Ram on(e)

One of the latest vinyl delights for me is Paul McCartney’s Ram. Paul was never my favorite Beatle but after listening to this record I’m quite impressed. Ram is from 1971 and is a one-man-band effort where Paul shows off his drumming chops (which are pretty good, better than the drums he did on The White Album) and his great piano and guitar skills and of course his killer bass playing. There’s quite a bit of filler on this record and that bothered me at first until I realized that all of his records have lots of filler. Paul likes to fuck around a lot–he knows how to make hit songs but he also sounds like he has fun in the studio. After being in the best/biggest music act of the 20th century what did he have to prove? That he didn’t need Lennon to rock out? The rockingest song on Ram is “Eat at Home” which is an homage to Buddy Holly (and reportedly Lennon’s favorite track on Ram) and I could almost hear John taking over on vocals.

The real surprise (which is not really a surprise) is Paul’s voice. John was my favorite mostly because his singing was so cutting and powerful but when he did harmonies (like on “Hey Jude”) he could make it sound sweet and light. Over the years of analyzing Beatles songs I’ve noticed that Lennon was not the most accurate singer in many circumstances–but it didn’t matter in the scope of things. On Ram, Paul really sings beautifully and goes high and low without missing a beat–his voice is like his bass playing: simple but damn effecting and unbelievably accurate. And as I sit at the piano and sing these songs, I find that singing like Paul means I have to relax and lighten up my breath–which means that I’m singing the way that would make my choir teacher smile.

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