Paul McCartney - "RAM" Special Edition CD Review ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Paul McCartney - "RAM" Special Edition CD Review

STREAM: Paul McCartney - "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" (from RAM)

Paul McCartney - 'RAM' Special Edition CD Review
When reviewing deluxe reissues, I generally don’t attempt to review the original album as, most often, there is little to add to the hundreds of reviews that have already been written. That being said, I don’t think I had heard Paul McCartney’s second solo LP RAM (originally released in 1971) before and was taken aback by how well this disc stacks up against today’s indie-pop music. It seems such a contradiction in terms to mention Sir Paul and “indie-pop” in the same sentence but…there are definitely elements on this disc (layered production, orchestral elements) that are heard on modern releases from bands like Arcade Fire and Of Montreal.

To provide some background on the original recording of RAM, Paul composed the songs (with input from Linda) while on an extended holiday on McCartney’s farm on the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. A number of the videos on the bonus DVD were filmed on the McCartney’s farm during this period. RAM was recorded in New York and Los Angeles and the McCartneys’ backing band was recruited via open auditions. The RAM sessions were prolific and a number of the songs not included on the original 12-track disc ended up as b-sides and on later Wings’ releases.

According to the online “Paul McCartney Sessionography”, twenty-three tracks were recorded:

The "RAM" Sessions (Late January - Late February 1970)

Released as a Single in Advance of RAM but Not Included on the Original LP
Another Day (RAM bonus track)
Oh Woman, Oh Why (RAM bonus track)

Original Issue of 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

RAM Bonus Tracks
A Love for You
Sunshine, Sometime (also on Rupert the Bear soundtrack)
Hey Diddle
Rode All Night

Unreleased Tracks from the RAM Sessions
Dear Friend
Little Lamb Dragonfly
Get On The Right Thing
Now Hear This Song Of Mine
When The Wind Is Blowing

Paul McCartney - Vocals, guitar, bass, piano, keyboards
Linda McCartney - Vocals, keyboards
Dave Spinoza - Guitars
Hugh McCracken - Guitars
Denny Seiwell - Drums, percussion

The remaining two bonus tracks – “Great Cock and Seagull Race” and “Little Woman Love” – were respectively recorded at the Wild Life sessions in 1971 and “The First Singles Session” in Spring 1972.

My review copy came with bonus DVD from the Deluxe Edition (and this set includes 2 extra CDs - the remastered Mono edition of RAM and the Thrillington CD along with a 112 page book). The playing time on the DVD runs about 25 minutes. While I would have like more material, the likely reality is that the footage used is all that exists from this time period as Macca didn’t tour until 1972 with Wings.

The features on the bonus DVD are:

1 – Ramming – The Story of the Album: This is a current-day audio interview with Macca (backed by studio shots of the recording session which are presumably were shot by Linda) where he reflects on working with Linda in the studio, hiring the band and he also talks about the impetus behind some of the songs. (Note: Macca states that “Dear Boy” was directed at Linda’s x-husband – not, contrary to popular belief, John Lennon)

2 – “Heart of the Country” & “3 Legs”: Both of these are promo videos which combine video footage of the McCartney family at home (and at play) in Scotland with the studio versions of these songs.

3 – “Hey Diddle”: This is an “impromptu” acoustic live performance of Paul and Linda sitting outside of their farmhouse singing this song, backed by Paul’s acoustic guitar.

4 – “Eat at Home” On Tour: This is an early promo video that combines live footage (from Wings 1972 tour) interspersed with tour bus and ‘day in the life’ footage of the band

Paul McCartney