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…

“Things We Said Today” (The Beatles Cover)

Originally posted 2008-04-03 22:13:45. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome to your Thursday edition of The Laptop Sessions acoustic cover songs music video blog with me, Jim Fusco! I just reached 100 subscribers and I know it’ll only grow faster from here! I hope you’ll tell your friends about the music blog, too.

Anyway, now to today’s cover song video. Today, I give you another in our series of Beatles cover songs that I’ve loved for a long time, “Things We Said Today”.

Paul McCartney said that this song was about a girlfriend of his he met while in another country. They had such a great time together and made all those crazy young promises of “always waiting for you”, etc. So, he’s singing about remembering the things they said to each other while feeling alone and far away. What a great, heartfelt idea for a song!

One of the things I’ve always liked about “Things We Said Today” is the cool strumming pattern of the A-minor chord that starts the song.  For a song about such a melancholy feeling, the opening chords are so harsh.  Of course, that harsh feeling comes up again in the bridge of the song, where Paul gets a bit rougher with his singing style.  I think the middle-8 is one of the best that Paul McCartney ever wrote.  He flawlessly transitions his voice from sweet and mellow to biting.  It’s very impressive.

I guess the duality in “Things We Said Today” between the verses and middle sections is reflected in the lyrics of the song.  On the surface, you’ll notice that Paul is first saying how they’ve promised to “be the only one” for each other.  But, if you read into it a little bit, you’ll hear what he really means.  He knew, because of the distance between him and the girl he’s talking about, that the promises of “being the only one” were empty and could never be true.  He knew it was only a passing fling.  In the middle section, he says, “And though we may be blind, love is here to stay.”  He’s saying that in a new relationship like that, people tend to overlook obvious challenges like, you know, living thousands of miles away from each other.  And, in the minds of these naive folks that are newly in love, it’ll stay great forever!  Those of us who have been through that situation know the real eventual outcome.

On a funnier note, I had to relocate to my room for this song (good thing I have a Laptop!) because my parakeets would not stop chattering downstairs! But, I’m glad they’re getting along, even if it is to the detriment of my acoustic cover song videos.

I hope you enjoy today’s Beatles acoustic video- I’ll catch you on Sunday with an all-new Beach Boys song!

We have a NEW album out called Homestead’s Revenge (by Masters of the Universe- the band I’m in). You can buy the high quality mp3s or the CD version. Here’s the web address: http://jimfusco.com/albums.html.  PLEASE check it out and let me know what you think!  I hope you all enjoy today’s Session, and REALLY enjoy the new album- it’s two years in the making!

“Little Willow” (Paul McCartney Cover)

Originally posted 2008-09-06 14:03:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Hey folks!  Today, I bring you a favorite song of the Fusco family in “Little Willow” by Paul McCartney.  “Flaming Pie” is one of my favorite all-time albums and that’s because we listened to it CONSTANTLY when it came out, during vacation, and all throughout the summer.  It always brings back fond memories and I always play the album when I take my own vacations now.

It’s fitting that I’m presenting this song today, as we’re in the midst of Tropical Storm Hanna up here in Connecticut.  Hopefully it won’t be too bad because I have a video job (taping an anniversary party) up at the Mohegan Sun casino tonight.  Should be fun, but who wants to drive an hour in a tropical storm?

So, why is it so fitting?  Well, I read in the liner notes of “Flaming Pie” (which is the booklet I modeled the booklet to my first album, “With Or Without You”, after exactly) that this song, “Little Willow”, was written to calm people after a hurricane.  It’s such a great song- so simple, but it has a great calming effect.  I thought it was a perfect one to do while outside with my nylon string guitar.

There’s also “Heaven on a Sunday” off of this album that makes me feel so calm.  I guess that’s the point of the song, but it always reminded me of a particular summer when I went to Boy Scout camp in Camp Sequassen.  That must’ve been a busy summer.  No wonder I remember this album so well!  Anyway, I used to get to fish off of a row boat there.  Having “Heaven on a Sunday” (“cooling my fingers in the bay…”) stuck in my head while peacefully fishing was a zen-like experience.  I think of that moment and it takes me right back there.

On another topic, how about Jeff with his Beatles cover yesterday?  And Chris doing Hendrix?  Amazing, folks- you never know what you’re going to get next on this music video blog- the BEST music video blog in the universe!  Starting in a couple weeks, we’ll be bringing you yet another “New Bands Week” here on the Sessions because we love to challenge ourselves and entertain you.

I’ll be making a couple of BIG announcements in the next few minutes here on the music blog, so stay tuned and for now, enjoy today’s music video!



“Come and Get It” (Badfinger Cover)

Originally posted 2008-07-14 22:58:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Welcome, welcome to another video in the Laptop Sessions music video blog series!

Tonight, I bring you my 99th video- yes, my 99th video! It’s from yet another band we haven’t done yet: Badfinger!

This song was one of their first singles, written by Paul McCartney while he was still with the Beatles. A version exists of McCartney playing and singing this song himself on the Beatles Anthology Volume 3. Honestly, it sounds exactly the same. That, for me, lets me know why there were so many rumors that Badfinger was just the Beatles in disguise. Of course, that’s not the case. Badfinger’s members actually have a very sad biography- if you ever get a chance to read about it, I think it would be worth your while.

There are many songs from Badfinger that I’d love to do in the future, including “Day After Day”, “Baby Blue”, and “No Matter What”. Those are all great songs and really showed that this group wasn’t just a Beatles spin-off bunch, but a real musical force and a darn-good band.

Come back tomorrow for another Laptop Session from Chris and come back on Thursday for my big 100th video!