Another day, another Ringo country/western cover. Aside from the quickie romp with “Maggie Mae,” the Help! album was the last time the Beatles went to outside sources to fill up an LP, and it was apparent by this point that their originals were at a way higher level. Oddly enough, they passed over two solid albeit not earth-shattering Lennon/McCartney songs (“That Means a Lot” and another Ringo vocal, “If You’ve Got Trouble”) that remained shelved for over 30 years in favor of “Act Naturally” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy.”
Both covers made sense on paper, with “Lizzy” filling the rousing album closer slot once held by “Twist and Shout” and “Money,” and “Act Naturally” serving as an appropriate theme song for Ringo, who received some acclaim for his solid performance in A Hard Day’s Night playing…himself, naturally. (Later roles included a caveman, the Pope, and Frank Zappa, because why not?) In 1989, he revisited the track as a duet with original artist Buck Owens.
It’s not too late for Ringo to smash the charts with a cover of “Valley Girl.”
Unfortunately, “Act Naturally” is just a mildly fun diversion that sticks out like a sore thumb on an album with the band’s most mature compositions yet, such as the title track, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” and “Yesterday.” That’s not to say the lyrics are superficial, but Ringo doesn’t really sell them sincerely, and the whole thing is just an exercise in going through the motions to complete an album. Fortunately, it would be the last time.