Ringo Starr, “Ringo – The Hollywood mixes 1973 Off Reels” (Idol Mind IMP-HR-1002 1CD)
I’m The Greatest / Have You Seen My Baby (Hold On) / Six O’Clock / You’re Sixteen / Oh My My / Photograph
You’re Sixteen – Mix Take #11 / You’re Sixteen – Mix Take #12 / Six O’ Clock – Mix Take #8 / Six O’Clock – Mix Take #9 / Six O’ Clock – Insert Mix Take #1 / Six O’ Clock – Insert Mix Take #2 / Six O’Clock – Insert Mix Take #3 / Six O’Clock – Insert Mix Take #4 / Six O’Clock – Insert Mix Take #5 / Six O’Clock – Insert Mix Take #6 / Six O’Clock – Insert Mix Take #7 / Oh My My – MD Take #1 FS / Oh My My – MD Take #1 C / Have You Seen my Baby (Hold On) – Intercut Take #1 No Horns on Guitar Solo / Have You Seen My Baby (Hold On) – Intercut Take #2 with Horns on Guitar Solo / Have You Seen My Baby (Hold On) – Mix Take #5 / Photograph – Mix Take #3 / Photograph – Mix Take #4 / Photograph – Mix Take #5 / Photograph – Mix Take #6 / Photograph – Mix Take #7 from backup reel / Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond) FS / Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond) FS / Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond) C (72:22)
In 1973, standing in the pool of an acting career, Ringo Starr decided that the time was right to release another album. The success of his two previous albums had boosted his confidence – even if they weren’t in the vein that his audience might have suspected – Following his ex-band mates in the rock sound (His earlier solo releases had been orchestral or country affairs) Ringo arrived in LA, immediately called his friends up (Including support from the fab three, Marc Bolan, members of The Band, Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann, Nicky Hopkins, Harry Nilson and everyones favourite session man, Jim Keltner) and set to work on what would become his best selling album and the commercial pinnacle of his career.
Recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders, this is where the bulk of the album would be made with additional recordings and overdubs made at Burbank Studios, The Sound Lab, A&M studios, Apple and Producers Workshop.
Ringo’s album has been processed for material quite throughly Starlight records being the first to release a vinyl platter of alternates from the album, this came with a tranche of speed issues. Mistral records CD put the record straight (sorry) with a CD of more of the same with extras before the German pro- CDR label BATZ released a set of 5 disks covering a whole lot more of the mixing sessions – all good if you really like to pick apart the various mixing sessions for an album.
The first set of Hollywood mixes are presumably rough mixes made for a first draft of the album to be pressed to acetate for the approval of Ringo, producer Richard Perry or any of the members of the cast or record company.
There is no discernible loss in quality over any of the tracks – they are, as Idol Mind have trumpeted, studio tape quality. There are few differences to the CV either. ‘I’m The Greatest’ is sans overdubs so when Ringo shouts his power (“I’m The Greatest .. and You’d Better Believe It Baby!”) at the coda of the track, it’s notably absent on the Hollywood mix.
“Have You Seen my Baby (Hold On)” is hardly discernible from the album version but there’s a mastering error here are it flows 24 seconds in to track 3 leaving ‘”Six O’ Clock” to start later than intended for some reason. Again, there are no real differences between the mixes apart from the ‘wild reprise’ being left on where Macca’s hand is definitely played.
“You’re Sixteen” has a longer fade out than the fade out but gets quieter earlier. This leads to Ringo improvising a little underneath and reciting the lines to the drinking song, ‘What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor”
“Oh My My” loses it’s count in but gains an extension to it’s coda – Nothing as interesting as the last however.
“Photograph” is pretty much what was released but is mastered around one second longer – This is probably just an anomaly though.
The Hollywood mixing works follow, various tracking and mastering differences to record the changes in the works as it draws closer to completion. As things are finalised, there tends to be little difference between the finished article and the mixes that we’re hearing – just like all other mix down masters too, they’re often incomplete and a little is cropped from the beginning and the ends.
You’re Sixteen – Two takes of the track. The first is announced as “Eleven, with clapping” begins with a guitar warm up but only lasts a few seconds before the tape is wound on again. Take 12 excludes the warm up but runs a couple of seconds longer than the CV.
Six O’ Clock – The longest set of mixes for one track next. The first is noted as “Take 8”, begins with a count in, lasts around 57 seconds then gets rewound. “Take 9” cuts off just seconds in to the reprise. The 7 insert takes are generally the same, all for the madness that should have ended the track. It’s Macca heavy – more than it is Ringo really – and as entertaining as it is, might as well just be a splash of McCartney madness from a Wings album. On take 2 there is a little tape wobble in the left channel but it lasts the briefest of moments. Take 5 adds a little more organ to the CV, takes 6 + 7 adds a little more Ringo to the coda.
Oh My My – The first take of “Oh My My” is noted as “Ibidy, Ibidy one” for some reason but cuts short quite quickly, the second take is complete.
Have You Seen My Baby (Hold On) – Begins by ramping up half way through prior to the middle section or solo played by Marc Bloan. It is essentially this section only before it’s rewound and played from the same section again but this time with horn overdubs and then it plays to the end of the track.
The third take is a full take including the horn section.
Photograph – Now 5 mixes of ‘Photograph’, the first doesn’t reach the end of the intro before it gets rewound and started again, the second try out (Take 4) is complete, the third run through run-ins for 1:35 before being stopped and rewound. The forth gets as far as 0:49 before being halted and rewound again, before the next take (Take 7) is played, there’s a quick burst of sax. Take 7 finally plays straight through.
Finally there are three mixes of “Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond)” from a back up reel.
The first two are false starts, the first lasting c. 9 seconds, the second lasts around 3 times as long before it’s halt.
The final is a complete take in glorious mono. There’s obviously a reason that this was tacked on to the end and this must be it
A nice enough collection of mixes and in startlingly good stereo for the most part despite this there are decidedly few revelations. If you enjoy Ringo’s debut and revel in in the minute, this is s great CD. As a side note, the CD is also offered with a Blu-Ray recordable disk for those collectors with the correct audio set up. I, with my modest stereo and Blu-Ray player have no need for such frivolities and so opted for the single disk version though Idol Mind are obviously confident of their studio system and so, for those with the correct set up, I should think you’d have an extra treat in store.