Saturday, May 31, 2008

All the Young Dudes by Ian Hunter - ***

First released: 2002

A live version by Ian Hunter appears on "Ringo & His New All-Starr Band". The song was originally recorded by Hunter’s band Mott the Hoople and also by its writer David Bowie in the early 1970s.

Friday, May 30, 2008

"All the Best" by Paul McCartney - ***

First released: 1987

From a great title comes a so-so compilation of McCartney’s greatest, mainly because McCartney had a different compilation available in the US than in the rest of the world prompting people like myself to seek out the import version which contained a previously unreleased song called "Once Upon a Long Ago", which STILL hasn’t been officially released in the US to this day (2008). The compilation also suffers from too many repeats from "Wings Greatest", but not all of those tracks are included like "Hi Hi Hi", thus necessitating the need to have that compilation if one wants everything on CD. Fortunately, the "Wingsspan" collection straightened out the early years of McCartney’s solo career, but a good career-spanning compilation still needs to be in order.

Tracks unique to the US version include "Junior’s Farm", "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey", "Coming Up (Live in Glascow)", "Goodnight Tonight", and "With a Little Luck (edit)".

Tracks unique to the UK version include "Coming Up (studio version)", "Pipes of Peace (edit)", "Once Upon a Long Ago", "We All Stand Together", and "Mull of Kintyre".

The studio version of "Maybe I’m Amazed" was unique to the vinyl edition. Having all 20 tracks together on one compilation would have been more satisfactory.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

All That I've Got (I'm Gonna Give It To You) by Billy Preston - ***

First released: 1970

Billy Preston single released co-written by George and recorded around the time of Preston's "Encouraging Words" album, but left off originally. It was added to the 1993 CD reissue as a bonus track.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

All Shook Up by Paul McCartney - ***

First released: 1999

Amazingly, none of The Beatles covered this Elvis Presley original until Paul did on "Run Devil Run". Paul's version is much harsher than Presley's 1957 original…in a good way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

All Right Now by Simon Kirke - ****

First released: 2000

A live version by Simon Kirke appears on 2000’s "The Anthology…So Far". The song was originally recorded by Free in 1970 with Simon Kirke in the band. Simon takes lead vocals on this version performed with Ringo Starr and the All-Starr Band. The song is a definite rock classic, maybe not for The Beatles, so it still rates four stars.

Monday, May 26, 2008

All My Trials by Paul McCartney - ***

First released: 1990

Elvis Presley used to sing this commonly as part of his "American Trilogy" number. Paul didn’t go that route, but like Presley, has only performed this live in concert. It appears on "Tripping the Live Fantastic" and also on the vinyl version of the "Highlights!" disc, and it was a single in the UK.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

All My Loving by The Beatles - ****

First released: 1963

The first time anyone in the US heard The Beatles, it was probably this song as it was the first song they played on their first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (this live version appears on "Anthology 1" in 1995). It is definitely an all-time classic and McCartney still plays it to this day on tour in order to get the crowds up on their feet. You just need to hear “Close your eyes…” and you’re already dancing.

It was first released as an album track on "With The Beatles" in the UK. Later it appeared on 1973's "1962-1966". Strangely, a single was only released in Canada, while in the US, it ended up on the 1964 "Four By The Beatles" EP and on the "Meet The Beatles" LP. On CD, it’s also on 2004’s "The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1".

A 1963 radio version appears on 1994's Live at the BBC and a 1964 live version appears on 1977’s "Live at the Hollywood Bowl", and Paul performs different live versions for 1993’s "Paul is Live" and 2002/3's "Back in the US/World".

Saturday, May 24, 2008

All in the Name of Love by Ringo Starr - **

First released: 1992

One of the lesser tunes from Ringo’s "Time Takes Time" album. You’ll read this a lot after perusing this book that a particular song plods along. Well this one does. Usually that means it doesn’t have anything to “grab” you to elevate it above just a standard song. Ringo's drumming is solid throughout, however.

Friday, May 23, 2008

All I’ve Got To Do by The Beatles - ****

First released: 1963

I like it when this song takes occasional pauses before resuming its chorus. Pretty neat. John sings it well, also. Anyway, it’s on the "With The Beatles" album. In America, it originally came out on "Meet The Beatles". On CD, it’s also on 2004’s "The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1".

Thursday, May 22, 2008

All I Want to Be is By Your Side by Peter Frampton - ***


A live version by Peter Frampton that hasn’t appeared on any Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band album that was performed on tour in 1998. The song was originally a hit for Frampton on another live album "Frampton Comes Alive" in 1976, though not released as a single. It was originally recorded as a studio track for Frampton’s 1972 album "Winds of Change".

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

All I Want for Chistmas is a Beatle by The Beatles - **

First released: 1995

The Beatles do a little Christmas singing on the "Saturday Club" show in 1963. It’s pretty funny in the same vein of The Beatles’ various Christmas records. My favorite part is when Paul says, "Since this is the last Saturday Club"," with John chiming in, "We’ll ever do!" Though not officially released to CD, the dialog does make an appearance on the "Anthology" TV show.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

All By Myself by Eric Carmen - ***

First released: 2000

A live version by Eric Carmen appears on 2000’s "The Anthology…So Far". This is not the same song that Ringo recorded for his "Goodnight Vienna" album, but Ringo performs on this version as well. Carmen didn’t steal from Ringo for this, but rather from Rachmaninov’s "Piano Concerto No. 2". The original studio version by Carmen was released in 1975 and almost topped the US charts.

Monday, May 19, 2008

All By Myself by Ringo Starr - ***

First released: 1974

This is yet another bouncy tune from Ringo’s "Goodnight Vienna" album and another personal favorite. I particularly like the “Herb Alpert” middle section. Lennon plays guitar in the background, as well.

I’m so glad for CDs. When I bought it new on vinyl in the late 70s or early 80s, the song had a built-in skip at the two-minute mark. I was too lazy to exchange the vinyl and so when I started listening to it on CD, I was still expecting this skip.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

All Along the Watchtower by The Beatles - *


In 1969, The Beatles ran through a version of this classic Bob Dylan song best known for the version by Jimi Hendrix during their "Get Back" sessions. While the thought of The Beatles performing this song sounds intriguing, unfortunately it only lasts about 15 seconds.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Alibi by Ringo Starr - **

First released: 1983

Not a bad tune from Ringo’s "Old Wave" album, but unfortunately doesn’t really go anywhere. It almost sounds unfinished. It’s also a bit slow moving, but it is saved from total obscurity only because a bit of a country twang thanks to some good guitar playing by co-writer Joe Walsh.

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Alice in Wonderland" (feature) starring Ringo Starr - **

First released: 1985

Semi-lame adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic, but it was by Irwin Allen ("Lost in Space"), so what did you expect? The only redeeming quality of this production is that it is the first movie adaptation to my knowledge to treat "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" as separate stories. Ringo appears as the mock turtle and sings a song called "Nonsense". There was a "soundtrack" album released, but it was really a children's storyteller album, and although Ringo's voice is heard on the soundtrack, "Nonsense" is not included and as such remains unreleased to record or CD, though the film was released to VHS in 1994 and DVD in 2006.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Al Coury (dialogue) by Al Coury -**

First released: 1998

Al Coury discusses his participation on the "Band on the Run 25th Anniversary Edition". Coury was the promo man at Capitol Records at the time of the original album’s release (1973). Paul would be wise to listen to a man like this again in his career.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) by John Lennon - **

First released: 1973

Zzzzz…huh, what’s that? Oh, it’s just John singing his apologies in this dreadfully slow and draggy ode to Yoko from "Mind Games". It’s also on 1990’s "Lennon". A demo version added to the 2002 "Mind Games" CD reissue doesn’t help.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ain’t That Cute by George Harrison - ***

First released: 1970

Doris Troy song co-written with George Harrison. He also plays guitar on this one. There may be an unreleased Harrison demo somewhere, but I've never heard it. Doris released it as a single and it appears on her eponymous album. Her version has a strong upbeat soul sound.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ain’t That a Shame by John Lennon -***; by Paul McCartney - ***

First released: 1975

Lennon recorded this Fats Domino tune from 1955 that actually was a #1 hit for Pat Boone! The Domino/Bartholomew song was included on Lennon’s "Rock ‘n’ Roll" album and almost was the second single off of the album or the b-side. It was also on 1990’s "Lennon" and "Instant Karma" from 2001.

Paul did a studio take for his "Choba B CCCP" album in 1988. This version was also one of the b-sides off of the "My Brave Face" CD single. A live version was performed by Paul on 1990’s "Tripping the Live Fantastic".

Somewhere along the line, someone did a mash-up of Lennon’s and McCartney’s versions together, long before the term “mash-up” was coined. This is not a legitimate release, but it was good to see Lennon and McCartney performing together again, at least fictionally.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ain’t She Sweet by The Beatles - ***

First released: 1964

Recorded in 1961 in Hamburg, this is one of the eight Tony Sheridan recordings to have a Lennon vocal. Lennon's vocal is rough, but it's still quite nice, and it became a minor hit single in 1964 and originally appeared on ATCO's "Ain't She Sweet" album and Polydor's "In the Beginning" album in 1969 among numerous places where the Tony Sheridan tracks were released. Later, it ended up on 1994's "Anthology 1". There’s also a demo version released on 1998’s "The John Lennon Anthology". A 1969 version appears on 1996's "Anthology 3".

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ain’t No Sunshine by Paul McCartney - ***

First released: 1991

McCartney does a live take of the song on "Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)" in 1991, with Hamish Stewart capably handling the vocals. The performance has sort of a jazzy feel to it with prominent piano. The song originally was the first hit for Bill Withers from his 1971 album "Just As I Am".

Friday, May 9, 2008

Again and Again and Again by Denny Laine - ***

First released: 1979

Denny Laine’s contribution to "Back to the Egg". It’s a pretty good rocker and was performed on the Wings 1979 tour. Laine actually made quite a few good contributions to Wings and it is a shame that there cannot be an official Wings compilation of his tunes both compositionally and vocally. Laine released "Wings at the Sound of Denny Laine" years later, but this included re-recorded versions of these hits. Maybe McCartney will have a change of heart someday and release an all-Laine edition of Wings Greatest Hits.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

After You’ve Gone by Paul McCartney - ***


Unreleased McCartney track dating from 1978. It's a fairly decent cover of the Creamer/Layton track.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

After the Ball by Paul McCartney - ***

First released: 1979

With a title like this, you might think the song goes: “After the ball is over…”, but this is a McCartney original paired with "Love Awake". It’s not really the best tune on Wings’ "Back to the Egg" and is marred somewhat by McCartney’s creaky vocals, a product of his incessant smoking of year’s past. The instrumentation is pretty good, however.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

After All These Years by Ringo Starr - ***

First released: 1992

Another bouncy Ringo tune from the lighthearted "Time Takes Time" set. It has a standard 50s rock and roll sound, but is very catchy. It was also the b-side of "Weight of the World".

Monday, May 5, 2008

African Yeah Yeah (aka Yea Yea) by Paul McCartney - **


Paul and Wings messing about singing “yeah yeah” to a drum beat dating from 1973. Nothing special, which is probably why it has never been released. If it ever does, it could use some judicious editing, as it gets quite monotonous after a while.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Admiral Halsey by Paul McCartney - ****

First released: 1971

Actually released as part of the "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" medley from the "Ram" album, this was a big hit in 1971, though amazing stopped short of the #1 spot! It is easily one of my favorite Beatles tunes, group or solo. Critics complain about the banality and choppiness of it all, but songs that shift gears are a McCartney specialty (note "Band on the Run" for example), I like it because it really sounds Beatlesque, so much so that you could swear that it’s Lennon trading vocals with McCartney, but it’s McCartney all the way. It also appears on 1978’s "Wings Greatest", 1987’s "All The Best" and 2001’s "Wingspan".

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Adagio For Strings by The Beatles - **

First released: 1970

Paul plays a bit of this in the opening scenes of The Beatles’ "Let it Be", but it didn’t make the final album and to date hasn’t been officially released except in the film. It’s a lovely piano piece composed by Samuel Barber.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Act Naturally by The Beatles - ***

First released: 1965

Poor Ringo. At the time of this release, he couldn’t write a tune and the other Beatles didn’t always offer him their best stuff for him to record. So once again Ringo was forced to dig through his record collection and pulled out this Buck Owens country hit. It is a very well-performed track though quite odd as The Beatles rarely did a straight country song. It did become the b-side of "Yesterday" and later became a semi-regular standard in Ringo’s live repertoire. In the UK, "Act Naturally" was just another album track on the non-soundtrack side of "Help!" The song eventually found an album home in the US on "Yesterday and Today".

He even recorded a studio version again in 1989 sharing lead vocals with Owens. This duet was also included on 2007’s "Photograph" compilation. It was also included as part of Ringo’s 1978 TV special and has achieved status for Ringo as one of his all-time hits.

The Beatles performed this live, but to date an official live version has not been released to disc. There was a live performance by The Beatles in the "Anthology" TV series.

Different live versions by Ringo appear on the bonus disc from 1990’s "Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band", 2000’s "The Anthology…So Far", 2002’s "Ringo & His New All-Starr Band", 2003’s "Extended Versions", 2007's "Live at Soundstage" and the "Live 2006" album from 2008.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Across the River by John Lennon - (NR)


Apparently, I haven’t heard this one so no rating, as it was a song that Lennon was working on in 1980 that was never released. It was aired as part of the “Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series.