Some Valentine’s Love From The Ex-Beatles

In 1970, the almost simultaneous potential release of the Beatles last album, Let It Be, with Paul McCartney’s first solo album, was one of the final straws that broke up the Beatles. Ringo Starr’s first solo album was also due for release in the same time frame.

Now in the Gaga world of 2012, Ringo and Paul have released albums a few days apart, with little fanfare, and no controversy, although Paul’s Grammy performances will give his record a bit more spotlight.

Paul’s album has been anticipated on this blog already, and whether he was inspired in any way by Brian to go back to his childhood roots will probably be an open question, but this music has always been a part of Paul. Just think Besame Mucho, Honey Pie and the opener I’m Gonna Sit Down And Write Myself A Letter, which was part of the Beatles Hamburg shows. Those who watched the Grammy’s will know My Valentine, one of two original songs here, and one which does sit in good company with the other standards here. Unlike Brian Wilson, Macca doesn’t try to turn the songs into his own style, rather staying true to the originals vocally and musically. It’s competent, and at times moving (the aforesaid My Valentine, More I Cannot Wish You- I was once in chorus of Guys And Dolls so I’m biased here) but not ground-breaking.

Ringo also calls back the past with a cover of Rock Island Line and retreads of Step Lightly and Wings from previous albums. At 8 tracks and 29 minutes, some may say it’s a bit light to be a full album, but hey, it’s Ringo (and not Nicki Minaj). The record does save the best for last, with the rather nice Slow Down (not a retread) and In Liverpool, which like much of Ringo’s best, sentimentally recalls the past.

So two new ex- Beatles albums, two or three rather nice new ex-Beatles songs, and a bit of good vibes around the classic 60s era. It may not be the Valentines of our dreams, but it will be do for this year.

And in a not completely unrelated note, Beach Boys tour dates are out tomorrow.

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