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Ram Jam
Epic PE 34885
Released: August 1977
Chart Peak: #34
Weeks Charted: 12

Ram Jam marks the commercial reemergence of producers Kasenetz-Katz, the auteurs of bubble gum and, as the liner notes remind us, one of the top five all-time production teams. Ram Jam even reunites K&K with one of their late-Sixties minions, guitarist Bill Bartlett, formerly of the Lemon Pipers.

Ram Jam - Ram Jam
Original album ad art.
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However, the K&K comeback is not quite complete. Many of their chewy-chewy smashes in the past were self-penned. "Black Betty," Ram Jam's overmodulated smash, was written by none other than Huddie Ledbetter, the famous Leadbelly. It is a neat comment on popular music, 1977, that the summer's most engaging, silly record was written by a deceased, black, blues genius. It sure is a better comment than anything that could be said for the rest of this Rolling Stones-meet-the-1910 Fruitgum Company hogwash.

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- Dave Marsh, Rolling Stone, 10/20/77.

Bonus Review!

Ram Jam had been together about 30 seconds -- well, maybe a couple of weeks -- before cutting this album. The PR releases aren't admitting it, but the band was concocted around lead guitarist Bill Bartlett after his slashing, hard-rock reworking of "Black Betty," an old Leadbelly tune, proved to be a hot single that just kept getting hotter out there in the AM sticks. "Black Betty" blam-duh-lammed like a stake straight into the hearts of the same audience that drools and quakes over Kiss; and the Ram Jam album tries to keep on pounding. None of the other tunes is up there with "Black Betty," but you do get Bartlett playing a shitload of guitar, and there's a shred-metal update of "Be-Bop-a-Lula," the old Gene Vincent chiller, that will wake you right up. On the next album, Ram Jam could do worse than look around for some more corpses from the vault and zap them alive for the Kiss generation. For instance, Chuck Berry's "School Days," the encore to Ram Jam's live act (which is, incidentally, better than the album).

- Playboy, 1/78.

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