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!
ALSO OUT THIS WEEK
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!