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More sophisticated than McCartney, his latest album at that time, Ram is issued in 1971 and will become one of the most important masterpieces written by Paul. It clearly belongs to this kind of albums that are getting better and better as years roll by.
Recording sessions take place in New York between January and March 1971. Ram is finally released on May 17th. Despite of heavy attacks made by the critics upon this album, it becomes #2 in the UK and US charts. On June 9th, Paul is rewarded with a Golden Record.
Unlike the previous album's recording, Paul gathers some musicians around him: David Spinoza (who will also play with John Lennon on Mind Games two years later), Hugh McCracken and Denny Seiwell on drums (Denny Seiwell will be part of the first Wings' make-up later on).
Paul also uses a contribution of the New York Philarmonic Orchestra for a few songs.
Most of the titles on this album are written together by Paul and his wife Linda. Paul will have some trouble with his editor (ATV) who won't agree to pay Linda's copyrights.
The problem will be fixed through an arrangement in 1973, all the benefits of the James Paul McCartney TV Show being credited to ATV as a compensation for Linda's royalties.
Ram recording sessions
Linda does not only write with Paul, but she also performs part of the backing vocals of almost every song. Critics are not pleased with Linda's contribution and they heavily attack her. As you probably know, it doesn't matter what critics say: thanks to this album Paul and Linda will get a Grammy Award for the best vocal arrangement.
As already said, this album is a major contribution from Paul and it features many good titles, mixing nice ballads and heavy rocks.
The album starts with Too Many People, a strong rock composition, followed by 3 Legs, another rock song but including strange lyrics.
These both songs include some lines that might be understood as allusions to John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono. Especially, the line "Too many people preaching practices" seems to refer to John's political engagement.
Also 3 Legs could possibly allude to Yoko's footage (titled Fly) that was exhibited at the Festival de Cannes in May 1971.
These speculations are reinforced by the album cover on which two copulating beetles can be seen.
John Lennon, probably thinking that these allusions are real, will reply to Paul with a very agressive song called How Do You Sleep, one of the titles on his Imagine album.
The next two titles, Ram On and Dear Boy, are wonderfull ballads written by Paul. Ram On features a nice and unusual interpretation at the banjo. Dear Boy is played at the piano and is very skilfully enhanced by efficient backing vocals. This song is really a gem.
The following title is a famous one: Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. This song has a very fantastic and unusual musical construction (in fact there are three songs in one...) and a good orchestration. As a single, it will rapidly become a hit, reaching #1 in the US charts. Uncle Albert belongs to the huge gallery of characters that have been imagined by Paul in his songs, but in this case, it seems that Paul has been inspired by a real Uncle Albert he had in his family.
But some hard-rocking songs are there too on this album like Smile Away, an energetic title which Paul performs using his Elvis' voice.
Heart Of The Country is another nice ballad by Paul about country life pleasure. It features a good melody and relies on a beautiful bass line coupled with a soft playing on electric guitar. Two years later, Paul will issue a very similar song about country life with the title Country Dreamer as the B-side from Helen Wheels.
Temperature rises again with the following song, Monkberry Moon Delight, a strong rock title dominated by Paul's raucous voice. Paul's young step-daughter Heather contributes to the backing vocals with her mother Linda.
Paul in the heart of the country...
Then Paul goes on rocking with Eat At Home, a joyful song featuring the amazing register of Paul's voice. It's followed by a pleasant ballad, Long Haired Laidy, which has a fairly long final based on Paul's and Linda's backing vocals and which reminds us of the one from Hey Jude.
A short musical link comes afterwards with a reprise of the Ram On theme. During the last few seconds of this link, one can hear the first verses of Big Barn Bed, a new song written by Paul, but whose total length will only be included in his future Red Rose Speedway album.
Last song of the original Ram album, The Back Seat Of My Car starts like a ballad and ends like a hard-rocking song. It really could be a Beatles' tune. In fact, this title had been worked out by the Beatles during the Let It Be sessions. This song is released as a single but it does not meet with success very much.
Six titles are extracted from Ram and released as singles:
Uncle Albert-Admiral Halsey / Too Many People, released in the United States on August 2nd, 1971. It becomes #1 in the US charts two days after its release, and Paul is rewarded with a Golden Record on Septembre 21st for this single.
The Back Seat Of My Car / Heart Of The Country, released in the UK on August 8th, 1971.
Eat At Home / Smile Away, released in France in August 1971.
The CD remastered release of Ram in 1993 (The Paul McCartney Collection) features two bonus tracks that were originally issued as a single three months before the Ram issue on February 19th, 1971 . This single features the pop ballad Another Day on the A-side, and a good rock song, Oh Woman, Oh Why, on the B-side. This single was recorded in January 1971 and was released in UK, in US and in France. It became #1 in UK on March 15th, 1971.
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