Ringo Starr’s Boyhood Home In Restoration ‘Limbo’

Ringo Starr
Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2010, we reported that the birthplace of Ringo Starr was threatened with demolition. The rowhouse, located at 9 Madryn Street in Liverpool, England, has fallen into disrepair. As you can see from this photo, it hasn’t been lived in for some time and is all boarded up.

It’s not alone. The BBC reports that many of the homes in the neighborhood are abandoned and crumbling. The city government approved a £15 million ($24.4 million) plan to rework the neighborhood, building 150 new homes, knocking down 280 others, and restoring 37, including Ringo Starr’s. There have been calls to preserve the home as a bit of music history. While John and Paul’s childhood homes are now preserved by the National Trust, Ringo’s place doesn’t even have an historic plaque.

Now the city’s plan has been put on hold by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who has called for a full review. That’s bad news for the few people still living in the area. They don’t know whether they should move, or pay their own money to restore their homes, or do nothing. It all depends what happens with the government funding, and nobody can answer that at the moment.

So will the homes be knocked down or will Ringo’s birthplace become yet another of England’s historic homes? We’ll just have to wait and see.

It may be a long wait.

Ringo’s boyhood home threatened with demolition

If you want to see where Ringo Starr was born, you better hurry.

Number 9 Madryn Street in Liverpool, where the Beatles drummer was born in 1940, is one of a neighborhood of decrepit homes slated for demolition. The little Victorian rowhouse was never glamorous, and fell into disrepair years ago. While John and Paul’s childhood homes are now preserved by the National Trust, Ringo’s place doesn’t even have an historic plaque.

Fans are up in arms and are hoping to save the house. They’re even comparing it to Shakespeare’s home. Starr himself had a more measured response, yet nonetheless said he’d love to see his old address saved from the wrecking ball. Currently the house is unoccupied and the windows boarded up. That doesn’t stop a steady trickle of tourists coming to the rundown area to see a bit of music history.

A Liverpool City Council representative offered a ray of hope by saying the city is “currently in discussions” with the city museum about options for the building.

Image courtesy user Tima63 via Wikimedia Commons.

Another summer music festival: National Jug Band Jubilee

Since the Washboard Festival won’t be around again until next year, here’s another one that looks to be its rival. The National Jug Band Jubilee in Louisville, Kentucky on August 23 is a gathering of jug bands from various states.

Why Louisville? The jug band was founded here more than 100 years ago.

Back then, clay jugs were used to hold bourbon whiskey. When the whiskey was gone, there was an empty jug in need of a use. Blow some air across the mouth in just the right way, and there’s music. The first band appeared in 1903.

Festivals like this one give me the idea that I like people. I actually do like people, which is one reason why I travel, but washboards and jug bands are happy music–perfect for summer. Perfect for creating the feeling that people are neat.

I mentioned this festival to someone who I met who lives in Louisville and she swore that this was a well worth it event, and one that gets rave reviews. She did admit she’s been out of town each time it has occurred, but still swears by it–and she’s a music sort who travels in the circle of people who know something about music.

In case you think you might go, Friday night at the Frazier International History Museum, there’s a jug band concert featuring the Juggernaut Jug Band and the Cincinnati Dancing Pigs. Afterwards there’s a showing of the documentary, “Chasin’ Gus’ Ghost” that traces the history of jug band music.

The Dirdy Birdies Jug Band will be performing. If their music is anything like the video on YouTube, I’d say you’ll be in for a good time.

Museum that honors the 1969 Woodstock concert to open

On June 2, The Museum at Bethel Woods will open on the site where the 3-days long Woodstock Music and Art Fair happened 40 years ago. The museum will include concert memorabilia, stories, multi-media experiences, and cultural highlights of war protests, fashion and much about the 1960s.

This was the time of Flower Power, war protests, and people looking for ways to self-actualize. Of course, some folks just wanted to hear some mighty fine music. Consider the line up that included: Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Santana, Blood Sweat and Tears, The Band, Joan Baez, Jimmy Hendrix, etc. etc. etc.

Although, the name of the concert was Woodstock, it wasn’t actually held in the town of that name, but 43 miles away in Bethel at the 600-acre pasture of Max Yasgur’s farm. The town of Woodstock came up with ordinances to prevent the concert from happening there, so the farm became the happening place. Despite the rain, 440,000 people gathered. For many, the concert symbolized their quest for freedom and hope.

For an in depth history of the concert, check out this Web site, “1969 Woodstock Festival and Concert.” It includes a Times Herald-Record article by Elliot Tiber that details how the event came to be with insider type tales.

Already there is the Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts on the property so the museum will be a companion to that. It is hoped that the museum will bring much needed dollars to Sullivan County. Although, I’ve been to Woodstock–the town that is in Ulster County several times, I haven’t been to this version. Now that there’s the museum, I’ll make the trip.

The museum looks like it will be fantastic. For some, perhaps it will be a trip down memory lane. For others a history lesson. Anyone who loves the mix of social issues, politics and music should think about heading here. Pair the trip with a stop in Woodstock, the actual town. The two are companion pieces in a way, and the Mid-Hudson Valley region of New York is absolutely splendid–even if all you do is drive around on the narrow, windy Ulster County or Sullivan County roads.

Here’s a tip, when on a windy county road in upstate New York, slow down on curves when it’s raining, Otherwise, you can sail off into a ditch with the undercarriage of the car scraping on pavement. I know; it happened.

John Lennon’s Piano On Peace Tour

“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace”

John Lennon’s piano is making the rounds on a peace march of sorts. Starting in Dallas, Texas where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the Steinway Model Z upright was on display on the “grassy knoll” before its current stop in Memphis, Tennessee. Here it will be displayed on the balcony of the motel where Civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. (I don’t know how long the piano will be on here.)

The World Trade Center, the site of the Oklahoma federal building bombing and the Branch Davidian Compound are also on the list of piano stops.

Entertainer George Michael who owns the piano that John Lennon used to compose the song, “Imagine” has sent it on this global tour as a way to promote peace. At each site, the piano is being photographed and video-taped with a book or a documentary in mind.