Beaucoups of Blues

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For the single of the same name, see Beaucoups of Blues (song).
Beaucoups of Blues
Studio album by Ringo Starr
Released 25 September 1970 (UK)
28 September 1970 (US)
Recorded 30 June and 1 July 1970,
Music City Recorders, Nashville, Tennessee
Genre Country
Length 33:25
Label Apple
Producer Pete Drake
Ringo Starr chronology
Sentimental Journey
(1970)
Beaucoups of Blues
(1970)
Ringo
(1973)
Singles from Beaucoups of Blues
  1. "Beaucoups of Blues"
    Released: 5 October 1970 (US only)

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 its 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.[1] It also received mixed to positive critical reviews; fellow ex-Beatle John Lennon particularly commented that he liked it.[2]

Background[edit]

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".[3] While playing on sessions for George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, Starr—a long-time country and western fan—met Pete Drake,[2][4] in May 1970.[5] Starr had to pick up Drake from the airport so that the pair could record with Harrison; Drake noticed the amount of country albums Starr had in his vehicle.[6] Realising Drake's deep connection to country, Starr asked him if they could collaborate on an album together.[3] Drake told Starr his musician friends could compose more than an album's worth of material in a week, which Starr thought was "impossible".[2][7] Starr was very keen and agreed. Starr promptly flew to Nashville on 22 June.[3]

Recording[edit]

Starr's original idea was to have 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.[5] While most of the tracks were cut in two days,[4] 30 June and 1 July at Music City Recorders,[2] 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.[7] All the material for the album was written purposely for Starr.[nb 1][9] Guitarist Charlie Daniels recalled the sessions as "pretty typical Nashville sessions. You know, three songs in three hours. It was go in, sit down and work. Here's the songs, here's the chords, let's get it done. It was not a Beatles-type leisurely session. It was work."[6]

Starr sang a duet with Jeannie Kendall on the track "I Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way".[9] Also recorded during the sessions was the B-side to the title track, "Coochy Coochy",[7][10] the latter of which originally ran to 28 minutes in length.[2] The sessions went exceedingly well according to Starr, and that they "did [record] a few other tracks that we didn't put out";[2] ending the sessions with two long jam sessions, one lasting 18 minutes and the other 20 minutes.[6] Session drummer D. J. Fontana recalled that Starr "never varied from that tempo. He had the greatest conception of tempo I've ever heard in my life. I have never heard anybody play that steady in my life, and that's a long time."[6] Acetate discs of the album, which were titled Ringo in Nashville, were sold at an auction in August 1992, featured a different track order and included songs that weren't featured on the released version of the album.[nb 2][2] 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.[9] For Starr, making Beaucoups of Blues had fulfilled a lifelong ambition.[12]

Release[edit]

Beaucoups of Blues was released on 25 September 1970, in the UK[nb 3] and on 28 September in the US.[nb 4][2][15] The title track was released as a single only in the US, backed with the non-album track, "Coochy Coochy", on 5 October 1970.[2] The fan base was once again bemused with Starr's abrupt change in style. While the album is more acclaimed than Sentimental Journey, Beaucoups of Blues did not perform nearly as well, missing the UK charts and reaching only number 65 in the US.[16] The album did do a little better in Canada reaching number 34,[17] Australia at number 33,[18] and Norway at number 21.[19]

The album's front cover, according to Sorrells Pickard, was taken outside musician Tracey Nelson's smokehouse[9] in Nashville by Marshall Fallwell, Jr.[7] The back cover featured a photo of a large majority of the musicians that appeared on the album.[7] In light of the tepid commercial reaction, Starr would refrain from further album releases for the time being, preferring to concentrate on his second vocation: film acting.[4][9] On 18 October, it was announced by Apple that a further album of the Nashville recordings would be released,[20] however, the second album never materialised. Beaucoups of Blues was remastered and reissued on CD in 1995, on 1 May in the UK,[nb 5] and on 1 August in the US.[nb 6][15] This edition came with two bonus tracks: "Coochy Coochy" and a jam with all the musicians titled "Nashville Jam".

Reception and aftermath[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[21]
MusicHound 4/5 stars[22]
Rolling Stone (not rated)[23]

In his Rolling Stone review, Charles Burton remarked "If Beaucoups of Blues reminds one of any record, it's Nashville Skyline, only instead of being lovable, spaced-out Bobby Dylan in front of those luxurious Nashville backups, it's lovable Richard Starkey who is crooning his heart out."[23]

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."[24] 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.[2]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
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
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
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
No. Title Writer(s) Length
13. "Coochy Coochy"   Richard Starkey 4:48
14. "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

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

Footnotes
  1. ^ Starr wrote a song that he intended to record for Beaucoups of Blues, "Band of Steel", but gave the song to Guthrie Thomas for his album Lies and Alibis (1976).[8]
  2. ^ One such unreleased track is "The Wishing Book"; recorded on 26 June.[11]
  3. ^ UK Apple PAS 10002[13]
  4. ^ US Apple SMAS 3368[14]
  5. ^ UK EMI CDPAS 10002[13]
  6. ^ US Apple CDSP 8 32678 2[14]
Citations
  1. ^ a b Beaucoups of Blues at AllMusic
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Miles, Barry; Badman, Keith, ed. (2001). The Beatles Diary After the Break-Up: 1970–2001 (reprint ed.). London: Music Sales Group. ISBN 978-0-7119-8307-6. 
  3. ^ a b c Jackson, Andrew Grant (2012). Still the Greatest: The Essential Songs of the Beatles' Solo Careers (illustrated ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-8108-8222-5. 
  4. ^ a b c Schaffner, Nicholas (1980). The Boys from Liverpool: John, Paul, George, Ringo (1st ed. ed.). New York: Methuen. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-416-30661-3. 
  5. ^ a b Andrade, Rodrigo de (4 April 2010). "Resenha – Beaucoups of Blues – Ringo Starr". Whiplash.net. Retrieved 4 July 2013.  (Portuguese)
  6. ^ a b c d Ghianni, Tim (3 July 2008). "Nashville Scene – Nashville Starr". nashvillescene. Archived from the original on 10 July 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-7535-0843-5. 
  8. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 332. ISBN 978-0-7535-0843-5. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Rodriguez, Robert (2010). Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years, 1970–1980 (illustrated ed.). New York: Backbeat Books. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-87930-968-8. 
  10. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-7535-0843-5. 
  11. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 283. ISBN 978-0-7535-0843-5. 
  12. ^ Rodriguez, Robert (2010). Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years, 1970–1980 (illustrated ed.). New York: Backbeat Books. pp. 5, 144. ISBN 978-0-87930-968-8. 
  13. ^ a b Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-7535-0843-5. 
  14. ^ a b Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-7535-0843-5. 
  15. ^ a b Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. pp. 184, 185. ISBN 978-0-7535-0843-5. 
  16. ^ "allmusic ((( Ringo Starr > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". allmusic.com. Billboard 200. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  17. ^ "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada – Top Albums/CDs". RPM. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  18. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Chart 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  19. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Ringo Starr discography". Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  20. ^ Harry, Bill (2004). The Ringo Starr Encyclopedia. London: Virgin Books. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-7535-0843-5. 
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Consumer Guide Reviews: Ringo Starr". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  22. ^ Gary Graff & Daniel Durcholz (eds), MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press (Farmington Hills, MI, 1999; ISBN 1-57859-061-2), p. 1082.
  23. ^ a b Burton, Charles (29 October 1970). "Ringo Starr: Beaucoups of Blues : Music Reviews". rollingstone.com. Archived from the original on 2 October 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  24. ^ Bob Woffinden (1991). The Beatles Apart. Proteus Books. ISBN 978-0-906071-89-2. 

External links[edit]