Beaucoups Of Blues is Ringo Starr’s second solo album. It was recorded over a three-day period in Nashville, Tennessee, in June 1970.
The project came about after pedal steel guitarist Pete Drake appeared on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album. Starr and Drake established a shared interest in country music, and Drake persuaded the former Beatle to take part in a session in Nashville.
George was making an album and I sent my car for this steel guitarist and producer Pete Drake, from Nashville. So Pete Came and he noticed in my car I had all these country tapes. I don’t know why he was shocked at this but he goes, ‘Wow, you’ve got all these country tapes!’ ‘Yeah. I love country music.’ He said, ‘Well, why don’t you come to Nashville and we’ll make a record?’ Furthest thing from my mind. And I said, ‘Oh no, I’m not going to Nashville for months to make a record.’ With The Beatles I was so used to months and months making a record. He said, ‘What are you talking about? We did [Bob Dylan’s] Nashville Skyline in a day,’ or whatever. Couple of hours! ‘Oh, OK.’ So I flew to Nashville because of him and we did Beaucoups Of Blues. And we actually did it in two days. Far out. We picked and learned five songs in the morning and we recorded five songs at night, and had a lot of fun in between. But these were all starters, I felt for getting me back on my feet.
Mojo, July 2001
Drake arranged for a number of country and western songwriters to compose songs for Starr. They settled on a shortlist of fourteen. Additionally, the jam ‘Nashville Freakout’ was recorded.
Starr left the UK on 22 June 1970 to travel to the USA. He returned on 1 July, having completed the album recordings.
In the studio
Beaucoups Of Blues was recorded at Music City Recording Studios in Nashville, TN, with a number of local musicians, some of whom had appeared on Bob Dylan’s albums Nashville Skyline and Self Portrait.
The sessions took place from 6pm-9pm and 10pm-1am over three nights, from 25-27 June 1970.
Fifteen songs were recorded, 12 of which appeared on the album. The sessions ended with two studio jams lasting 18 and 20 minutes.
‘Love Don’t Last Long’
‘The Wishing Book’*
‘Nashville Freakout’ (aka ‘Nashville Jam’)*
The album was mixed in Nashville, and the tapes were received by EMI from Apple on 8 September 1970, shortly before the album’s release.
The front cover photograph of Beaucoups Of Blues was taken in Nashville by Marshall Fallwell Jr. It showed Ringo Starr outside musician Tracy Nelson’s smokehouse.
The back cover photograph showed many of the musicians that performed on the album.
The album was less successful than its predecessor, Sentimental Journey. It failed to chart in the UK, and peaked at 65 on the US Billboard 200. In Canada it reached number 34 on the RPM albums chart.
The poor commercial performance led to Starr refraining from recording another album until 1973’s Ringo. In the interim he focused on his acting career.
I think it’s a good record. I wouldn’t buy any of it. I think it’s a good record and I was pleasantly surprised to hear ‘Beaucoups Of Blues’, that song. I felt good. I was glad and I didn’t feel as embarrassed as I did about his first record.
On 18 October 1970, Apple Corps announced that a second album of Nashville recordings would be released, but it never came to pass.
The title track was released as a single in the US on 5 October 1970, with the Nashville outtake ‘Coochy Coochy’ on the b-side.
Beaucoups Of Blues was remastered and released on compact disc in May 1995, with the bonus tracks ‘Coochy Coochy’ and ‘Nashville Jam’. The CD played tracks 1-3 and 7-12 at a faster tempo than the original vinyl version, and 4-6 at a slower speed.
On 27 August 1992, Sotheby’s actioned a number of acetates which previously belonged to Beatles assistant Mal Evans. Two, titled ‘Ringo In Nashville’, contained rough mixes of the Beaucoups Of Blues songs, plus the unreleased song ‘The Wishing Book’.