So as a Beatles fan, in 1970 I was fascinated to see what our Paul would do on his own. His first album, McCartney, was a very ramshackle construction made at home with a mixture of spare songs which could have been Beatles material, some of which were absolute gems, like Every Night, Junk and Maybe I’m Amazed, classic Paul, but others just thrown together in the kitchen with the Mrs on BVs. Although I bought it, on the whole it was a bit thin and I didn’t bother with subsequent releases for some years. However going back 50 years (!!) later there’s proof on the second album Ram that he could really make it on his own. Opener Too Many People is a standard Macca pop tune, but 3 Legs was more interesting because really to people like me, brought up on the pop charts, bluesy rock was quite avant garde. (“Most flies they got three legs, but mine got one” Really?). Ram On and Dear Boy again were things you imagine him knocking off before lunch, nice tunes but drill down and you feel in need of something more substantial. He then throws in Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey which is something you would be likely to find on a Beatles album, a real production, but with passages of thunder and rain, “we’re so sorry” and a faked phone call which transport you somewhere else entirely, with a mix of melody, nostalgia and sheer inventiveness. A song suite in one track. Then we’re back to reality on Smile Away (‘I could smell your feet a mile away’) and another melodic masterpiece Heart of the Country, just irresistibly catchy, how does he do that? For me though, the centrepiece is Monkberry Moon Delight, the sound of a Beatle really throwing off the shackles and enjoying himself (‘I sat in the attic, a piano up my nose’). A pity then that we revert to ‘come on little lady, lady let’s eat at home’. And Long Haired Lady. Did she enjoy being patronised I wonder? But then The Back Seat Of My Car, which is a real triumph as far as McCartney solo work goes, one track I do return to. And here is the problem – never has he quite reached the heights of the 60s, for the simple reason that without Lennon’s edge to counter his chocolate box tendency, and George Martin to provide the production nous which he occasionally aspires to here, it was always going to be a bit of a disappointment. Most non-Beatles don’t have to do nearly so much to be acclaimed. That’s the life of a Beatle. I don’t suppose Paul is bothered.