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Wed, August 28, 2013
Ringo Starr - Beaucoups of Blues
Beaucoups of Blues is the second album by former Beatles member Ringo Starr, and also his second full-length release in 1970, coming after his debut Sentimental Journey. However, Beaucoups of Blues is very far removed in style from its pop-based predecessor, relying on country and western influences. Still, like it's predecessor, the album proved a moderate commercial success, reaching Billboard's number 35 slot on the Country Albums chart and number 65 on the Billboard 200 chart. It also received mixed to positive critical reviews; fellow ex-Beatle John Lennon particularly commented that he liked it.
During Ringo Starr's tenure with the Beatles he had dabbled with in country music: the band covered the country song "Act Naturally", co-writing the country-influenced track "What Goes On", and wrote a country song, "Don't Pass Me By". While playing on sessions for George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, Starr—a long-time country and western fan—met Pete Drake, in May 1970. Realizing Drake's deep connection to country, Starr asked him if they could collaborate on an album together. Drake told Starr his musician friends could compose more than an album's worth of material in a week, which Starr thought was "impossible". Starr was very keen and agreed. Starr promptly flew to Nashville on 22 June.
Starr's original idea was to hear the sessions take place in England and send the master tapes of the finished tracks to Drake, however, Drake convinced him otherwise, to have the sessions take place in Nashville. While most of the tracks were cut in two days, 30 June and 1 July at Music City Recorders, Drake had produced some earlier sessions with The Jordanaires on backing vocals so that Starr could add his lead on top. Sessions were engineered by Scotty Moore. All the material for the album was written purposely for Starr.
“We did the album in two nights... I was only there three days recording. I'd learn five songs in the morning and I'd go and record five songs that night. It was really good.”
Starr sang a duet with Jeannie Kendall on the track "I Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way". Also recorded during the sessions was the B-side to the title track, "Coochy Coochy", the latter of which originally ran to 28 minutes in length. The sessions went exceedingly well according to Starr, and that they "did [record] a few other tracks that we didn't put out." Acetate discs of the album, which were titled Ringo in Nashville, were sold at an auction in August 1992, which featured a different track order and did include songs that weren't featured on the released version of the album. It was clear to all that Starr's vocals were much more suited to the genre of country than the old standards that characterised Sentimental Journey. For Starr, making Beaucoups of Blues had fulfilled a lifelong ambition.
Even though it was moderately successful at the time, in retrospect critics have stated that this may be one of his best albums. 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." In an interview with Jann Wenner from Rolling Stone magazine on 8 December 1970, John Lennon called the album "a good record", but then said he wouldn't purchase the album.
1. "Beaucoups of Blues" (Buzz Rabin) – 2:33
2. "Love Don't Last Long" (Chuck Howard) – 2:45
3. "Fastest Growing Heartache in the West" (Larry Kingston/Fred Dycus) – 2:34
4. "Without Her" (Sorrells Pickard) – 2:35
5. "Woman of the Night" (Pickard) – 2:21
6. "I'd Be Talking All the Time" (Howard/Kingston) – 2:10
1. "$15 Draw" (Pickard) – 3:29
2. "Wine, Women and Loud Happy Songs" (Kingston) – 2:18
3. "I Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way" (Howard) – 2:57
4. "Loser's Lounge" (Bobby Pierce) – 2:23
5. "Waiting" (Howard) – 2:54
6. "Silent Homecoming" (Pickard) – 3:55
1995 bonus tracks
7. "Coochy Coochy" (Richard Starkey) – 4:48
8. "Nashville Jam" (Howard, Pickard, Jim Buchanan, Charlie Daniels, Pete Drake, D.J. Fontana, Buddy Harman, Junior Huskey, Ben Keith, Dave Kirby, Charlie McCoy, Jerry Reed, George Richey, Jerry Shook) – 6:39