With the deluxe edition of RAM, many changes to the previously established Paul McCartney Archive Collection have been made. All the stops have been pulled out for what many consider among the very best—if not THE best—album of McCartney’s solo career. Gone is the hardcover book format seen with McCartney, McCartney II, and Band on the Run, replaced with a sturdy box. Inside the box is an elaborate array of memorabilia and no less than four CDs and one DVD. If you love RAM, cracking open this box set is pretty much like heaven.
The album itself is, of course, the key component. Twelve tracks of melodic genius, bursting with idiosyncratic arrangements and varied vocals (McCartney’s late wife, Linda, provides effective harmonies throughout). From his first post-Beatles U.S. number one hit, “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” to lesser known cuts like “Long Haired Lady” and “3 Legs,” RAM is a true delight. The melodies take unpredictable twists and turns and every nook and cranny of the album seems to be filled with something interesting.
Beyond that, the second disc has eight bonus tracks—perhaps a little skimpy, but most of what is here is well worth hearing. The A- and B-sides of McCartney’s first post-Beatles single, “Another Day” and “Oh Woman, Oh Why,” open the disc (the latter track is a lost classic with a fiery lead vocal). “Little Woman Love” is associated with the Wings era, since it first surfaced as the B-side to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” (1972), but it originated during the RAM sessions. Previously unreleased outtakes include “A Love For You” (the song appeared on the soundtrack to the 2003 movie The In-Laws, but not this mix), “Hey Diddle,” and the instrumentals “Great Cock and Seagull Race” and “Sunshine Sometime.”
The real goodie on this disc is the previously unreleased two-man jam, “Rode All Night.” McCartney plays electric guitar, backed only by drummer Denny Seiwell, and together they just tear it up for about eight minutes. It’s truly a must-hear for anyone who doubts McCartney’s capacity for rocking out.