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Reference Library: The Lost Ringo Album

From: Malcolm Atkinson (atkinson@actrix.gen.nz)
Newsgroups: rec.music.beatles
Subject: The History of The 'Lost' Ringo Starr Album
Date: 1 May 1996 05:35:51 GMT


The idea for this album came during a visit to the Bahamas in December 1986, when Ringo bumped into producer/guitarist 'Chips' Moman. Enthusiastically, they talked of recording at least three albums, with Ringo's input much the same as it had been for 'Beaucoup Of Blues' - he would sing to prerecorded 'backing tracks'.

Recording began at Moman's Three Alarm Studios in Memphis in February 1987. News of the sessions leaked out, with the 'Memphis Commercial Appeal' announcing that the "aging Beatle is yesterday's news". Starr threatened to shift recording to Los Angeles, but this was avoided when Moman organized a picket of the newspaper, prompting the city council to rush through a resolution honoring Starr.

Because "it might be a historic moment", Ringo insisted the sessions were video-taped, especially the ones where Eric Clapton, Dave Edmunds, Carl Perkins and reputedly Bob Dylan attended. Fourteen songs were recorded in total, of which 'I Can Help', 'Some Kind Of Wonderful', 'Beat Patrol', 'Ain't That A Shame' and 'Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day' and 'Whisky And Soda' have been confirmed as titles. Two Perkins numbers may also have been recorded. Sessions went through until late April.

But why was this album never released? In part, after only one album, Ringo had had enough of Moman, and ceased communication with him upon his return to England. But more to the point, as Ringo himself acknowledged, on "certain nights, we were all under the influence of wine, tequila or whatever lese we felt like drinking". As a result of Ringo's drinking problem, the album's scheduled July 1989 US release on CBS Records was cancelled.

Subsequently, Moman, who bankrolled the sessions ($150 per hour studio time), decided to release the album to coincide with Ringo's successful Summer '89 'All Starr' US tour. Ringo tried to block its release. From the evidence heard in court, it appears that while Ringo did consider releasing the album to capitalise on the tour, he had ended up opposing its release for a number of reasons. Moman had apparently refused to allow Ringo to overdub drums onto the recordings "to get more of my personality on it". Further, having conquered his drinking problem by 1990, Ringo felt less than happy releasing a song called 'Whisky And Soda'. Accepting Starr's argument that the album wasn't up to scratch because of his then drink dependency, the Atlanta court granted Starr an injunction in November '89, blocking its immediate release by Moman's own CRS Records.

Further, in January '90, Moman was required surrender the master tapes, in exchange for which Starr was to pay him $74,354 in recording expenses - less than half the total recording expenses, which totalled a massive $162,000.

It is unlikely that this album will ever be released. Further, to date, it appears that no audio or video outtakes from these sessions have made their way into the hands of bootleggers.

Based upon Alan Clayson, 'Ringo Starr - Straight Man Or Joker?' (1991), pp.245-267, and Roy Carr et.al., "The Great Lost Albums Part 2", in Vox, (Nov.1990), p.34


Malcolm Atkinson of New Zealand (atkinson@actrix.gen.nz)


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