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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Back in August last year I had the privilege of visiting the Abbey Road studios and saw this album being remastered. The attention to detail in that work is quite remarkable. So this is definitely an improved and repackaged version of a very good record.
Not that it was recognised as very good when it was first released, when it was fashionable to knock McCartney and praise Lennon. But that was too simplistic then and even more wrong now. McCartney has a gift for writing memorable melodies and here is a record full of them. This album has stood the test of time and many, many people will be buying it and smiling as, in effect, they revisit an old friend.
McCartney has a strange ability to write songs which, on first hearing, sound light and on second hearing you say 'I KNOW that track'. So it is with RAM, and many of his later works too.
Stand out tracks? 'Too Many People' is a good rocking opener. 'Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey' is up there in the 'hum along' nonsense stakes alongside 'Yellow Submarine'. On the bonus disk, 'Another Day' was brilliant single at the time and 'Oh Woman Oh Why' has its fans too. Most of the remaining bonus material, to be fair, I would expect to be of interest mainly to collectors and 'completists'.
The repackaging is good: a double fold-out cardboard sleeve approach with the original photographs and more, plus the lyrics in a booklet.
Definintely worth buying in this two-disk package. Five stars.
This has always been my favorite album Macca made after the Beatles. It's not as commercial as Band on the Run, but its far more real. In many ways it's like a diary entry and tells the story of what Paul did following the Beatles break up - and that was take to the country and become content in marital bliss. It's a happy album and although it'll take a few listens it will get you in the end. I love it and couldn't wait for the new remastered edition.
on 21 August 2014
the second album of paul"s solo career after testing the water of his debut album McCARTNEY which i feel was an experiment project to find out how well it would go down with the critics and fans .....with very mixed reviews, but on 21st may 1971 there was the release of RAM , WOW what a huge difference , paul was having fun,confident and in superb voice with raw and powerful and yet warm and loving vocals, that was all of his own style and personality coming out of each track .
RAM is a homegrown album with limited musical production BUT it is honest and warm and fantastic to listen to paul"s talent shining through , lovingly supported by his wife linda whose vocal ability is much better than she was given credit for ,
and proved that paul is a master in his own write and a stepping stone to the genius he would become,
fantastic album, great box set with brilliant bonus discs....
it is a real pity that john lennon did not truly respect this album because he was so focused on looking for what the ram album hidden remarks said about him ...which were very little , that it clouded his judgement on brilliant tracks such as TOO MANY PEOPLE, DEAR BOY(which was really about linda"s ex husband and not about john at all) UNCLE ALBERT, EAT AT HOME, and the BRILLIANT "THE BACK SEAT OF MY CAR" just superb, BUY IT NOW.
on 3 February 2005
This is a wonderfully zany offering from someone who in 1971 needed no introduction and this very zaniness managed to draw some of the most viscious and one has to to say amusing put downs in the history of rock journalism. Somehow, after the masterpiece that Abbey Road undoubtedly was, with McCartney's supreme talent effortless to the fore there, it appears that anything less than a repeat performance over the ensuing years invited ridicule and utter contempt from the critics.
Not from the record buying public though. This album was a massive seller and is revered by McCartney fans and many more besides 34 years later. But at the time, no less an authority than Rolling Stone dismissed this album as 'unbelievably inconsequential....and monumentally irrelevant'.
As I said....amusing.
But seriously misguided. I don't know what the world was exepecting Paul to produce in 1971 but the fact that he for one couldn't care less and put out this set, which although carrying many Beatlesque trademarks, not least in the melodies of course, is also a bold statement of independance complete with honest remarks on how bitter he felt about the Beatles break-up.
No one enjoys (or enjoyed) I hope the public slagging match between Lennon and McCartney in the years 1970-1, which did its best to destroy all the love and peace that the Beatles music had done so much to uphold and stand for throughout their short 7 year career of recorded output. But that doesn't detract from the quality of this album. The opener 'Too Many People' takes a sly dig at Lennon for 'preaching practices'....'don't let them tell you what you want to do'. Quite reasonable really, and certainly insufficient provocation for the tirade of nasty abuse (aimed squarely at McCartney) that was Lennon's scathing reply 'How Do You Sleep' on his 'Imagine' album of the same year. The second track, likening the Ex Beatles without Paul to a three legged dog is perhaps more provocative, but pretty mild and quite amusing all the same. And these first two songs are wonderfully distinctive and original, Paul has produced nothing like either since. That goes for the whole album really, it is Paul being original and creative and sub consciously distancing himself from whatever image he may have created for himself during the Fab Four years. He has tried this in the years since, somewhat more consciously usually . And more often than not less successfully as a result. Paul has always been best just doing his own thing, which is what he does best.
Anyway, back to the album: 'Ram On" is an evocative and charming piece of his ImHappyInScotlandThankyou period. 'Dear Boy' is an off the wall number featuring mad harmonies, the lyric possibly aimed at Lennon...but who cares? 'Uncle Albert' is about the most Beatleque moment on the album, a quite ecsquisite melody in the verse and a rousing chorus which brings happiness and a feeling of release on every listen (just as the title track of 'Band On The Run' was to do 2 years later). Even John Lennon was kind enough to comment favourably on this track, and this was in the depths of The Cold War between the two. Or should I say 'Thoroughly Public And Childish War'?? Which achieved Nothing and was a real sadness to most genuine Beatles fans.
'Smile Away' is slightly throwaway but engaging all the same. Then we come to 'Heart Of The Country", again evocative is the word that springs to mind...rural peaceful domesticity and contentment, away from Showbiz and The Big City....something that may have enraged Lennon at the time. But he came round to see what this was in the end, even giving up 5 years of his career in he process.
Monkberry Moon Delight is a raucous rocker with mad lyrics. Can you imagine this one sitting comfortably on a Beatles album? I think not. But then again who knows what might have become of the Beatles had they not split up when they did? Endless triple albums, just to fit in all this zaniness, eclectic and magical as ever?!
'Eat At Home' is a superb rocker, and quite possibly the best song on the album. Again the lyric is all about Home and Love. And as Wings sung 5 years later: 'What's wrong with that?' 'Long Haired Lady' is good in places but is perhaps the weakest song on the album. Was it really necessary to do the Hey Jude style ending? With Linda's vocal so much to the fore?? She's not bad at all at harmony singing, but here she is presented with virtually the lead vocal in the chorus. About the only mistake on the album. And if it was done just to get back at George for imitating a Hey Jude style ending on 'Isn't It A Pity', it was unnecessary.
And so we come to the last track 'Back Seat Of My Car'. Well the melody is among the best Paul has ever produced. Most of it is inspired, especially the verses but if I'm honest I can't help thinking that Lennon might have added an idea or two to turn it into the absolute classic it deserves to be. The ending for example is too long as if Paul can't decide how to finish the song.
But at the end of the day we must accept that Lennon was in no state to help his partner at this time, and not much on the last three Beatles albums either. So be it. These solo albums are still mighty fine...and interesting...and thought-provoking...and moving. All four Beatles produced much work after the split which is a vital and illuminating part of the Beatles' story. And this album is that more than most.
on 19 December 2015
I loved "Ram" from the moment I first heard it in 1976. The melody of "Ram On", its exquisite arrangement and taste - well that was the opener. Huge effort in creating this piece, one can tell. There's no point being too critical now as it's work well done, long ago, and still stands, regardless of the presence of less inspired work and some irritating vulgarities of sound and lyric. Against the occasional lapses, one must stack "Back seat of my car"...profoundly under-rated : a REAL "symphony for teenagers". I should have loved to have heard a Paul McCartney album arranged and orchestrated in close collaboration with John Barry - there are moments on this album when you get an idea of what might have come from such a now-impossible combination of musical genius.