Ringo Starr has been mentioned at least a couple hundred times in this blog. Unsurprising, given my unabashed affection for the Beatles. And I see that, 50 years after the band broke up, the Beatles and Ringo generate a lot of comments online.
Questions such as whether he is a good drummer. “Dave Grohl, frontman of Foo Fighters and former drummer of the legendary grunge band Nirvana, said about him: ‘Define ‘best drummer in the world’. Is it someone that’s technically proficient? Or is it someone that sits in the song with their own feel? Ringo was the king of feel.'”
The Beatle also known as Richard Starkey had his particular brand of charisma. The other Beatles insisted he was the best actor in their first movie, A Hard Day’s Night. The storyline of the second film, Help!, was centered around him.
Ringo still tours with his All-Starr band. I have never seen him play, though the tour has been in my neck of the woods a few times. In fact, he was supposed to have been at Tanglewood last month, but that program was postponed a year.
Ringo was scheduled to play with Steve Lukather (Toto guitarist), Colin Hay (Men at Work singer), Gregg Rolie (Santana keyboardist), Warren Ham (vocals/sax/flute), Gregg Bissonette (drums), and Hamish Stuart (Average White Band bass/guitar/vocals),
Back in 2018, I wrote about his country album Beaucoups of Blues, which I think is pretty darn good. Unfortunately, many of the links are not working. So check out the album here or here.
Public is or Public are: “British English tends to see either a plural or singular verb, pronoun or noun as acceptable, depending on the context in which the collective noun is used. American English, however, is considerably more rigid in sticking with the singular. Though they too may reconsider occasionally, based on context.”
Of all the former Beatles’ 1970 solo releases, Geoffrey Cannon of The Guardian rated Beaucoups of Blues as his favourite
One of those albums I have only on vinyl is Beaucoups of Blues, Ringo Starr’s second solo album, which was recorded in Nashville in late June 1970, and released about three months later.
From the Wikipedia: “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. Starr had to pick up Drake from the airport so that the pair could record with Harrison; Drake noticed the number of country albums Starr had in his vehicle… 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.'”
But they did, and some of Nashville’s finest performed on the album.
Ringo, of course, recorded some country-related songs with the Beatles: Act Naturally, by Buck Owens, on the UK Help! album; What Goes On, attributed to Lennon-McCartney-Starkey, on Rubber Soul in the UK; and Don’t Pass Me By, which he wrote, and which appears on the white album. The first two songs were both on the US Yesterday and Today LP.
I liked Beaucoups of Blues quite a bit, actually. John Lennon told Rolling Stone it was “a good record”, but “qualified that comment by saying he ‘didn’t feel as embarrassed as I did about [Starr’s] first record,'” the sappy Sentimental Journey, released in March of 1970. Reviewers at the time, and especially in retrospect, have said it was a solid effort, one of Ringo’s best.
“In his combined review of all the former Beatles’ 1970 solo releases, Geoffrey Cannon of The Guardian rated Beaucoups of Blues as his favourite.” That would be in comparison with Sentimental Journey; McCartney, Paul’s solo debut; John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band; and even the aforementioned All Things Must Pass.
It’s Ash Wednesday, the first day of the holiest period on the Christian calendar. The news is on the TV. The previous evening, he gave a speech before Congress in which he exploited the misery of a Gold Star widow. Earlier THAT DAY, he threw his generals under the bus for the death of that Navy SEAL. “They lost Ryan.”
I wasn’t yelling, but was talking aloud, “You schmuck! You’re the Commander-in-Chief! The buck stops with YOU! You’re SUPPOSED to say, ‘WE lost Ryan,’ you @$$#01e!” This was loud enough that The Wife, who had been upstairs at the time, to comment that she heard that. She also opined that I’ve cursed more in the past three or four months than I have in the 20+ years since I’ve known her. And this is almost certainly true.
It has usually happened when he lies about his lies. Or when one of his surrogates does the same. I remember giving the finger to the TV when adviser Kellyanne Conway came up with the phrase “alternative facts.”
When Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz said that rather than “getting that new iPhone that they just love,” low-income Americans should take they money they would have spent on it and “invest it in their own health care” – as though that was anywhere near equivalent cost, I gave him a silent “Chuck you, Farley.”
* Ashraf Qandehari-Bahadorzadeh, Iran’s Mother Teresa, Passes away at 91. She’s the aunt of Darius Shahinfar, the Albany city treasurer, who I first met when we were schlepping our kids to the same preschool.
* Diane Cameron, who led a writing exercise I participated in nearly three years ago, has written her third book, Never Leave Your Dead – A True Story of War Trauma, Murder, and Madness. Initially, this was about a guy who was involved in a dismal US military (in)action barely hinted at in this narrative. She writes about how “war can inflict deep and lasting psychological wounds in warriors.”
She spoke at my church on a Friday night in February. “In March of 1953, Donald Watkins, a former Marine… who served in China during the Japanese invasion of 1937, murdered his wife and mother-in-law.” Some of her points she also shared in this December 2016 TEDx talk. Not incidentally, Donald Watkins, many years later, married Diane’s mother. Riveting stuff.
* I just got a flyer for Dr. Henry G. Covert’s book Ministry to the Incarcerated, “a vital resource for prison ministry. The contents include the emotional world of inmates, institutional challenges, models for prison ministry, biblical teaching outlines, penal reform, re-entry and aftercare… Ministry to the Incarcerated is available on Amazon, eBook, and Kindle.”
As Christmas approached in 1980, the year John Lennon died, the song of his that made me most melancholy, other than the suddenly ironic (Just Like) Starting Over, was Merry Xmas (War Is Over). When someone has been advocating for peace, and is shot down by a fan, it just boggled the mind.
And so this is Xmas (war is over)
For weak and for strong (if you want it)
For rich and the poor ones (war is over)
The world is so wrong (if you want it)
And so happy Xmas (war is over)
For black and for white (if you want it)
For yellow and red ones (war is over)
Let’s stop all the fight (now)
A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
I was going to post some of those Beatles Christmas 45s, which I have collected on an LP, but, thankfully, someone had already uploaded The Beatles – Complete Christmas Records, which came out every year from 1963 to 1969. Collectively, the cuts reflect the increasingly greater sophistication of the band’s music, as well as the eventually fractured nature of the group.
Even better, I discovered that someone else has made available The History of the Beatles’ Christmas, including everything from Merry Xmas to Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney to Ding Dong by George Harrison to some obscure Ringo song, plus those Beatles Christmas cuts, even the edited version of Christmastime is Here Again that came out at the time of the Beatles Anthology albums.
I’ve also come across a cover band called The Fab Four, which performs Christmas carols in the style of Beatles songs. The whole double CD you can find HERE. My favorite song on the album is the final one, Jingle Bells, performed in the style of the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows. It shows the versatility of that last song on Revolver.