Ram Jam – Ram Jam (1977/2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 00:34:44 minutes | 785 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © Epic Records
Recorded: 1977 at K&K Studio City-Great Neck, New York
Ram Jam was the debut studio album released by Ram Jam in 1977. The first track on the album, the single “Black Betty”, is Ram Jam’s best known song. It went to #7 on the UK singles chart in September 1977. The album reached #34 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart in the United States. The band was re-christened “American Ram Jam” for the UK market to avoid confusion with a UK band with the same name.
In 1996, the album was reissued on CD as Golden Classics with a bonus track, “I Should Have Known”, which was originally the B-side to the “Black Betty” single.
In 2010, “Black Betty” became part of the internet meme based on the AC Transit Bus fight. Clips (both audio and visual) from the video of the fight were inserted into the music video, most notably the “bam-balam” being replaced with “amberlamps”.
Though it may seem like ordinary 1970s hard rock, this album is interesting for a few reasons. The first is that it was produced by Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, the producers behind a string of classic bubblegum hits like “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” and “Chewy, Chewy.” The other reason is that the group leader Bill Bartlett was formerly a member of the Lemon Pipers, a psychedelic bubblegum group who scored a hit with “Green Tambourine” (which was produced by Kasenetz and Katz). All three men put behind their bubblegum past on this album of hard-driving rock & roll. Ram Jam is best known for its hit single, “Black Betty”; this electrifying update of a Huddie Ledbetter blues tune layers on plenty of searing electric guitar riffs and a steady 4/4 drum beat that turns the song into a strange but exhilarating blend of heavy metal and disco. None of the other tunes on Ram Jam surpass the bracing standard set by “Black Betty,” but there are some other worthwhile moments for hard rock fanatics; “Keep Your Hands on the Wheel” is a stomping, driving-themed rocker in the vein of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and “Overloaded” is a swinging rocker built on a taut bassline and a catchy, cowbell-driven chorus. The album also features “Too Bad on Your Birthday,” a mid-tempo rocker with a sing-along chorus that was later revived by Joan Jett. The one real downside here is that it suffers from a samey production style that makes the songs run together on first listen. Despite this problem, all the songs on Ram Jam presents a sturdy blend of guitar fireworks and pop hooks that any hardcore fan of 1970s hard rock will enjoy. -AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco
1. Black Betty 03:57
2. Let It All Out 04:00
3. Keep Your Hands on the Wheel 03:41
4. Right on the Money 03:01
5. All for the Love of Rock N’ Roll 03:01
6. 404 03:44
7. High Steppin’ 03:40
8. Overloaded 02:56
9. Hey Boogie Woman 03:10
10. Too Bad on Your Birthday 03:10
Myke Scavone – vocals, percussion
Bill Bartlett – guitar, vocals
Howie Blauvelt – bass guitar, vocals
Peter Charles – drums