Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The McCartneys' 'Ram' to Get Deluxe Treatment This Spring

Paul McCartney's solo career gets a bad rap, but those of us who realize it wasn't all "My Love" and "Ebony and Ivory" will be excited to learn that his and Linda's excellent 1971 disc Ram will be the next to get the deluxe treatment as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection. The series has already winged out deluxe editions of McCartney, McCartney II, and Band on the Run. Ram is scheduled for spring 2012, though a specific release date and tracklisting have yet to emerge.

However, Hear Music has firm details on a preview single of its reissue of the Ram-era single "Another Day"/"Oh Woman, Oh Why", which is on the way for Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21.

In the meantime, here's what I had to say about Ram in Psychobabble’s Eleven Greatest Albums of 1971:

Someone had to take the fall for The Beatles’ breakup. The most sniveling journalists pitched their poison pens at Yoko and Linda. The rest blamed Paul. He was the first to quit and the first to release a solo record. When that record proved to be a sketchy miscalculation (didn’t he realize how the first ex-Beatle album would be scrutinized?), critics shredded it. Giddy from finally having a reason to knock a Beatle down, they greeted his second record with equal viciousness. McCartney was hurt, and justifiably so. Hearing Ram decades removed from the national-tragedy level hysteria surrounding The Beatles’ dissolution, it’s hard to see what the critics hated and impossible to miss the craftsmanship. So what if a good deal of the lyrics make no attempt at profundity? Since when was that Paulie’s objective? The tunes are his most effervescent since “The White Album”. The recording is a perfect union of Abbey Road-style invention and Let It Be-style grit. Both of those albums would have benefitted from such balance. And how could anyone dip into such a diverse dish without finding something that suits his or her fancy? McCartney is the consummate chameleon throughout, paying homage to Brian Wilson (“Back Seat of My Car”) and Buddy Holly (“Eat at Home”), playing the down-home farm boy (“Heart of the Country”) and the moonshine-mad bootlegger (“Monkberry Moon Delight”), and giving us the best Beatles song since the band’s breakup (“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”). Those who criticized Ram as a cheerful exercise in style over substance chose to ignore the lacerating spite in “Dear Boy”, “3 Legs”, and the flame-throwing “Too Many People”. John Lennon didn’t. He regarded those tracks as sucker punches from his former partner (he had a point regarding “Too Many People”), and responded with the really mean “How Do You Sleep?” on Imagine. No one seemed to mind that Lennon’s record was guilty of a lot of the criticisms lumped on Ram: saccharine production and puerile lyricism (though Lennon got a pass because of his stabs at political observation and self-examination). 40 years on, one of those albums still sounds 100% fresh, and it isn’t the one on which a rich man tells us to “imagine no possessions.”

Thanks to The Second Disc for this scoop.
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