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My Sentimental Journey
29 April 2014
10.14am
trcanberra
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WARNING: This thread may bore your socks off - so enter at your own peril :)

OK - As some of you may recall I have been replacing the LP collection I sold many years ago (25 or more) with CDs and began listening to all of the Beatles (together and solo) albums on CD a while back (I am missing a few Ringo CDs - that is a future project).  I have been a little sidetracked (well, side-swiped more like) by life as well as the arrival of a couple of Dylan boxes, the US Albums and a dozen or so ELO CDs.

But now I am firmly back on track and in this thread will be reporting on my musical journey of (re)discovery of the solo albums - starting in chronological order but possibly beaming off in all sorts of random directions as the mood takes me.  Back then I had most (but not all) of the solo albums from 1969-1980 or so.

In an earlier episode and assorted other threads I have reported my thoughts on the three Lennon 'experimental' albums, the two from George, and Maccas soundtrack effort (Family Way); as well as Live Peace in Toronto.  Just for completeness I will give my best Christgau impersonation on them:

The Family Way:  Paul should stick to acting, one nice tune but repetitive.

Wonderwall Music:  Some interesting melodies, deserves to be better known.

Unfinished Music No 1 - Two Virgins: The hole in the brown paper bag on the cover is the most interesting part of this album.

Unfinished Music No 2 - Life With The Lions: Two Minutes, while silent, is painful.  Some interesting biographical snippets amongst the wailing.

Electronic Sounds:  If George really stole this he should give it back.

The Wedding Album:  The bed interview is fun, I also enjoyed the cake and the press clippings (I have the deluxe box set of this one - some great 'stuff' in it).

Live Peace in Toronto:  There is a good reason that used copies of the LP used to have Side 1 almost worn out and Side 2 pristine.

So now I have just nudged past Let it Be and arrived at:

Product Details

Apologies while I mangle a (possibly apocryphal) comment on Fred Astaire's audition to make it fit Ringo: "Can't sing, can drum a little".  For mine this as untrue for Ringo as it was for Fred; he can generally carry a tune surprisingly well - but he pushes it a bit on this album.  The analogy fits as the album is a collection of pretty old standards and would not have been out of place performed at a cheap Liverpool nightclub in around 1957.  At least Ringo was ahead of his time; Rod Stewart and Paul, amongst others, have trodden the standards path since then - but to somewhat greater acclaim (noting that the album did chart well in 1970, probably on the back of the Beatles rep).

Back in the day I bought this and Beaucoups of Blues from the local 2nd hand store and I returned them the next week.  Maybe I have mellowed, as I enjoyed it a bit more just now.  It's not because I have grown to like older songs, I was a fan of Fred and Ginger back then and winced (then and now) at the treatment Ringo dishes out to Night and Day.  He does better on some of the other songs, including Bye Bye BLackbird and the title track.  I also like the way Quincy Jones arranged Love is a Many Splendoured Thing, the massed choir melds with Ringo to make it a very effective rendition of what could have been a disaster.

So - worth a listen?  Only if you like old show tunes and standards from the 1920s-1950s and you are also a fan of Ringo.  For everyone else, dip into a few tracks on the net; a lot of this is very slow, mellow, and often not particularly well interpreted - Ringo may have been a bit young for some of these songs (yes, he was young once, or so I am told).

[EDIT] My CD is the 1995 reissue, which I think is also a remaster - it sounded pretty good.

[EDIT 2] The cover photo features a pub close-by to where Ringo was born back in 1940.

[EDIT 3] Just in case the title of the thread didn't alert you - the album discussed here is Sentimental Journey.

Well, I'm just about done on this one; comments etc. are more than welcome, but please remember you WERE warned up top :)

Next: McCartney - and, amazingly, I have never heard this one before for reasons I will elucidate when I post about it later in this thread.

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29 April 2014
10.21am
trcanberra
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^ Oh, and just to be the first to throw my own thread off topic, how do I italicise (or even mention) the word Blackbird without it throwing in a spurious reference to the Beatles song of that name?

29 April 2014
11.04am
Ahhh Girl
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BlAckbird

I randomly capitalized another letter in the word. Ah, preview shows it works.

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trcanberra
29 April 2014
4.26pm
meanmistermustard
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I find Sentimental Journey to be one of the better Ringo albums - not that that says much. Wispering Grass being my highlight. 

A nice shiny remaster would be nice but i doubt there is much chance in the near future with Ringo's catalogue being as forgotten as George's Extra Texture and Dark Horse.

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trcanberra
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29 April 2014
9.24pm
trcanberra
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Ahhh Girl said
BlAckbird

I randomly capitalized another letter in the word. Ah, preview shows it works.

Cheers - I'll keep that in mind - kind of an odd way to have to have to do it, but better than none.

29 April 2014
9.28pm
trcanberra
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meanmistermustard said
I find Sentimental Journey to be one of the better Ringo albums - not that that says much. Wispering Grass being my highlight. 

A nice shiny remaster would be nice but i doubt there is much chance in the near future with Ringo's catalogue being as forgotten as George's Extra Texture and Dark Horse.

Thanks mmm.  I have edited my post to reflect the fact that I was listening to a 1995 reissue which may have been a remaster, the sound was pretty decent.  I suspect the same was done to Beaucoup of Blues and those 2 George albums around the same time but I can't be certain.  I'll comment on the sound when I get to those two.

On Whispering Grass - it WAS kind of funky but a crazy set of lyrics - reminded me of the flowers and birds bit in Monty Python's Life of Brian.

30 April 2014
9.40am
trcanberra
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Well, here we are at McCartney:

Product Details

It's rather mind-boggling that a mad Beatles fan such as I has just listened to this for the very first time EVER!!  I have a couple of excuses:

* Hey, I was just a kid, and I believed that stuff about Paul breaking up the Beatles and was rather mad at him

* I was saving up to buy All Things Must Pass which cost a bomb for a kid with next to no income

It is still somewhat surprising.  Not long before this we had just obtained our first ever record player (a cabinet 'stereo' with about 1 foot of separation between the speakers).  I had just bought my first two albums (Let It Be and Hey Jude - yes, the one in US Albums was released down here).  I then began buying Beatles solo albums as they were released as well as earlier Beatles LPs, but somehow never went back and got this one.

Okay, enough preamble.  The CD I listened to just now is the one in the picture from the Archive collection (released in 2011), so it is a remaster with nice sound and a pretty booklet.  Apart from the cherries and the bowl of (?juice, sauce, blood?) on the cover we have Paul picking his nose, some pics which would make nice avatars (or already have) and a preview of the cover of Standing Stone some 27 years early.  Oh, there are some lyrics as well - I always like those.

The album itself? Well, I am going to be a bit harsh here - it is somewhat insubstantial, though pleasant enough.  There are a few rather simple songs scattered amongst some marginally pleasant instrumentals; it all sounds like an average garage band entertaining a famous guest singer who chips in with the odd vocal (Paul played all the instruments).  Every Night and Maybe I'm Amazed raise themselves up above the general malaise, though I have heard the latter a few too many times to look forward to it.

If you are just getting into Paul's music I would rate this a 'nice to have' rather than 'essential'; though as it is a recent re-release you should be able to pick it up at a decent price.  As with all of my Beatles-related stuff I am glad I own this, and am happy I have finally heard it for myself.  It got a bit of a caning from most critics when it came out, partly as a reaction to the Beatles breakup - partly as a reaction to its simplicity.  I'm sure it does everything Paul wanted it to do.

Next - Ringo strikes again as he gets him some country (and maybe even a bit of western) - Beaucoup of Blues.

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El Dorado
30 April 2014
11.12am
meanmistermustard
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Interesting that you had never heard it before now trc. Agree about how its "somewhat insubstanial, tho pleasant enough" and yes i've heard MIA too many times now. There is a gorgeous version from One Hand Clapping (on the delux edition release) which for me is just as good as the commercial version, love Paul's vocal and the piano/keyboard used.

Out of interest are you listening to the outakes that come with the archives and any external singles that aren't on the albums as well (eg Instant Karma, Another Day, Oh Woman, Oh Why) or just the albums as they were released at the time?

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trcanberra
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30 April 2014
11.51am
plastic
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I really liked McCartney I but I respect it didn't do to much for you. I actually probably marginally prefer That would be something and Junk to MIA or Every Night - I could really imagine Junk as a track on a Beatles record... but ymmv :)

I have been doing the same as you, exploring McCartney's back catalogue for the first time, I have listened to 7 albums I had not heard before in the last six weeks or so and am still exploring. There is a long way to go - but hey it's fun :)

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trcanberra
30 April 2014
9.23pm
trcanberra
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meanmistermustard said
Interesting that you had never heard it before now trc. Agree about how its "somewhat insubstanial, tho pleasant enough" and yes i've heard MIA too many times now. There is a gorgeous version from One Hand Clapping (on the delux edition release) which for me is just as good as the commercial version, love Paul's vocal and the piano/keyboard used.

Out of interest are you listening to the outakes that come with the archives and any external singles that aren't on the albums as well (eg Instant Karma, Another Day, Oh Woman, Oh Why) or just the albums as they were released at the time?

Even though I was a big fan at the time (and saw Paul live in Brisbane in the early 1970s) I also didn't get Speed of Sound because I didn't like any of the singles off it - so that one will be new to me as well when I get to it - crazy kid :)

On the out-takes and singles: it partly depends on which version of the CD I have - a number of my McCartney CDs are from the 'McCartney Collection' reissue and come with bonus tracks, I also have the 2-CD version of Ram with Another Day and also a few compilations like Wingspan.  For Lennon I have a 4CD box which has most of his singles (Gimme Some Truth) and his 4-CD Anthology.  Some of my Ringo and George CDs also have bonus tracks and I have a few compilations there as well.  That should cover most (but not all) of those types of tracks.  I'm currently planning to run through those based on release dates but will see how I go.

30 April 2014
9.28pm
trcanberra
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buick6 said
I really liked McCartney I but I respect it didn't do to much for you. I actually probably marginally prefer That would be something and Junk to MIA or Every Night - I could really imagine Junk as a track on a Beatles record... but ymmv :)

I have been doing the same as you, exploring McCartney's back catalogue for the first time, I have listened to 7 albums I had not heard before in the last six weeks or so and am still exploring. There is a long way to go - but hey it's fun :)

Thanks for the interest - it's great how so many of us here have quite different tastes - it makes for some very interesting discussions.  That's one reason I find it annoying when some 'fans' suggest an artist should not have released something which they consider rubbish - it may well be treasure for someone else.

Yes, the exploration is great fun; I won't have heard many of the albums I will be listening to for over 25 years, and close to half will be new to me - which is very exciting for an ancient fan such as I.  I'm hoping some of the joy of the journey will come through as I develop this thread.  I did the same with Neil Young a few years back - 60 plus CDs - and it was an awesome experience.

30 April 2014
9.38pm
meanmistermustard
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Cool. It does give a wider, more complete view of each Beatles solo work digging into the time-relevant singles, outtakes etc. 

I look forward to reading your thoughts on hearing WatSoS for the first time in a month or so, considering how much you have to get thru. 

Are there any albums you are not looking forward to hearing again and are there any you haven't heard for ages and you are really looking forward to hearing?

 

I'm currently going thru Paul's solo work chronologicially (from McCartney to New) taking in everything of his i have and its been really enjoyable so far, hearing released tracks i havent heard in years along with outtakes, demo's, live concerts i either never got around to or avoided. About to hit Tug of War and then its the mid-80's. a-hard-days-night-paul-7For Me Wings I were far better than Wings III who were not as good as Wings II who were better than Wings I in the studio but not, in my opinion, live (too slick were Wings II live). 

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
30 April 2014
10.18pm
trcanberra
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^ I think that having listened to Electronic Sounds twice everything else will be plain sailing :)

No, nothing I am not looking forward to - but lots where I am keen to find out if my remembered opinions hold up; plus very excited for the ones that will be new to me.  I haven't heard All Things Must Pass for ages and I'm really looking forward to that - probably on the weekend.

[EDIT] Interesting opinion on the different Wings iterations.  I must say that my memory of the Brisbane concert was more favourable than the Rockshow video, though I think the line-ups were pretty much the same - but as I mentioned in another thread we didn't have any of the Speed of Sound songs I didn't like at the time and I think the set-list was the better for it.

2 May 2014
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trcanberra
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Without further ado we move along to September 1970 and the second Ringo Starr album I didn't like back then:

Product Details

Well, I'm not sure if becoming a Neil Young fan has anything to do with my liking country music a bit more, but I really like this album now.  I have the 1995 remastered CD, it has great sound and a couple of bonus tracks we will consider later.  A meeting with Pete Drake while he was working on All Things Must Pass led Ringo to the idea of recording this album; though he has of course long had an interest in country music (as examples - he has recorded Act Naturally twice and then there is Don't Pass Me By off the White Album).  As the liner notes to the CD suggest he also has "a natural voice for singing country music" and it comes through very nicely here - he also has a bit of that mournful thing that is so essential to the best of the genre.

There is also a link to Neil Young on the record, Neil's long-time friend and frequent collaborator Ben Keith plays some great slide guitar, as does Pete Drake (Drake also produced the album).  The musicianship is excellent throughout, with the Jordanaires also contributing some nice backing vocals.  The songs themselves were all composed either not long before or specifically for the album and are a pretty good bunch.  The bonus tracks don't quite match the standard of the rest, but are worth their inclusion.  Coochy Coochy is the most up-tempo track here and was the b-side when the title track was released as a single in the USA - it is the only track written by Ringo.  The second bonus track, Nashville Jam, meanders along pleasantly enough but I was expecting more from this fine band of musicians.  Apparently a lot more songs were recorded at the sessions, it would be nice to see them released some day if they are anywhere near the standards of the ones on the album.

[EDIT] And wonder of wonders, Ringo plays acoustic guitar on a number of the tracks!!

Overall, a really nice album, and one worth a listen if you have any interest in Ringo or in country music and the Beatles - he honestly does really well here.

Next up - ooh ahh - ooh ahh - All Things Must Pass.

2 May 2014
12.40pm
Ahhh Girl
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As you know, I've made my adoration of Ringo's voice and music very apparent on the forum.

http://www.beatlesbible.com/fo.....rr/page-2/

I heart Beaucoup of Blues.

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2 May 2014
1.02pm
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I mean to get around to it but never have. Like with books too much to get thru.

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2 May 2014
8.12pm
Von Bontee
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Love that album cover! No Beatle ever had a more natural, non-posed-looking album cover than Ringo does on this one here.

(Funny how all 4 Beatles released solo (or Wings) albums in 1970-71 with covers depicting them sitting around or lying around "getting back to nature")

I only played this record once (or twice) several years ago - found it pleasant and enjoyable for what it was, but didn't feel any need to give it more attention than that. Low tolerance for country music. But maybe I'll try it again someday, who knows?

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2 May 2014
11.39pm
trcanberra
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Von Bontee said
Love that album cover! No Beatle ever had a more natural, non-posed-looking album cover than Ringo does on this one here.

(Funny how all 4 Beatles released solo (or Wings) albums in 1970-71 with covers depicting them sitting around or lying around "getting back to nature")

I only played this record once (or twice) several years ago - found it pleasant and enjoyable for what it was, but didn't feel any need to give it more attention than that. Low tolerance for country music. But maybe I'll try it again someday, who knows?

Yes, I agree about the cover - even with the non-PC nowadays ciggie in hand :)

18 May 2014
9.39pm
trcanberra
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Yes - sidetracked again :)

What with the new games console, tennis with my son, helping my daughter move house, the marital discord blues and on it goes.  I HAVE managed to listen to the first CD of All Things Must Pass and loved it, and I WILL get to the next one - but hearing George reminded me he was a part of this:

Product Details

...as are 3 others on my top 10 list (with Neil, erm - Bob of course, and Eddie/Mike from PJ).  So much of interest on this bluray and some great performances.  Yes, it is missing some (only one of George's two numbers are on it); but it sounds and looks great, most of the artists are in top form (Eric Clapton really sizzles every time he is on and Neil is really into the whole 'Bobfest' thing), and there are some interesting historic moments (Sinead anyone?).  Hard to pick the best bit, but the performance of My Back Pages has 6 of the stars (and 3 of the Wilburys) having a great time; I hit repeat on that one a few times.

What's that, it's 1992 and not 1970?  Oh, ok - I'll try my best to get back to you on that one :)

19 May 2014
10.48am
trcanberra
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Okay, back on track :)

In another thread (which I unfortunately made overly complicated, so I won't link it here) I tried to note that from this point late in 1970 the next solo album by each of the four ex-Beatles is my favourite album by each of the four (bearing in mind the fact that I have yet to listen to a number of albums by Paul and a few by Ringo and George).  For a time it was almost possible to forget how painful the breakup was.

So this next one is:

Product Details

which used to look like this when I had it in on a triple-LP:

Product Details

It is now on a double-CD, with a few bonus tracks.  Short story, I loved it then - I love it now.  The remaster it has had in the little box I now own is brilliant, bringing out a lot more detail from the Phil Spector wall of sound.  Eric Clapton now gets the credit he needed back then, his trademark sound is all over the album, he is joined by Ringo, Klaus, Billy and a host of friends both old and new.  George is in full creative mode, finally having an outlet for the songs he could never manage to get onto Beatles albums.  Unfortunately I think this was an outburst that was impossible to sustain, but we will get to that in due time.

There are so many songs I like on this album that I won't bore you with them all; but the title track and Isn't It A Pity (both, yes both, versions) are particular favourites.  The remaster has also helped bring out more distinction between the tracks; I seem to recall feeling that too many of the songs sounded similar, but didn't have that feeling listening to this box.  I didn't really like the (Apple) jams on the old 3rd LP back in the day, I will still frequently stop the 2nd CD after the vocal tracks - but the jams have some nice moments.

To the 5 bonus tracks tacked onto the 1st CD - they are interesting but I only really felt the first worthy of the rest of the album, a nicely completed song called I Live For You.  The next 3 are demos or backing tracks and the fifth is an odd remake of My Sweet Lord.  I don't mind the song though it has never been one of my favourites off the album - the remake doesn't really get going until half way through but has a nice final third.

So - who should listen to this?  Well, firstly - is there anyone out there who hasn't? :)

Honestly, essential listening for anyone who considers themselves a Beatles fan, as is the next album I will be listening to and reporting on, Plastic Ono Band* (and I must admit I cheated and listened to it the day I bought the remaster last year - I did the same with Ram and Ringo ha ha) - but I will listen to it again shortly to get it back in sequence.  Watch this space ...

PS  There is a nice little booklet in the box which has some great photos, including the one which used to come as a poster with the LPs, plus song lyrics and a few words from George.  He says he was tempted to remix the album, based on the new version of My Sweet Lord I'm glad he didn't.

*  Umm - that will be the John Lennon one and not the Yoko Ono one!

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