RAM JAM – Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Ram [Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded]
As requested, here’s the Rock Candy Remastered & Reloaded release of British band RAM JAM second LP “Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Ram” for the first time on CD. Catapulted to huge international success as a result of their hit single, the stunningly infectious and universally praised, ‘Black Betty’, Ram Jam seemed poised for a career in the rock n’ roll fast lane.
There was so much good hard rock music in the late Seventies, this was up there with the best of them. Why this band didn’t became huge is beyond me, however there was a reason…
RAM JAM born around ‘Black Betty’. At the time, it wasn’t strange for a new band, or even a sole musician / songwriter, to record a 7” single. That was the case here, and ‘Black Betty’ became a massive hit on the radio, also overseas.
Behind the scenes, however, a complex web of intrigue was played out against a backdrop of record company machinations, power-playing producers, managerial hi-jinx and internal feuds
Dubbed by the media as one hit wonders unable to fulfill their potential, the band focused their anger and frustration to record a ‘Portrait of the Artist As a Young Ram’, one of hard rock’s most coveted and revered records that, for no fault of it’s own, failed to resuscitate their ailing career.
With the addition of Jimmy Santoro’s screaming guitar work, this is a punchy set of tunes which actually improves on their previous album by managing to broaden the group’s sound without cutting back on the hard rock firepower that got them noticed.
For instance, songs like “The Kid Next Door” and “Please Please (Please Me)” add keyboard textures that flesh out the group’s sound without distracting from their guitar-driven attack.
Ram Jam also makes an interesting departure from their trademark twin-guitar rock sound on the dramatic power ballad “Turnpike”: this lost-love lament alternates a hard-rocking chorus with moody piano-driven verses to create an surprisingly ornate blend of AOR melodicism and hard rock bombast.
However, the majority of ”Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ram” is devoted to straightforward guitar rock; “Wanna Find Love” and “Saturday Night” blend commercial hooks and metal riffs as effectively as anything on Ram Jam.
Other tunes up the ante by presenting a frenetic level of energy: “Just Like Me” and “Hurricane Ride” both toss out slashing guitar riffs over double-time rhythms to create songs with a street level attack.
”Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ram” further benefits from short, tight song structures that keep things from getting too excessive (the ambitious “Turnpike” is the only song that runs over 4 and a half minutes).
All in all, this is a fine hard rock outing that is worthy of its cult reputation compared to the best work of Aerosmith, Montrose, Starz and Ted Nugent, and a treat for anyone who likes hard-driving classic rock music.
Originally released in 1978, has become a collectors favorite remaining unreleased on Compact Disc until this Rock Candy remaster.
01 – Gone Wild
02 – Pretty Poison
03 – The Kid Next Door
04 – Turnpike
05 – Wanna Find Love
06 – Just Like Me
07 – Hurricane Ride
08 – Saturday Night
09 – Runaway Runaway
10 – Please, Please, Please (Please Me)
Lead Vocals, Percussion – Myke Scavone
Lead Guitar – Jimmy Santoro
Rhythm Guitar, Vocals – Bill Bartlett
Bass – Howie Blauvelt
Drums – Peter Charles
Remastered by Jon Astley