Sentimental Journey

Editor's Note: During September 1998, we featured Sentimental Journey. Please tell us what you like or don't like about the album and rank it from 1 ( positively awful) to 10 (great beyond your wildest dreams). Fans' Reviews follow the General Commentary. Send your comments to gshultz@airmail.net , and be sure to include your name. Click here to read reviews of other Ringo albums.

 General Commentary

After wondering ,"What I should do with my life now that it's all over," Sentimental Journey is the album that Ringo claims got him started again. In a 1976 interview with Circus, Ringo said of Sentimental Journey, "The great thing was that it got me moving.It got me going. OK let's go, not very fast, but just moving in some way. It was like the first shovel of coal in the furnace that makes the train inch forward."

Although many fans were surprised to learn of the songs that would comprise Ringo's first solo album, Ringo explained that he had decided to sing standards because "I really dug that old music...and I thought, `my mum'll be pleased if I sing all those songs."

Ringo approached George Martin with his idea and Martin agreed to act as producer. It was also decided to invite top-notch musicians to arrange the big band pieces. Sentimental Journey boasts arrangements by Richard Perry, Chico O'Farrill, Ron Goodwin, Maurice Gibb, Klaus Voorman, Paul McCartney, Oliver Nelson, Quincy Jones, George Martin, John Dankworth, Elmer Bernstein, and Les Reed.
Recording sessions began on October 27, 1969 and lasted until March 6, 1970. The final track listing included twelve songs: "Sentimental Journey," "Night and Day," "Whispering Grass," "Bye Bye Blackbird," "I'm a Fool To Care," "Stardust" "Blue, Turning Grey Over You," "Love Is A Many Splendored Thing," "Dream" "You Always Hurt the One You Love," ""Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" and "Let the Rest of the World Go By." Dropped from the final cut were: "Stormy Weather," "I'll Be Seeing You," "and "Autumn Leaves."
The album was originally titled Ringo Starrdust, but that title was discarded in favor of Sentimental Journey which seemed more in keeping with the nostalgic theme of the recording. To further emphasize the theme, the cover of the album features a shot of the Empress Bar, the local bar in Ringo's old neighborhood, complete with mock-ups of family members in the windows.
A promotional film of Sentimental Journey featuring a dapperly dressed Ringo singing and dancing to the accompaniment of The Talk of the Town Orchestra was shown on Frost On Sunday on March 29 and The Ed Sullivan Show on May 17.
Sentimental Journey was released in the United Kingdom on March 27, 1970 where it reached number seven in the charts. On April 24, 1970 the album was released in the United States where it peaked at number 22. The CD version of Sentimental Journey was first released in 1995.
Fans' and critics' reaction to Sentimental Journey has always been mixed. Some people are immediately turned off by the track list while others deem the album to have "surprisingly good results." Some view the music as a step backwards while others find it infinitely preferable to the more avant-garde offerings which John and Yoko were producing at that time. Some maintain that Ringo's voice is ill-suited to the material, while others feel that the drummer's personality and charm enhance the homey feel of the album.
Certainly one of the oddest post Beatles solo offerings, Sentimental Journey has often been dismissed as an over-indulgent whim, but to do so is to miss out on some truly memorable Ringo moments. As noted in Beatlefan issue 95, "On some tracks Ringo is woefully miscast vocally.... But the album delights when the material and arrangement is better suited to Starr's limited, wavery range." Some of the songs that really work are "Dream," "Blue Turning Grey Over You," "You Always Hurt the One You Love," "Bye Bye Blackbird," and "Love is A Many Splendored Thing."
Most Ringo fans agree that, despite it's uneven content, Sentimental Journey seems like a perfectly logical vehicle for the most down-to-earth, sentimental, and homey Beatle. Ringo himself remains loyal to Sentimental Journey. " I still like that album. It had all the tracks that I heard when I lived with my mother and father."
-- By Shultz (c)

Fans Reviews

Of the many albums that I've enjoyed throughout these years, Ringo's "Sentimental Journey" ranks as one with the most charm...ok, so neither Frank nor Tony went into retirement as a result, but Ringo's effort clearly merits praise. This is *honest* music, in the truest meaning of the word, delivered sans unneccessarty bravado. Instead, the finely arranged selections offer a pleasing break from usual 'easy listening' fare.
Here one is treated to a vocalist that provides a rare warmth, a personality that allows one to really get into the songs, themselves. Ringo doesn't get into the way...in other words, he keeps his ego in check, allowing the beauty of the songs themselves to shine through. This is a programme of melodies sung by an every- man, rather than a trained performer, and one that really hadn't much experience singing, at that.
We find arrangement by the tops in the jazz field: Chico O' Farrel, Quincy Jones, and Oliver Nelson. As with *all* of the Beatles debut solo efforts, there was an attempt to convey a point. With George, it was demonstrating his songwriting skills ( All Things Must Pass).... and Paul proving that he *was* a band within himself ( McCartney), John's simply showing that he could do his own thing his own way and still sell a record (Plastic Ono Band ) and Ringo? Mr. Starkey had to prove that, despite what many thought, he could actually *sing*!
Twelve fine tracks clearly made it obvious that Ringo could hold his own with the very best of 'em. A few selections one can only hope will find their way into the All-Starr Band. A live rendition of "Night and Day would be a crowd pleaser, to be sure...or the gentle "Dream"...dim those lights, and let Ringo croon for a while! Maybe an All-Starr Brass Ensemble, consisting of Tom Scott, John Klemmer, Kenny G, amongst others on sax...Herb Alpert, Hugh Masakela, Randy Brecker, Jim Price, on trumpet ( of course, Chicago Transit Authority's famous horn trio, and one fab big band is born! Make for sure that there are plenty of 'bones ...thats *trom* bones, my friend, and a rousing version of "Blue Turning Grey" will finally become a reality...a showstopper, alright. Perhaps Zak Starkey can man the 'tubs' for that one.
So count me amonst the legions of folk that also enjoy Ringo's fine debut production, and thanx for your website, it's really cool. :-)
~ Best Wishes,
Steve
P.S. if only someday those fine musicians will be credited, as oftentimes, jazzers do so- called 'commercial' gigs...maybe Ron Carter on bass, Oscar Peterson on piano...Michael Brecker on sax, etc....wonderful playing abounds on that disk.


Greetings from darkest Tasmania. I'm home on sick leave, suffering a minor but debilitating virus, and surfing some of my favourite "things" of which Ringo is one. Okay my view of SJ: In the context of rock & roll, 1970 and the break-up of the Beatles, only Ringo would have the nerve to put out this album and only Ringo could get away with it. You can easily imagine
his "I did it for me Mum" comment and just as readily accept that it was said in all sincerity. But how does it stand up as an album? Well, Ringo never was a brilliant vocalist (checks back for fans daggers) but he sings his selection of old timers with such warmth and honesty that you realise
this was a project of love. My copy sees the sharp end of a stylus maybe once every two or three years, just to remind me of the period, and to enjoy some damn fine songs of course. If it was someone else's album, I
dare say I would never give it an ear, but a Ringo album is a Ringo album is a Ringo album. I recently saw a copy of the LP for sale in a second hand record shop for $A50. I wouldn't value it quite that high but it's a solid 5/10.
Cheers and thanks for the site.

-- Peter Bond


I would give it a 7 1/2. All the songs are good songs.They are arranged well.Ringos voice may not be the best suited for all of them,but I have a high tolerance for his voice,and it really isn't all that bad anyway.It's Ringo, not Frank,Tony, Perry,Bing,etc.... I've always been more interested in his musicianship anyway since I'm a drummer too.I'm not sure if he plays on any of the tracks,it's possible,but I enjoy the style of music on that album,it's enjoyable.

-- TSdrummer


I would give sentimental journey a solid 5. It is worth having for the novelty effect alone. Ringo's voice suits the songs. If you like the way he sings "Goodnight," then you'll like Sentimental Journey.

-- Emily Henvey


Ringo has always survived on charm, humor and personality.

Sentimental Journey is a breath of fresh air, even today, and ranks along with recordings by Harry Connick, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, and even Frank Sinatra. But, as on later albums, Ringo can also rock and play a mean set of drums.

That's why he is a Starr!!! I rate the Sentimental Journey about a 6 on the Ringo scale. That's cool cats!

-- Phil Sollar


My favorite songs on Sentimental Journey are "Bye Bye Blackbird," "Dream," and "Let the Rest of the World Go By." Although it's not a rock album, there's a lot of good music. I rate it a 4.5.

-- C. Brennan


Well, now I’ll give my thoughts on Sentimental Journey: I love this album because its got alot of the old great standards that I love. I've learned Star Dust, Bye Bye Blackbird, Night and Day, and Sentimental Journey on my sax. I love the arrangment Richard Perry did on
Stardust, Paul did on Star Dust and Quincy Jones did on Love Is A Many Splendored Thing. All the songs are great; I dont think he could have picked a better line up. Ringo can sure sing those standards!!!!!! It's a great album,especially for his first. I'll be looking forward to next months' Album of the Month!

I'd give it a 9/10. .I think it's truly one of his best.

Thank you much,
-- Paige McIntyre


I remember buying Sentimental journey when I was a teenager. When I was in high school, I collected all the Beatles albums and solo albums when I had the money. I had been looking for Ringo's Sentimental Journey for some time and finally found it and quickly bought it and couldn't wait to get home to listen to it. When I did I was very disappointed in it. I was expecting good Rock 'n' Roll and in stead I got old dance songs from the past. Before I bought the album I knew he dedicated it to his mother but still expected Rock 'n' Roll. It is my all time worse Ringo album. But I am still a Ringo fan and always will be!!!

-- Tony, age 39


I love the album, it opened my eyes (or ears) for music that I probably never would have listened to if I hadn't heard this pleasant album...there were more to music than rock'n'roll....The songs are of course great, and our man sings them with a lot of charm and humour, even though his vocal range is a bit limited for the songs. To me it is a very warm LP, with nice arrangements, and anyway, it is the first Beatle-solo records that I heard, so it sort of sticks to my mind, forever linked with happy memories from my youth. My favourite songs are "Bye Bye Blackbird", "Blue Turning Grey Over You", "Stardust and "Let the Rest of the World Go By". all of which I frequently sing in the shower. I'd give a 6 out of 10.

-- Rob, 40.


I felt compelled to drop you a line to tell you my comments on Ring's Sentimental Journey. Well, to put it simply I think it's FAB. My fave song is Night and Day as Ringo is in SUCH fine voice it suits his style tremendously. Second would have to be Whispering Grass - its a bit of a sad/cute type'o song. SWEEEET!!!!!! A few of my friends (who are fans of the beringed Beatle) don't really dig Sentimental Journey that much, but this album is amoung my all time favourite solo album - I guess it just depends on musical tastes.

-- Sara Brimfield, 17, of Australia


   I'd heard so many horror stories, that when I saw a copy of it for £10, it took me a while to actually decide to get it. Even then, I bargained him down to £6 :) What of the music, well, I've listened to it once or twice - it's very, erm, pleasant, and only one track made it onto a tape I did of my favourite Ringo songs, and that was Bye Bye Blackbird - his voice certainly does suit the songs - compared to John and George's offerings from around
the same time, it's certainly a lot easier to listen to! 5.5/10
~ Stephen Bray
Liverpool, England


I first heard "Sentimental Journey" in 1973, I was a teenager of 16 years.  The LP that I had was long ago buried under the snow, only recently was I able to find a cd copy.  Thanks for the Memories.This is by far, the best and most sentimental therapy that you can give
yourself at that time of.......bye bye blackbird.(Or is it "I'm a fool to care). Keep doing it!!! 

~ Mori LaChappelle
Kelowna BC  Canada


Ringo Starr's first solo effort (recorded and released before the group actually broke up officially) has almost a category of his own. It isn't a novelty in the straight sense, nor it's a rock record nor just a typical bunch of oldies covers. Somehow Ringo's voice and charm makes this album something unique, kind of bizarre in places, likeable but not catchy, smooth but not easily listenable, in a twilight zone between young and adult's tastes, potentially atractive to both or to none. It shows that since the sixties Ringo (wisely or not) paid little attention to music fashion and prefered what he considered stylish.
Personally, I like the record (having a fondness for this type of music myself). Ringo's voice is warm and that counts against his lack of singing expertise or his Scouse accent. The treatment of the title track is excellent, the same as "Night and Day", "Bye, Bye, Blackbird" (a catchy track with some unexploited record possibilities), Paul's arrangement of "Stardust" (another winner), George Martin's excellent refitting of "Dream" (the jewel in this crown) and the vaudevillesque treatment (only without horns) of "You Always Hurt the One You Love". The other half of the collection is made of decent covers of good songs, but neither specially attractive nor emorable. "Love Is a Splendoured Thing" could be another remarkable track in this set, but it's really a lot of voices singing along, not just Ringo's.
All in all, this album is kind of lowkey. It seems Ringo agreed on keeping certain obscurity in search of placidity. Just for his mom's (and nearly every mom's) taste. I dunno if Ringo played drums here (I guess he didn't and it's a pity if he didn´t so) but his presence is all over the place. Maybe with a better selection of songs this could be a far more known and respected album. At least it gave Ringo a solo presence. The only other pities are that we had to wait some time to hear some songs penned by Ringo himself and the ugly cover of the album (although the idea beihnd it was pretty good).
For all the tenderness this album contains and shows and provokes I give it 6 points out of 10.

~ Leonardo Ledesma
Lima, Perú


One of the greatest things an artist can do is take his audience into a direction they didn't see before.  This requires real trust in the artist on the part of the fan.  John showed me music that was not music, George took me east (and also towards Clapton and Creame and so on..) Paul..., well, Paul took me home,  but it was never quite the same trip twice.

I can only admit this on a Ringo Starr web page, but Ringo introduced me to Jazz.

Tasty arrangements,  great tune selection (except maybe "...Splendered Thing),  Cool vocal.   Probably the sincerety has sold it to the people that appreciate it.  A labour of love and, let's face it, in 1970, a risky career move.  Very brave Ringo,  very cool. Eat your heart out Linda Ronstadt.. A 7 on the Ringo scale.

~ Jeff Scott
Toronto Ontario Canada


"Ringo Starrdust" would have been a cute title, perhaps too cute.  Other titles never considered (and just made up by myself), "Ringo Starr Goes Too Far", or "Ringo Gets Back...Way Back".  Actually, "Sentimental Journey" is very appropriate.  We forget that although early rock and roll literally changed the Beatles' lives, these are the songs they actually grew up on.
Like the Beatles' songs for us, these are the songs that are most evocative for the Fabs (memories of childhood, family, etc).  So you cannot fault the songs.  Nor the arrangers and arrangements.  Mostly this album is dismissed out of hand.  It actually holds up a lot better than, say, "Bad Boy".  (It's also forgotten that this sold and charted fairly well when it came out, also a
lot better than, say "Bad Boy".)  There are quite a few songs that I would put on my own personal Ringo's greatest hits, especially "Stardust" and the title track.  And who can deny the absolute Ringoishness of "Bye Bye Blackbird"? (The first solo appearance of the puppet.)  I have always been happy with this album.  (Does anyone know who some of the musicians might be?)

~ Steven B. Topping

 

 

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This page was last updated Nov. 12, 1998.