Category: Paul McCartney

Paul & Linda McCartney – Ram

ARTIST: Paul and Linda McCartney       RamMcCartneyalbumcover

TITLE: Ram

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #2 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey (#1 US), The Back Seat of My Car (#39 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Really, nothing else shows up on the radio radar.

LINEUP: Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney, David Spinozza, Hugh McCracken, Denny Seiwell.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Lennon vs. McCartney feud goes musical, at least on some tracks. Otherwise, it’s a Paul McCartney album that’s charming and annoying at times.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The album starts with an off-kilter guitar, and a broadside at John and Yoko called “Too Many People”. At first he denied it was an attack on John, then kind of admitted it, and then basically almost fully said it was. He was being coy.

At least three tracks on the first side are veiled attacks at his former partner, and John thought more of them were. Those songs were kind of petty, though there’s some really good work on “Too Many People” by guitarist Hugh McCracken. The rest of the album is your basic Paul McCartney album platter. Annoying pop songs, rock-and-roller to prove he’s still got it, a song sounding like it could have been recorded in the 20’s, love songs to Linda, weirdness, and a reprise.

At times I’ve liked this album a lot. At times I wanted to throw it out of the window. That’s McCartney for you.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: At these sessions, held in New York over six weeks in 1970 and six weeks in early 1971, came this album, a single, three B-sides, and tracks from the next Wings albums. Not a bad output

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, the “Another Day” (#5 US, #2 UK) single and B-side, other B-sides and a lot of unreleased stuff polished up and remixed.

GRADE: B-:  It’s inconsistent, for sure. Some critics are in love with it. As I said, sometimes I see why, and other times I agree with Christgau and other contemporary haters.

Paul McCartney – McCartney

ARTIST: Paul McCartney                      220px-mccartney1970albumcover

TITLE:  McCartney

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #2 UK

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe I’m Amazed, Every Night

LINEUP: Paul McCartney. Linda on some backing vocals.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  A mostly home-recorded album that is mostly daft but sometimes brilliant.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: NOTE: As you may have guessed, I’m treating Paul McCartney solo separate from Wings. Carry on.

Starting out as a couple of recordings designed to test his home equipment, Paul’s first solo album grew into a full blown album after it was clear the Beatles weren’t going to get back together. Released and gobbled up by an eager public in 1970, it showed the brilliant Paul alongside the annoying Paul in one fell swoop.

Songs like “Every Night”, “Maybe I’m Amazed” and the instrumental “Hot As Sun” show McCartney’s gifts in full – in melody, structure and harmony along with a prowess at most every instrument. A few other songs are decent enough. Then…well….

“Hot As Sun” is rather spoiled by a silly experiment on wine glasses tagged on the end. A few songs are instrumental improvisations, half-formed songs, experiments best left in the vault, or pieces that really needed a John Lennon quality-control opinion. (“Junk” is one of my all-time can’t –stand-it’s and it was always rejected by the Beatles for good reason. Same with “Teddy Boy” – gack.)

Paul had an EP’s worth of material and made it an LP. It wouldn’t be the last time he did that.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Paul basically announced the Beatles were splitting up on the press release for this album, leaving the rest of the group none-too-pleased. It was viewed by the other three as premature, hasty, or bad timing. Take your pick.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, live cuts from later tours and a couple of outtakes. Yes, believe it or not “Oo You” made the record over some other songs.

GRADE: C: His best solo song, “Maybe I’m Amazed”, is stuck on this lemon.