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Best and worst songs on RAM?
13 November 2012
12.03pm
Long John Silver
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frankdialogue said

 

Ben Ramon said:

 

Ouch!

I wouldn't say Ram is any more adventurous than Plastic Ono Band. It's certainly more florid and elaborate in terms of melody and production, but John's concept of stripping everything back to a bare minimum musically was pretty groundbreaking. And while I have no problem with any of the lyrics on Ram, and frequently find myself bamboozled by how little merit contemporary critics found in the record, you've got to admit that "I was the dreamweaver, but now I'm reborn, I was the walrus, but now I'm John, and so dear friends, you'll just have to carry on: the dream is over" is more adventurous on a large scale than "Admiral Halsey notified me, he had to have a bath or he couldn't get to sleep, I had another look and I had a cup of tea and a butter pie."

 

Well, I liked the 'Plastic Ono Band', and it certainly had some good lyrics, but I was primarily commenting on the critics...'POB' certainly was more direct, and perhaps shocking, if you go for that sort of thing...But many of the lyrics were rather juvenile, especially 'Working Class Hero', which I always thought was a rather miserable tune, and loaded with hypocrisy at that, as John was the most middle class of all the Beatles in upbringing...But, if an artist falls into the trap of trying to make 'big statements', then you will get things like that.

 

Miserable tune? Oh dear... a-hard-days-night-ringo-6

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
13 November 2012
12.49pm
Ben Ramon
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Long John Silver said

frankdialogue said

 

Ben Ramon said:

 

Ouch!

I wouldn't say Ram is any more adventurous than Plastic Ono Band. It's certainly more florid and elaborate in terms of melody and production, but John's concept of stripping everything back to a bare minimum musically was pretty groundbreaking. And while I have no problem with any of the lyrics on Ram, and frequently find myself bamboozled by how little merit contemporary critics found in the record, you've got to admit that "I was the dreamweaver, but now I'm reborn, I was the walrus, but now I'm John, and so dear friends, you'll just have to carry on: the dream is over" is more adventurous on a large scale than "Admiral Halsey notified me, he had to have a bath or he couldn't get to sleep, I had another look and I had a cup of tea and a butter pie."

 

Well, I liked the 'Plastic Ono Band', and it certainly had some good lyrics, but I was primarily commenting on the critics...'POB' certainly was more direct, and perhaps shocking, if you go for that sort of thing...But many of the lyrics were rather juvenile, especially 'Working Class Hero', which I always thought was a rather miserable tune, and loaded with hypocrisy at that, as John was the most middle class of all the Beatles in upbringing...But, if an artist falls into the trap of trying to make 'big statements', then you will get things like that.

 

Miserable tune? Oh dear... a-hard-days-night-ringo-6

It's hardly joyful, is it?

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
13 November 2012
1.00pm
Funny Paper
America
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Lennon was only being hypocritical in "Working Class Hero" if he intended the song to be autobiographical.  He may have been, however, singing a Marxist-Lennonist song in honor of the working classes -- as many middle class and wealthy Marxists have done (and continue to do -- cough cough George Soros, George Clooney, Sean Penn, Obama, et al.).

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
13 November 2012
1.17pm
Ben Ramon
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Regardless of the hypocrisy allegations that can easily be levelled at Working Class Hero, I've always found the song to make some profound and pertinent statements about the educational system and coming of age in general. "When they've tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years / then they expect you to pick a career / when you can barely function, you're so full of fear." I felt a great affinity with John's sentiment when I was a teenager on the cusp of leaving school and trying to decide the avenue my life would take. Occasionally, when I consider that John's upbringing was fairly middle-class, and how that contravenes a lot of the things he said during his ferocious take-no-prisoners Marxist stance at the turn of the decade, it does put a funny taste in the mouth; but there's no denying some of the social commentary in the song is his finest.

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'
13 November 2012
3.50pm
frankdialogue
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"When they've tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years / then they expect you to pick a career / when you can barely function, you're so full of fear."

 

But, you see, John was never tortured, and since he claimed all of his songs at that time were written directly from personal experience, it becomes rather tired...Did his Aunt Mimi torture him?...Perhaps Brian Epstein?...The hundreds of girls he claims to have screwed during the Beatles tours?...Paul?

 

John lived a life every working class musician would have sold his soul for...Perhaps John did sell his soul, so to speak, and this was the complaint.

 

In any case the song still stinks...But McCartney has written some real stinkers, too.

 

As far as social commentary, it is kindergarten stuff...'I Am The Walrus' much. much better...Or 'Remember': at least he gets Guy Fawlkes in that one.

13 November 2012
10.31pm
Long John Silver
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Ben Ramon said

Long John Silver said

frankdialogue said

 

Ben Ramon said:

 

Ouch!

I wouldn't say Ram is any more adventurous than Plastic Ono Band. It's certainly more florid and elaborate in terms of melody and production, but John's concept of stripping everything back to a bare minimum musically was pretty groundbreaking. And while I have no problem with any of the lyrics on Ram, and frequently find myself bamboozled by how little merit contemporary critics found in the record, you've got to admit that "I was the dreamweaver, but now I'm reborn, I was the walrus, but now I'm John, and so dear friends, you'll just have to carry on: the dream is over" is more adventurous on a large scale than "Admiral Halsey notified me, he had to have a bath or he couldn't get to sleep, I had another look and I had a cup of tea and a butter pie."

 

Well, I liked the 'Plastic Ono Band', and it certainly had some good lyrics, but I was primarily commenting on the critics...'POB' certainly was more direct, and perhaps shocking, if you go for that sort of thing...But many of the lyrics were rather juvenile, especially 'Working Class Hero', which I always thought was a rather miserable tune, and loaded with hypocrisy at that, as John was the most middle class of all the Beatles in upbringing...But, if an artist falls into the trap of trying to make 'big statements', then you will get things like that.

 

Miserable tune? Oh dear... a-hard-days-night-ringo-6

It's hardly joyful, is it?

I thought it means "bad"? Lennon hardly ever wrote joyful songs since '66. Working Class Hero is a masterpiece, and it is song most of young man can relate to. It's better than any solo Beatle song (including all John too, except Imagine), and same goes for POB in ranking solo Beatles albums.

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.
24 January 2013
4.35pm
diesmitty
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I'm surprised that so many people named Long Haired Lady as their least favorite track on RAM, its actually one of my favorites.  I get that Linda's voice is a bit quirky at times, but its a quirky song.  I think its an extremely well produced track and very catchy.  I also think that if the song goes on too long then you probably think Hey Jude goes on too long too as Macca modeled the "Love is Long" section after the Na nas of Hey Jude.  Agreed its not as catchy in Long Haired Lady, but its still a pleasent listen IMO.

Anyways, this is my ranking of RAM songs:

1. Monkberry Moon Delight

2. Too Many People

3. The Backseat of my Car (another song I feel is underappreciated.  Also very well produced)

4. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

5. Long Haired Lady

6. Smile Away

7. Eat at Home

8. Ram On

9. Heart of the Country

10. Dear Boy

11. 3 Legs

12. Ram On Reprise

I have to admit that the first 6 songs on the list change constantly, as do 7-9.  Sometimes a song like Heart of the Country catches me in the right mood and I could put it in the top 5.  Truely a great album, and ranks among the finest solo Beatles material. I think the only album I'd put definitely ahead of RAM is Plastic Ono Band.

 

26 January 2013
6.06pm
Funny Paper
America
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I don't usually choose the hit single as the best song off an album, but in this case I must make an exception for that stroke of genius and marvellously off-the-wall brilliance, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey -- that would be my favorite on Ram.

The others I would rank progressively -- but only ever so slightly -- down the gently verdant slopes from that pinnacle:

3 Legs

Heart of the Country

Too Many People

Ram On

Dear Boy

Eat at Home

Monkberry Moon Delight

Back Seat of My Car

Smile Away

Longhaired Lady.

Note: While I have listed Longhaired Lady last, it's still in my estimation a very good song.

When an album's "worst" song is very good -- you know you have a singularly special album.

 

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
27 January 2013
6.43am
Gerard
Philippines, the country which no Beatle would dare to perform again.
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You are gonna have an even harder trouble to rank the songs if you see the Deluxe Version of the album.

"And in the End the Love you take is equal to the Love you make"
"When I was a robber *Piano Chord* in Boston Place"
"Let's hope this turns out pretty darn good huh"
"Pete may be the best, but Ringo is the star"
Paul:"Don't be nervous John"
John:"I 'm not"
15 January 2014
6.59pm
meanmistermustard
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No idea if its been mentioned here, it probably has but anyway another one wouldn't do any harm. iTunes has a couple of extra Ram tracks available for 99p apiece (UK price); Uncle Albert Jam (a studio outtake) and a live cut of Eat At Home/Smile Away (Groningen, Holland, 19th August 1972). The live tracks have been booted.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
16 January 2014
12.05am
Atlas
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I always liked 'Ram On'. Nice pun, (well at least as good as John's continual play on "Ono" ), by Paul who in the early days told the girls his name was 'Paul Ramon'

But the song drove me to borrow a friend's dad's mandolin………and work it out. Sounds better on a Uke but I didn't know what he was playing at the time.

It's a song that once in my head entertains all day.

 

Not the best song……but it's 'my' favourite.

 

16 January 2014
8.02am
Funny Paper
America
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I notice that "Ram On" is slightly off tune: every time I play along with the songs on my guitar, I have no problem going from "Too Many People" right into "3 Legs" and then "Dear Boy" without having to adjust my strings -- but lo and behold, as soon as "Ram On" comes on, I have to adjust, quite a bit (and if I just skip over "Ram On", as I have become wont to do because I don't want to bother adjusting my strings, I find "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" and "Smile Away" to be just fine, in synch with "Dear Boy"...).

From memory, it seems the instrumentation of "Ram On" has no acoustic (or electric) guitar -- it only has ukelele, Fender Rhodes electric piano, singing, and whistling, and possibly electric bass.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
16 January 2014
8.12am
Atlas
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You're right but I was always out of tune anyway.

 

In my day to get a 'G' you would have to wait until the TV test card came on after transmissions ceased around midnight. Then you could tune your guitar using that.

Guess Paul didn't have a telly.

16 January 2014
3.23pm
vonbontee
Inside a Letterbox
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My method for getting in tune is to throw on "Stairway To Heaven" and play along to the intro

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
16 January 2014
3.37pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
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vonbontee said
My method for getting in tune is to throw on "Stairway To Heaven" and play along to the intro

17 January 2014
1.21am
Funny Paper
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Atlas said

You're right but I was always out of tune anyway.
 
In my day to get a 'G' you would have to wait until the TV test card came on after transmissions ceased around midnight. Then you could tune your guitar using that.

Guess Paul didn't have a telly.

I didn't necessarily mean "really" in tune -- I mean in tune relative to the other songs on the album.  If every song on Ram except one comports with my guitar, chances are it's that one song that's probably out of whack.  I've never bothered trying to tune my guitar according to some metronome or ultimate standard. 

Other songs that seem out of tune:  "Only One More Kiss" (on Red Rose Speedway), and "Was a Sunny Day" (on Paul Simon's There Goes Rhymin' Simon -- out of tune to all the other songs on that album).

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
18 January 2014
11.26pm
meanmistermustard
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Revisited this and session outtakes yesterday, today and tomorrow (the second of my own Paul Archive series going chronologically thru his catalogue) and it continues to grown on me. The vocal work and vocalss on Dear Boy are exquisite (reminds me of Silly Love Songs), the song itself is a sleeper that gets better with every repeat; i love the guitar riff of Monkberry Moonlight Delight (check out the multi-tracks of this, they are breathtaking); Long Haired Lady is another that has so much going on but works (still a little too long), there is also a fabulous early outtake

On the session outtake theme Sunshine Sometimes is gorgeous and Hey Diddle is easily the best of Paul's Wings kiddie sing-alongs beating things like Bip-Bop and Mary Had a Little Lamb, especially the version that has the Nashville overdubs (i think it was this version that was going to be on the often touted but eventually binned Cold Cuts LP) - would love Paul to play that version live.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
19 January 2014
12.21am
Funny Paper
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I also like Paul's use of Fender Rhodes electric piano, deep bass keys and deep "clotted" chords, on Dear Boy.  The drums are also engineered -- and played (no doubt under Paul's meticulously dictatorial oversight) -- impeccably.  Paul didn't simply repeat this drum sound throughout the album; Eat At Home and Smile Away, for example, have a subtly different drum sound.

I wish Paul had continued to explore and deploy the Fender Rhodes more (he uses it well in Picasso's Last Words, for example).  Like Robert Lamm of Chicago or Stevie Wonder, Paul seemed to have had a relatively rare ability to appreciate the deeper tones of that instrument which most others who use it don't seem to grasp (example, Norah Jones).

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
23 January 2014
11.05pm
backseat
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Funny Paper said
I also like Paul's use of Fender Rhodes electric piano, deep bass keys and deep "clotted" chords, on Dear Boy.  The drums are also engineered -- and played (no doubt under Paul's meticulously dictatorial oversight) -- impeccably.  Paul didn't simply repeat this drum sound throughout the album; Eat At Home and Smile Away, for example, have a subtly different drum sound.

I wish Paul had continued to explore and deploy the Fender Rhodes more (he uses it well in Picasso's Last Words, for example).  Like Robert Lamm of Chicago or Stevie Wonder, Paul seemed to have had a relatively rare ability to appreciate the deeper tones of that instrument which most others who use it don't seem to grasp (example, Norah Jones).

I absolutely love the album, that I consider his best. My favorite tracks: The Back Seat of My Car, Uncle Albert (without Admiral Halsey), Monkberry Moon Delight, Ram On...and the list goes on... The Long Haired Lady verses' melody is exquisite... 

Drums on RAM are great. Seiwell did a fantastic job. As he recalled in an interview in my book "Paul McCartney: Recording Sessions (1969-2013)", he recorded his drum part on Dear Boy in two different passes.

 

http://www.mccartney-recordings.com 

www.mccartney-recordings.com

The solo McCartney recording sessions finally in a book!

7 February 2014
11.40am
tulane
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I really like Ram.  I think only Paul could make a Pop record so chockablock with catchy melodic hooks. 

Best song

If I had to pick one track it would be Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey although I also really like Back Seat of my Car and Monkberry Moon Delight.

Worst song

Long Haired Lady is too soppy for my taste.  Sorry Paul!

Rolling Stone magazine was a very influential publication and they gave Ram a really scathing review, describing it as "monumentally irrelevant" and "the nadir in the decomposition of sixties rock thus far".

There is an interesting piece on the internet called "rolling stone 500 worst reviews of all time" (google it) which gives interesting insights into the way the music press functions.

Apparently, Paul McCartney got a really bad press in Rolling Stone at the time because he did not invite Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner to a party and Wenner felt snubbed by Paul!

As I say, I really like Ram overall, but I must be honest I don't like Linda's backing vocals.  I would have preferred it if Paul had gotten Emmylou Harris (for instance) to do backing vocals instead.

I find it ironic that Paul would (apparently) be unhappy with John bringing Yoko along to recording sessions and then go on to spend the whole of the 1970s making records with Linda.

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