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Music Review: Paul McCartney - Ram (Reissue)

 Paul McCartney - Ram 

Paul McCartney 
Available now on Hear Music  (May 22nd) 

Released as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection, the reissue of Ram looks to reignite the pop music memories of listeners who first heard the album upon its original release and turn younger fans on to the post-Beatles, pre-Wings magic of Paul McCartney. The 12-track album has been remastered at Abbey Road Studios to wonderful effect, sounding crisp and clear as if it were recorded today. In addition to the remastered album, an 8-song bonus disc offers a sampling of tracks that were recorded during the sessions, but didn’t appear on Ram. While several versions of this reissue have been made, like the Deluxe Edition that comes with 5 discs, a 112-page booklet, t-shirts and more, the remastered album alone is enough reason  to invest in these now historic recordings.

Amidst the brutal breakup of the Beatles, and Paul’s lawsuit against his former bandmates, McCartney retreated to a Scottish farm with Linda and their kids where he conceived of Ram. Despite his modest ambitions for the album, McCartney’s songwriting prowess of the early 70s was not easily tamed and is only amplified with the remastered version. “Ram On,” cleaned and polished, captures the vulnerability in Paul and Linda’s voices as they harmonize softly on a bed of ukulele and Wurlitzer piano. Other tracks, like the linear “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” and the playful, yet intense, “Monkberry Moon Delight” are punchier than before—creating an overall better listening experience. The real gift to fans, however, is the bonus CD. 

Paul and Linda McCartney

McCartney’s first single as a solo artist, “Another Day,” and its B-side, “Oh Woman, Oh Why,” begin the bonus disc, but from there the selections have either been underexposed or never officially released. One standout track is the folky “Hey Diddle,” which could have happily called The Beatles (White Album) home - alongside “I Will” and “Mother Nature’s Son.” Another, called “Rode All Night,” is a nearly 9-minute rocker of fast chugging guitar and drums with McCartney’s often unintelligible vocal shouts above it. As an added incentive, the Special Edition of the reissue also contains a DVD with several music videos from Ram and the short documentary about the making of the album, called Ramming.

Ben Sauder is an Online Editorial Assistant at Ogden Publications, the parent company of Utne Reader. Find him on .