Ringo Starr – Ringo

Here’s another oldie but goodie from the days of the Blogspot blog. Enjoy!

Poor Ringo was always the least of The Beatles. He wasn’t the writing genius like Lennon or McCartney, he wasn’t a spiritual guru like Harrison. He was this affable little man with a big nose who had an extremely limited vocal range and who occasionally sang songs about underwater gardens and brightly-colored submarines. It’s difficult to take Ringo seriously, honestly.

This isn’t to say that Ringo is without his charms. He is affable, after all, and he has a certain charm to him that’s hard to deny. Ringo is just so damn likeable. He’s loveable, and you honestly want to see him do well. You root for Ringo.

And so when The Beatles broke up in 1970 and inevitably started releasing solo records, you knew it was only a matter of time before even Ringo jumped into it; because honestly, he’s a Beatle, and Beatle = instant chance. So he put out a couple of almost noveltyish records, and then released Ringo in 1972.

The thing about Ringo? It’s really pretty damn good. Ringo knows what folks want to hear from him–vaguely folky, bright, uptempo songs that are poppy, fun, and probably just a little superficial; it’s what we expect of Ringo–and he delivers here. There’s not really any filler on the record, which is to say that all the songs are pretty decent. There are standouts, of course: “Photograph,” a song he co-wrote with George Harrison, is a fantastic number, as is his cover of “You’re Sixteen.” “Oh, My My” is fun, and “I’m the Greatest” (written by Lennon) is a tongue-firmly-in-cheek celebration of status, even if it’s only presumed status in one’s own imagination. The record maintains a consistent feel, which is that of a good time with old friends. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, nothing as overwhelming as All Things Must Pass or as daring as Plastic Ono Band or as self-consciously homemade as McCartney. This is just a fun record, and it succeeds on that level very, very well.

The record also serves as an unofficial Beatles reunion of sorts. All three of Ringo’s former bandmates contribute not only songs for the record but themselves: each appear on at least the track they penned, and their presence offers a legitimacy to the whole affair. Also on hand are Klaus Voormann, old Beatle pal from the Hamburg days, Billy Preseton, and The Band, who offer assistance (along with Harrison) on the excellent “Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond).”

The CD release of the album actually manages to sweeten the deal, adding three bonus tracks–including the single “It Don’t Come Easy”–to the already strong record. Really, if you have any love at all for old Ringo, this is a fantastic record (much better than…well, pretty much anything else he’s released). It’s a comfortable, fun, almost superficial (in the best possible sense of the word) album that it’s hard not to enjoy. You’ll tap your toes, you’ll sing along, you’ll be glad you’re listening to it. Not liking it would be like not liking a puppy, and do you really want to be known as the person who doesn’t like puppies?

5 thoughts on “Ringo Starr – Ringo

  1. This is a great pop album: entertaining, catchy, great musicians, and it even has a great cover, designed by Klaus Voorman. While the LP size makes for a better cover, it doesn’t have the three excellent bonus tracks featured here: Down and Out (the b-side of Photograph); It Don’t Come Easy, and its charming b-side, Early 1970: no prizes for guessing what that song’s about.For some reason, my import copy has `Down and Out’ between Photograph and Sunshine Life for Me, which doesn’t quite sound right.Despite all the marvellous guest stars, such as the other Beatles, most of The Band, etc etc it’s still Ringo’s record. George Harrison makes a major contribution to the set, with three songs co-written with Ringo and some marvellous guitar parts which really evoke a Beatles sound, especially on I’m the Greatest, the first track.The album abounds with decent tunes, good songs and Ringo’s personality: listen to the way he just rolls off his thank you’s to his Beatle mates on the original final track, You and Me Babe.

  2. This CD version contains “It Don’t Come Easy” which was not on the original LP. This song is the second-best Beatles solo recording, after “Imagine.” Admittedly many will laugh at that pick, but the song is brilliant, with an exciting and original arrangement. Ringo never sounded better. This is a *great* album, with wonderful and exuberant singing, an awesome backup band and the closest thing you’ll ever get to hearing the Beatles again. On two songs John, George and Ringo perform together – not bad.

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