A few days prior to activating the crucial “download” buttons on his website, Aquarium Drunkard’s Justin Gage offered yours truly a sneak preview of the project he’d been finalizing: a collection of Los Angeles artists paying tribute to Paul McCartney’s 1971 album Ram, song by song, titled Ram On LA. In his words:
As records tend to do, a revisited appreciation of Paul McCartney’s 1971 solo album, RAM, had begun to see a resurgence of sorts within a number of local Eastside artists, coming up in conversations and on the turntables of various house parties.
The theme was found. Over the course of the second half of 2008 eleven Angeleno artists individually went in to various studios, rehearsal spaces and apartments to record their take on what is my favorite, and arguably, McCartney’s best solo work…. the end result is RAM On L.A.
Released as a high-quality 320kbps MP3 digital download, the not-for-profit compilation is available free via aquariumdrunkard.com. Listeners are encouraged to make donations to No More Landmines, the fantastic cause that “helps and empowers communities around the world by removing the threat of landmines and unexploded weapons.” A cause championed by Sir Paul McCartney himself. Donate here.
Around this same time, it came to the attention of our website that up near Manhattan by the water, WFMU’s Tom Scharpling was putting together a similar package as a promo giveaway for his (Jersey City) station’s pledge drive: an all-star tribute to Paul McCartney’s Ram, titled Tom. (Incidentally, Scharpling’s fundraising show took place two nights ago.) Thusly as swift as lightning did Ram Fever 2009 strike the benevolent sensibility cells of both east and west coasts, simultaneously,and the nation gave birth to an altogether new Ram re-appreciation level; one bicoastal, one indie-rock-centric; one of worthy cause donation, be it anti-mine-of-the-land or pro-freeform-radio-wave-of-the-air; one borne of a love of blogs and freeform radio alike; truly, a level of Ram re-appreciation of which the somewhat, scattershot Ram-previously-appreciating nation had to date never even seen, let alone visited; truly, a level of both Ram appreciation and re-appreciation that would be later withdrawn from the memory bank by brute force alone. To intone that one or both coasts was, or were, “Really Rrramming Rrrram” in plainsong might have been to pluck the easy joke from the nightly harvest; that fit for the stage of Leno, not Colbert.
Go thee forth, then, and get your copy of the Los Angeles version of Ram circa 2009 at AD [here], and don’t forget the landmine fund. This sturdy Los Angeles comp includes artists such as Earlimart, Parson Red Heads and Broken West.
Back on the east coast, boasting guys like Ted Leo and Death Cab, Scharpling’s compilation may already be scarce, but call or click WFMU and see if you can’t talk them into you somehow getting your hands on a copy for your generous donation today. You’ve got a few days left on that pledge drive, if you hustle.
It goes without saying: Purists and buffs, keep Paul’s original on the hi-fi and switch between all three for maximum effect.