Ringo Starr is, of course, most famous for having played with a certain British Invasion group. But he’s not without his rootsy credentials, having sat in with no less a Chess legend that Howlin’ Wolf for 1972’s The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions. Meanwhile, his relationship with the youthful blueser Kenny Wayne Shepherd goes back to the Ringo 2012 project.
That puts their collaboration on the thunderous “Cut You Loose” from Shepherd’s forthcoming release Goin’ Home into perspective. Still, it might not prepare you for the deep pocket that the former Beatles sticksman climbs into on this old Buddy Guy/Junior Wells favorite. Listen to it via SoundCloud here!
Shepherd sings with a stinging, gutteral menace, then unleashes a gurgling wah-stomping aside on his guitar. But, other than a few choice fills, Starr bears down, creating a rock-hard foundation that both establishes and nurtures this truly monstrous groove. It’s perhaps a whole new listening experience with Ringo, depending on how virulent your particular strain of Beatlemania is. (Seriously, though: If all you know are the radio hits, head straight to “Tomorrow Never Knows” — a deep cut from 1966’s Revolver in which Starr unleashes a cadence that can level buildings at the proper volume.)
Starr’s brother-in-law Joe Walsh, by the way, also sits in elsewhere with Shepherd, adding some tasty asides to an update of of “I Life the Life I Love,” by Willie Dixon. Kim Wilson, of Fabulous Thunderbirds fame, adds harp to that tune, as well. Warren Haynes, Keb Mo, the Rebirth Brass Band and Robert Randolph appear too.