29 February 2008, gsparaco @ 4:27 pm
Ram (Rock Archives RA-0706004)
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 on Rock Archives is another needle drop of a mono mix released by the Scorpio label and is a worthy choice. When the Paul McCartney album was released in stereo on May, 1971, the mono LP was pressed primarily for promotional purposes for airplay on AM radio stations. Given its limited distribution and the fact that almost every song is mixed differently in mono than stereo has made it very desirable for collectors and a good project for labels. In 2000 Roaring Mouse released Ram In Mono(DPRO-79970). This release contains both the LP in mono and the promotional LP “Brung To Ewe By” (released at the time of Ram, this contains fifteen radio spot ads and Paul singing “Now Hear This Song Of Mine” to be used by the station as intros for the tracks). The same year saw the release of Ram Mono Mix (Manural Apple MAS 3375) with ”Now Hear This Song Of Mine.” This release received some criticism for separating each of the tracks. The Alternate Ram (Pear Records PDP-020) was released in 2004 with the transfer of the mono and the promo spots.
In 2005 Ram (Dr. Ebbett MAS 3375) 2005 on CDR with the album only. One collector points out “This is (so far) the best sounding digital transfer of the rare mono LP. While it sounds similar to the Japanese pirate disc [‘Ram Mono Mix' Manural Apple MAS-3375], the sound here is a bit more open on the high and low frequencies and the bass is more profound and clear. The overall sound is very smooth and this disc plays nicely beside the DCC master of the stereo mix. We all know that the vinyl Capitol Records used during this period was not the quietest, and as such every mono LP has a small amount of audible background noise. This noise is a little more noticeable on the Dr. Ebbett disc than the ‘Manural Apple’ disc, but this could just be a result of the Equalizing. I also want to mention that it is possible that Dr. Ebbett could of mastered this version from the ‘Manural Apple’ disc but I highly doubt it (there’s a lower tracking error during “Smile Away” on this version than the “Manural Apple’ disc).”
The latest release on Rock Archives is a straight transfer of the mono. There is noticeable surface noise however. To give the benefit of the doubt to the label, virgin copies may be almost impossible to find, but it sounds as if no attempt was made to clean up the recording. Despite that it has the good Scorpio mastering job sounding very natural and warm. It comes packaged in a single cardboard glossy paper sleeve with an insert with the track listing on the inside.
According to the book Eight Arms To Hold You, there are differences between the mono and stereo on almost each track. On “Too Many People” the mono mix has mixed-down backing vocals, less processing and a longer fade out. On “3 Legs,” there is a stray note that is mixed out during “fly flies in…”, a tighter edit at “you know it’s not allowed,” and the background vocals are mixed lower. “Ram On” has no processing on the ukulele. For “Dear Boy” there is considerable flanging on the vocal interlude in the middle and the backing vocals are lower also. There is flanging also on the guitar intro for the mono mix of “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.” The high-hat at the start of the “Admiral Halsey” section in the stereo version is absent in mono. There is a vocal harmony at 3:10 on the word “water” missing in mono and the punch in at 2:18 in the stereo version is lower in the mix on mono.
The segue between “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” and “Smile Away” is smoother in mono, and the high harmony at 1:52 in stereo is absent throughout the rest of the song in mono. Also, the fade is three seconds longer in mono than stereo. “Heart Of The Country” is identical in both stereo and mono. The mono ”Monkberry Moon Delight” has more reverb than stereo and the guitar, tambourine and backing vocals are lower in the mix. In the mono “Eat At Home” there is some mumbling by Paul after the first “eat at home” and the vocal interjections during the solo are not in mono. On “Long Haired Lady” there is flanging on the piano during the first “love is long” break, the stereo fade is slightly longer and the crossfade to ”Ram On” begins at a different point. The mono mix for “Ram On” shorter with less reverb, and finally ”The Back Seat Of My Car” has a smoother edit to the outro.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Paul McCartney - Ram (Rock Archives RA-0706004),