The Ram Deluxe box appeared on Wednesday (officially known as Ram [Deluxe Book Edition] [4CD + 1DVD] Box Set, I will henceforth refer to it as Ram Deluxe). I opened it up the first day and was a bit awestruck by it. It’s easily the most audacious package for a single album that I have ever owned. The Smile Sessions doesn’t count, but Ram might still be more awesome in its ambitions. It was expensive, and as usually, I’m afraid of expensive things. So it usually takes me a couple days to dig in.
On more days than most, if I’m asked what my favorite McCartney album is (no one ever actually asks me this, by the way), the answer is likely to be Ram. On some days I’ll say Band On The Run, Tug Of War, or Chaos And Creation In The Backyard. On some peculiarly contrary days I might say Wild Life (I have my reasons). But generally, I choose Ram. Thus, this a bonanza for me. Or it would be if I didn’t already have all the bonus material, as well as “opinions”about those tracks. Regardless, this package, like the others, is superlative. It isn’t very “rock and roll”, but it’s perfect for the rock fetishist such as myself. I love the over-attention given to certain albums, particularly sort of obscure ones.
I’ll dig I to the details in the next few posts. A few briefly highlights include the lovely book with plenty of new stories and information on how the album was written and recorded. Did you know that Paul directed one of the engineers on the project to choose the songs for the album, mix them, and sequence them? It happened and Paul (sort of) explains why. The book has a lot of known and mostly totally known photos from the sessions. For added-value, Paul included a a little notebook of all the sheep in his herd.
Musician credits are certainly welcome for those of us who start at such things. Although, in one case, Henry HcCullough is given a guitar credit on “The Great Cock And Seagull Race”, a track he later recorded overdubs, but not in early 1971 prior to Wings being formed.
The bonus (unreleased) material is all interesting for one reason or another. “Little Woman Love” is now firmly within the world of Ram, as opposed to being tacked onto the album nearest it’s release, Wild Life. “A Love For You” may exist in dozens of mixes. I hesitate to say that the one on Ram Deluxe was on of the lesser remixes. I easily prefer the “No Baloney” 1980 mix, and even the David Kahne mix from 2003. I wasn’t used to listening to “Hey Diddle” in such a rudimentary form. Compared to what it became, the 1970 mix is very tentative. It is a charm to it though. I’m simply used to the 1974 mix.
“The Great Cock And Seagull Race” is entirely new to me in this form. It’s the same track as was eventually not released, but this mix works nicely. “Sunshine Sometime” is a beautiful instrumental with only the lightest guide vocals. Surprisingly, “Rode All Night” is presented exactly as it was on Unsurpassed Masters II. I always assumed it would be edited and given some additional instrumentation, something I wouldn’t usually favor. In this case, it may have been nice to have both. That’s my first take. More to come with the Mono version, Thrillington, the actual album, and additional speculation on the Ram bonus tracks.