Ringo Starr’s “Y Not” (2010) – The Weekend Review

Originally posted 2010-01-17 22:46:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

RATING:  2.5 / 5 stars

Although Ringo’s past several albums have been billed as solo records, they have actually been songwriting and performance collaborations with a core of talented singer/songwriters better known as the Roundheads.  They have been musically and lyrically interesting and, at times, even ambitious.

Well, there is no question that Y Not is a true Ringo Starr solo release.

Whereas the collaborations on his past records could be traced through the liner notes and behind-the-scenes documentaries, it is clear that any collaborative efforts on this album are directed by Ringo himself.  Ownership is the key word for Y Not, as his fifteenth studio album finds him producing his own material for the first time in his considerably decorated career.

The result?  This is a fun record, one that Ringo and his assorted guests obviously enjoyed recording.  As the title implies, there is a generally carefree attitude ringing forth from these tracks, an attitude which Ringo has carefully cultivated over a lifetime’s worth of recording and performing.  As early as “Peace Dream,” his positive worldview is sung with as much emotion and sincerity as ever before, followed by the blunt honesty and autobiography of “The Other Side of Liverpool.”  The latter is different from many of his previously autobiographical tracks — think: “Liverpool 8” — in that it covers some darker realms of his past, but it does so with that same air of confidence and cool attitude that we have come to know and expect from the famous drummer for the Beatles.

Ringo Starr's "Y Not" (2010)

Ringo Starr's "Y Not" (2010)

There are many positive comments to be made about Y Not, to be certain, and yet the unfortunate flip side of the “ownership” coin is that this most recent Ringo release comes across as somewhat flat compared to his previous albums.  Anyone who has heard his recent work — Ringo Rama (2003), Choose Love (2005), even as far back as Time Takes Time (1992) — will note the diminished effect of this record.

Even from the outside looking in, Y Not is a black and white, one-fold booklet release with a minimum of effort put into design and packaging.  The advertisement label, never mind the album cover, looks like something I could have designed on Windows 98 and printed out on an inkjet printer manufactured a decade ago.  The advertisement sticker itself seems like an afterthought, placed on the bottom rear of the CD case.

But these are only superficial observations; obviously, an album should be judged first and foremost on the quality of the material contained on the CD or downloaded from Internet.

And this is where the true inconsistencies of the album begin.

There are some truly outstanding songs — the funky, uplifting “Time” and the aforementioned “Peace Dream” to name two.  Then there are some fun if mediocre tracks like the repetitive “Everyone Wins,” the somewhat phoned-in (pun intended) “Fill in the Blanks,” and the title track, which frankly borders on annoying, especially by the time the Indian-influenced middle section arrives. “Walk With You” narrowly avoids falling into this category by virtue of the fact that Ringo’s duet with Paul McCartney elevates it to “gem” status.  There is a reason why these two men were members of what was arguably the best rock band of all time.

Finally, there is a track which will make you shake your head, and not in a good way.  Consider the album closer “Who’s Your Daddy” which is every bit as embarrassing as it sounds.  This is essentially a Joss Stone song with Ringo Starr guest-dueting on the chorus, laying down the anchor phrase “Who’s your daddy?” amidst her lead vocal.

The review essentially boils down to this: Y Not is a disappointment if you’re looking for material to compete with the best material of his career, or even his recent career.  (If you think too long about the title, that’s an oddity and perhaps a disappointment in and of itself — IM shorthand?  Really?)

If you’re simply looking for some fun rock and roll to kick off your 2010 soundtrack, then give this one a try.  Even for all my criticism, I’d be hard-pressed to recommend an artist or band who can so consistently provide such fun, upbeat, positive rock music as Ringo always has and continues to produce.  And, really, between the excellent and embarrassing songs, there are some wonderful tracks like the oh-so-obviously Richard Marx co-written song “Mystery of the Night” and the one Roundhead throw-back “Can’t Do It Wrong,” both of which are more than up to snuff, earning a place alongside some of Ringo’s best album tracks.

The final verdict is that I’m sad to see the Roundheads disband, but I’m happy to have Ringo carry on and take more personal responsibility for his music than ever before.

And yes, embarrassing as it may be, I’ll be singing along with Ringo on “Who’s Your Daddy” just about every time…

“It Don’t Come Easy” (Ringo Starr Cover)

Originally posted 2008-01-26 23:17:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

Hello and welcome back to another brand-new Laptop Session! Jim and I have been laughing this week about how funny it is that Ringo has used his classic phrase “it don’t come easy” in at least one song for his past three albums. This is, of course, a reference to his early hit “It Don’t Come Easy,” one of the first solo Beatles singles. I figured, why not go right to the source? So, here I am singing this great Ringo tune!

I just bought his new album, Liverpool 8, last week, and I have really been enjoying it. I was hesitant to buy it, since I had heard that he severed his working relationship with Mark Hudson. However, I was excited to see that Ringo, Hudson, and the Roundheads (Ringo’s studio band) co-wrote all but one of the songs on the album. And it had a lot to live up to — after all, Ringo Rama and Choose Love are great, if underrated, albums. In the end, I have to recommend it, whether you’re a fan of Ringo and/or rock ‘n roll. I’ll certainly be recording a Laptop Session for “If It’s Love That You Want” — track 10 — if not others in the future. And I’m not going to say much more than that about the album, but look for an article from me about Ringo’s and George Harrison’s solo careers in the coming weeks!

As always, thanks so much for listening (and reading)… I hope you enjoy it! Don’t forget to come back to LaptopSessions.com tomorrow for an all-new session from Jeff!

“R U Ready?” by Ringo Starr

Originally posted 2010-01-11 23:53:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

For Ringo Starr chords & lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

Okay, okay, so I know what you’re thinking: how could I have screwed the lyrics up so badly at the end of the song.  You see, when I say, “That’s the real thing, ain’t it?” it should actually be “That’s the real thing, i’n’t it.”

Hopefully you can see past my error…

Seriously though, I welcome you to the Monday night Laptop Session.  This is my first song choice in anticipation of a new music release this year — in this case, tomorrow’s release of Ringo Starr’s Y Not.  Based on the quality of Ringo’s past several albums, I can only imagine that this oddly titled release will be excellent.  There appear to be some promising collaborations with such artists as Van Dyke Parks, Ben Harper, Joss Stone, Richard Marx, and — most exciting — Paul McCartney.

I’ll be honest — the title does throw me off a bit.  After all, can there ever be a good justification for a man of Ringo Starr’s age and stature to use Instant Messenger shorthand in his album or song titles?  I certainly can’t think of one.  And this isn’t the first time that Ringo has utilized such abbreviations.  As you can tell, my song choice tonight was based on the fact that “R U Ready?” — from 2008’s Liverpool 8 — uses IM shorthand for “Are You.”  I can’t tell you why Ringo made this decision when writing the song, but I can tell you that it is indeed a great song.  It was fun and easy to play, and I got to break in my “D” harmonica.  Ever since I started exploring the different keys in my array of harps, I’ve been having more fun than ever breaking them out and playing them.

I’ll have to think of another harmonica-ready song for next week…

But, for now, I hope you’ll enjoy my cover version of “R U Ready?”  Then, consider taking a listen to the new Ringo Starr album Y Not, to be released tomorrow, Tuesday, January 12th, 2010.  He has truly been on a roll these past several years, releasing outstanding records in 2003, 2005, 2008, and now a mere two years later in 2010.  I know where I’ll be heading after school tomorrow — to my local Newbury Comics store for a copy of Y Not.

With Ringo’s recent track record, I ask you: y not?

“You’re Sixteen” (Ringo Starr Cover)

Originally posted 2008-09-29 00:42:02. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to a slightly-belated Monday, Monday edition of the Laptop Sessions!  Due to Rosh Hashanna celebrations, Jeff asked if Mike could step in.  When that didn’t work out, it was left up to me to fill the space so the Laptop Session a day project can continue!  I’ll have tonight’s video and tomorrow’s, as well, so Jeff will replace my regularly-scheduled acoustic cover song on Friday.  Whippee- no video for me until Monday!

Tonight, you get Ringo Starr’s only Number One Billboard Hot 100 hit in “You’re Sixteen”.  This has to be one of the most fun videos I’ve ever done and if you watch it, you’ll know why.  My version even features the famous kazoo solo, originally played by one Sir Paul McCartney!

I love listening to random mode on my iPod (the “old” 80 gig model).  I heard this song again (I’ve known it for years- who hasn’t?) and then decided to listen to the entire “Ringo” album.  What a great one, including (no pun intended) the song “I’m The Greatest”, which I believe was written by John Lennon.  Ringo always did collaborations well.  Fans will hopefully remember “Never Without You” that he did for George Harrison with a guitar solo by the great Eric Clapton.

I suppose I should give Ringo songs a rest for a while, as I’ve done two recently.  Which one, you ask?  Well, the best way to find out these things is to visit the Laptop Sessions music video blog every single day, but if you missed it, you can just go to the Categories menu in the left bar and click on “Ringo Starr songs”.  Until tomorrow, have a great one!