May 27, 2017 A Little Mansion Cleaning

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The Beatles, The Beatles Again (a/k/a Hey Jude), Apple SW-385, 1970

This is a really weird one.  Generally, a Beatles album is an example of a well crafted piece of pop music that will always stand the test of time.  The Beatles never took the easy road, they we always expanding horizons.  At least until this record came out.  In case you couldn’t tell from the cover photography, these are four Beatles who are not exactly comfortable in their surroundings and seem lost in what they are doing.  As it turns out, these pictures were taken at the last photo shoot the group ever had.  As another sign of the band’s problems, the photo shoot was in August 1969 at John Lennon’s estate and this album was released at the end of February 1970.  Apple was rotting at the core.

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The not so creative force behind this record was Alan Klein, John Lennon’s choice to run the group’s business affairs.  Mick Jagger had once remarked how Klein had saved The Stones from some British taxes, and that was good enough for John (and George & Ringo) to choose him to run their affairs (over Paul’s objections).  With sales of Abbey Road slowing down, and with no new recording going on or any idea when Phil Spector might be done editing the Get Back/Let It Be sessions for release, Klein needed a “new” album in stores to keep up cash flows and justify his existence.  The only thing to do was to look back to the group’s biggest hit, Hey Jude, and build an album of already released songs to go along with it.

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Ah, but what songs!  Since Hey Jude was never released on an album, the idea was to put it out with other past singles that had also never been released on an album in the US.  While they didn’t look as far back as Vee-Jay released songs like Misey, There’s A Place, and Love Me Do, they did start with the six year old Can’t Buy Me Love.  That song and I Should Have Known Better were both in A Hard Day’s Night, but that album was a United Artists release.  1966’s Paperback Writer and Rain are the other true oldies, with the rest of the songs being A and B sides from some non album singles.  But the whole package reeks of a cash in, and it came along at a time when tempers were high with the group.  This move didn’t help the internal struggles and three months later Paul announced he left the group.  This album was a nail in the coffin.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $5, $32 Remaining

July 22,2016 Everybody Is A Starr

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Ringo Starr, Ringo, Apple SWAL 3414, 1973

Quick, name the only album after Let It Be that featured all four Beatles on it?  Name a record that featured Randy Newman, Billy Preston, Martha Reeves, Klaus Voorman, Harry Nielson, Marc Bolan, Merry Clayton and Jack Nitzche?  If you guessed Ringo Starr’s third solo album, congratulations.

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It’s a really great record.  Like Beatles great.  Ringo quickly released two solo records in 1970 as his former group was breaking up, but one was an album of standards, and the other was a country record (!).  Sure, there were some hit singles, but this 1973 effort was truly Ringo’s first rock solo project.

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And what an effort it is!  There’s the deluxe gatefold cover, plus a 20 page booklet with lyrics and original artwork.  It’s for me, the best Beatles solo record, with the possible exception of George’s All Things Must Pass.  But this record is so much more fun!

Today’s Summary:

Cost: $5, $891 Remaining