Tuesday, June 12, 2012


The new release of Paul McCartney's "Ram" is a jaw-dropper.   The enhanced sound is a revelation.   I took the easy way out and bought the 2-CD edition, but am now having seconds thoughts about purchasing the 4-CD/1-DVD special version.  Listen to the bass on "Smile Away" - it simply couldn't be deeper or stronger than if it emanated from the center of the Earth.

This was an LP that took time to grow on me.  Like everyone else back in '71 I was tuned in to hear "Beatles".  But over time the songs began to hook me more and more, and now I consider this - along with "Band On the Run" - as the pinnacle of Paul's solo output.  I will go out on a limb here to mention that one of the joys of "Ram" for me is Paul's inclusion of Linda, both as a backup singer as well as subject matter for many of the songs.  It makes it personal in such a way that it clearly shows how much affection he felt for her.  As for her singing - here at least - I actually dig it.  She doesn't have a lot of emotional range but she can be really snotty/scolding, as when she counters "is this the only thing you want me for?"in "Long Haired Lady".  Her harmonies in "Too Many People" are actually part of the charm of what may be one of Paul's finest post-Beatles songs. I will not get into a John/Yoko vs. Paul/Linda comparison because it is like comparing apples to oranges.   Let's just say that I feel no need to pull out any of my Yoko/Plastic Ono Band LPs to revisit her musical legacy.

Understandably none of the new enhanced recordings are available on YouTube, so here is a rare mono version of one of my favorite rockers on the album - "Smile Away". Have always loved this tune because Paul just lets loose and kicks up a dust storm.  Sure the lyrics are silly but the joy is so present that I just laugh along with him.

1 comment:

Holly A Hughes said...

Ram has certainly proven to be a much more durable album than any of us would have thought at the time! Its looseness and raucous energy were only natural, as Paul began to free himself from the shackles of Beatle-dom, but in retrospect that liberation was also empowering. He seems to be reclaiming musical territory -- a country sound, old-school rock 'n' roll -- and those seemingly oddball choices turned out to be fruitful experiments. This album doesn't sound at all dated, like some of the later Wings output now sounds. Good time for the reissue to reawaken interest in it.