat). I doubt if anybody else has ever produced such a range of different vocal timbres on one album, including the cod 'radio' voices of Uncle Albert - if he got royalties for that much-copied idea he'd be even richer than he already is. Despite this wardrobe of styles it all fits together coherently as an album, unlike Revolver say (however Revolver is still better, because the individual numbers are so good).
It would seem that Ram's relative failure decided McCartney in favour of more obvious, crowd-pleasing material. Wings had their moments, but they were a compromise between McCartney's pop / avant garde instincts and the stadium rock fashionable at the time. A few years later, the 'Rockestra' and lyric references to Jimmy Page suggest that he hankered to be in Led Zeppelin. He might have loved that as a performer, but as a songwriter the style didn't suit him and he got caught between two stools. So this is the hinge on which his career turns; the last chance to hear him still at the height of his powers, still with all the inventive confidence of a Beatle. By the time we get to the single Another Day, here as a bonus track, it already feels like fully fledged 'Paul McCartney'.
John wanted to be revered, Paul wanted to fill stadiums. Each achieved what he wanted but it's a shame that, in the process, the one had to bury his fun side and the other make himself look - superficially - superficial. Maybe one day they'll both be seen clearly and whole.
So, hands up southern softies: who knows what a butter pie is?
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.
on 6 September 2009
I bought RAM when I was eleven, attracted by the picture of the Ram on the front. 39 years later I still ADORE every track on this album. There's enough quirky lyrics to keep you amused (Admiral Halsey), enough gorgeous tunes to blow your mind (back seat of my car) and a bit of rock and roll to add variety (Smile away). It's simple songwriting at its McCartney best, and the song order works out perfectly. When I listen to the cd I still want to turn the record over after Smile Away. Buy this - you'll love it. The only other album that comes close is Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, which is also FAB.
on 14 October 2015
As I write this review, I hope it won't be entirely lost amongst all the other reviews.
Paul McCartney means many things to many different people. The 'Paul McCartney' that I like most is the one who sounds like he is having fun; when his sense of humour shows; when his creativity is not confined; when he is not meeting expectations to make a big-selling commercial blockbuster or big production job; like the track 'Mumbo' on 'Wild Life' by Wings; like on 'Ram'.
I love 'Ram'. From 1982 onwards, I bought the cassette, the vinyl album, the original AAD CD, the 1993 Remaster, the 1995 'Thrillington' instrumental version, and now the 2012 remastered 1CD edition (43:15), which improves on the sound of the 1993 CD but loses the 2 bonus tracks (the February 1971 single 'Another Day' / 'Oh Woman Oh Why')
The opening song 'Too Many People' appears to contain digs at John Lennon after the Beatles break-up, such as ''you took your lucky break, and broke it in two...''. The song '3 Legs' may refer to the other 3 Beatles after the split. 'Ram On' seems like a reference to an early stage name used by McCartney, 'Paul Ramon'.
Paul's sense of humour is apparent on the tracks 'Smile Away' & 'Monkberry Moon Delight', where his hoarse/raspy vocal style is used to great effect from his range of vocal styles. Many singers only have one style ! The different voice used for 'Ram On' & 'Heart Of The Country' offers a contrast. Linda McCartney's voice is also used effectively throughout.
The good-humoured 'Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey' was released as a single in the USA (not in the UK), but may be the albums best-known song after being compiled on 'Wings Greatest' and 'Wingspan', or used in the comedy 'Only Fools & Horses'.
The 2005 double vinyl LP of remixes 'Twin Freaks' featured a good remix of 'Long Haired Lady', which for me was the stand-out track on that album. In it's original form on 'Ram', this pleasant song has a lengthy coda.
This classic 1971 analogue recording is likely to be a 'keeper', a mainstay in your collection (like the 1970 'McCartney' album) The fact that it is a true solo album (apart from Linda) with Paul playing all the instruments on his own compositions, makes it more remarkable, and gives it a kind of 'purity'. It is an album which keeps on giving, and is one for 'The Ages'.