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Paul and Linda McCartney – Ram – 50th anniversary collectors edition (Beat Pear PM Ram 50)

Paul and Linda McCartney, ‘Ram – 50th anniversary collectors edition’ (Beat Pear PM Ram 50) 

DISC 1 – Mono Version (MAS-3375) – 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
11. RAM ON  
12. THE BACK SEAT OF MY CAR
* Non-Album Tracks (1971-1973)
Recorded during RAM Recording Sessions
13. ANOTHER DAY
14. OH WOMAN, OH WHY 
15. LITTLE WOMAN LOVE
16. GET ON THE RIGHT THING
* Home Recordings (circa 1970)
17. DEAR FRIEND
18. DEAR FRIEND
19. DEAR FRIEND
20. 1882
21. 1882 (75:01)

DISC 2
* Rough Mixes from RAM Recording Sessions
1. SUNSHINE SOMETIME (Instrumental)
2. RODE ALL NIGHT 
3. LONG HAIRED LADY (Instrumental)
4. THE BACK SEAT OF MY CAR (Instrumental)
5. A LOVE FOR YOU (Instrumental)
6. HEY DIDDLE (Instrumental)
* Brung to Ewe by (Recording Details Unknown Circa Mid 1971)
Promo release that was given to radio stations to promote the RAM album. 
7. Paul saying “Get it together man” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
8. Paul saying “On a fishing boat” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
9. Paul saying “You Know What I mean” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
10. Paul saying “Ram Ram .. Boogie” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
11. Paul saying “Rama Rama …” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
12. Paul saying “We’ve got to get this album together man” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
13. Snatch of “Uncle Albert” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
14. Snatch of “Ram On” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
15. Paul saying “Ram” with sounds of sheep & “Now hear this, song of mine”
16 .Ram On” and sheep noises. 
17. Paul saying “On a fishing boat” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
18. Paul saying “Ram Ram” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
19. Linda “What is this”, Paul “This is work woman” & “Now hear this, song of mine”
20. Paul rambling in Scottish accent & “Now hear this, song of mine”
21. Very short clips of tracks & “Now hear this, song of mine”
* Mid 70’s – Mid 80’s Remixes (for “Cold Cuts”)
22. A LOVE FOR YOU (Vocal & Guitar Overdubs)
23. A LOVE FOR YOU (1980 mix) 
24. A LOVE FOR YOU (Mid 80’s mix)
25. HEY DIDDLE (Final Mix 1)
26. HEY DIDDLE (1978 mix)
27. HEY DIDDLE (1980 mix) / HEY DIDDLE (Mid 80’s mix) (76:10)

If there was ever going to be a main dove-tail joint to ‘Ram’, Paul McCartney’s fantastical first solo studio album, it would be the Mono mix (The ‘Thrillington’ LP, more of a door-knob) Only issued to aid AM radio station play originally, the punchier, bolder, a-little-older brother to the masterpiece LP was to become a cult desire and a bit of a pirate hit as affectionados of the proto-indie mother-lode became sated with the sound  of a bigger bass.

This version also features a few recording anomalies that were missing from the stereo LP – A longer fade out for ‘Too Many People’, a more minimal sound for ‘3 Legs’, a slightly clearer electric piano on ‘Dear Boy’, a scat driven coda to ‘Monkberry Moon Delight’, etc .. A more detailed and impressive overview can be heard on Frederick’s ‘Mixology’ podcast, episode 9. 

Taken from a very clean copy of the MAS-3375 vinyl, it’s a massively pleasurable listen via headphones – immersive, roundly bottomed and liberally decorated – Like a Christmas album but without any nod to the festivities but with the begrudging bite of having your relatives to close for too long.

There’s every reason that Beatle-freaks and fans gush over this album lovingly as Paul fills the case to over flowing before attempting to snap the latches shut.
 Of course, the Mono mix was included in the deluxe ‘Ram’ boxed set as part of Macca’s legacy range of reissues, I have to admit, I don’t have it in my collection (monatary reasons forbade even me from jumping that far in), I can only assume that there’s very little detail that separates this release from that one, however, if you’re the type of person that falls over for all that Paul releases, you’ll be picking up this set too.

There’s a rather odd little addition tacked on to the end of the album via an interview with John. It’s obviously not on the album proper and seems to be a fans edit. Made for fun, I assume, I found it a bit nagging but someone might find a neat curiosity in it. 

Trailing the album are Macca’s singles from the time too – With enough lead in his pencil not to have to take from the album itself – The singles were also astonishing – From the much maligned, ‘Another Day’ with it’s rollicking B-Side, ‘Oh Woman, Oh Why’ over to ‘Little Woman Love’, the presence of the fully formed ‘Wings’ sound was starting to appear here and it’s flip, ‘Get On The Right Thing’. All a little convoluted, while ‘Another Day’ was essentially the lead off to “Ram”, ‘Little Woman Love’ could arguably fit in to the “Wildlife” era (Though it WAS recorded via the ‘Ram’ sessions), the same with ‘Get On The Right Thing’, though it wouldn’t appear until, “Red Rose Speedway”. 

The first disk is rounded off with a brace of home demo recordings – None of them actually used for the album but from the same era – Indeed, the latter only made it’s way in to live sets without being recorded. The former, ‘Dear Friend’ an attempted peace deal with John, would end up on “Wildlife”. The three demos here – all performed with family in the background – are pretty much a done deal with just a few tweaks needed here and there – It might also have been a good time for Macca to consider how long it was going on but editing has never been as exciting as creating. ‘1882’ could be another letter written but to self this time or it may just simply be another of Paul’s character tracks. 

The second disk begins with a bunch of studio outtakes prepared for the album but in the early stages or discarded all together. These all appeared first on Strawberry Records ‘Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 2’. If you don’t have that, where have you been?! – If you do, you’ll have marvelled at these already. 

‘Sunshine Sometime’ is one of those annoyingly memorable instrumentals that Paul has always had the trick of pouring out seamlessly. In fact, the world is short of a McCartney pop/rock instrumental album. Was he in need of a cash injection he could just pop something together like this and we’d lap it up. ‘Rode All Night’, an ‘in-the -studio’ jam that eventually went to Roger Daltrey, is startlingly good and lengthy but in a good way. Running an astonishingly wild, near 9 minutes, this tussle of power between Paul’s vocals and an angry riff is a thrill – though it was released officially on the 2 CD Ram in 2012 so, bootleg or no, you more than less likely have it on that. 

4 further instrumental / rough mixes follow – ‘Long Haired Lady’, ‘The Back Seat Of My Car’ both feature guide vocals an are missingsome of the elements found on the commercial versions along with some new whoops that aren’t on the album themselves – Again, released as instrumentals, we’d love these but bonus tracks they’d be better. 

‘A Love For You’ is a piece from Paul’s “Tattoo You”, “Cold Cuts”. Here it’s in it’s mid-way form – Inclusive of all the overdubs it was going to get before Paul recorded the vocals properly, it’s actually just as nice to hear something that’s pretty much fleshed out but just not quite – Mainly for the musicianship behind the rest. ‘Hey Diddle’, as whimsical as it is benefits from not having lyrics here for pretty much the same reason as before but, y’know, lyrics. 

The main of this disk features a large slab of radio promos / ads for the album – All running between 30 – 60 seconds long each, they’re almost as much fun as the album itself – Paul and Linda skitting through 14 various silly ad-libbed sketches to promote the album through links after the news or at the half hour. Lead through a piano instrumental titled ‘Now Hear This’ played at various speeds. It all sounds like it has been taken from a well played LP as there are a few crackles here and there, a couple of songs feature digital pops and clicks between. It is, unfortunately, not in the fidelity that we’re used to with these promos and it makes me wonder why Beat Pest didn’t just use a better dub from another CD as there are a few around. Also, not the labels fault, but Paul, we’d like to hear some of these outtakes when you revisit Ram again, please! 

Now we made mention of “Cold Cuts” earlier, the disk is rounded up with 3 variations of ‘A Love For You’ (Yay!) and 4 of ‘Hey Diddle’ (Booo!) all set up for the unreleased album. The three takes of ‘A Love ..’ begin with the vocal and acoustic guitar overdubs, the second is a muffled take mixed in 1980 as Paul, obviously struggling for a little more exercise to do after the fated Japanese tour, resurrected the “Cold Cuts” idea. Whether the AM presentation was deliberate or we’re getting a lower gen dub is not clear. The third version mixes down the vocals and brings them in to line with the instrumentation while adding a few more harmony parts to the choruses while extending the coda. 

The four takes of ‘Hey Diddle’ vary from a muted, mono acoustic take with Linda and Paul’s vocals pushed up towards the chorus, the second in a wider stereo balance, with additional vocals, the third take adds to the mixture with additional instrumentation, the forth pushes the vocals back in favour of the instrumentation and adds a wetter sound. It also features another layer of extra instrumentation. 

In summery, if you’re a dyed in the wool Ram fan, you’ll find very little here to further your collection with apart from a couple of ‘Cold Cuts’ mixes, for the beginner, you will want this for the mono mix but will have to search out the adverts for a better fidelity set of those and there are more Ram parts that you’ll also need to gather up too. Not essential, a very good compilation put together nicely but sufficent to own as a completist or for filling a few gaps. 

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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