[Review] Paul & Linda McCartney: Ram (1971)

Linda gets half the credit, we get half a great album plus a preview of Wings. I half to admit, it’s getting better.

Kronomyth 2.0: Shear genius.

Ram is a magickal, musickal beast, the measure of venus and mars at least!, possessed of a nappy golden fleece and strung with the scraps of a beetle’s feast. Credited to Paul and Linda McCartney, the album features supporting musicians and, in many ways, signals the beginning of Wings. But the music itself recalls The Beatles, perhaps moreso than any other Paul McCartney album. The songs are fleshed out and scorch like little on his first album, even when the stakes are only “Smile Away.” Not that Ram reinvents the wheel; “Ram On” parallels “Junk” as “Dear Boy” does “Teddy Boy. Instead, it adds a few more wheels and really gets rolling.

“Eat At Home,” “Too Many People,” “Heart of the Country” and “Long-Haired Lady” are a vast improvement over “Lovely Linda,” approaching what fans expected from the former Beatle in a rustic mood, while the epic “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” is arguably his magnum opus (you were saving the accolade for “Band on the Run?”). Also tucked in at the end is a song that reached the Top 40 in the UK, “The Back Seat of My Car” (and I didn’t even know English cars had a back seat). The remaining bits are a match for McCartney’s filler, silly but with some musical sensibilities: “3 Legs,” “Monkberry Moon Delight” and “Smile Away” (which would be recycled for “Magneto and Titanium Man”). To me, Ram and Band On The Run best approach the quality of The Beatles. I’m not sure what Linda does on here except for harmony vocals. I remember reading somewhere that the co-credit was financially motivated, which sounds about right (we believe that we can’t be wrong).

Read more Paul McCartney/Wings reviews

Original LP Version

A1. Too Many People (Pau McCartney) (4:09)
A2. 3 Legs (Paul McCartney) (2:48)
A3. Ram On (Paul McCartney) (2:30)
A4. Dear Boy (Paul & Linda McCartney) (2:14)
A5. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (Paul & Linda McCartney) (4:50)
A6. Smile Away (Paul McCartney) (4:01)
B1. Heart of the Country (Paul & Linda McCartney) (2:22)
B2. Monkberry Moon Delight (Paul & Linda McCartney) (5:25)
B3. Eat At Home (Paul & Linda McCartney) (3:22)
B4. Long Haired Lady (Paul & Linda McCartney) (6:05)
B5. Ram On (Paul McCartney) (0:55)
B6. The Back Seat of My Car (Paul McCartney) (4:29)

CD reissue bonus tracks
13. Another Day
14. Oh Woman, Oh Why

The Players

Linda McCartney (harmony and backing vocals), Paul McCartney (vocals, bass, piano, keyboards, guitar, ukelele) with Heather McCartney (backing vocals on B2), Hugh McCracken (guitar), New York Philharmonic (orchestra on A5/B6), Denny Seiwell (drums), Dave Spinoza (guitar on A2/A5/B3), Marvin Stamm (flugelhorn on A5). Produced by Paul and Linda McCartney; engineered by Tim, Ted, Phil, Dixon, Armin and Jim; mix engineered by Eirik the Norwegian.

The Pictures

Cover photography by Linda McCartney. Art work by Paul McCartney.

The Plastic

Released on elpee on May 17, 1971 in the US and Canada (Apple, SMAS-3375), on May 21, 1972 in the UK and the Netherlands (Apple, PAS 10003) and in 1971 in Argentina (Apple, SLDS-2197), Brazil (Odeon, SBTX 1015), Germany (Apple, C 062 04810), Japan (Apple, AP-80283) and Mexico (Apple, SLEM-291) with gatefold cover; reached #2 on the US charts (RIAA-certified platinum record) and #1 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1980 in the US (Columbia, JC-36479).
  2. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette on January 19, 1988 in the US (Capitol, 46612).
  3. Re-released on gold compact disc in June 1993 in the UK (DCC, GZS-1037).
  4. Re-released on expanded compact disc in the UK and Germany (Parlophone, 7 89139) wth 2 bonus tracks.
  5. Re-issued on compact disc in 1999 in Japan (Toshiba, TOCP-65501).
  6. Re-packaged with Wings Over America on 2-for-1 2CD in 1999 in Russia (CD-Maximum, 0999-325/6).
  7. Re-packaged with McCartney on 2-for-1 2CD in 2003 in Europe (EMI, 592295).

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