It was fifty years ago this month – I know, I know, yet another anniversary.
With all of my most cherished albums hitting the fifty year mark this is becoming sort of a mantra around here BUT this anniversary is truly worth it.
Paul and Linda McCartney released the “Ram” album in May of 1971 and even though it was pretty much critically slagged off at the time it has always been one of my all-time favorite McCartney solo albums.
I’ve written previously about my history with the “Ram” album here on this blog but I will do a short recap.
I had owned the single of “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” as it was bought for me when it came out in 1971. I didn’t manage to get ahold of the entire “Ram” album until 1977 and was introduced to it the summer of that year along with The Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour” Lp.
Because I discovered “Ram” along with “Magical Mystery Tour” I always felt that the McCartney of both albums were pretty much the same – adventurous, surrealistic and melodic as hell. I had no preconceived notions of what a McCartney album should sound like or how much better McCartney was as a Beatle vs a solo artist. I just took the music head on and loved each of these albums the same.
I can see how the atmosphere of 1971 may have played a part in the negative reviews of the album at the time but for me this album just appealed to me from the first listen.
To this day I still believe that the “Ram” album is one of McCartney’s finest achievements and am so glad that after all this time critics have finally (well mostly) warmed up to the album and can now see it as the wonderful sonic impressionistic painting that I’ve always viewed it as and not as a step down from being a Beatle.
So anyway, the 50th anniversary of this album is being celebrated with a truly superb half-speed mastered edition of the album on vinyl which just hit record stores in the past two weeks or so. I finally got ahold of a copy and after playing it today I have to say that it really one sweet experience.
I have an original pressing as well as an original US Apple vinyl copy, a US Columbia vinyl copy AND a colored vinyl copy of the McCartney Archive version that came out a couple of years ago. This new 50th anniversary edition I must say holds up very well to all of those editions.
This new pressing is dead quiet and has nice bass and lovely clear vocals and a lot of presence. It comes very close to my original UK copy and actually I’d say it’s a better listening experience because my UK copy is full of ticks and clicks so this new pressing edges it out a bit.
The recent McCartney Archive vinyl is very close to this new 50th edition but I can hear a bit more detail on this new vinyl version so I’d give the edge to this pressing over the archive version.
While the US Apple and Columbia pressings are quite good this new one has a bit more magic to it so I would say it really does hold up well to any other pressing of the album on vinyl.
If you have a mint UK original than that probably would be the best version out there but if not than this new limited 50th is well worth seeking out as it sounds very close to that pressing.
I actually prefer this 50th anniversary pressing to the 50th anniversary pressing of the “McCartney” album which came out a few months ago. I loved that as well but this new “Ram” pressing sounds even better and is closer to the original analog 1971 pressing than the “McCartney” album sounded to it’s UK first issue.
So there you have it. Just a few quick thoughts on this 50th anniversary “Ram”.
If you’re so inclined to chase down Paul McCartney vinyl I’d say you’re in for a treat if you decide to hunt this new one down. It’s only available from indie record stores so if you’re interested go out sooner rather then later as vinyl issues seem to dry up quickly these days so no telling how long it will be available.
That’s all for now. As usual you can see photos of this new pressing above.
As the man says “Ram On” and and listen to some music!
Until we meet again be safe and well and see you next time.