Saturday, 4 February 2012

Ringo Starr - Sentimental Journey (1970) - Part One

Album 2 - Ringo Starr - Sentimental Journey (1970) - Part One

UK Amazon - MP3 / CD
US Amazon - MP3 / CD

1. Sentimental Journey (Bud Green/Les Brown/Bon Homer)
2. Night And Day (Cole Porter)
3. Whispering Grass (Fred Fisher/Doris Fisher)
4. Bye Bye Blackbird (Mort Dixon/Ray Henderson)
5. I'm A Fool To Care (Ted Daffan)
6. Stardust (Hoagy Carmichael/Mitchell Parish)
7. Blue, Turning Grey Over You (Andy Razaf/Thomas "Fats" Waller)
8. Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing (Sammy Fain/Paul Francis Webster)
9. Dream (Johnny Mercer)
10. You Always Hurt The One You Love (Allan Roberts/Doris Fisher)
11. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? (Scott Wiseman)
12. Let The Rest Of The World Go By (Ernest Ball/Karen Brennan)

So, the first one past the post then with an album was Ringo.  He needed something to do, and so he discussed with George Martin the idea of recording an album full of standards as a gift basically to his mother, using songs that she always loved and that were sung at home when she was growing up.

Actually, it’s funny looking at this album now considering that McCartney is releasing an album full of standards a few days after I am typing this out.  That plus Ringo has just this week released a new album himself, but I digress.  However, some people are bemoaning about the fact that McCartney is recording a bunch of old time songs that allegedly The Beatles and their like were supposed to have been usurping, but I obviously don’t agree with that opinion, and in fact believe that a lot of material from then added to that rich field of compositions, rather than toss it all aside.  Anyway, I’ve gone off subject.

George Martin brought in his own orchestra to play all of the music, with some assistance from un-credited performers.  Another idea that was utilised was for each song to be arranged by different people.  The song Stormy Weather was recorded using an arrangement that Paul McCartney had come up with, which featured both McCartney and Harrison playing apparently, but this song wasn’t issued for some reason.

The opening song is the title track, first made popular by Doris Day in 1945.  This arrangement has a very old style musical feel to it, up until the voicebox use in the instrumental break.  This arrangement is by Richard Perry, who would go on to himself produce Ringo’s acclaimed eponymous third album.

Following this is the absolute classic Cole Porter song Night & Day.  Originally this song was released by Fred Astaire and Clair Luce in 1932).  This arrangement of the song is by Chico O’Farrell and is sort of between the Sarah Vaughan version and the Frank Sinatra / Nelson Riddle arrangement from 1956.  It is probably one of my favourite arrangements on the whole album.

Ringo with wiife Maureen plus Maurice Gibb and Lulu
The third song on the set is the Fred & Doris Fisher composition Whispering Grass originally released by The Ink Spots in 1940.  This arrangement is by Ron Goodwin, and has a beautiful feel to it with the classical guitar and absolutely lush orchestration that rises and falls, comes out and returns, allowing the song to breathe.  I suppose that in the UK a lot of people know this song by Don Estelle and Windsor Davies from the British comedy series It Ain’t Half Hot Mum.

The fourth song on the set is the song Bye Bye Blackbird.  Written by Mort Dixon and Ray Henderson, it was first released by Gene Austin in 1926.  This Maurice Gibb (yes, of The Bee Gees) arrangement is very much in the traditional music hall tradition, starting with banjo and vocal, and then being joined by double bass, swing time drums, and eventually the full orchestra.

Ted Daffan’s composition I’m A Fool To Care, originally released by Les Paul & Mary Ford in 1954, is here arranged understatedly by Manfred Mann bassist and long time Beatles’ friend Klaus Voormann, with some cracking syncopation.
George Martin, Paul McCartney & Ringo

Finally the sixth song (and the original end of Side One to the vinyl and tape) is the Hoagy Carmichael and Mitchell Parish composition Stardust (strange in a way considering that Ringo would be in a film with title some four years later).  For this song it says on Wikipedia that George Martin arranged this song, but on the album sleeve it says that it was arranged by Paul McCartney.  It is a beautiful song, beautifully played by all involved.  The dispute about McCartney having arranged this is that the originally recording logs show the arranger to have been Martin rather than McCartney.  Other than the fact that someone may have been credited when someone else should have been, it still doesn’t deter from it being a lovely song.

Links -
Miles Davis Quintet - Bye Bye Blackbird
Joe Cocker - Bye Bye Blackbird
George Jones & Gene Pitney - I'm A Fool To Care ( specially for my friend Drew)
Nat King Cole - Stardust (Had to put this, especially since you can see him singing - love it)
Henry Mancini - Stardust (who doesn't love the Mancini?)