Friday, 14 January 2011

Ringo Starr - Can't Fight Lightning

Publisher: Pegboy
Reference: PB1004
Date: 1996

01. Attention          CFL's lead-off tracks are the two McCartney
02. Private Property   originals, "Attention" and "Private Property." Each
                       displays all the earmarks of much of the composer's
                       work: light-weight, yet bouncy, infectious,
                       eminently hummable with stick-in-your-brain melodies.
                       As mentioned earlier, both tracks were subjected to
                       numerous edits, and "Private Property" was also
                       given significantly different mixes. The cut of
                       "Attention" that was settled on for both CFL & S&STR
                       was the same, the shortest of the four known edits
                       (3:19). The CFL "Private Property", however, is a
                       2:48 cut with Lloyd Green's steel guitar very much
                       in evidence. For S&STR, a mix omitting that
                       instrument was used, a bad decision, as far as this
                       reviewer is concerned, because the CFL mix sees to
                       have the edge. 13 January 1981.

03. You've Got A Nice Way   Sounds perhaps a bit too much like what it is:
                            a Stephen Stills song with Ringo doing the
                            vocal. The stereotypically mellow California-
                            style laid-back instrumental and vocal backing
                            seems a bit at odds with the Liverpudlian
                            singer's persona and vocal delivery. However,
                            it's pleasant and fits well with the album's
                            other tunes. 13 January 1981.

04. Wake Up   One of the three numbers that got axed when CFL became S&STR.
              This reviewer's rather negative initial opinion of this
              Starkey original has tapered somewhat after repeated
              listening. I used to think its title was apt because it
              described what I'd need to do by the time the song was over.
              But its ennui-invoking attributes have subsided now that I've
              gotten used to it. Ringo invests some real emotion in his
              vocal performance; he sounds like he means it when he sings
              the lyrics. Granted, it IS a bit mopey and its deletion from
              the revised album's lineup is understandable. But if you do't
              like it at first, maybe you should give it a chance. It might
              grow on you, just like a fungus, or a cold sore on your lip.
              By the way, the original 3:32 CFL version is NOT what appears
              as a bonus track on the S&STR CD. January 13, 1981.

05. You Can't Fight Lightning   Ringo on guitar and Paul on drums!
                                CLF's first side would have closed with the
                                title track. This song does sound like it
                                was a lot of fun to record, and the full-
                                length 10-min version might be fascinating
                                to hear. Unfortunately, us poor schmoes in
                                the listening audience were left out of the
                                "creative process" wherein, through the
                                utilization of agents of perceptual
                                alteration, the musicians developed this
                                nugget of audio wonderment. Consequently,
                                as a piece of recorded music detached from
                                the circumstances of its performance, and
                                experienced during the cold light of day by
                                ears which are perhaps metaphorically
                                clogged with what George Harrison might
                                refer to as "maya cerumen" (translation:
                                truth-blocking earwax) it does not seem to
                                be one of the strongest tracks the der
                                Ringostein has laid down. January 13, 1981.

06. Wrack My Brain   A "pop" song in the best sense of the word, the
                     sprightly, jaunty musical backing belied the bitterness
                     of the lyrics; words which were no doubt heartfelt by
                     author George Harrison who was having his own problems
                     with record company officials at the time. This should
                     have been a Top Ten hit, but ex-Beatles seemed to be
                     somewhat out of fashion with the Top 40 crowd at the
                     time of its initial release. January 13, 1981.

07. Dead Giveaway    What do you get when you cross a Rolling Stone with a
                     Beatle? In this particular instance you get "Dead
                     Giveaway", the long version (5:20), a Ronnie Wood /
                     Ritchie Starkey original. It was chopped down to 4:24
                     on S&STR. This version includes a short bass solo,
                     plus runny trousers and baggy noses or whatever. This
                     song adds a bit of funk to the album. I guess you
                     could call it a funked-up song. January 13, 1981.

08. Brandy   Ritchie and Ronnie were also the main culprits behind the
             recording of a cover version of "Brandy". No, it's not the
             obnoxious 1972 #1 hit by Looking Glass, but rather the 1978
             flop (#79) by the O'Jays. It's hard to say what spurred them
             to record it, unless it was from reading the label on a bottle
             of the identically named potable they may have been imbibing.
             This song most decidedly did not add a bit of funk to the
             album. In point of fact, this doleful dirge merely added a
             four-minute dollop of tedium to CFL, and its omission from
             S&STR was a wise decision. Of the known songs recorded during
             Ringo's '80-'81 sessions, this was unquestionably the worst.
             January 13, 1981.

09. You Belong To Me   CFL's penultimate track, the bubbly and chipper
                       Harrison-produced "You Belong To Me" offers a
                       welcome respite to the downer mood likely to be
                       engendered by the preceding song. This tune pre-
                       dates the rock era by several years. Three versions
                       made it into the U.S. Pop Charts in 1952: recordings
                       by Jo Stafford, Patti Page and Dean Martin,
                       respectively. Its fourth and final appearance on the
                       Hit Parade was in 1962 when The Duprees put their
                       spin on it. It'd be interesting to know which
                       rendition inspired George to put his own stamp on
                       the song. This unlikely song choice was a good one,
                       though. Ringo's recording of it is arguably much
                       better than the hit versions that came before it.
                       It's certainly more upbeat than its prececessors.
                       January 13, 1981.

10. Stop And Take The Time   Song, with the notorious "Ford Cortina" gibe,
    To Smell The Roses       closed the album. In this version with the
                             original vocals intact, Starr wisecracks "Stop
                             when you're in your Ford Cortina, you know
                             it's accident prone." Boardwalk President Neil
                             Bogart got cold feet about leaving that remark
                             in the song, for fear of a libel suit from the
                             car company so, through a bit of editing
                             hocus-pocus, the offending dig was neutralized
                             before the song appeared on S&STR. This was
                             definitely was an 11th hour decision on
                             Bogart's part, because (as detailed in Part 1
                             of these notes) a similar version of the S&STR
                             LP was almost issued and the "Ford Cortina"
                             crack was still in "Stop..." (albeit in an
                             alternate mix of the song). In addition to
                             being censored, the released version of
                             "Stop..." was also longer than all original
                             mixes had been, due to a later fade-out. (The
                             CFL version is 2:47, the S&STR version exceeds
                             three minutes.) Note also that the "bonus
                             track" version (labeled a "rough mix") of
                             "Stop..." on the S&STR CD is not the one that
                             was on CFL. January 13, 1981.

11. Wrack My Brain      Early mix #1. November 1980.
12. Attention           The full-length 4:28 version. As mentioned earlier,
                        several different edits of this track were prepared
                        before the shortest one was chosen for inclusion on
                        CFL & S&STR. July 1980.
13. Back Off Boogaloo   Early mix and many obvious differences are
                        discernible. Each version (along with Track 20)
                        either adds or mixes out vocals from Ringo, Harry
                        and Rick Riccio (whoever he is) in differing ways.
                        January 13, 1981.
14. Private Property
15. Wake Up             Take 5. (Take #4 is the one that appears as a bonus
                        cut on the S&STR CD). Takes #4 & #5 are ten seconds
                        longer thant the CFL version and they feature Keith
                        Richards on guitar (he does not play on the CFL
                        version). September 5, 1980.    
16. Dead Giveaway       The short version (2:52) that opened side two of
                        the aborted version of S&STR. September 23, 1980.

17. Stop And Take The Time   Essentially the one mentioned earlier as being
    To Smell The Roses       on the unreleased S&STR, but this comes from
                             the session tapes and includes studio talk at
                             the beginning. The first difference one
                             notices is the omission of the lead guitar
                             passages during the song's opening lyrics.
                             November 1980.
18. Wrack My Brain           Early mix #2. November 1980.
19. Attention                Another alternate cut of it (3:45). July 1980.
20. Back Off Boogaloo        See Track 13 information.
21. Wrack My Brain           A real curio, the rare mix of "Wrack My Brain"
                             that was issued only on a Canadian single. Its
                             striking feature is the relatively prominent

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Part 3
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Part 5
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Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
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