I had to figure out what his story was. Dixon Van Winkle wanted to get in the business as a recording engineer. He got a job at Phil Ramone’s A&M studio in 1969. Ramon later oversaw the orchestral overdubs for the Ram album. It’s interesting to note than Ram is probably McCartney’s most “Bacharach-esque” album and that he had one Burt’s right hand man, Phil Ramone, work on the sessions. Ramone later handed off some duties to Van Winkle during the Ram sessions. I don’t know how these things work, but I would think that delegating responsibility to someone else on a McCartney session was a little audacious. Apparently it wasn’t a problem, as Van Winkle later worked on Red Rose Speedway, and in 1987 Paul attempted to record an entire album with Ramone as producer.
Here is a quote from Dixon Van Winkle from Mix Online about working on Ram:
Paul McCartney came to A&R to record Ram, his second solo album, with Phil Ramone behind the board. Swamped with projects by this time, Ramone turned the reins over to Van Winkle. “What a ball I had! Paul felt comfortable with me. Each day he and Linda, along with their baby, Mary, would be led up to Studio A in a back elevator. We’d set up a playpen for Mary and go to work. I also worked on Red Rose Speedway. Paul is such a pro! And he’s a one-taker. Paul liked to develop ideas in the studio, and he encouraged me to throw different sounds at him to inspire him. For example, he’d play his guitar, and I’d put different loop and echo effects on it and feed the processed sound out through his cans. He liked that spontaneity. One day he was standing around strumming on a ukulele, rocking from side to side, singing “Ram On”. I ran out and put a mic on the ukulele, one on his face and a pair of mics down by his feet. The tapping you hear comes from the mics on his feet. We were recording to an Ampex MM1000 16-track machine that looked like something you should be making ice cream with.
Somehow Van Winkle also chose “Another Day” as the lead single. For as much as a “tyrant” as some claim him to be, it seems that Paul was taking ideas from everyone. Perhaps it was easier to take ideas from someone he barely knew than from someone with whom he had a defined, long-standing, relationship such as George Harrison.
Dixon Van Winkle mixes of “Hey Diddle” and “Great Cock And Seagull Race” will appear on the Deluxe Ram. This raises all sorts of questions about the timing of chronology of these tracks. I though “The Great Cock And Seagull Race” was from late 1971, whereas the Ram sessions ended in early 1971. So perhaps, “The Great Cock And Seagull Race” had its on origins in the Ram sessions with further overdubs in late 1971. Or maybe Van Winkle was just around to do the mixes. “Hey Diddle” is assumed to be a Ram-era mix. Surely, the liner notes will sort it out.
For the super-curious, Jon Kelly, who mixed “A Love For You”, is mostly know for production and engineering for Kate Bush, The Damned, and Chris Rea. His McCartney credits are for the Deluxe McCartney II, Press To Play, and Flowers In The Dirt. The common denominator between those three projects is the version of Cold Cuts prepared in 1986-87. Presumably, that means we’re getting an eighties mix of “A Love For You”. I never would have expected that.