Friday, 14 January 2011

Ringo Starr - Beaucoups Of Blues - The Acetate Version

Publisher: Yellow Cat Records
Reference: YC-2002
Date: 2005

Produced by Peter Drake, and discribed by Discoveries Magazine as, "a labor
of love," Beaucoups Of Blues is Ringo's second album.
Like his first album, Sentimental Journey, Beaucoups Of Blues is considered
by many to be something of an oddity. While Sentimental Journey is a
collection of old standards, the 1970 issue of Beaucoups Of Blues consisted
of twelve country songs.
Ringo's penchant for country should not have - come as too much of a
surprise for even in his Beatle days, Ringo had recorded such country
flavored songs as Matchbox, Honey Don't, Act Naturally, and Don't Pass Me
By. According to biographer Alan Clayson, Ringo had been toying with the
idea of making a country album for a while. He had even gone so far as to
discuss the project with Bob Johnston, producer of Bob Dylan's John Wesley
Harding album. However Ringo discovered that Johnston "wanted a lot of
bread, so I decided not to do it with him." Ringo met Peter Drake while
both were working on George Harrison's All Things Must Pass album. Pete
had noticed a stack of country & western tapes in Ringo's car and soon
discovered Ringo's affinity for country music. The two began to discuss
the possibility of making a country album. Pete suggested that the album
be made in Nashville, but Ringo preferred London. Used to the Beatles'
recording methods, Ringo stated. "I didn't want to spend three months or
six months or however long in Nashville and that's how long I expected it
to take to make an album in those days."
Impressed with Pete's assurance that the album could be finished in two or
three days, Ringo finally agreed to go to Nashville.
By the time Ringo arrived in Nashville on June 22, 1970, Pete had already
booked studio time at Music City Recorders Studio. He had also amassed an
impressive array of session musicians. These included Charlie Daniels,
Dave Kirby, Chuck Howard, Sorrells Pickard, Jerry Teed, Jerry Shook, and
Jerry Kennedy (guitars); Pete Drake and Ben Keith (pedal steel guitar);
Roy Huskey Jr and Buddy Hamran (bass); Charlie McCov (harmonica); George
Richey, Grover Lavender and Jim Buchanan (fiddles) and D.J. Fontana (drums).
Pete had also already selected a number of possible songs, most were
written by either Sorrells Pickard or Chuck Howard, for Ringo's approval.
All that was left for Ringo to do "picking out the songs I liked," and the
recording of the vocals. The tracks were laid down in three days.
Recalling the speed with which the album was made Ringo said, "We went
into the studio on Thursday and I had ten tracks done by the Friday - the
next night. We did ten tracks in the morning and ten tracks at night."
By the time Ringo flew back to London on July 1st, twelve songs had been
earmarked for inclusion on the album. These were Beaucoups Of Blues, Love
Don't Last Long, Fastest Growing Heartache In The West, Without Her, Woman
Of The Night, I'd Be Talking All The Time, $15 Draw, Wine, Women And Loud
Happy Songs, I Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way (a duet with Jeannie Kendal,)
Loser's Lounge, Waiting and Silent Home Coming.
When the CD was issued in 1995, the bonus tracks Coochy Coochy (written
by Ringo) and Nashville Jam were added. Both songs were recorded during
the Beaucoups Of Blues sessions. All fourteen of the songs were published
by Ringo's company Startling Music. Also recorded during this session was
the unreleased The Wishing Book.
The Beaucoups of Blues recording sessions got off to a rocky start due to
Ringo's initial anxiety. Alan Clayson reports that Ringo was so nervous
early on, that a member of the backing singers, the Jordanaires, "was
instructed to sing along in unison over the headphones."
Drummer D.J. Fontana remembered, "Ringo was the nicest man in the world.
We had some pretty well known players on that date, so we made him a
little nervous, I'm sure. He made us nervous too." Ringo admits, "At first
I was nervous and Pete would say through the glass, "Hoss, if you don't
get loose, I'm gonna come in there and stomp on your toes."
The nervousness didn't last long, though, and soon Ringo was relaxed
enough to even join in on the jams between takes. Nashville Jam is the
result of one of those jams. Of his singing on Beaucoups Of Blues Ringo
remarked, "I think some of my finest vocals are on that album - because
I was relaxed." As fine as the vocals are, however, the album was not
well received in either the USA or the UK. Released on September 28, 1970
in the United States, Boaucoups Of Blues remained in the Billboard charts
for fifteen weeks, but only rose as high as number 65. The album was
released in the United Kingdom on September 25, but failed to chart. Many
fans, still realing from the classic standards of Sentimental Journey had
decided to pass on Beaucoups Of Blues. This is unfortunate because although
the songs are decidedly country mawkish, many fans who have taken the time
to listen are pleasantly surprised by what they hear. Ringo's voice is
surprisingly well suited to this milieu and, as Ringo once noted, "There
are still some good track on that one as well."
In Tell Me Why, Tim Riley says that Beaucoups Of Blues has a "deceptively
easy feel" that confirms Ringo's "fundamental appeal as a personality."
In a 1991 article for Beatlefan Magazine Al Sussman and Bill King wrote,
"The big surprise is how good Beaucoups Of Blues sounds today. If reissued
now, it might well benefit from the back-to-the roots New Traditionalist
movement in country music." Perhaps Bob Woffinden in his book The Beatles
Apart, sums up the Beaucoups Of Blues best: "Ringo took his chance well
and his homely lugubrious voice suited those typically maudlin country
songs like a charm. It's one of the best Beatle solo albums."

01. Woman Of The Night
02. Without Her
03. Beaucoups Of Blues
04. Waiting
05. Love Don't Last Long
06. I'd Be Talking All The Time
07. $15 Draw
08. Wine, Women and Loud Happy Songs
09. The Wishing Book
10. Fastest Growing Heartache In The West
11. Loser's Lounge
12. Silent Homecoming
13. I Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way

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