George Starostin's Reviews

 RINGO STARR

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Introduction

Simon Hearn <simon@leehearn.freeserve.co.uk> (08.09.99)

You know by now I can't abide any of Ringo's solo material. Why? Simply because it is not quality. If we were talking about the same albums by an unknown artist we would be slating them. It is your beatles fascination that determines your judgement. Listen to his albums and distance yourself from the artist and listen to the music - it is not good.

[Special author note: Simon has a point here, of course, but so do I when I say it is his bias towards Ringo as the 'accidental Beatle' that determines his feelings towards this music. If you manage to get rid of the pre-conceived idea that Ringo was simply a zero-talent 'songwriter' with no musical taste at all (which, for some unknown reason, many people do share), you might look at his stuff in a different light.]

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (09.08.2000)

I agree with you about Ringo. You can't give him more than one star (Every Starr must have a star).His music is jolly but it doesn't touch your heart and soul. Lyrics are simple and nothing to talk about. It's better to listen his music when you are having a good time. In any other way it bores you.

David Lyons <d.t.lyons@btinternet.com> (17.12.2000)

I'm sure he's a nice bloke, I really am. He cut a reasonable figure as your typical 'Rich Bloke In The Seventies Who Used To Be In A Famous Band' (a little known social category, invented solely for insurance purposes). But, but, but, but. I just can't stand him. He must surely be the luckiest man in the world, ever, bar no-one. Or possibly the luckiest primate (y'know, I always favoured Sir Macca as my favourite Beatle by some distance, until I stumbled across John's 'Simian Vibes' comment and realised someone agreed with me. That's quite apart from John's 'Best drummer in the world? He isn't even the best drummer in the Beatles...' quip. It's a close run thing in the favourite department now, hehe).  

Now, as touched upon in my personal statement thingie, I have been known to dabble with the odd spot of trap rattling myself (well, 'dabble' might be too light a word given the amount in my garage. They're too darn expensive to dabble with.), and, naturally enough, you tend to pay that teensy bit more attention to that which you are most affiliated with. And Ringo really just doesn't do it for me. Yes, the drum parts for many Beatles songs are good, but that has little to do with La Starkey. This is something he shares with PF's Nick Mason - adequately performing someone elses ideas (I don't rail against Nick because no-one has ever, to my knowledge, proclaimed him 'The Worlds Greatest Drumming Innovatory Virtuoso Mastermind'. Come to think of it, no-ones ever said those precise words about Ringo, but you get my drift). Everything he did is perfectly replicatable, given a little application. Try the same exercise with Keith, Ginger or even Mitch Mitchell - In Keith's case, practically impossible, in Gingers, merely extremely difficult (not to be disrespectful to Ginger, it's just that he generally stays within the learnable rules, he just does it supremely well).

You get the feeling from the very beginning of The Beatles of a vague sense of the others sniggering at Ringo (is it really just co-incidence he copped for singing 'Boys'? Now, the song does have a perverse charm to it, and his singing is a refreshing change, but did he read the lyrics before he agreed to it? I know it was a simpler, more innocent time, but my old dad tells me it raised a chuckle even then. Don't you know I need boys, indeed). Okay, I concede my assembled case for the prosecution is flimsy and centred firmly around my own prejudices, but hell, it's cathartic to make it all the same. In case you're wondering, I've chosen this page to make my feelings clear, rather than the Beatles page, to lessen the chance of being pursued screaming through the streets of Manchester by a horde of howling Beatlemaniacs wearing Ringo tee shirts. So there you go.

Morten Felgenhauer <Morten.Felgenhauer@kvaerner.com> (15.01.2001)

When listening to Ringo's solo works, it helps being a Beatle fan, because I wouldn't have bought most of his albums if they were released by some unknown. Objectively only a few of his 70s albums are any good (Ringo & Goodnight Vienna) and his two 90s efforts (Time takes time & Vertical man) are of equal quality. Unless you are a Beatles completist you really don't need the rest of his output. There is, however, some gems hidden in there somewhere.

Mikhail Kuzischev <mike_kuz@mtu-net.ru> (06.04.2001)

Well, George, I think you're right. Ringo is very lucky guy. And we cannot imagine Ringo without his friends. But the main reason is that Ringo is very sincere and easy-going person. You can hear it in his music. Sure, Ringo is very limited in his songwriting, but somehow he got amazing feeling of choosing the correct songs to perform (IMHO, the first two albums are no exception!). Or his numerous friends got that feeling - what kinda songs to write and to give to Ringo. When it fails, the output sounds like crap. Like Ringo 4th or the Old Wave. In the other cases you almost can believe, that songs he's singing are written by Ringo himself.

I'm not agree in just one point, George. "Resonanse" = 0 is too low. That works when you're listening such songs, as "Back Of Boogaloo", but when it comes to "Photograph", or songs of Beaucoups..., I can help it, I get that "resonanse"!. Course, I know you didn't like that album, but it's only my humble opinion. I think, his "resonanse" is at least 2. And this is, I think, the main thing of Ringo's career.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (22.03.2001)

The worst thing about the big Ringo debate is the number of people who get sucked into one or the other of two extremist camps. The first is the one that makes so much out of Ringo's talent that it devotes websites to him, and the other one is the group that thinks he's crappy because he can't do anything tricky. I submit to you, dear readers, that there are other things to consider besides technical expertise when judging a musician. Let's take Ringo's drumming and compare it to Paul McCartney's drumming. This may sound like a ridiculous thing to do, since McCartney isn't really a drummer - BUT, I think McCartney can probably technically do everything that Ringo is capable of doing on the drums. This necessarily means that there's more to it than technique for the simple reason that Ringo just plain sounds better on them. As far as technical expertise goes, there's no question that Ringo is fairly rudimentary. But if we consider the principle that a seasoned veteran sounds better playing a simple part than a beginner does (which I think is indisputable), then it's easy to see why Ringo sounds good on the drums (which I realize is just my useless opinion).

But, anyway, we're talking about his solo career, aren't we? Obviously, Ringo is not one of the great recording artists of the 20th century (unless you consider the fact that he was one of the Beatles), but he has put out some enjoyable music. He even does a pretty capable job of making up songs. As far as his voice goes, I think the appeal is more in the way of a friendly mood than any great vocal talent on Ringo's part. In any event, I feel that Ringo's best albums are widely scattered over the last three decades, which, I suppose, is a good sign: Ringo (1973) is the one with the hits and features all three of the other Beatles; Old Wave (1983) has mostly good songs and a big contribution from Joe Walsh; Vertical Man (1998) is simply chock-full of catchy songs and generally creative ideas. Other worthwhile releases are: VH1 Storytellers (1998) which is not only Ringo's strongest live album, but completely outshines both of his compilations (Blast From Your Past and Starr Struck); Scouse The Mouse (1977), which is only about half full of Ringo songs, but is pretty darned good if you like kid's music; and I Wanna Be Santa Claus (1999), a spotty, but generally enjoyable Christmas collection, which has at least a few really good tracks on it. The rest of his albums are of interest only to completists. There are also the All-Starr Band releases, which now number a total of four. The most recent (2000) is a three CD collection including everything from the first album (1990), most of the second one (1993) and a little bit of the third (1997), as well as about a CD's worth of previously unreleased material. I think these are enjoyable (particularly the non-Ringo material), but totally inessential, even for people who consider some of Ringo's albums to actually be essential. One last note: if you're a completist, you'll notice that my comments on the individual albums include information about non-album tracks. This is in case anybody wants to make a list and try to find every official track by Ringo. Well, I forgot three of them: 'Band Of Steel' (a 1976 country duet from the Guthrie Thomas album Lies And Ali-bies); the version of 'With A Little Help From My Friends' from The Prince's Trust Concert 1987 CD (this is the first of six live versions of this song by Ringo); and the version of 'Boys' from the third All-Starr album (a trivial detail, but I did forget to mention it).

Glenn Wiener <glennjwiener@hotmail.com> (05.07.2001)

Allright Ringo is not the most talented guy in the world. But between his vocal delivery and relying on some influential friends, Ringo Starr has been able to make a reasonable solo career for himself. Ringo and Vertical Man are very strong solo releases and the All Star Band discs are loaded with many interpretations of old classics by Ringo and his ever growing number of friends. Yes, Ringo has had many many forgettable albums that were panned so hard by the critics that the public hardly ever got a wiff of the music. However, Ringo brings something to the table that none of the other three solo Beatles were able to do. And that is FUN!!!! Music is supposed to be pleasant and enjoyable and the Ringoís songs even the not so successful ones bring an honest jovial style to the recording that canít help but have you root for the guy.

Ryan Maffei <chaucer@ix.netcom.com> (30.03.2002)

A great drummer, oui, with great session work surviving in Lennon and Ono's Plastic Ono Band records, and an important quarter of an important band: such was Mr. Starr. However, this is also definite and well known: Ringo, our good friend, should not have been a solo artist. Sad to say, yes, he fit perfectly well in with the other Beatles, but he was a young man who was more about charisma than anything. So while he brilliantly plays Mr. Conductor on that children's show, we shall continue to berate him for his sub-sufficient, derivative, banal solo releases. C'est la vie, and who am I to argue? Your rating of one is perfectly deserved, although not in a harsh way...I guess in a more forgiving way.

I like "Octopus' Garden", if that helps. Sue me.

Rui Valente <RuiValente@sapo.pt> (06.08.2002)

Does anybody in this site know something about music? Ringo don´t give a ****** about what you think of him. He´s a STARR, and you´r not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why? ...... Because he is a talented musician. And you?

Envy.....

Dmitry Uskov <uskov@moldvine.ru> (25.09.2003)

'Boys/I wanna be your man/Matchbox/Honey don't/What goes on/If you've got trouble/Act naturally/Yellow Submarine/Little help from my friends/Flying/Don't pas me by/Good night/Ostopus' garden'... A compilation of Beatles' material? Maybe, maybe - but don't you feel it is a typical solo Ringo record! A kind of secret formula of his success as a solo artist - he tries to stick to it, and it works,it really does.

Pedro Andino <pedroandino@msn.com> (26.01.2004)

RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! HEY I JUST GOTTA LOVE A GOOF BALL WITH A DUMB KIND OF HUMOR YOU KNOW WHEN HE SINGS IT'S KINDA LIKE HE NEEDS A DEEPER KINDA LOVE BUT HE GOT POUNDED AND JOHN LENNON NEVER GET HIS CALLS!

Michael J. West <msclguru@verizon.net> (22.11.2005)

'Dja ever ask an actual drummer about Ringo's drumming ability? I took a survey of some drummers I know, all of whom learned to play by following along with their favorite pop records. And you know what? They all say the same thing. "Don't underestimate Ringo. He thuds the drums like an amateur, but technically he's quite good. He's got a lot of imagination and does some things it took me years to figure out."

Really.

And you gotta think, drummers are probably going to have the best perspective on whether Ringo was a good drummer, right? Or, at the very least, there will be something to what they're saying. So, you know. There it is.

(Interestingly, the drummers also all say "if you REALLY wanna hear a rudimentary drummer, check out Charlie Watts.")


ALBUMS
SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@yahoo.com> (04.12.2000)

George, I'd like to ask you only one question: how many times did you listen to this record? I don't want to say that you can't write review until you heard record three times at least, I really want to know how many listens did you give it because I couldn't give it even one listen! I just listened for about a minute from every ...err... song (I'd better put this word in inverted commas) and then I put this disc in my table. I don't meet such 100% unlistenable records frequently and that's why Sentimental journey disappointed me so much. But (I really don't understand why and how ) this record was #20 in charts (while McCartney was #2)!

O.K. I found excusion for poor Ringo: he didn't write any songs here so Juorney isn't such a big blow to Beatles' reputation! But I think that this album is a great blow to Ringo's reputation and don't forget that it started the famous bias about Ringo. By the way, my mother likes this record very much... Maybe, Journey is only for parents?

P.S. I wonder if any of these ...err... tracks were played on the radio.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (22.03.2001)

There are three things to consider with an album like this: the song selection, the arrangements, and the singing. As far as the songs go, there are only a couple that are big favorites of mine: 'Star Dust' and 'Night And Day.' A couple of the others are pretty good, too, but mostly I'd say that Ringo's choice of material could have been a lot better. There are just too many corny slow songs here. If anything, the arrangements tend to improve the situation, particularly on the upbeat jazzy stuff like 'Blue, Turning Grey Over You' and 'Night And Day.' 'Bye Bye Blackbird', 'Stardust' and 'I'm A Fool To Care' also benefit greatly from their arrangements. Many of the others, however, are just too corny, with 'Have I Told You Lately That I Love You' easily being the worst example. It sounds like it belongs on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and is the most dated thing on the record (even though it's an attempt to 'update' the song). And then there's Ringo himself. If there's anything positive to say, it would be that Ringo stays in key and has a contagious enthusiasm that transcends the general mediocrity of his performance (but then, that's always true of Ringo). Every one of these songs would sound better with a good singer. In any event, I can't help but think that Ringo has made worse albums than this one.

Eric Rogozin <erogozin@mtu-net.ru> (11.04.2001)

How can someone criticize the record, which is not designed for critique!!!? It's not assigned for criticism by definition. Unbearable? Unlistenable? Sentimental Journey is easy listen to, it's a very good background. Use it as a background and you'll be very glad. It's nice to hear Ringo singing these jazzy tunes, in general, it's a nice record. Consider it as a jazz album and, actually, it is a jazz album; Ringo always showed his interest for Big Bands. And Big Bands era presents itself in Sentimental Journey. Believe me or not, I like this album. Yes, I like this album. C'mon, if Ringo wants to perform these old jazzy sentimental songs to his mom, why can't we let him do it? I thought, all have understood, that it's a private record and it can't be and mustn't be criticized. A good musician must do what he wants, it's selfexpression yet. And sometimes it brings a diversity. I mean, you see, this album is jazzy, next one is countryish, is it bad, that Ringo can express himself in all these various styles? And this efford is not bad. If you think, that it spoils Beatles catalog (I don't think so), just ignore it. Critics must be polite with poor Ringo, why did they bash his first solo effort. Hey, if they have bashed first Paul solo albums (think of it, including Ram(!!!!!!!!!)), what can be said about those critics!

Ryan Maffei <chaucer@ix.netcom.com> (29.03.2002)

You're too goddamm hard on this album, George. Seriously...and Ringo would get much worse. Sentimental Journey may not be a Plastic Ono Band, All Things Must Pass, or Ram, but it defines the term "harmless and affable" in every respect, more than any deer could ever hope to. The classic tunes are nicely done, and the arrangements, in the hands of skilled songwriters, rarely falter. Ringo's voice is pleasant enough, and the whole record goes down pretty easy. Seriously, it's not banal or abysmal, it's merely pleasant without being original, remarkable, or wonderful. I wouldn't give an album like that such a harsh rating as a 5/15...try a 6, or maybe a 9/15. Ringo would do much worse...he'd even try to write his own material at one point. AHHHHHH!!!!!! Scary. So, in conclusion, less poison than other Ringo. A 6, once again, or a C+.

Michael J. West <msclguru@verizon.net> (22.11.2005)

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, George. This album is nowhere NEAR as bad as all that. It is worth pointing out that these are all classic songs, not just movie music-"Stardust," for a long time, was the biggest hit on the planet. And their orchestration is exactly in line with what was in style for those songs in 1969. Not that that will change your opinion of the arrangements-not that it should-but it will explain them.

But what's really important is that Ringo sounds pretty good doing them, himself. They are great songs for his vocal range and sound, and he's got pretty good timing and great, upbeat, happy delivery on them. So leave him alone, wouldya?


BEAUCOUPS OF BLUES

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (02.03.2001)

I like it! It's my favorite Ringo record,at least till the release of Rotogravure:I called it a day then as far as Ringo's records are concerned.

It's really a sentimental journey:"love don't last long" with a tune reminiscent of Bobby Goldsboro's "Holly" ,is actually the same kind of tear-jerker."Woman of the night "is exactly what you think it is:Maggie Mae can't buy me love."Beaucoups of blues " stroke me for the first word of the title:why did they use the French word with a spelling mistake at that?(beaucoup means "a  lot" or "lots" for those who don't speak French).It's a very nice country waltz,all the same!"15 dollars draw " makes me tap me feet,indeed!Ringo can rock!The last track (before the bonus which don't add much)is absolutely amazing.A committed song!A belle waiting for her beau coming back from Vietnam at the airport.But ,asks Ringo in an accusing and lugubrious voice,why that hearse filled up with flowers ?Did he really have to die?

Sure ,he didn't.But after all these western laments ,this contemporary song irrelevancy is weird beyond comment.

I like this record.I do.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (26.03.2001)

There's something comforting about country music. The songs are simple and reflect basic fundamental values in life. And this album gives us an appropriate example of that. Most of these songs are bona fide generic country tunes - most no better than the rest. The musicians are old pros. The only thing unusual here is the lead singer's English accent. Nevertheless, Ringo really seems to be in his element here, and turns in mostly good performances (the exception for me being a rather weak vocal on 'Silent Homecoming'). There are two songs that seem to rise above the standard fare: 'Beaucoups Of Blues', which I think is quite lovely, and '$15 Draw' which opens with some great guitar picking and then settles into redundancy. Among the generic stuff, I'll take 'Wine, Women And Loud Happy Songs' over the rest, simply because it makes me want to hang out in a bar and be a loud-mouthed jerk. None of the other songs are bad songs, but none of them stand out, either. Some are bone-headedly melodramatic ('Love Don't Last Long'; 'Silent Homecoming'), but mostly they're just consistently fair. Nothing too special. The musicians are great, though. The bonus tracks aren't bad. 'Coochy Coochy' (the US B-side of 'Beaucoups Of Blues'), has some good playing and is harmless and simple. 'Nashville Jam' (previously unreleased) is basically the equivalent of George Harrison's 'Apple Jam', but with country musicians. It's somewhat disposable. But then, in a way, the whole album is just a tad disposable.

Eric Rogozin <erogozin@mtu-net.ru> (16.04.2001)

Very good! Enjoyable! Once Ringo went to Nashville for some inspiration, because he always had a passion for country music, and recorded a country album and made it good.

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (21.04.2001)

This can be stomached but only in theory.In fact,this is not a Ringo's record yet. Yes, Ringo presents here but you won't find any atmosphere, which usually can be felt on his later records. These are main words about Beaucoups of blues: 'banal', 'listenable', 'almost unenjoyable' and 'country'. I'm not against country at all (I do like Dylan's country!) but this one... Ah, not that it's bad but... It's completely forgetable. There's only one standout - 'Coochy coochy', which is written by Ringo himself. This isn't a country song - this is rocker!

Yes, Ringo's trying not to bore you and he even succeeds but, to tell you the truth, it's not enough to get more or less high rating. Besides, it's obvious that Ringo was influenced much by Peter Drake and his all support team so take Ringo's songs at this record just as a contribution to someone's album. Pete Drakes'for example. You know, bad company is equal to bad record and that's what we face here. Fortunately, there's a distant light in a tunnel (and no fast train coming, mind you!) for me because here I start to see Ringo himself and his songwriting: 'Wait for you to come and see me// Wait for you to come and see me// Where're you my Coochy-coohy// Coochy-coochy, Coo?' Stupid and, well, funny. I wonder how can Ringo sing such verses without getting red! Though, it's his special feature...

Ringo! Give up with these Nasville freaks! Your big brothers are waiting for you to come and ask them for help!


RINGO

Glenn Wiener <Glenn.Wiener@Entex.com> (09.08.99)

This record compares very favorably with many offerings from any of the ex-beatles. Whereas Ringo had his limitations as a song-writer and vocalist, he more than gets by...with a little help from his friends. There are no real bad songs and some ('Photograph', 'Oh My My', 'Six O Clock', 'I'm The Greatest') are excellent. I think you might have erred on some of the song-writing credits as Ringo co-wrote 'Photograph' and the 'Sunshine' song. Unfortunately, most of his other releases are spotty at best. However, his most recent CD, Vertical Man is quite solid almost at the level of the Ringo CD. On Vertical Man, Ringo co-wrote much of the material and its generally good-sounding and not dated in any way.

Manuel Lazcano <mlazcano@bmv.com.mx> (14.02.2000)

The best Ringo album, without a doubt, it is indeed a must for real Beatle fans. The openning track 'I'm the Greatest' depicts a very amused Ringo, backed by Lennon. 'Photograph' and 'You're Sixteen' are a couple of classics, as well.

But above all, the track 'Six O'Clock' really stands out: this is McCartney at his best (Had I been Paul I would have kept it to myself). Sad to say, the CD version has the last part "..but I don't treat you like I..." ripped off, a real sad thing, since it indeed spices up the song. We can feel Vini Poncia somewhere aroung the album, his style is immediately recognizable (if you don't believe it check some of his contributions on Kiss albums: his songs sound pretty much all the same).

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@yahoo.com> (06.12.2000)

This formula works! Though you should agree that it couldn't become workable back in 1970. Ringo had to have a failure with first albums! Only then he could ask his big brothers to help him with songs. Could you imagine what McCartney would say Ringo if he asked Paul to write a song for him (and what a beautiful song!) three years before? In 1970 Harrison was thinking only about Krishnaism and could write only preachy lyrics while John and Paul were nearly enemies. But after three years Paul, John and George understood that they were on their peak while Ringo was somewhere beyond. That's why ,I think, we got Ringo, Goodnight Vienna, Stop and smell the roses and etc. By the way, 'It don't come easy' is the most serious song Ringo(without anyone's help!) ever wrote. Though, the moto: 'With a little help of my friends' is shining here brightly.

And here's last note. Do you know that all people who are pictured at the cover are people who helped Ringo to put out this jolly record?....

P.S. Please, don't take last note seriously.

Palash Ghosh <palash7@hotmail.com> (20.02.2001)

Ringo is by far the best record that Mr. Starkey released in his otherwise murky solo career -- made even better by the fact that the re-mastered version includes the great single 'It don't come easy.' My other fave tracks are 'Have you seen my baby,' 'You're sixteen,' 'Oh my my' and 'Photograph.' This album has a very 'L.A. flavor' and it was nice that the other three Beatles helped him with this record -- although they probably never were present in the same room together. Still, this is the nearest thing to a 'Beatles reunion' there ever was. It's a pity that Ringo didn't use Paul and George's input more in his solo works.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (02.03.2001)

It was OK when it was released but I don't think it stood the test of time."I'm the greatest" is not much of a tune for someone of Lennon's stature and it's essentially George's guitar that redeems it."photograph" is spectorian to a fault.

McCartney's song is tuneful and holds up well.The rest is average stuff,and can't compare with the best solo Beatles albums (All things must pass,Imagine,Ram,and the chef d'oeuvre Plastic Ono Band)

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (28.03.2001)

Virtually Ringo's best album. It's just a pop album, so it's nothing earthshaking, but when it comes to listening to something fun and lightweight, this works just fine. Two songs stand out to me as the best: 'I'm The Greatest' (a stomping piano-based tune that outshines the entire Mind Games album) and 'Sunshine Life For Me' (an irresistible countryish tune that's better than most of Material World). Also included are no fewer than three major hits (including two chart-toppers) that are all catchy and fun: 'Photograph,' 'Oh My My' and 'You're Sixteen.' I'm also quite partial to 'Step Lightly' and 'You And Me (Babe),' which are both more laid back, and 'Have You Seen My Baby,' which is more upbeat. That leaves just two tunes that don't do it for me. 'Devil Woman' rocks well, but is just one of the dumbest songs around.

'Six O'Clock' is just a generic McCartney ballad from the period (and doesn't compare with anything on Band On The Run). In any event, it's a must-have for anybody who wants a few Beatles solo albums without going overboard. The bonus tracks manage to actually improve the CD. 'It Don't Come Easy' has been a bit overblown by those who are shocked that Ringo wrote it, but it's still a good song. 'Early 1970' (the B-side of 'It Don't Come Easy') is simple and funny, and gives us an idea of what Ringo thought of the whole breakup thing. 'Down And Out' (the B-side of 'Photograph') is a standard blues-based rock song with nothing special about it. Completists should be on the lookout for the London Symphony Orchestra version of Tommy, since it features Ringo singing lead on 'Fiddle About' and 'Tommy's Holiday Camp,' both of which make for an entertaining listen.

Eric Rogozin <erogozin@mtu-net.ru> (16.04.2001)

Groovy! And it sounds good! "I'm The Greatest" is a great opening track and it fits Ringo very well. Ringo is a nice and funny guy, isn't he. "Have You Seen My Baby" with his friend Marc Bolan on guitar is groovy and the best song is "Devil Woman", co-written with Vini Poncia (the same Vini Poncia who worked together with Kiss on "Unmasked"). This song ("Devil Woman") is awesome!


GOODNIGHT VIENNA

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@yahoo.com> (28.12.2000)

Goodnight Vienna is more commercical album than Ringo. Of course, Mr.Starkey couldn't expect such comeback with Ringo and that's why Ringo is more risky and ...err... maybe 'hot-headed'. But now Ringo is sure that formula works and there's nothing to worry about. That's why Goodnight Vienna sounds more washed-up and more self-confident. Unfortunately, it loses this drunken atmosphere which I could feel on previous record.

On CD (I count three bonus tracks: 'Blindman', 'Back off boogaloo' and extended version of 'Six o'clock') we have three songs that Ringo wrote himself, two songs that he cowrote with Vini Poncia (I searched for his records all through Moscow but couldn't find any), one song (plus it's reprise) by John Lennon and 7 covers (not exactly covers because some of them were given to Ringo as a gift). Actually, I like all these songs (maybe except two ballads (I hope Ringo is just joking. I can't take these tracks seriously)) but for some strange reasons there are no standouts, except 'Back off boogaloo'. If we count bonus tracks, it's the best one here. Others are just OK.

Now I'd like to say what I figured out about bias towards Ringo. I'll try to describe my idea step by step. See, I usually disagree with your choise of the best song on Ringo's album. When you crown 'Devil woman', 'No-no song', 'Cookin' in the kitchen of love', 'Can she do it like she dances', 'Dead giveaway', 'Hopeless', 'What goes around' and 'I was walking', I say 'Six o'clock', 'Back off boogaloo', 'I'll still love you', 'Drowning in the sea of love', 'Wake up', 'I keep forgetting', 'I don't believe you' and 'Vertical man' instead. Got my drift? I just wanted to say that Ringo is very bilateral person and if you don't like two or three his albums it doesn't mean that you will dislike his other efforts. Two weeks ago my father asked me to give him best Ringo's songs to listen. I made rather cute compilation (as I thought then) which consisted of 'It don't come easy', 'Back of boogaloo' and other huge solo hits. And he didn't like it! But then he decided to listen to Bad boy, Old wave and Vertical man. And you know what? He liked it VERY much and thinks that these albums are the best Ringo's ones. So what is my point? I just wanted to say that many people buy compilation called Blast from your past and if they don't like it (9 out of 10 cases) they dismiss whole Ringo's career. So, in my opinion, this famous bias comes out from people's laziness.

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (02.03.2001)

Lennon gave here a very lousy song.Elton John was more generous."Only you" was a disastrous choice.Nothing to get hung about.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (31.03.2001)

An attempt to continue the success of the previous album. As usual, the sequel isn't as good as the original. In fact, there's only one song on here that grabs me, 'Easy For Me,' which I think is quite a touching song. I also like 'Call Me' in the same way that I liked 'Step Lightly' on the previous album. And 'Goodnight Vienna,' like most John Lennon songs, is enjoyable, but it certainly wasn't anything of great value to its writer. The rest of the songs are all mildly appealing, but nothing great. 'Snookeroo' is a typically catchy Elton John pop tune from the period, and somehow doesn't grab me at all. 'Husbands And Wives' is a typical country ballad with corny lyrics, but a solid piece of songwriting. 'No No Song' and 'All By Myself' are both fun and catchy, but too shallow. 'Oo-Wee' is a threadbare piece of writing with a good, fat sound. 'Occapella' irritates me, but I wouldn't say it's a bad song. 'Only You' sounds like it isn't Ringo, which is probably a good thing, but sounds even less like Elvis to my ears (in response to your comment, George). In any event, it doesn't do much beyond relaxing me. The bonus tracks are generally more interesting: 'Back Off Boogaloo' isn't much of a song, but it's a good track. I prefer 'Blindman' (the B-side) which is about the strangest thing Ringo's ever done. Like the A-side, it ain't much of a tune, but the arrangement is so bizarre that it makes for a fascinating track. The longer version of 'Six O'Clock' on this CD, incidentally, is the way it appeared on the cassette and 8-track versions of Ringo. Also, Ringophiles, the two versions of 'Goodnight Vienna' appeared as a medley on the US single. This medley hasn't made it onto CD, so good luck finding it.


RINGO'S ROTOGRAVURE

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@yahoo.com> (04.12.2000)

Ringo's moto was 'with a little help from my friends'. I think that it had changed a bit: 'With a little help from my friends and help from my friends' friends'. Just look, Eric Clapton (close friend of George Harrison) wrote song for Ringo here! George himself contributed one of the best songs here - 'I'll still love you' (I'd rather like George himself singing it). Again I don't understand him. Why didn't he save it for himself? He could put it on 33 & 1/3 or George Harrison... Oh, well, George always was strange fellow.On the other hand, Paul gave Ringo rather weak song ('Pure gold'). I don't like it because it doesn't fit Ringo and it doesn't have Paul's identity either! John didn't evade Ringo's request for good songs and wrote rather cute number (still I don't think that it is the best song here) 'Cookin' (in the kitchen of love)'.

Rotogravure is little letdown to Vienna but still it is. Here you won't get ANY Ringo's songs (I mean songs which he wrote himself) but there are two or three songs which have a piece of Ringo, though I don't think he played the main role in writing these songs. And I want to mention the last thing: last track is like closing track on VH1 Storytellers. Ringo just want to say that show is over: 'and that's how the album ends...HA! HA! HA!'... But after all I insist that this record is jolly! People! Don't evade it, OK? My rating is the same as yours (but this nine is rather weak one).

Didier Dumonteil <dbdumonteil@wanadoo.fr> (02.03.2001)

Obviously made in order to duplicate the success of the Ringo album,it features compositions of all the Beatles.Lennon's one is garbage again.All the songs Lennon has given hit rock bottom,not only Ringo's Cooking and goodnight Vienna,but also Bowie's fame,Winter's rock and roll people,Keith Moon 's move over MrsL..And however Lennon is my all-time favorite artist.C'est la vie..

Harrison's one is lovely,it was first intended for a Cilla Black LP.I wonder wether it's the same song that George gave as a bonus on the remastered All things must pass(now called "I live for you".Not enough dough to buy another copy.

McCartney's tune is fine again.

All in all,they tried to do an ersatz B. album and it was bound to fail.The rest of the tracks are indifferent,the Clapton one being particularly worthless.I prefer beaucoups of blues ,when Ringo was " au naturel".

<AppleCorp3@aol.com> (03.03.2001)

Interesting sidenote...I read somewhere that George sued Ringo for doing such a bad job on 'I'll Still Love You'. Don't know if it's true, but it wouldn't suprise me one bit - the Beatles practically kept the English lawyers in business throughout the 70s and 80s.

Also - I find it interesting how Paul and George tend to give Ringo leftover crap, whereas John usually would give Ringo something decent, or custom-built.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (05.04.2001)

I think this album is just a little weaker than the previous one, but not as atrocious as most people have written it off to be. Like the last release, this one doesn't really have any big standouts. The closest things to highlights would be the catchy but somewhat simplistic Lennon tune, 'Cookin' (In The Kitchen Of Love)' and the first two old-fashioned rock songs, 'A Dose Of Rock 'n' Roll' and 'Hey Baby.' A few of the others are halfway decent: 'Cryin'' is a reasonable country ballad; 'Las Brisas' is a reasonable mariachi thing; 'This Be Called A Song' is a reasonable 70s pop tune with a horrible title. There's definitely some mediocrity here: 'Lady Gaye' is an overly generic 70s style MOR tune; 'Pure Gold' is a fifties style throwaway from McCartney. Two songs, however, stand out for me as 'the worst of Ringo': 'You Don't Know Me At All' is a crassly generic 70s tune for sissies, and 'I'll Still Love You' is a horribly corny George Harrison throwaway from the bottom of his ballad barrel. Then there's the last track, which is okay for an esoteric piece of gibberish. But, really now - couldn't Ringo think of a better title than 'Spooky Weirdness?' I think that sums up the general lack of creativity in this album. Thoroughly non-essential, but passable.

Eric Rogozin <erogozin@mtu-net.ru> (16.04.2001)

Decent album. "I'll Still Love You" is a big treasure! Such a touching song!


RINGO THE 4TH

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@yahoo.com> (04.12.2000)

'Drowning in the sea of love' (actually, I did a funny mistake while writing this letter - I wrote 'Cooking in the sea of love') isn't the best song here? How could you...? OK, let's start from the fact that I rate this album 9/10. I don't see any letdown here to previous record but your rating is lower! The second song on the album ('Tango all night') is, in my opinion, a sequel to 'No-no song' (can't do anything about it - it reminds me 'No no song' VERY much) and Ringo broke a golden rule here - the sequel is better that the sour original. 'Wings' is wonderful song with rather good lyrics (I bet that Vini Poncia wrote them - Ringo isn't so talented) and unforgetable electric guitar chords in the middle. Ringo can be really proud of the fact that he cowrote this song. 'Gave it all up' is rather touching ballad (what happened to Ringo? Here we see amazing (amazing because they are not stupid) lyrics!). It shows that Ringo CAN sing ballads (The bias that Ringo couldn't sing ballads appeared after Goodnight Vienna, I suppose). Then we get 'Out on the streets'. Ringo's singing rap? At least the last part of lyrics is nearly rap. Next... 'Can she do it like she dances' is not weak, but it's main part fails to catch my ear... Though, I have to admit that line 'Some girls get off by putting on a show // But when you get them home the show is over// Well, on the dance floor there's no move they don't know, but you get her alone her body turns to stone.' catches me. After that goes very pop number 'Seaking Sally through the alley' with great sax work. It can catch you if you are in the right mood. 'It's no secret' is another ballad, not so good as 'Gave it all up' but okay (though it suffers from Ringo's vocal). I couldn't believe my ears when I heard 'Gypsies in flight'. I've heard this song hundreds of times but I never thought that Ringo wrote it! Wonderful ballad. Is 'Ringo the 4th' going to be called a ballad album, I wonder? And the last song ('Simple love song')is nothing but a typical Ringo's pop number, though it doesn't mean that it's unenjoyable... Ha! The album came out to be very good, though nobody agrees with me (well, maybe except Ringo himself). But I have to admit that it's all because of Vini Poncia. Good company means good record!

P.S. The best Ringo's cover!

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (14.04.2001)

Well, at least it's the best Beatles solo album of 1977.  But anyway, it sounds like Ringo was desperately trying to come up with a hit and kept misfiring left and right. Once again, there are no real highlights, but there are a few passable tracks: 'Wings' is a fairly solid medium-paced rocker; 'Gypsies In Flight' has a nice, laid back mood; 'Gave It All Up' is a fairly good (and very corny) ballad; 'Sneaking Sally Through The Alley' and 'Can She Do It Like She Dances' are dumb fun; 'Out On The Streets' is an energetic piece of hype, etc. etc. etc. The thing is, you have to dig through the layers of cheese to hear whatever solid songwriting ideas might be hidden within. This is never more true than on the worst tracks: 'Drowning In The Sea Of Love' is almost humorous in its overblown disco-with-Ringo-singing-it vibe; 'Simple Love Song' and 'Tango All Night' are so cheesy that I have to keep getting up to make sure I didn't put a pizza on the turntable by mistake (ba-dump-bump!)  But seriously folks, the worst track for me is 'It's No Secret,' with its horrible little wah-wah and strings effects. Sounds like an outtake from 'The Love Boat' soundtrack. This album is about as non-essential as it gets. Even if you just want a good laugh, it's not that good of a laugh, so it doesn't even work on that level. Completists will need to find a song called 'Just A Dream' (the US B-side of 'Wings' and the UK & US B-side of 'Drowning In The Sea Of Love').  It's consistent with the songs on the album: a disco track with a superficial 'dreamy' kind of thing going on in it.

Eric Rogozin <erogozin@mtu-net.ru> (16.04.2001)

Ringo goes funk and soul. It's an interesting fact, that Ringo tried himself in various styles and directions. In general, this album is satisfactory. The best song - "Drowning In The Sea Of Love". And "Wings".


BAD BOY

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (29.11.2000)

Part1. Well, I was wondering if Ringo has any serious songs. Now I found one. It's 'Who needs a heart'. It may (or must?) sound very strange but actually this song moved me to tears. But, unfortunately, this song can't pump up the rating of Bad boy itself. Though I found excusion for Ringo: he co-wrote only two songs here ('Who needs a heart' and 'Old time relovin'') which are the only good songs here. Others are dull, silly (and not funny anymore) except perhaps 'Lipstick traces (on a cigarette)' which has good tune. 'Bad boy' is song about Ringo himself though the melody is AWFUL (but the lyrics 'all dressed up in fancy clothes I'm taking the trouble to blow my bubbles away' tell us everything about Ringo). I have a feeling that songs get worse from beginning. 'Who needs a heart' is beautiful, 'Bad boy' with 'Lipstick traces' are O.K. but the rest are ...hmm....well, I know that you won't put such words on your page so I'm shutting down... P.S. I rate it 5/10 only because of 'Who needs a heart'. Without this song Bad boy is Sentimental journey vol.2...

Part2. Very strange album. I gave it another listen and, you know, I liked it (but don't tell it anyone, OK?). That's why I put 2 letters in one just to show how opinion can change. There're three more songs which I enjoy: 'Lipstick traces', 'Monkey see - monkey do' (strange that you don't like the backing vocals(maybe you just don't like the style of playing (I mean Ringo in white clothes with sexy girls(wow, how many brackets!)))) and 'Hard times'. Why do you stick your attention to lyrics? Ringo NEVER had really moving lyrics (oh, well, except only 'Who needs a heart').

Well, George, I am sure that nothing will change your opinion to this record but I'd give it 8/10.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (20.04.2001)

For me, this is possibly Ringo's worst album, with only Ringo The 4th being virtually as bad. George makes a very good point regarding the musicians - they're about as lackluster as can be. I think the two originals are perhaps the best tracks here: 'Old Time Relovin'' has a good-natured feel, and 'Who Needs A Heart' is kind of catchy in its generic Ringo style. I'm also partial to 'Monkey See - Monkey Do,' which overcomes its ridiculous title with a catchy groove. 'Hard Times' starts off sounding like a rocker, but then becomes a frivolous pop tune once the singing starts. 'Lipstick Traces' has a tuneful melody delivered in the most pedestrian way possible. The remaining songs all belong in the 'worst of Ringo' category. 'Tonight' and 'Heart On My Sleeve' are both cloying ballads and Ringo is pretty much the last person on earth who should be singing them. 'Bad Boy' is flat-out ridiculous - at least this version is, anyway. I have nothing against 'Where Did Our Love Go' as a song, but the version on this album is totally lame. Who arranged it - Donny Osmond? And then there's 'A Man Like Me,' which was handled better when it was still called 'A Mouse Like Me.' This earlier version appeared on an album called Scouse The Mouse (which was released between Ringo The 4th and Bad Boy - it's virtually a Ringo album, since he sings 8 of the 15 songs). Somehow, the context makes all the difference with this song. On Bad Boy, it sounds hopelessly corny - but on Scouse The Mouse, it's actually kind of charming. And the arrangement is pretty much the same on both versions - it's just that the 'mouse' version is performed a little better, replaces the word 'man' with the word 'mouse,' and is on a much better album. If anything, the rest of the tracks are better than this one. At least two of them, the jazzy 'Scouse The Mouse' and the countryish 'Living In A Pet Shop,' are among Ringo's best ever. And the others, including the soft-shoe 'Scouse's Dream,' the 50s rocker bluegrass hybrid called 'Running Free,' the Pink Floyd style 'S.O.S.' and the catchy 'Boat Ride' and 'I Know A Place' are all worth having if you don't mind children's music, and are better than virtually all of Ringo's other late 70s music.

Brendan S. McCalmont <tnahpellee@yahoo.com.au> (27.07.2004)

People are always baeting up on this album, I don't why. I can understand Ringo the Fourth not being popular, it's disco. This album is straightforward Rock N Roll, well maybe not so straithforward. This album does have many unusual chord changes. For songs full of this check out 'Hard Times' and 'Old Time Relovin' '. There's soem fun rockers too liek 'WHo needs a heart', 'Monkey See Monkey Do' and 'Hard Times'. The ballads have fantastic melodies. This album has an old fashoined meets new fashioned fusion and there are some interesting Keyboard/organ/guitar effects. In many ways, it is a piece of art. I think the last song sums that up. 'If you're feeling down, I'll be your clown ...' all these songs are about things like people makign up and things getting better [except the opener] and the theme seems to be Ringo makign an album that 'cheers you up'.

It is my favourite Ringo Starr album and I've give it 10/10.


STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (29.11.2000)

Great comeback by Ringo! Unfortunaly, it was overlooked by critics as I understood from your review.

But here we have the same formula as many years ago! Number contributed by George Harrison ('Wrack my brain') is really catchy! I don't know why George didn't keep it for himself. He could easily put it on Somewhere in England (or Gone troppo) and album would be better. Let's think that George didn't want to give his friend such crappy songs as 'Baltimore oriole' or 'Blood from a clone'. Paul gave Ringo two silly (does Ringo have ANY serious songs?) but rather cathcy and cute songs: 'Private property' and 'Attention'. It's really strange, but Ringo managed to write fantastic song 'Back off boogaloo' (Ah, sorry, we've heard it on Goodnight Vienna).Still, second version is good and funny: it's a good idea to put such songs as 'It don't come easy', 'Help!','Lady Madonna', 'With a little help...', 'Good day sunshine','Baby you're a rich man' and ...err... 'Back off boogaloo' itself in one song.

Three versions of 'Stop & and take time to smell the roses' make me smile. Only Ringo could write such lyrics as: 'Stop everything you're doing, run to your local record shop and say,"Give me that record called 'Stop''. He-he-he... One of my favourite songs here is sentimental 'Wake up' which was written by Ringo without anyone's help! 'Dead giveaway' is really strange song for Ringo but still it's very good. The album turns out to be Ringo's the most funny album. Just look at the lyrics of 'Drumming is my madness'! I've never seen such stupid and funny at the same time lyrics. Or 'You can't fight lighting'! Another stupid song which is rather enjoyable. But still I disagree with you when you say that there's no filler. Just take such songs as dull 'Brandy' or 'Sure to fall'(well, the song isn't bad but Ringo's performance is boring). Still this record is worth buying and if you want to have another jolly nice album just run to your local record shop and say,'Give me that record called 'Stop''...

[Special author note: I'd like to remark that several of these songs are actually bonus tracks on certain editions - 'Brandy', 'Wake Up' and a couple others in particular were never present on the original album.]

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (23.04.2001)

Well, I, for one, do NOT think this is the big comeback. It does, however, sound better to me than the last couple of albums. In fact, there's actually a song on this one, 'Wrack My Brain,' which I would put on a 'best of Ringo' tape. Not that it's anything incredible - I just prefer it over the rest of these songs. I also like 'You've Got A Nice Way' and 'Dead Giveaway,' which are the only other songs that sound solid to my ears. The Nilsson sessions must have been a real drunkfest, considering that no actual songs seem to have come out of them. Nevertheless, I find 'Stop And Take The Time To Smell The Roses' to be a very entertaining listen - it just isn't much of a song. 'Back Off Boogaloo' is also fun to listen to, even if it doesn't improve on the original. 'Drumming Is My Madness' carries the drunken fun past the limit of tolerance for me. The oldies are conspicuously non-essential here: 'Sure To Fall' is fairly enjoyable, while 'You Belong To Me' sounds like everybody's in a hurry to get home. While I wouldn't characterize any song on this album as a 'stinker,' I must say that I find the two McCartney tunes to be particularly irritating. The tenor sax on 'Private Property' really grates on my nerves. In any event, there's no more than a couple of pleasant ideas in it, which can also be said for 'Attention.' Both songs sound like generic McCartney rejects, and Ringo sounds out of place on them.

The bonus tracks are all previously unreleased, and reveal the possibility of this album having turned out a little better. This is particularly the case with 'Wake Up,' which is surprisingly good for a self-penned Ringo tune. 'Red And Black Blues' is at least fairly good, if nothing special, while 'Brandy' is a somewhat generic ballad. Also included is 'You Can't Fight Lightning,' a bizarre track that is interesting if nothing else (and which was the title track of the original, unreleased version of this album), and the original vocal mix of 'Stop And Take The Time To Smell The Roses' with its disparaging ad-lib about the Ford Cortina. Interestingly enough, we also get a few 'Hand Gun Promos,' which Ringo recorded for Nilsson in his campaign against (what else?) hand guns. This, of course, was in the wake of John Lennon's murder (Lennon would have apparently contributed the song 'Life Begins At Forty' to this album had he lived). Completists should also be on the lookout for the Canadian single mix of 'Wrack My Brain.'


OLD WAVE

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@yahoo.com> (04.12.2000)

I know your attitude to this album but my rating is still lower than yours. I'll try to explain. Firstly, I hope you understood from my previous comments that I have no bias towards Ringo so I really try to pull something out of every Ringo's record I have (almost the whole catalog, actually). Secondly, I've listened to this album really many times but there're only few songs which I really like. The idea of collaboration with Joe Walsh itself wasn't brilliant. The fact that we don't get any songs from Paul or George (at least let's thank God that we didn't hear Yoko instead of John here...) because George always gives Ringo a good song while Paul does it from time to time. I don't know anything about Walsh's talent but Old wave shows that it's not so big... Now I'd like to list songs which I like: 'In my car' (nothing strange that we disagree here. The same sitation was with George's 'Wake up my love' (By the way, I think that 'In my car' is a rip-off of 'Wake up my love')), 'Hopeless' (though I don't think that it's the best song here. It has only funny lyrics but no catchy melody (just like 'No no song')), 'I keep forgeting' (YEAH!!! This is one of the best Ringo's songs, really! What wonderful mini-hooks we have here!) and 'I'm going down' (At least the lyrics are alright. By the way, I don't really understand what Ringo is singing here: 'I'm going down' or 'I'm coming up'. If the second one... well, it's a good prank on Paul). Other songs just make me sleepy... That's why my rating is something between 6 or 7.

Though, I'm ready to join your attitude to the fact of banning this album in USA or England. Surely, it's no blow to Beatles' reputation, at least not such a big blow as Sentimental journey. And the last note: this album had three different covers (the one which you have, the cover with Ringo's hands holding drum sticks and the last one exact as yours but with the image of guitar (???) instead of Ringo's face (actually, the photo on your cover dates to pre Please please me era. Remember that Beatles changed their Elvis-style haircuts to so-called 'Beatles' ones before producing Please please me)).

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (27.04.2001)

For me, this is the real comeback album. It's unfortunate that the US and the UK didn't see it until the advent of CDs. I like most of these songs, my favorites being the irresistibly funky 'Be My Baby' and the dirgy 'Alibi' (which kind of reminds me of 'Blindman'). 'Helpless' is probably the single funniest song Ringo ever did. The oldies on this album are big highlights: 'I Keep Forgettin'' is given an eccentric arrangement and 'She's About A Mover' is upbeat and kind of goofy. My initial reaction to the beginning of 'In My Car' (which opens the album) was the same as George's. I prepared myself for another cheesy album. Then the band kicks in and it turns into a good song (and a good album!). All of the problem tunes show up at the end. Not that 'Picture Show Life' is bad, but I don't like it as much as what comes before it. Of the two semi-instrumentals, I prefer 'Going Down' over 'Everybody's In A Hurry But Me,' which is a little too one-dimensional. Neither track really blemishes the album, though. In fact, the only track that I really don't like is the hopelessly corny 'As Far As We Can Go,' whether in its updated synthesized treatment, or the original orchestrated mix included as a bonus track on the CD. Because of this, I'm a little tempted to site this as Ringo's best album. But I'll just be conservative and put it in a tie with the 1973 self-titled release.


TIME TAKES TIME

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (15.12.2000)

Time takes time makes me cry. And not because it's something special or groundbreaking. I've just remembered one photo of Ringo with normal hair and beard. But what monster we got instead of friendly Beatle loved by many kids! And these ugly sunglasses! Ringo is no more funny and a little bit crazy - he's stupid. I wish I hadn't said that but it's truth. Nevertheless, let's talk about the album. Just like you I see here no real improvement. It's just another Ringo's jolly record which you can listen if you're in good mood. Songwriting is okay ('okay' here means the same as before 'catchy and stupid'). For me it's really hard to remember all the tunes on this record and, in fact, only few songs go around in my head (sometimes, though): 'What goes around', 'Don't go where the road don't go' (Ringo, how about composing such songs as 'Don't fly where the birds don't fly' or 'Don't run where your friends don't run') and 'Don't know a thing about love'. 8/10 and not more. Nevertheless, I'm glad that record was successful.

Mikhail Kuzischev <mike_kuz@mtu-net.ru> (06.04.2001)

Well, I must tell you, I love this album, and I think this one it's probably best (with one exception of "Ringo" album, maybe). I must admit, there's not much of funny songs here, but I really love heartfulness (am I correct?) and sentimentalism of this record. It's sentimental - that's the key word. This album got...so hard to explain...some kinda athmosphere.

Yeah, after all these years Ringo is just funny simple-minded guy, but he is a great sentimentalist, too (that's why I love his Beaucoups of blues, and Sentimental Journey albums). And IMHO, "The weight of the world", and "All in the name of love" are just great. And rockers are rocking, too. I love "Don't go.." and "After All These Years". It's hard to find such rocking songs in entire Ringo's collection. There was another good old-time rocker recorded, but, too pity, he was released as a single. That was "Don't be cruel". If the entire album was on the level of above-mentioned songs, that was the 10 for me, that's for sure. Until this I think it's 9. Very good work.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (03.05.2001)

It really sounds like Ringo & Company were trying like hell to make a commercially successful album here. And they certainly turned out some melodic tunes for the occasion. But, somehow, it all ends up sounding just as cheesy as Ringo's late 70s efforts - it's just a different brand of cheese. Song for song, though, I'd rate this a little higher than those earlier albums. 'I Don't Believe You' almost redeems the entire album by being one of Ringo's most infectious tracks. 'Don't Go Where The Road Don't Go' is kind of funny in its attempt to be a rocker. The other 'rocker,' 'After All These Years' doesn't hold up as well. Among the wealth of cheesy MOR tunes, I'd rate 'In A Heartbeat' as the catchiest, with 'Golden Blunders,' 'What Goes Around,' and 'Weight Of The World' all just sounding fairly lame to me. And speaking of lame, 'Runaways' sure is. What a joke! And 'Don't Know A Thing About Love' is about as dorky as they come. And what would a Ringo album be without the requisite corny ballad? In this case, it's 'All In The Name Of Love.' These songs sound like they're supposed to be good, but on closer inspection, they're just a bunch of catchy carbon copies of each other.

Completists should be on the lookout for a surprisingly faithful rendition of 'Don't Be Cruel' from the 'Weight Of The World' CD single (faithful if you ignore the fact that it's Ringo and not Elvis). There's also yet another dopey MOR tune called 'Everybody Wins' on the German CD single of 'Don't Go Where The Road Don't Go.' And, of course, since nine years had passed since the last album, there were plenty of other tracks in between: a conventional rendition of 'When You Wish Upon A Star' from an otherwise unconventional various artists album of Disney tunes called Stay Awake (from 1988); a countrified duet version of 'Act Naturally' from the 1990 Buck Owens album called Act Naturally; and a very generic ballad called 'You Never Know' from the Curly Sue soundtrack album (from 1991). Of course, there was also the album Ringo Starr And His All-Starr Band, released in 1990, which included reasonable versions of 'It Don't Come Easy,' 'No No Song,' 'Honey Don't,' 'You're Sixteen,' and 'Photograph.' The non-Ringo stuff is actually a little more interesting. The original release of this album was in a box set with a CD single containing a fair version of 'Act Naturally.' The All-Starr Band also did an uneventful version of 'With A Little Help From My Friends' for the various artists album Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal.


VERTICAL MAN

Fredrik Tydal <f_tydal@hotmail.com> (19.12.99)

I agree with you totally on this one, George. A lot of critics put this one down heavily when it was released. But they don't get that Ringo should be judged by his own standards. Ringo has no intention of putting out a great, timeless album; he's just having a good time. I mean; he's just a drummer who happened to get the biggest break of his life back in the sixties. He doesn't pretend to be anything or anyone else. This is a truly honest record. Ringo is just having fun and packing the studio to the max with guest muscians; Paul and George, Brian Wilson, Steven Tyler - even Ozzy Osbourne, for crying out loud! This is a fun record, and a solid one too. Some critics were offended by the "Love Me Do" cover, but I think it rocks. And after all, it's only right since Ringo didn't get to drum on the original "Love Me Do".

Glenn Wiener <Glenn.Wiener@Entex.com> (03.05.2000)

Without a doubt this is a big time comeback for old Richie Starkey. Song for song this recording is close or even at the level of the fabulous Ringo album. The guys in the band really help out Ringo greatly in the songwriting department and the contributions from Stephen Tyler, Alanis Morisette, Tom Petty, and others make this record a winner in every respect. Ringo, my man, you have brought fun back into rock n roll.

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (21.12.2000)

Ha! Ringo's new syle is working! Motley clothes, stupid coiffure, small sunglasses (I wonder why Ringo on cover doesn't have them) and etc.... Who could expect that SUCH drummer will make SUCH good record. Though I have to admit that when the record came out it was dismissed by critics but soon it took high position in chart and the same ctitics praised it much.

I really don't have any information about authors of the songs (I don't .think that Ringo could write these songs all by himself ) but some of them are terrific (if we speak about Ringo then word 'terrefic' means 'stupid and darn funny'). Take 'I was walking', 'Drift away' or 'La De Da' for example. Great comeback! By the way, did you notice that all albums covers of which have star drawn are comebacking ones (Ringo, Stop & Take time to smell the roses, Vertical man)? I'd give it 10/10. Another successful record.

Mikhail Kuzischev <mike_kuz@mtu-net.ru> (06.04.2001)

I must admit, it's really strong record, but sometimes it's sounds pretty uninspired. It's funny, but there's a border between fun and stupidity, and it's somewhere on this record. I don't like such things as "Puppet" or "I was walking" or "Without understanding". Them all sounds the same, and it's a bit boring. "Drift away" sounds very strange, it's kinda mess. Did you guys know, that Steven Tyler was invited to sing with Ringo on that one. He even has done it! But wait! Where's Steven's voice in "Drift Away", then?!! Yeah, right, he was "cut-off" for contract reason. The voice you can hear belongs too fellow Tom Petty, who saved the Ringo & song. And in the end of song we can hear that "n-dup-boo-dup-yeah-yeah-yeah-hmmm", yeah, right that's all that was left from Steve :) As I said, it's a mess. OK, a pair of good words. "King Of Broken Hearts" is outstanding with George Martin arrangements and Harrison's slide guitar. This time strings are sounding very heavy, and slide work can drive me crazy. It isn't "Free as a bird", of course, but it's very close. "One" and the title track are good. And not to forget McCartney on the 2nd track.

And "La de da", of course. I was in Moscow show of All-Starr Band, and... such wonderful memories! All the auditory was singing that song! That was wonderful!

But this album is only 7. That's all, folks.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (16.05.2001)

I get the impression that this was the album Ringo was trying to make when he did Time Takes Time. He didn't succeed that time, but this time, he turned out one of his best albums. My favorite track is the cartoonish tripfest called 'Vertical Man,' which is arguably the best track Ringo ever did. I also like the other apocalypse for kids, 'Without Understanding.' Most of the non-trippy stuff is good, too: 'I Was Walkin'' is a fun feel-good tune; 'Love Me Do' (heaven forfend!) actually tops the Beatles version (but hey - their version wasn't so great - this one is really sharp); 'What In The . . . World' has a very catchy chorus; 'I'll Be Fine Anywhere' is a fun rockabilly tune; 'King Of Broken Hearts' is a good song with a great arrangement (yep - that's Harrison, all right); 'Puppet' is a strong pop song; 'Mindfield' is dorky but funny; 'La De Da' is solid despite its unpromising title. Even the lesser tracks (for me, anyway) are at least okay. For some reason, I can't get too excited about 'Drift Away.' It's a great song, but it's totally irrelevant on this album, since the quality of the original material makes the inclusion of well-known oldies like this one seem pointless. 'One' is a good song, but not that great, and its status as the album opener led me to suspect that this wasn't going to be such a great album. And then there's the ballad, 'I'm Yours,' which has at least one bit of really nice melody, but is otherwise unexceptional. And I feel guilty saying so, since the song obviously means the world to Ringo - and Ringo's such a nice guy.

Completists will need to find the deluxe version of this CD, which includes a bonus CD single with three fairly decent pop songs: 'Mr. Doubleitup,' 'Sometimes,' and 'Good News.' Also, the CD single of 'La De Da' included another passable pop tune called 'Everyday.' The Japanese version of the album included 'Mr. Doubleitup' and 'Everyday' as bonus tracks. Also, during the six years since Ringo's previous album, a couple of other tracks came out: an amusing duet of 'My Little Grass Shack' from the Leon Redbone 1994 album Whistling In The Wind; and a nice reggae version of 'Lay Down Your Arms' from the 1995 various artists tribute album For The Love Of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson. And, of course, there's the All-Starr Band, which released Live In Montreux in 1993 (with 'I'm The Greatest,' 'Don't Go Where The Road Don't Go,' 'Yellow Submarine,' 'Weight Of The World,' and 'Boys' all being given live versions for the first time; there's also a second live version of 'With A Little Help From My Friends'), and Ringo Starr And His Third All-Starr Band Volume 1 in 1997 (with a live version of 'I Wanna Be Your Man,' along with retreads of 'Don't Go Where The Road Don't Go,' 'It Don't Come Easy,' 'You're Sixteen,' and 'Yellow Submarine'). Carl Perkins also released a various artists CD called Go Cat Go! in 1996 with an All-Starr duet version of 'Honey Don't.'


VH1 STORYTELLERS

Sergey Zhilkin <sergey_jilkin@mail.ru> (02.01.2001)

This one is very interesting live album.You know, there're such concerts where everybody's having fun but, unfortunately, these concerts don't touch you and, in most cases, bore you (Love you live, At The Hollywood Bowl, Flashpoint, David live and etc.). VH1 storytellers, however, shows you that a live album can be very good even if singer don't try hard and just enjoying himself. Atmosphere here is very friendly, Ringo is having fun, audience is having fun (thanks it's not so big),too, but the quality of songs doesn't suffer from it.

VH1 storytellers is way better than all his previous live albums (Live, Live from Montreux, Volume 1 and Volume 2) and, in fact, is the only live album you should care for. Why? Because this atmosphere can go through tape to you (that's what sir Paul was always lacking). All live versions of his songs here are exact copies of studio originals. And I can understand the purpose of last few tracks - they exist just to keep this wonderful friendly atmosphere.

Robert Tally <BtheW@aol.com> (21.05.2001)

I guess there's not much I can disagree with when it comes to George's review of this album - except that I like 'What In The . . . World' and he doesn't. I will say that there's some intangible element in the studio version that doesn't make it into the live version, which lowers its rating for me, but I still think it's a pretty good tune. The one thing that strikes me about this release is the level of polish in the performance. Everything sparkles with perfection. Which isn't necessarily a good thing, but it works well for Ringo music. In fact, the All-Starr releases are relatively drab-sounding compared to this dynamic album (not that they're bad, though). At times, it's actually somewhat stunning the way some of these songs come across - notably 'Octopus's Garden,' 'Back Off Boogaloo,' and 'Photograph.' And luckily, the new material comes from one of Ringo's best releases, so we're not sitting there checking the counter on the CD machine waiting for the next oldie. It's surprising, too, that the band was able to convincingly put across the trippy section in the middle of 'I Was Walkin'.' I'd like to say, though, that I'm getting impatient with tracks like 'I've Got Blisters . . . ' (which is basically a dialogue excerpt) and 'The End' (another four seconds of dialogue and NOT the Beatle song). It reminds me of those Anthology tracks with titles like 'Speech: Paul' or 'Speech: Brian Epstein.' If I'm making a list of officially released songs, I really don't want to have to include those kinds of titles, but they're there, and we're stuck with them. But I digress. Thumbs up to this album. If it were a compilation, it'd blow Blast From Your Past and Starr Struck right out of the water.


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