Paul McCartney’s deluxe edition box set of 1971’s Ram is set for release on May 22, 2012, and to celebrate we’ve got two brand new track streams and photos to share!
Check out the re-mastered cuts of “Uncle Albert/ Admiral Halsey” and “Too Many People” below. We’re also able to reveal photographs from the extensive re-issue collection — a pair of rare, intimate shots of Paul and Linda during the time they were recording demos for the album at their farm on the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland.
Paul and Linda McCartney completed the album in early 1971 along with non-album tracks “Another Day” and “Oh Woman, Oh Why” which were released together as Paul’s first post-Beatles single ahead of the release of Ram and became a Top 5 global hit. (The multi-disc editions of this reissue include both songs as bonus tracks.) The Grammy award-winning Ram also gave McCartney his first solo U.S. No. 1 single with “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.”
Ram, the only album to be credited to both Paul and Linda McCartney, topped the charts hitting No. 1 in the UK and No. 2 in the US. While the album polarized critics upon its release, music fans and critics alike since have overwhelmingly embraced it — with Rolling Stone, for example, revising their original review up to four stars.
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Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Paul McCartney. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
PAUL McCARTNEY – KISSES ON THE BOTTOM (2012): This is not just a love letter to a lost era of songmaking, but one of the most evocative, deeply ardent records that McCartney has ever issued. Working in a higher vocal range that remains largely untouched by age, or his rugged third-act touring schedule, the ex-Beatle stirs up a spectacular range of emotions: The hushed, crepuscular melancholy of Peter van Steeden’s “Home (When Shadows Fall)” is matched only by the stirring resolve found on Haywood Henry’s “Get Yourself Another Fool” from this now thrice-married soon-to-be-70-year-old. McCartney’s trembling rapture throughout Irving Berlin’s “Always” finds a balancing moment in his impish hat-tipping joy during Johnny Mercer’s “Ac-Cent-Thcu-Ate The Positive.”
PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS – BAND ON THE RUN (1973; 2010 reissue): A terrific reissue that reveals this anew as the most personal of McCartney recordings — though, even now, the album’s unifying theme of escape is more subtle (and thus more commercial) than the blunt confessional style of his former partner John Lennon. McCartney, instead, uses broader storytelling brushstrokes — skillfully weaving his own desire to break free of the Beatles with the age-old myths of ne’er-do-wells, hitchhikers and outsiders. No McCartney effort yet has taken so many chances, nor so successfully blended his interests in the melodic, the orchestral, the rocking and the episodic. In keeping, of the Beatles solo recordings, Band on the Run always sounded the most to me like something the old band might have put together.
PAUL McCARTNEY – McCARTNEY (1970)/McCARTNEY II (1980; 2011 reissues): Taken together, these albums show a willingness to strip down what had become a varnished sound. After all, Paul was coming off huge productions in the form of 1969’s Abbey Road with the Beatles and 1979’s Back to the Egg with Wings. But there is a broad disparity, more pronounced than ever, in how these recordings have aged. McCartney comes off as more organic, a simpler expression — like someone trying to work out his own sound. McCartney II was, truth be told, fatally hobbled from the first by Paul’s own poor mechanics with the synthesizers he chose to experiment with throughout.
ON SECOND THOUGHT: PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS – BACK TO THE EGG (1979): It’s time to go back and reevaluate Paul McCartney and Wings’ unjustly ignored Back to the Egg. Released in May 1979, the album showcased a rebuilt Wings lineup, with lead guitarist Laurence Juber working in sharp counterpoint to Denny Laine. Also on board was co-producer Chris Thomas, a former assistant to George Martin for the Beatles’ White Album who brought an edgier style to much of the project — in keeping with his concurrent work with the Sex Pistols and the Pretenders. McCartney’s stated goal, back then, was to make a raw-boned rock record. And he largely succeeded, putting a bright charge into his sound after the soft-rock fluff of 1978’s London Town.
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