The Second Disc

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Starr-Struck: Vini Poncia and Jackie Lomax, Reissued

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Oh my, my! Ringo Starr turned 70 on July 7 and celebrated with a concert at Radio City Music Hall and an afternoon “Peace and Love” celebration. After the breakup of The Beatles, few would have believed what a prolific career the former Richard Starkey would have; his 15th studio album, Y Not, saw release via Hip-O Records just this past January.

Ringo’s always gotten by, well, with a little help from his friends. His first solo LP, 1970’s Sentimental Journey, found George Martin in the producer’s chair, and famous friends like Maurice Gibb, Quincy Jones and Klaus Voormann contributing arrangements. In 1973, Starr released Ringo, not only a platinum-selling smash but notable for the appearance of all four Beatles (though no more than three on one track!). Y Not completes the circle with McCartney again appearing, alongside Van Dyke Parks, Joss Stone, Joe Walsh, Ben Harper and Richard Marx. Yet a lesser-known figure was one of Starr’s key collaborators throughout the 1970s, singer and songwriter Vini Poncia.  Poncia first joined Ringo as co-writer and musician on Ringo, and continued contributing on 1974’s Goodnight, Vienna and 1976’s Ringo’s Rotogravure. The Starr/Poncia team wrote the majority of the Arif Mardin-helmed Ringo the 4th in 1977, and Poncia finally ascended to the producer’s chair a year later for Bad Boy.

But before his association with Starr, Poncia was best-known for his work as a songwriter teamed with Peter Anders. Anders and Poncia, along with Norman Marzano, recorded as early as 1960 as The Videls, under which name they scored with single “Mr. Lonely.” Brought into the Brill Building scene by the legendary Doc Pomus, the duo teamed with Phil Spector. That association led to classic songs including “The Best Part of Making Up” and “Do I Love You” for The Ronettes, and roles for Anders and Poncia in Spector’s house band. After parting ways with Spector, Anders and Poncia found themselves working for more rock royalty in the form of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, at Red Bird Records. Shortly thereafter, Anders and Poncia were christened The Tradewinds, as whom they released an LP in 1967, Excursions, on the Kama Sutra label (KLPS-8057). Excursions included the hit 1965 single “New York’s a Lonely Town,” an intoxicating, harmony-laden gem that brought the sound of The Beach Boys east to New York and the Brill Building. Other tracks on the album were more far-out including 1966’s “Mind Excursion,” as psychedelic as its title would imply. But the times they were a-changin’, and so did Anders and Poncia. For their next LP, they were known as The Innocence and delivered a self-titled set for Kama Sutra (KLPS-8059). This album also looked west, but in a gentler, more ethereal sunshine pop vein. Anders and Poncia would record in their own name before splitting up, and Poncia would go on to not only collaborate with Starr, but to co-write with Leo Sayer the smash hit “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” for Sayer’s album Endless Flight.

Both titles have been difficult to find on CD, available only as grey-market editions and Japanese pressings. Cherry Red’s Rev-Ola division now makes them available in new reissues, each with two bonus tracks. Excursions hits U.S. shores next Tuesday, July 13, and can be pre-ordered here; The Innocence was scheduled to drop the same day, but it may be delayed until August 16 for its initial U.K. release, with an American date usually coming shortly thereafter. It can be pre-ordered here.

Another Starr pal was soulful singer Jackie Lomax. Ringo played on his single “Sour Milk Sea” written and produced by George Harrison for The Beatles’ Apple label. It’s just been announced that Lomax’s 1968 Apple long-player Is This What You Want?, with Starr on drums, will see reissue this fall via EMI and Apple. But Rev-Ola’s RPM label has recently unearthed Lost Soul: Singles and Demos 1966-1967 collecting loose ends from Lomax from that pre-Apple period, including his work with The Lomax Alliance. These tracks should be of real interest to folk-rock fans, recorded with John Simon at the board and Roy Halee among the engineers. One included solo single is the Robert Stigwood-produced “Genuine Imitation Life” (famously recorded by The Four Seasons) b/w “One Minute Woman,” a composition by the Gibb brothers. As a bonus, Disc 2 of Lost Soul comprises the 1974 LP White Lady by his post-Apple band, Badger, recorded for Epic Records and produced by Allen Toussaint. Lost Soul streets next Tuesday, as well, and can be pre-ordered here.

Check out the track listings for these works by Ringo’s collaborators after the jump, and take a minute to wish Ringo a very happy 70th…and of course, peace and love to all!

The Tradewinds, Excursions (Rev-Ola CR-REV 305, 2010 – original album released 1967)

  1. Mind Excursion
  2. Catch Me in the Meadow
  3. Bad Misunderstanding
  4. New York’s a Lonely Town
  5. I Believe in Her
  6. Only When I’m Dreamin’
  7. Small Town Bring Down
  8. To Be With You
  9. Huggin’ in the Hall
  10. Little Susan’s Dreamin’
  11. That’s When Your Heartaches Begin
  12. Hard Life

Tracks 1-10 released as Kama Sutra LP KS-8059, 1967
Tracks 11-12 released as The Goodtimes, Kama Sutra single KA-215, 1966

The Innocence, The Innocence (Rev-Ola CR-REV 308, 2010 – original LP released 1967)

  1. There’s Got to Be a Word (Beyond the Meaning of Love)
  2. Mairzy Doats
  3. Someone Got Caught in My Eye
  4. All I Ask
  5. Your Show is Over
  6. A Lifetime Lovin’ You
  7. Whence I Make Thee Mine
  8. It’s Not Gonna Take Too Long
  9. All I Do is Think About You
  10. I Don’t Wanna Be Around You
  11. Do You Believe in Magic
  12. I Don’t Wanna Be Around You (Single Version)
  13. There’s Got to Be a Word (Beyond the Meaning of Love) (Single Version)

Tracks 1-11 from Kama Sutra LP KS-8057, 1967
Tracks 12-13 from Kama Sutra single KA-214, 1966

Jackie Lomax, Lost Soul: Lomax Alliance & Solo, Singles & Demos 1966-1967 (RPM CD RETRO869, 2010)

Disc 1

  1. Peaches n’ Cream
  2. Who Do You Love (Version 2)
  3. Try As You May
  4. See the People
  5. The Golden Lion
  6. You Better Get Going Now
  7. Hey Taxi
  8. Enter Into My World
  9. Don’t You Think It’s Time
  10. Sweeter Than Honey
  11. Front Page Model
  12. Give What You Take
  13. Take Me Away
  14. Genuine Imitation Life
  15. One Minute Woman
  16. Honey Machine

Disc 1, Tracks 1-2, 6 & 9-13 previously unreleased demos by The Lomax Alliance
Disc 1, Tracks 3-4 from Lomax Alliance single CBS (U.K.) 2729, 1967
Disc 1, Track 5 from Real Life, Permanent Dreams: A Corncupia of British Psychedelia 1965-1970 (Sanctuary/Castle CD BX1239, 2007)
Disc 1, Tracks 7-8 from Columbia (U.S.) single 4-44256, 1967
Disc 1, Tracks 14-15 from CBS (U.K.) single 2554, 1967
Disc 1, Track 16 by The Lomax All-Stars from Circus Days, Volumes 1 & 2 (Bam Caruso CD VP1001, 1998)

Disc 2: Badger, White Lady (released as Epic LP 80009, 1974)

  1. 1. A Dream of You
  2. 2. Everybody-Nobody
  3. 3. Listen to Me
  4. 4. Don’t Pull the Trigger
  5. 5. Just the Way It Goes
  6. 6. White Lady
  7. 7. Be with You
  8. 8. Lord Who Give Me Life
  9. 9. One More Dream to Hold
  10. 10. The Hole Thing

Written by Joe Marchese

July 8, 2010 at 08:51

Posted in News, Reissues

4 Responses

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  1. Vini also had the honor of producing the sophomore effort by Boston’s legendary band with a sense of humor, THE FOOLS. Vini should have used more discretion on the song selection on HEAVY MENTAL (finally released on cd, paired with SOLD OUT), as side one was pretty bad – but side two contained the best stuff, including tongue in cheek paean to lying, ALIBI.


    July 8, 2010 at 12:06

  2. Is the Poncia who collaborated with Kiss in the late 70’s/early 80’s


    July 8, 2010 at 15:14

  3. SO HAPPY to see that Badger’s White Lady will finally get a CD release. That track alone is worthy the price of admission. White Lady really moves and is most reminiscent of Lomax’s Apple writings. Great!

    Sean Anglum

    July 12, 2010 at 12:32

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