April 11, 2017 Somewhere In A $2 Bin

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George Harrison, Somewhere In England, Dark Horse DHK-3492, 1981

George Harrison’s career had all but stalled by 1980.  His custom label Dark Horse was distributed by Warner Brothers, and the early submission of this record was rejected for lack of commercial potential.  In November, 1980, Ringo Starr came to Harrison’s home studio to collaborate on some songs for his next solo record.  Harrison presented a nostalgic tune called All Those Years Ago to Ringo, but because it was too hard to sing, he rejected it.  They did finish the backing track together though, and Harrison moved on to other songs.

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A few weeks later John Lennon was murdered.  Harrison, alone with his thoughts and an unfinished album, rewrote the lyrics to All Those Years Ago as a tribute song to Lennon.  With Ringo’s percussion tracks already laid down, George asked Paul & Linda McCartney to come in and sing the background parts.  With the three surviving Beatles all performing together on their first track since the I Me Mine session in 1970, suddenly Warner Brothers was very interested in the album.  The public was too, and Harrison had his first big hit since 1973.

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Despite the success, there’s still a touch of morbidity about the record.  The other songs are paeans to God, tales of woe, or rants against the music business.  It’s one of the easiest Harrison albums to find these days because it sold so well and 36 years on everyone who wants one already has it.  I’m glad I have it, but I probably won’t play it more than once a decade.

Today’s Summary:
Cost: $2, $235 Remaining

 

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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