Review : PAUL MCCARTNEY - Ram
All musicAfter the breakup, Beatles fans expected major statements from the three chief songwriters in the Fab Four. John and George fulfilled those expectations -- Lennon with his lacerating, confessional John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Harrison with his triple-LP All Things Must Pass -- but Paul McCartney certainly didn't, turning toward the modest charms of McCartney, and then crediting his wife Linda as a full-fledged collaborator on its 1971 follow-up, Ram. Where McCartney was homemade, sounding deliberately ragged in parts, Ram had a fuller production yet retained that ramshackle feel, sounding as if it were recorded in a shack out back, not far from the farm where the cover photo of Paul holding the ram by the horns was taken. It's filled with songs that feel tossed off, filled with songs that are cheerfully, incessantly melodic; it turns the monumental symphonic sweep of Abbey Road into a cheeky slice of whimsy on the two-part suite "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey."...full text
News OkNobody writes a more perfect pop song than Paul McCartney, even when he's under duress, and in 1970 he was certainly feeling the emotional wear and tear of the Beatles breakup and the legal and personal wrangling that entailed. It compelled McCartney and his late wife, Linda, to seek refuge on their farm in the Scottish countryside, where he began writing songs at first on his own, and then in collaboration with Linda, as a cathartic exercise.
Then he started getting serious about it, and the eventual result was 1971's “Ram,” arguably the best of all his post-Beatles albums — and the only one credited to both Paul and Linda McCartney.
BBCLennon loathed it – especially the arresting opening Too Many People, with its mild digs at John and Yoko – and even easy-going Ringo told Melody Maker: "I don’t think there’s one good tune on that one… He seems to be going strange."
Despite reaching No. 1 in the UK and No. 2 in the US, Ram received harsh reviews, with Paul perceived as the bread-head who broke up the group. Yet decades on, as is so often the way, the music has triumphed, the antipathy set aside. Now, the cool thing to say is that the 1971 album – McCartney’s second post-Fabs, his last before Wings, and the only one co-billed with Linda – is one of his best.
Its stylistic grab-bag makes a highly entertaining spree, punctuated with bursts of true genius. There’s little coherence – it leaps restlessly from grandiose to silly, as is Macca’s way – but the best moments are breathtaking....full text
Something ElseThe album, set for deluxe reissue on May 22, 2012 by Concord as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, moves with a guileless joy from the country-blues parody of “3 Legs” to the plucky reverie of “Ram On,” from the burping rockabilly riffs of “Smile Away” to the comfy domesticity of “Heart of the Country.” Imperfect but so very interesting, Ram is just as apt to indulge in the convoluted escapism of “Long Haired Lady,” as it is in the jokey doom’s-day howl of “Monkberry Moon Delight,” as it is in the Buddy Holly-inspired sexual innuendo of “Eat at Home.”
That said, for all of McCartney’s furious creativity, the loss of longtime writing partner John Lennon, not to mention Beatles producer George Martin, can be keenly felt at times. “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” for instance, always seemed to miniaturize everything McCartney once strove for with Abbey Road, feeling more calculatedly twee than truly inspired, despite its episodic construction. Ultimately, no matter how many copies it sold as a single, this is Ram’s most obvious indulgence. The principal weakness that McCartney has always had, the one that the Beatles at their best seemed to so deftly obscure, is fully exposed: He’s so well aware of his own charm....full text
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