Thursday, May 24, 2012

If It's Thursday, I'm Late With Street Date: 5/22/12

The harsh criticism of "Ram" upon its release can only be attributed to the sour surroundings of the time. The Beatles broke up and it was Paul's fault. Plus, it didn't help matters that "Ram" doesn't sound like The Beatles. Otherwise, anyone back then and even now, who doesn't hear the layers of musical brilliance on Paul McCartney second post-Mop Top release, just isn't listening. You know "Too Many People" and "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey." But what about "Dear Boy," "Heart Of The Country" and "Back Seat Of My Car?" Those five songs alone are among the best of Macca's career.

A big and heavy special edition was released this week, along with a standard deluxe (is that like jumbo shrimp?) edition, and a very limited MONO edition on numbered vinyl. As far as big, stupid, expensive boxed sets go, this one is damn nice. It's not essential, but it is close. Let me try to sell it.

If "Ram" was one of your favorite records of all-time, as it is mine, and the items in the box were all released individually at affordable prices, you just might buy them all. There is a new 2012 stereo remaster that is simply stunning. It comes with a bonus CD featuring 30+ minutes of bonus material. There is a new 2012 MONO version, which is a true, dedicated mono mix created for AM radio but never released and only available with the box, unless you want the LP, which is available separately. Admittedly, the audio here will only be a revelation if you love "Ram." The mix has subtle differences, but there were enough to make me shout "Holy Crap" a number of times. There is a gorgeous 112 page book with unreleased photos and current interviews with those involved with the recording. (If this book was at Barnes & Noble for $30, it would be a no-brainer, or at the very least, a some-brainer.) There is "Thrillington," the big-band instrumental version of the album Paul pseudonymously recorded as Percy Thrillington. (It's better than you'd think.) The DVD has some vintage promo clips and a behind-the-scenes film about the making of the album. There are facsimilies of hand-written lyric sheets, a folder of glossy 8x10s, a flip-book with a lot of sheep. It's insanity!!

Or, you can just buy the remastered CD in stereo and the MONO lp for a little less than half of the cost of the box.  What I'm saying is this, as much as we'd like to dismiss this type of label greed and rehash, sometimes, it is done right. The "Ram" edition of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection is done right!


It's official! The long, lost pop cult classic, "Durocs" released in 1979 and given away with a subscription to Creem magazine, finally gets a bar code. And there are bonus tracks. And they are really good!

Here's what Mark Deming from AMG has to say:

Ron Nagle and Scott Mathews were a songwriting and production team who got signed to Capitol Records as artists and dubbed themselves Durocs (after a breed of pig with large ears and genitals); they were perfectly capable of writing straightforward pop tunes, but that's not all they had in mind. Embracing a production style that suggested a thick, updated variant on the expansive sound pioneered by Phil Spector and Brian Wilson, Nagle and Mathews were unafraid to put sincere affirmations of optimism like "One Day At A Time" and "Don't Let The Dream Die" next to cheerful celebrations of lust like "Hog Wild," tongue in cheek paeans to love such as ""We Go Good Together," and a tribute to the joys and perils of being a drunken oaf in "No Fool No Fun." Nagle and Mathews' wit is clever throughout, and the grand-scale sound of the album (produced by Nagle and Mathews with an assist from Elliot Mazer) is unapologetically bold, and rich, the sonic equivalent of a porterhouse steak, filled with plenty of nods to the past (especially the sax solos from Steve Douglas) while sounding contemporary.

I've been a fan of this record since day one. You must hear it. You must.

Garbage reunites for "Not Your Kind Of People." I loved Shirley Manson back in the day, but I barely made it through this record, which sounds like 50 minutes of debut album b-sides.

Still haven't heard the Joey Ramone or the new record by The Cult, but I'm looking forward to both. I hope I am not disappointed.


It was a small but wonderful turnout last night. The DJ seats were full for the entire hour, as we listened to some R&B classics from Koko Taylor, Jr, Walker, & The Velvelettes, some rock and roll from Mitch Ryder and The Kooks, some deep cuts from the Beach Boys and a Todd Rundgren cover by Joe Jackson.

This will happen again and for the next session, I hope to see twice as many people. Keep checking the chat box. Next week, we will shoot for a different night and time, as some didn't make it home in time, and others had prior engagements.

Most of all...those who made it, had a blast!

Thank you.


soundsource said...

to paraphrase some song " I looked at my clock and it was 8pm" and I missed your fmturntable stint. look forward to the next one and I'll set my alarm clock

Albert said...

GREAT NEWS re: Durocs.....and about time too.....on Ram: agreed, great album.....thought I'd never say this, but any mono mix of any album I've ever heard is superior to the stereo mix and holds so many sonic surprises....hope to hear a mono-disc mix of Ram as soon as I can.....

jeff k said...

I tried real hard to love the new Joey Ramone, but it is what it is -- leftovers.

Life is a rock, Sal.

jeff k said...

on the other hand, I've been enjoying the two-cd Ram since Tuesday and have even managed to teach myself Ram On on the uke. very cool

Shriner said...

Are the unreleased bonus tracks on RAM worth the package? The singles/B-sides (like Another Day) have been released other places before

Sal Nunziato said...

@Shriner. On their own, no. And if the remastering isn't a factor, no need to bother at all. Personally, I don't mind rebuying when something I love sounds this much better.

FD13NYC said...

Wow, the Durocs. Never thought that would see the light of day. I remember buying my promo copy at the long respected, now defunct Vinylmania on Carmine Street. Their cover of Gene Pitney's It Hurts To Be In Love was a knockout, a must hear, sheer audio bliss. Can't recall the rest of the LP (sooo long ago) but will look into it for sure.

As for RAM, more money grabbing rehashing, (don't get me started), but the mono mix sounds interesting. I'll just play my copy, whatever pressing it is, and enjoy it as always.

Oh and, I'll probably be joining the Turntablefm project, if I could figure out how to get it up and running, good luck with that Sal. Also hope your fans will become my fans, stay tuned.

Shriner said...

what song(s) show the remastering the best? (I keep thinking my ears are too shot at this point to really tell unless I *really* crank it -- which isn't great, I'm sure...)

And, yes, I picked up on some of the Beatles remastering changes, so I'm not *that* far gone...

Sal Nunziato said...


The five songs I mention at the top of the post, all just smacked me in the face. The background harmonies on "Dear Boy" and everything about "Uncle Albert" especially. (This is the stereo version.) As for the MONO, it's just splendid. Sounds you've never heard before jumping out of every song.

I really dug it.

Albert said...

Today Durocs, tomorrow Watch Dog!....hopefully.....

ASH On The Beat said...

Sorry I couldn't make it last night, it's just the time difference.

Ram was never my fave album, but I grew to love it and the 2012 version is simply superb.

Ian McNabb and I were sharing the love of it last night and I've also bought the vinyl.

Albert I can rip the vinyl if you fancy a listen.

I was fortunate to have an original of The Durocs.

I've ordered this.

Garbage wise....I've always been a fan, but you do get the diminishing returns feeling and I can't argue with anything you say about the tosh that is the new album.

Currently loving the Mike Viola album.

Goodnight and Thank You.

ASH On The Beat said...

Shriner - As Sal says Uncle Albert.

Jerry Lee said...

I still have the vinyl of Durocs LP, excellent pop. "Hog Wild" could've been a hit single. I hope the CD includes the inner sleeve graphics.

Anonymous said...

I'll second (or third or fourth) Sal on the remastering. One of the best I've ever heard, even more so than the recent Beatles. Just incredible depth of sound.

Bruce H

A walk in the woods said...

I am not really one to get excited about remastering (agree with FD13NYC there) unless the original CD I have was mastered really badly like, say, "Blood On The Tracks." (Boy is that overdue to really crisp up the sound on)

But... this is such a cool album. And you didn't even mention 2 of my faves - 3 Legs and both Ram On's.

And... I am a big Mono fan. I have an early Beatles album on mono, original issue, and there really is a difference. It's not just hype.

So... I am considering this....

(and I can't make the next roundtable DJ set but hope I can make one soon!)

draftervoi said...

Ron Nagle was also an influential Bay Area ceramics artist and teacher. Google his name and ceramics under Image Search and you'll see examples of his worl.