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PAUL McCARTNEY RAM x 7
(Seven Versions Of RAM + Deluxe Bonus Tracks)


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PAUL and LINDA McCARTNEY RAM (1971/2012)
PAUL and LINDA McCARTNEY RAM (MONO) (1971/2012)
PERCY “THRILLS” THRILLINGTON Thrillington (1977)
VARIOUS ARTISTS RAM On L.A. (2009)
VARIOUS ARTISTS TOM: A Tribute To RAM (2009)
TIM CHRISTIANSEN Pure McCartney (2013)
DAVE DEPPER The RAM Project (2011)
Six Takes On Paul McCartney’s Best Album

FrontDebate it all you want, RAM is still Paul’s most consistently rewarding solo album. After being eviscerated by the critics in 1970 – for breaking up The Beatles… for a debut album considered unworthy of The Beatles’ legacy… for not being dead… Paul McCartney buckled down and got to work. RAM was the result. It’s a surprising album in that it spotlights every strength McCartney honed as a Beatle, but really sounds nothing like a Beatles album. Which, in itself, is amazing. RAM is dense, for sure, but repeated listens provide hidden charms within the jammed-packed harmonies and wonderfully cluttered arrangements. It’s not commercial pop candy, though, so it refuses to quickly wear out, as Band On The Run did for me. More importantly, its “filler” quotient might be the lowest of all Paul’s LPs. You can quibble about some of the tracks, of course… but, you can do the same with any Beatles album, too. To this day, one of my all time favorite McCartney moments is the ripping guitar solo that climaxes “Too Many People,” the first grooves that disintegrated on my old vinyl copy. I could go on, but most have already made up their minds about RAM, pro or con. We’ve included the bonus tracks disc from the 2012 Archive Collection and the arguably superior Mono mix from the Deluxe Book/Box Edition.  Find it at Amazon (HERE), along with the 4CD/1DVD version (HERE). Hear 7 different versions of “Dear Boy,” below.

RAM
Too Many People
3 Legs
Ram On
Dear Boy
Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
Smile Away
Heart Of The Country
Monkberry Moon Delight
Eat At Home
Long Haired Lady
Ram On (Reprise)
The Back Seat Of My Car

Bonus Tracks
Another Day (3:43)
Oh Woman, Oh Why (4:36)
Little Woman Love (2:09)
A Love For You (John Kelly Mix) (4:09)
Hey Diddle (Dixon Van Winkle Mix) (3:50)
Great Cock And Seagull Race (Dixon Van Winkle Mix) (2:36)
Rode All Night (8:45)
Sunshine Sometime (Earliest Mix) (3:22)

RAM (Mono)The highly coveted mono version of RAM was originally only available to radio in 1971, but McCartney remastered it in 2012 for inclusion on the 5CD RAM Deluxe Book Edition (at Amazon, HERE), and it will most likely become your favorite version of RAM. Not so much for the mono mix differences, which aren’t quite as radical as often touted, but for the stunning clarity of sound. RAM has always been a (wonderfully) cluttered sounding LP, but the remastered mono mix is like a unmuddied lake… as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer. You can rely on me.

It’s obvious Paul thought highly of RAM, because he used it as a launching pad for the first of many inexplicable concepts and releases (not to mention aliases) throughout his career. This idea he took to the extreme, by placing ads and news items into various UK papers long before the album’s release, just to establish the name of fictitious socialite, Percy Thrillington, man about town. Thrillington, the album, recorded in 1971 but not released until 1977, is a song for song instrumental muzak version of RAM. But… why do a muzak album? And, why RAM? It never added up. Though Paul’s ghostly visage was seen on the back cover, nobody knew the album was McCartney’s doing. Why would he? Even those who might have been suspicious were never sure. It was a full-fledged ruse that McCartney maintained until the 80s, when he officially admitted his involvement. Years later, Paul attempted a similar gambit with his electronic alter-ego, The Fireman, but by that time people were wise to his antics (and his production company logo). To this day, Thrillington is still one of Paul McCartney’s least known LPs.

I’m generally suspicious of various artist gatherings of unknown bands (unknown to me, anyway), but this 2009 collection is a charmer. While each band has their individual strengths and weaknesses, no one here attempts to disembowel or re-invent the material, so – as a whole – RAM On L.A. remains, first and foremost, a pop album… as it should be. Bands are; Earlimart, Frankel, The Parson Redheads, Bodies Of Water, Radar Bros., Naptunes, Los Baby Fools, Le Switch, The Broken West, Amnion, The Parson Redheads (again, for the “Ram On” reprise) and Travel By Sea.

Here’s another tribute to RAM from Tom, over at WFMU. It was originally created in 2009 for a station fundraiser, and includes material recorded specifically for this compilation. Along with the original album, Tom added bonus covers of PM’s first single, “Another Day”/”Oh Woman Oh Why.” Artists include; Aimee Mann, Death Cab For Cutie (hear “Dear Boy,” below), Portastatic, The Black Hollies, Dump, Hank IV, The Royal Purple, Danielson, Cynthia Santiglia with The Thrillingtons, Spider Bags, Themeweavers LLC, Ted Leo, The Barbaras & The Stone Throw Singers. Note: There’s a little distortion at the end of Ted Leo’s track, sorry. Many thanks to JB for the tip.

FrontAn April 2013 release of Danish singer/songwriter Tim Christensen’s live concert tribute to RAM. I don’t know the guy myself, but Wiki’s got some info on him and his activities (HERE) that may be common knowledge to others. The album’s idea, entitled Pure McCartney, was hatched between Christensen & Mike Viola (Candy Butchers) who surprised each other by picking RAM as their all-time fave LP. The song-for-song live RAM includes a few extras; “Venus And Mars/Rock Show,” “Coming Up,” “Live And Let Die,” “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Junk” and “Band On The Run.”

Front Dave Depper’s utterly faithful 2011 recreation of RAM, from the instrumentation to the arrangements to the leads to the assorted bits of quirky nuance that permeates the original. The only thing missing is the McCartneys. Find The RAM Project at Amazon, HERE.

23 Comments

  • 1
    Willard
    June 20, 2011 - 14:00 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • 2
    KDNYfm
    May 15, 2012 - 12:24 | Permalink

    I was reading a review of this album the other day, and I had to hear it in it’s entirety…thanx for the opportunity again. I have 3 vinyl copies, but no turntable. I have WingSpan which gives me a decent selection from the album. But for the life of me I dont understand why this person was panning this album?!? Most of the reviews that panned it back at the time of it’s release have all but disappeared. At the time, I thought it was some great rocking! Too Many People, Heart of the Country, Monkberry Moon Delight and one of my all time favorite Macca Songs, Smile Away!
    Thanx again Willard!
    Al

  • 3
    Jim Jess
    November 2, 2012 - 20:19 | Permalink

    Yes, Ram is one of Paul’s best albums, long under-rated (especially by critics at the time) and since re-evaluated as a near-masterpiece. But I do take issue with your statement that Band On The Run quickly “wears out”. Are you for real?? This is one of the all-time classic Rock albums, and it no more “wears out” than Dark Side Of The Moon, Ziggy Stardust or Led Zep 4!

    • 4
      Willard
      March 25, 2013 - 18:48 | Permalink

      Yeah… I am for real. The truth is, I’ve found that some albums that are overtly clean and commercial can sometimes quickly wear out “for me” (… an important distinction). I know I’m not alone as I’ve discussed this with others many times before. Band On The Run is one such album for me. That doesn’t dispute its worth or its classic status OR the belief that many consider it his best work. It just means that – for me – it reached a peak quickly and future listens held less interest. I had unique responses to Exile On Main Street and RAM. When I first heard them both, I didn’t like them. I had to fight to understand and appreciate each. Once I did… I REALLY appreciated them both… and the cluttered, informal, less commercial, non-radio approach of both albums have been inherently more interesting to me over the long run. Band On The Run, on the other hand, is handed to you on a platter. No thinking, questioning or understanding required. It’s pure, radio ready pop. Like I said… that doesn’t diminish its greatness, just its repeat listenability to me. I’m sure you have songs or albums that you once loved better than anything ever released, yet you don’t go back to them for whatever reason. Some albums – for some people – just wear out. It happens.

      • 5
        25thBeatle
        March 28, 2013 - 22:54 | Permalink

        Good point. I listen to more outtakes and such to remind me that the released versions are so excellent. A couple of weeks ago my best friend the Walrus came over and we did the Abbey Road thing….started at Come Together and finished with Her Majesty. Had been years since we had done the whole album. Cranked it up, got the JBLs cooking and by the time You Never Give Me Your Money came around we both we laughing at how GREAT the album was. Try it sometime. You have every song memorized but reboot the hard drive that you have wired and experience WHY you have this music in your DNA. It may surprise you.
        Peace,
        Ken

  • 6
    3410
    March 25, 2013 - 21:14 | Permalink

    “Well, I believe that you *could* possibly be wrong”.
    – John Lennon

  • 7
    Balzac
    March 26, 2013 - 02:54 | Permalink

    I think Ram is his masterpiece, although I loved his first solo album too. I’ve been listening to this album since I was 14, and I don’t think I go two weeks without playing it at least once. Easily in my TEN DESERT ISLAND DISC list.

  • 8
    March 26, 2013 - 03:01 | Permalink

    I’m generally not a fan of covers, but if anyone is on the fence, YES, you should grab the Pure McCartney album. Very reverent live versions that highlight many of the aspects of RAM that I’ve always liked.

    Thanks for posting this Willard.

  • 9
    Gummo
    March 26, 2013 - 10:22 | Permalink

    Thanks, Willard!

  • 10
    buzzbabyjesus
    March 26, 2013 - 10:33 | Permalink

    Check out the clip for “Venus And Mars?Rock Show”. Thanks to Sal, for turning me onto this last week. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-A9vugu86AI

  • 11
    March 26, 2013 - 10:59 | Permalink

    Thx for this Willard- My CD copy was worn out, so this has come along just in the nick of time!

  • 12
    Joe
    March 26, 2013 - 13:17 | Permalink

    Ram ON, Son!

  • 13
    25thBeatle
    March 27, 2013 - 00:59 | Permalink

    Absolutely a CLASSIC and powerful album all the way through.
    C’mon People…..I haven’t read one comment that includes what an unbelievable suite of music Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey is. Everyone has their song or two on this album but if anyone denies the greatness of Uncle Albert….well – Ram On. EPIC. I understand this could ‘wear out’ due to repeated exposure but there are so many different sections to Uncle Albert that all you have to do is wait 7 or 8 seconds and the whole song has changed AGAIN. Brilliant…..

  • 14
    Grant
    March 27, 2013 - 21:35 | Permalink

    Yes!! Can’t wait to hear these. I have RAM on vinyl, and am looking forward to hearing the bonus tracks, plus Tim Christensen’s recreation. Thanks a lot Willard. Some of Paul’s very best!

  • 15
    VSOP
    July 29, 2013 - 20:30 | Permalink

    thanks check youtube for paul and nirvana survivors @ safeco field seattle ..one guy has some vids shot from 5th row that aren’t too bad..oh yea, i was there too..thanks and i think ram is his m piece also..

  • 16
    January 7, 2014 - 09:38 | Permalink

    Here at Casa Buzz, “Pure McCartney” ended up one favorites of 2013. My daughter prefers it to the original. I thinks it’s because Tim, Mike, Tracy and friends completely nail it, and the joy and exuberance of the moment shines through. It bristles with energy. They elevate “Ram On” into a real tune instead of the throwaway interlude of the original. The drummer is incredible and really makes it work.

  • 17
    Anonymous
    January 13, 2014 - 11:03 | Permalink

    many tanx! for Paul’s Ram. I too have it on vinyl and no turn table. Haven’t heard it for years and years.

  • 18
    Timmy
    February 12, 2014 - 12:11 | Permalink

    I just realized how much of a Brian Wilson/Beach Boys influence that “Dear Boy” has, after playing the sample you provide here…
    Thanx ~

  • 19
    Charlie C.
    June 18, 2014 - 17:33 | Permalink

    Couldn’t get the WFMU Ram anthology to d/l . . .

    • 20
      Willard
      June 19, 2014 - 07:30 | Permalink

      I just d/l’ed the Tom WFMU trib without problem. What’s the issue?

  • 21
    Charlie C.
    June 19, 2014 - 10:01 | Permalink

    I think the issue was with Safari and one of the download sites. Perhaps I spoke too soon . . .
    Not having much luck at all with MEG. Switched browsers and it all went well. Thanks for following up!

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