Triumvirat: Illusions on a Double Dimple

“You can’t succeed your whole life long, but some folks always fail.”

On Fridays and Saturdays, I help Ken organize records at the Record Spot on Torresdale Avenue. It’s mostly as a tribute to his father, George, who had run the store for 36 years before passing away in January, but it’s also an appreciation to Ken, for keeping the store open when he didn’t have to. Ken’s a nice guy, so a little informal barter arrangement has evolved out of this. If I hang out and organize records for a couple hours, he’ll let me walk out with a record or two. That’s a pretty good deal, and an honorable way to get some new vinyl in without shelling out tons of bucks.

The first record I went home with under this arrangement was Triumvirat’s 1974 album Illusions on a Double Dimple. I chose it because the pretentious title and the Harvest record label (of Pink Floyd fame) implied some sort of prog-rock affair. Read more


Ringo Starr: Ringo


Ringo Starr, Ringo
(Apple, 1973)

Cover painting by Tim Bruckner

Tim Bruckner, from The Beatles Bible:

I’d been working at a jewellery store in Beverly Hills, California as a sculptor and apprentice jeweller. I’d been there almost two years when I realized that wasn’t the career path for me. So, one day, sitting in my apartment, I thought I’d like to do album covers.

I looked in the phone book and found two listings. There was no answer at the first one I called. The second, Camouflage Productions, answered. I told the receptionist what I was interested in and after putting me on hold for a few minutes, asked if I’d be willing to come to the studio and show my portfolio. I said yes.

The only hitch was, I didn’t have a portfolio, so I took a handful of framed drawings off the wall, loaded them into the car and spent my last 28 cents to get to the Hollywood Hills, about 26 miles from where I lived. I was greeted by a lovely, smoky voiced receptionist and asked to wait. Ten minutes later I was being interviewed by Barry Feinstein, a famous art director/photographer. He looked at my stuff, seemed to like what he saw and asked me to wait.

He left the room and came back about 20 minutes later in the company of a tall, lanky, generously toothed gentlemen. I was introduced to Richard Perry, the producer for the Ringo album. He looked at my work, said something to Barry and the two left together.

Shortly thereafter, Barry returned and asked if I had a passport. I did not. He told me I needed to get one as soon as possible. I was going to England to work on Ringo Starr’s album cover art.

On the identities of the people on the balcony:

There was no concept at the time. I put together 10 concept sketches and they picked the one with him on stage with a balcony full of people. There are 26 portraits in the balcony. The rest are people I invented.


Ringo Starr: You’re Sixteen

“You walked out of my dreams and into my arms. Now you’re my angel divine.”

Ringo covered Johnny Burnette’s You’re Sixteen to close the first side of his 1973 self-titled album. Paul McCartney finally joins the fun and performs a “mouth sax solo”, which is apparently just him making kazoo-like noises with his mouth. It’s a little awkward of a song to hear Ringo sing, after he confessed in the album’s opener, I’m the Greatest, to being thirty-two at the time. That didn’t stop the song from reaching the top spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, like Photograph before it. Read more

Ringo Starr: Photograph

“But all I’ve got is a photograph, and I realize you’re not coming back anymore.”

Like its predecessor, It Don’t Come Easy, Ringo’s Photograph is a solid hit single, composed with assistance from George Harrison. It topped the singles charts in the U.S., Canada, and Australia, and made it to #8 in the United Kingdom. Wikipedia gives the background on the compositions, with detail provided by singer and Beatles co-conspirator Cilla Black: Read more

Ringo Starr: I’m the Greatest

“I’m the greatest, and you better believe it, baby!”

The last record I’ll do for this short Apple Records addendum will be Ringo’s self-titled record from 1973, his third as a solo artist. This is the first and so-far only Ringo Starr solo album in my collection, and I just bought it last week.

Ringo did some genre hopping between 1970 and 1973. This was his first LP of rock music since the breakup of The Beatles, and the album is a Beatles reunion of sorts. All four of them composed and performed for the album. Leave it to Ringo to bring ’em all back together. Read more

John Lennon: Nutopian International Anthem

When Side 1 of Mind Games apparently ended after Bring on the Lucie, I thought I had missed something. No, I didn’t miss anything. Nutopian International Anthem is three seconds of silence. After reading up on why it’s on the album, I felt a little disappointed. Why did John leave this space blank? He could have thrown in something a little more fun.

Nutopia, I’ve learned, is a conceptual country founded by John and Yoko. Read more