Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ringo Starr 5: Blast From Your Past

Just as John saw out his Apple contract with a hits collection, so did Ringo. After all, he had a lot of hits, and some hadn’t even been on albums—yet.

Blast From Your Past is pretty solid, starting with “You’re Sixteen” and “No No Song”. “It Don’t Come Easy” sports a terrific George Harrison production, and if you listen closely you can hear the backup singers chant “Hare Krishna” under the guitar solo. “Photograph” is the perfect follow-up, right before the noisy, goofy, and still impenetrable “Back Off Boogaloo”, which may or may not be about Paul.

Side two starts oddly, with “Only You”, a song we never remember hearing on the radio ever despite it hitting #6 on the charts. “Beaucoups Of Blues” was an American single as well, and the best song from that album. “Oh My My” was indeed all over the radio in those days, and somebody did the right thing by including “Early 1970”, the B-side to “It Don’t Comes Easy” which presents a fairly accurate State of the Beatles address that year. Finally, “I’m The Greatest” should have been a hit, or at least a single, and works just as well as a closer as it did an opener on Ringo.

If you really couldn’t live without any Ringo albums in your collection, Blast From Your Past would do just fine, though it was just over half an hour long to begin with. Even the packaging stood out, with a bright red apple on both labels and full lyrics on the inner sleeve. However, the originally standalone singles have since been added as bonus tracks to two of the albums when they were released on CD, making this less worth the dough or effort. But everything on this album was eventually included in 2007’s more expansive Photograph, which purported to be “The Very Best Of Ringo Starr”, bolstered by “Snookeroo” and “Goodnight Vienna” from that album and a further handful of tracks from three decades’ worth of his post-Apple albums. Liner notes attempted to provide info about who played what, along with Ringo’s commentary on each track, whether he remembered anything about them or not. (It was also released in a set with a DVD containing promo videos of six songs, and one rare commercial.) Only collectors need grab 2014’s Icon collection, part of Universal Music’s ongoing series of generally unnecessary compilations.

Ringo Starr Blast From Your Past (1975)—
Ringo Starr
Photograph: The Very Best Of Ringo Starr (2007)—3

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