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18 July 2013
2.14am
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Ron Nasty
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Von Bontee said:

I always liked Greil Marcus, though!

I wasn’t slamming Greil though. I love his writing too. Just pointing out that his damning review of Self Portrait, an album that has latterly been reassessed, became legend with its first four words. There must have been a feeling among Rolling Stone‘s writers at the time that they hoped to outdo Greil’s evisceration of Bob.

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18 July 2013
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parlance
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Even if some of the songs were thought of as frivolous, I’m amazed that anyone could listen to “Long Haired Lady” and coming away thinking of the entire album as “emotionally vacuous.” I suppose Linda’s bratty delivery could lend itself to that interpretation. But personally, the song gives me chills every time.

Considering how damning the review was, the 3 1/2 star rating seems pretty generous. :-/

parlance

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18 July 2013
9.58am
Ben Ramon
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^ it seems that Paul felt the same way.

“I tried so very hard and I really hoped people would like it,” Paul told Melody Maker’s Chris Charlesworth after the critics’ verdict was in. “I thought I had done a great album… I don’t see how someone can play it and take in all that stuff and say ‘I don’t like it.'”

The bum notices came as a particular shock to Paul because he had recorded Ram with the critics somewhat in mind. “I thought McCartney was quite good,” he would recall two years later. “But then it didn’t quite do it in every way… it was very down-home, funky, just me… After it got knocked I thought… do just the opposite next time. So Ram was with the top people in the top studio. I thought, this is what they want. But again, it was critically panned.”

It must have been pretty galling to pour your heart and soul into a record like that and receive such a hostile reception. I don’t think John’s brutal criticism helped matters either; although he later confessed to loving Eat At Home , and Monkberry Moon Delight (which he said he wanted to play during his stint as a guest DJ on a New York radio station in 1974, but it was too long so he opted for Jet instead). In fact, coming back to Rolling Stone and Landau’s review, it’s no secret that Jan Wenner was a good friend and ardent fan of John and Yoko and the magazine has never really been in Paul’s corner. Although they did give Tug Of War five stars, as I recall.

SHUT UP - Paulie's talkin'

19 July 2013
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Von Bontee
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mja6758 said

Von Bontee said:

I always liked Greil Marcus, though!

I wasn’t slamming Greil though. I love his writing too. Just pointing out that his damning review of Self Portrait, an album that has latterly been reassessed, became legend with its first four words. There must have been a feeling among Rolling Stone‘s writers at the time that they hoped to outdo Greil’s evisceration of Bob.

I see your point. And if Landau had some of Marcus’ pithiness and humour, I’d probably give his Ram takedown some grudging appreciation.

(I didn’t know that Self Portrait had been critically reassessed lately! I figured that was just one or two bloggers/contrarians. But I understand that those sessions are the subject of Bob’s next Bootleg Series entry, so I guess they’re more popular than I realized.)

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
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20 July 2013
12.26am
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Funny Paper
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I agree, WhereArtEsteban — “Too Many People ” is a superb rock song, it easily stands in the pantheon not only of McCartney’s best rock songs, but I’d say of rock songs of all time.  I don’t know why it remains so obscure.

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20 July 2013
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Ron Nasty
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Von Bontee said
I see your point. And if Landau had some of Marcus’ pithiness and humour, I’d probably give his Ram takedown some grudging appreciation.

(I didn’t know that Self Portrait had been critically reassessed lately! I figured that was just one or two bloggers/contrarians. But I understand that those sessions are the subject of Bob’s next Bootleg Series entry, so I guess they’re more popular than I realized.)

I could have been clearer in my original comment just what I meant rereading it. And I agree, Landau’s pen never had the wit or intelligence to do what Greil did.

(As to Self Portrait, it has been gaining a different response since the mid-90s and the emergence of alternative country/Americana, of which it is now considered to be an early example of. Interesting looking at the Amazon reviews earlier, it’s given a 3.7 overall, but they range from 2 to 5. Shows it divisive rather than hated as it was at the time. You’re right about the new Bootleg Series release – covers Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning – out on August 27 [and includes two tracks with George, an alternate Time Passes Slowly and the co-written Working on a Guru, both recorded 1 May 1970]. The irony, the notes for The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 – Another Self Portrait (1969-1970), are written by one Greil Marcus!)

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21 July 2013
10.33pm
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Von Bontee
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Yeah, Greil did a re-evaluation (of sorts) of Self Portrait that was published in Mojo awhile back. Seems as though he’s made his peace with the album. To an extent. Maybe…I’m not sure, he can be hard for me to understand at times, lol.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!"
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9 February 2014
6.43pm
tulane
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Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone Editor, was mad at Paul because Paul didn’t invite him to a party.

A lot of it is childish.

I’ll bet in the music press you will get bribes, blackmail and backhanders (or lack thereof) also determining what kind of reviews records get.

Critical reception can influence sales and massive amounts of money are at stake, so is it plausible that there is not some corruption involved.

Also, I think fashions are involved.

When you first come out you are trendy and revered as such.  Stick around a bit and you are dismissed as being the old guard and past it.  Stick around a bit longer and you are a living legend who can do no wrong.

As for Landau, he later became Springsteen’s manager.  I like Bruce.  He’s a likeable guy and I like some of his music but Paul is a much better musician than Bruce and yet Landau seemed to think the sun shined out of Bruce’s backside whilst really laying into Paul.  I don’t know.

9 February 2014
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I can see how a Springsteen fan would be the type of person who would find Ram mediocre — i.e., a type who thinks all good music has to be serious and “relevant” and be charged with uninspired energy fit for charging the batteries of a car, but leaving the Muses… unamused.

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9 February 2014
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PeterWeatherby
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How funny, I was just reading this review of Ram earlier today! Yeah, Rolling Stone was rarely very kind to Paul in those earlier days. To be fair, though, they weren’t exactly fawning all over John either. Plastic Ono Band got a decent review, but they ripped Imagine , Mind Games , and Walls And Bridges pretty hard.

This review of Ram is an example of exactly why I don’t pay much attention to music critics in general, though. Music is so very incredibly subjective … the two songs that Landau likes off this album aren’t exactly the crowd favorites, are they? If I’d listened to Landau, I probably would have missed one of Paul’s better solo albums.

Not a bit like Cagney.

21 February 2014
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Apoligies if posted elsewhere or earlier here: Ramming – The Making of Ram documentary

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21 February 2014
2.56pm
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Billy Rhythm
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I haven’t listened to this album since the mid-1980s, and hearing the clips during this video reminded me of why.  Unlike what Paul says at the end where it sounded better to him now in retrospect, it sounds just as uninspiring to me now as it did when I first heard it.  If this album had of been made by anybody else and sounded exactly as it does, it would be long forgotten and probably stump most rock trivia experts if they were grilled with questions about it.  Someone said in one of the posts how a remastered album is like restoring a gem to its original beauty or something like that, and while that may be its intention, for this album it’d be more like dusting off the frosting and revealing an old turd of some ram…:-)

21 February 2014
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Billy Rhythm said
I haven’t listened to this album since the mid-1980s, and hearing the clips during this video reminded me of why.  Unlike what Paul says at the end where it sounded better to him now in retrospect, it sounds just as uninspiring to me now as it did when I first heard it.  If this album had of been made by anybody else and sounded exactly as it does, it would be long forgotten and probably stump most rock trivia experts if they were grilled with questions about it.  Someone said in one of the posts how a remastered album is like restoring a gem to its original beauty or something like that, and while that may be its intention, for this album it’d be more like dusting off the frosting and revealing an old turd of some ram…:-)

LOL. heart

I like the album the more i hear it but i love that. 

 

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21 February 2014
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meanmistermustard said

Billy Rhythm said
I haven’t listened to this album since the mid-1980s, and hearing the clips during this video reminded me of why.  Unlike what Paul says at the end where it sounded better to him now in retrospect, it sounds just as uninspiring to me now as it did when I first heard it.  If this album had of been made by anybody else and sounded exactly as it does, it would be long forgotten and probably stump most rock trivia experts if they were grilled with questions about it.  Someone said in one of the posts how a remastered album is like restoring a gem to its original beauty or something like that, and while that may be its intention, for this album it’d be more like dusting off the frosting and revealing an old turd of some ram…:-)

LOL. heart

I like the album the more i hear it but i love that. 

 

 

Smell Away, Smell Away, Smell Away…:-)

23 February 2014
8.18pm
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Billy Rhythm said

meanmistermustard said

Billy Rhythm said
I haven’t listened to this album since the mid-1980s, and hearing the clips during this video reminded me of why.  Unlike what Paul says at the end where it sounded better to him now in retrospect, it sounds just as uninspiring to me now as it did when I first heard it.  If this album had of been made by anybody else and sounded exactly as it does, it would be long forgotten and probably stump most rock trivia experts if they were grilled with questions about it.  Someone said in one of the posts how a remastered album is like restoring a gem to its original beauty or something like that, and while that may be its intention, for this album it’d be more like dusting off the frosting and revealing an old turd of some ram…:-)

LOL. heart

I like the album the more i hear it but i love that. 

 

 

Smell Away, Smell Away, Smell Away…:-)

All I’ve Got To Do is to, to smell you. All I’ve got to take is- a whiiiff. All it’s got to take is a nose to smell it. Smell away, smell away, smell away

 

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27 February 2014
10.53pm
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Billy Rhythm
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Now Now, we’ve had our fun, so as we Smile Away I have to say that that’s the first time that I’ve heard Paul personally claim ownership (pun intended) and admitting that ‘Too Many People ‘ was in fact directed towards John during the video that meanmistermustard posted above, but I feel that it was perhaps to redirect attention away from his comments about ‘Dear Boy ‘ which I don’t find his explanation all that convincing.  It’s about Linda’s Ex-Husband?!  If the song is indeed an extension of a hand reaching out to him (Mel I think he said his name was) as Paul wants you to believe here, why the use of the word “Boy”?  I mean, what red-blooded male wants to be addressed as a “Boy”?!  An Ex-Husband by his “replacement”?!  Sorry, but I have a hard time swallowing that story, the lyrics sound as though they’re being preached (“Too Many People Preaching Practises”) from a High Horse (or, RAM?) towards somebody who’s made Paul feel rather small, and I hardly think that this man who was supposedly out of touch with them at the time fits this criteria.  I believe that, like ‘Too Many People ‘, ‘Dear Boy ‘ was indeed directed towards John and Paul regrets the tone he used, “Mel” sounds like the perfect out here to me…:-)     

28 February 2014
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When RAM first came out I can remember everyone was looking for all the meanings in the songs. It was clear to everyone at that time that Too Many People was about John and Yoko.That 3 Legs was about John, George and Ringo. And Smile Away was about anyone who had picked sides in the Beatles inner circle. We had no word from Paul, but it’s what we all thought at the time.

It was also pretty to everyone I hung out with that Dear Boy was about Linda’s ex.

However it’s hard to imagine that song was any type of olive branch to Mel (no one knew his name at the time – this is the way pre-internet info age). In fact it sounded then as it sounds like know, that Linda’s ex really blew it by letting her go.

It’s hard to imagine that song being about John at all.

 

"She looks more like him than I do."

28 February 2014
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meanmistermustard
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From what i’ve read Dear Boy is more Paul saying Mel was an idiot for letting Linda go or losing her and how Linda since saved Paul; it doesn’t appear to me thru the lyrics to be an offer of peace, more a-hard-days-night-paul-11 for being a prat.

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28 February 2014
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Billy Rhythm
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Be interested in what you all think about the picture on the sleeve of the beetle mounting the other beetle, a “shot across the bow” if I ever saw one.  I remember Yoko commenting on how John wasn’t happy with some of the songs on ‘RAM’ as his inspiration behind ‘How Do You Sleep?’, so it appears that it wasn’t just ‘Too Many People ‘ that John himself took exception to…:-)

28 February 2014
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Billy Rhythm said
Be interested in what you all think about the picture on the sleeve of the beetle mounting the other beetle, a “shot across the bow” if I ever saw one.  I remember Yoko commenting on how John wasn’t happy with some of the songs on ‘RAM’ as his inspiration behind ‘How Do You Sleep?’, so it appears that it wasn’t just ‘Too Many People ‘ that John himself took exception to…:-)

Oh for sure – as I mentioned above – there were at least three songs that were aimed at John and/or the Beatles – all of which no doubt John took personal exception to. In terms of the shot of the beetles on the album – everyone noticed that when it first came out – to us it meant one of two things – either “f*ck the Beatles” or that “one Beatle was f*cking another”.

In either case it was pretty intense stuff. And then John had the shot of him holding the pig as an insert to the Imagine album – that was a jaw dropper.

 

"She looks more like him than I do."

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