Ringo is perhaps the physical embodiment of the old joke - Q. what do you call someone who hangs around with musicians? A. a drummer! Although he was the most likeable of the Beatles, his singing left a lot to be desired and his own compositions could never match up to the other three. Nevertheless, in the seventies he started off with two really good solo singles "Back off Boogaloo" and "It Don't Come Easy" but in my opinion he never really followed these up with any other good records.
This record follows the 'Liverpool 8' album and Ringo's 2008 appearance in Liverpool for the City of Culture celebrations. It is a lot better than I expected, even though the majority of the tracks are fairly bland modern pop, well played but pretty characterless. For me the best track is "The other side of Liverpool" co-written with Dave Stewart, with Ringo reminiscing about his childhood in Dingle and giving nods to the people who helped him on his way up. Although the lyrics to some of the other tracks ("Peace dream") can be a bit corny, I found these lyrics really moving - I think it's one of the best things he's ever done! It's also really nice to hear him singing with Macca on "Walk With You" and I also enjoyed the tracks "Time" and "Everyone wins". With a band featuring amongst others Joe Walsh, Dave Stewart, Benmont Tench, Don Was and Edgar Winter it's no wonder the music sounds so good but for me Ringo remains the focus and I prefer to hear him rather than Joss Stone, as on the final track. It's great to have Ringo still around and still making music in 2010.
on 15 February 2010
I have owned this album for 10 days now and, as with most Ringo albums, it gets into your consciousness with subtle melodies which did not all grab me on first listening. On that first listening I thought it was probably a tale of two or three ditties, like say McCartney 2 (1980). But now I find myself humming along to songs from Side 2 (tracks 6-10 for this not familiar with the vinyl analogy!). So here is my rating, track by track:
Fill In The Blanks - a decent rollicking opener with some scorching guitar from Joe Walsh which we heard to great effect on Ringo's forgotten `Old Wave' album from 1983
Peace Dream - simple lyrics but a decent tune and featuring a wonderfully melodic bass line from Mr. McCartney, which lifts to song to almost top notch 9/10
The Other Side Of Liverpool - nostalgic song reminiscent of John's In My Life. But I won't pretend it's in that league. Decent latter day Ringo nonetheless! 7/10
Walk With You - the real gem of the album featuring a joyous harmony vocal from McCartney. With only Paul and Ringo left these days, this is the best we fans can expect to rekindle those Beatle memories. But it stands as a song too, a decent Ringo-Van Dyke Parks composition albeit rather reminiscent of `King Of Broken Hearts' (1998). But it's that Paul harmony which compels me to give one 10/10 :- )
Time - here the album goes downhill somewhat. Despite fine musicianship on display here this song is pretty forgettable 4/10
Everyone Wins - same again, a slightly better melody so I'll give it 5/10
Mystery Of The Night - nice song about his longstanding soul mate, wife Barbara Bach 6/10
Can't Do it Wrong - a grower but I can't really say this is more than mediocre. Harmonies reminiscent of Jellyfish from `I Don't Believe You' (1992). But not in the same league as that one 5/10.
Y Not - slightly annoying title...and song for that matter. Ringo used to be funnier than this 4/10
Who's Your Daddy - just as Ringo fans don't pay to see him in concert to see 75% of the material sung by others, we don't expect guest solo vocalists on our Ringo albums, thank you very much. Ringo here is reduced to back up singer and it's all pretty pointless with silly lyrics to boot 3/10
So in summary, this is more than anyone could expect Ringo to come up as he nears his 70th birthday. He is not Dylan after all. But Ringo's albums have always contained their fair share of heartwarming uplifting material and for that we thank him! When this album is good it is VERY good and because of that I have rounded up to 4 stars :- )
on 28 February 2010
Y Not comes two years after Ringo's last studio album 'Liverpool 8'Liverpool 8 and for the first time in nearly 40 years as a solo artist Ringo decides to co-produce his own album. And its not a bad thing either!
For 'Y Not' Ringo has surrounded himself with friends old & new including co producer of 'Liverpool 8' Dave Stewart, brother in law Joe Walsh (he married Barbara's sister!) & Steve Dundas of the Roundheads on guitar. The album also includes contributions from Benmont Tench of the Heartbreakers on keyboards, producer Don Was and Mike Bradford on bass, Bruce Sugar on keyboards, Ann Marie Calhoun on violin & Tina Sugandh on Tabla & chants.
The strength of Y Not is the songs & collaborators include Joe Walsh, Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, Glen Ballard, Richard Marx, Van Dyke Parks, Gary Nicholson, Gary Wright & Gary Burr as well as some special guests on vocals including Joss Stone, Ben Harper and Richard Marx. But undoubted the talking point of Y Not is the contribution to the album of one Paul McCartney on backing vocals on the wonderful single 'Walk With You' and playing bass guitar on Ringo's peace song 'Peace Dream'.
The album begins with the rocker Fill In The Blanks co written & sung with Joe Walsh including typical chugging guitar from Joe. Peace Dream sees Ringo singing of peace & no more war, there's actually three Beatles on this track as John Lennon is mentioned in the lyrics!
One of my favourite tracks is Other Side Of Liverpool a biographical song of Ringo's early Liverpool days. Great guitar & keyboards.
Not just because of Paul McCartney's involvement but Walk With You is truly outstanding. The song is excellent, Ringo's vocal is brilliant & Paul McCartney's contribution is superb. As Ringo says" "Paul was doing the Grammys, so he came over to the house and was playing bass on 'Peace Dream.' So I played him this other track and Paul said, 'Give me the headphones. Give me a pair of cans.' And he went to the mike and he just invented that part where he follows on my vocal. That was all Paul McCartney, and there could be nothing better. He makes it bigger and he makes it fuller. It makes the song like a conversation between us, and that was Paul's idea to do his part one beat behind me. That's why he's a gen-i-us and an incredible bass player."
Time & Everyone Wins sound familiar and would have made a great singles in the 1980's!
Richard Marx co wrote the excellent Mystery Of The Night. Here's what Richard says about the track, "" I had so much fun doing that tour with Ringo in `06, and we've stayed in touch quite a bit, so last winter he asked me over to his house in LA to write a song with him. It was a track he'd already come up with and I liked it and started writing a melody to it on the spot, and then we wrote the lyrics together within an hour or so. The song's called, "Mystery of the Night." Then a few months later he asked if I'd sing background vocals on it, so when my family and I were in LA for a week during spring break we went over and I sang a bunch of tracks of vocals. I loved how the song came out. Ringo's vocal is GREAT and he even got Benmont Tench (of The Heartbreakers) to play piano on it.
The song Can't Do It Wrong could have been lifted from any of Ringo's 70's albums or at the latest Stop and Smell The Roses but the giveaway are those great Roundhead backing vocals. Title track Y Not finds Ringo on great vocal form. The lyrics are great & Ringo lets his Indian influences shine through with Tina Sugandh on Tabla & chants. This would suprise a few people if released as a single. Finally Joss Stone contributes a great vocal to the comical Who's Your Daddy ? As Ringo sings to Joss, "Who's your daddy, who's your daddy'. You can probably guess her answer!
So, in his 70th year & Ringo produces himself & releases a great album to boot!
on 14 January 2010
Hi Folks. I've actually heard the whole album and I dont give 5 stars to every review like some other reviewers on here, who give the impression that Ringo Starr and all his work is essential listening.
I'm a Beatles fan, who through loyalty, listens to/buys all their works as a matter of course. Had this album been produced by anyone else, many of us wouldn't give it a listen.
That said, it is Ringo Starr ex Beatle, and it isn't that bad. The fact that he can produce such a contemporary sound on the verge of his seventieth birthday, is an achievement in itself.
The single "Walk with You" is easily the best track, thanks to the contribution of Van Dyke Parks (co-writer) and Paul McCartney (vocals). Joe Walsh helps on the loud "Fill in the Blanks", and Joss Stone dominates the vocals on "Who's Your Daddy", both solid tracks. The rest is very much the same as Ringo's last album, Liverpool 8 and the one before that, both in sound, theme and content. Some of the lyrics are quite embarrasing.
However, if you want your dependable Ringo to be the same as the last time, you'll probably enjoy this. Five star, essential and ground breaking it isn't
on 10 January 2010
The ageless Ringo Starr is still a vintage rock star evidenced by the quality of this sterling "Y Not" CD that he produced. His vocals are resonant and the songs are generally replete with optimal melodies and buoyant optimism. "Fill In The Blanks" is an energetic rocker featuring strong guitar riffs from Joe Walsh. "Time" is a captivating and upbeat tune that should be a hit. A more poignant, sombre and emotive song is " The Other Side Of Liverpool" that addreses Ringo's grievous times in childhood. He's joined by Joss Stone on the sultry "Who's Your Dady." "Mystery Of The Night" is a wonderfully infectious song. Paul McCartney enhances the CD with his bass virtuosity on the wistful "Peace Dream." The real gem and highlight is " Walk With You" that features McCartney's iconic harmonies perfectly blending in as Ringo sings and invokes a mantra for serenity. "Y Not" is arguably Ringo Starr's most consistently refined CD. When Ringo sings and performs a song it induces a sense of comfort and solace to the listener because he's such a peace-loving rocker, humanitarian and person.
" Y Not" continues Ringo's succession of excellent solo CDs that commenced with "Time Takes Time", "Vertical Man", "Ringo Rama", "Choose Love" and "Liverpool 8". It's great to know, hear, and truly recognize that the two remaining Beatles are stll releasing very impressive music. Long live Ringo and MACCA !
This is a good album and I have been playing it a lot and the songs have grown on me. I have all of Ringo's albums and his music, while not brilliant, is often pretty good. Ringo is very under-valued, but he is capable of far more than a lot of people realise, and I love his voice. As a Beatles fan, I have to say it is worth the price just for "Walk with you". It makes me cry every time I hear it...
on 5 February 2010
The first thing you notice about Y Not is that it's short - under 37 minutes. This is an unequivocally good thing. Now don't be nasty and read that as meaning a short Ringo album is a good one. What I mean is that this album has been made the old fashioned way: two sides, ten songs, and if you're lucky, you can listen to it all in your lunch break because the artist hasn't felt obliged to fill up the disc just to show he can.
It starts out strongly with the Joe Walsh collaboration, Fill In the Blanks. At its heart, it's a basic, 12-bar blues rocker but delivered with a wit and energy that raises it above the sum of its parts. Then things take a nose dive with Peace Dream. This is Ringo in peaceandlove overdrive and while it's always a noble sentiment, he falls into the same old trap of trying to re-write existing songs, only in the way that a first-form English student might do it.
"Try to imagine / If we give peace a chance."
A gorgeous instrumental middle-8 almost redeems the song.
Richie recovers brilliantly on The Other Side of Liverpool. Far from being Liverpool 8 part 2 as the title might suggest, this is Ringo setting the record straight. In just two verses and choruses, he explains why he isn't sentimental about the city, gives his bandmates who were always keen to trumpet their working-class roots a lesson in what it was really like ("The other side of Liverpool, you just had to laugh / We had to go to Steble Street just to take a bath") and delivers a put-down to all songwriters who try to romanticise the towns they worked so hard to get out of, with the sting at the end of the chorus, "You know it's true." This gutsy and slightly menacing track is undoubtedly one of the best things Ringo has ever done.
The sweet and lilting Walk With You, written with Van Dyke Parks, brings a change of pace. Paul McCartney sings on this track too and while one might expect him to show Ringo up a bit, Paul's vocal is frail and vulnerable (think From a Lover to a Friend) in a way the suits the longing of the song perfectly. The only problem is that Paul's vocal is pushed to the front of the mix which means that when the chorus comes in, it immediately sounds like Ringo is singing backup for Paul, not the other way around. The impression is accentuated by the fact that Ringo is singing on the beat and Paul is coming in behind it.
Things lighten up a bit with the swinging, reggae-tinged Time. Featuring a beautiful arrangement, it's a lovely way to round out what we used to call Side 1.
The second half is played traditionally, containing the songs that aren't strong enough to drive the album but are still satisfying in an undemanding way. That's not damning with faint praise - even the weakest songs on Y Not outshine the strongest songs on any of his previous three albums. Everyone Wins is a sweet, loop driven track, Can't Do it Wrong could easily have been lifted from Goodnight Vienna and the title track is a good, solid plod that mysteriously take a detour through Bollywood.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Ringo album if there wasn't a faux country song on there somewhere, and it comes in the form of Who's Your Daddy, the duet with Joss Stone, which closes the album. It's fine if you're into that kind of thing but again, it sounds more like Ringo guesting on a Joss Stone song. However, Ringo's generosity as a performer shows as he sings the role of the deadbeat boyfriend that Stone is dumping.
Crap spelling aside, Y Not is a really good album. Not just good for a Ringo album, but a really good album in its own right. Ringo has produced himself this time and there is an energy and vibrance to the album that we haven't heard in quite some time. Don't be embarrassed to tell your mates you're getting this album. Ringo should be proud of it and so should you.
Another jaunty little number from our Ringo. If Liverpool 8 in many ways took the man back to his roots, Y Not extends those roots and entrenches them a little deeper into Scouseland. You just know with Mr Starr that there's going to be plenty of dross, but usually amongst it all is a couple of gems. Interestingly they have become songs about the past and so it is here. Many of the pieces are straightforward and monumentally average rockers, but occasionally Ringo rises above and three tracks on this album are significant.
Peace Dream shows that he is on more than nodding terms with the memory of John Lennon, The Other Side of Liverpool harks back to the song Liverpool 8, but more importantly Walk With You is a genuinely good song. Firstly it is written by Ringo in collaboration with the genius of Van Dyke Parks and, perhaps more importantly, it has backing vocals from Paul McCartney. Two old mates getting it on and as far as the Beatles go that's all we can now ever expect. The album is worth buying for that one track. Overall it's a pretty punchy affair that may not win any awards but at least the man is still creating music.
on 8 April 2010
Ringo just gets better & better not a dud track on the whole cd,stand out tracks include "Walk With You" "Y Not" & the great "Whos Your Daddy."
Let us be honest. I doubt that Ringo Starr dances around the room when he receives the sales returns for whatever he releases; with a ready made outlet, I would imagine it's more a case of giving him something to do rather than banking the royalties. (I'm sure he manages to get by on the cheques received from the back catalogue of that group he used to play with.) Moreover, we know that he knows that. However, that isn't to denigrate anything the man does. He is well aware that he isn't blessed with the best of singing voices, but what he does is tailor made for the Starr vocal chords, and this latest offering carries on that tradition.
Looking at the ten tracks in isolation, the backing for each is tip top, as it should be with a line up that includes Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter, Paul McCartney, Dave Stewart and Don Was, and to be candid, it's the musicianship that pulls this a few rungs further up the ladder than it would otherwise occupy. Okay, the vocals aren't much and the words are the simple couplets that we're used to from Mr Starkey, but you'll find yourself tapping your feet to quite a proportion of the tracks here. `The Other Side Of Liverpool' name checks some older friends and is similar to his `Liverpool 8', amongst other things mentioning his mum and dad. `Who's Your Daddy' is a vehicle for Joss Stone with Ringo chanting the title and getting in a single line somewhere in the middle. In my own humble opinion, the title track is the best, complete with Indian chanting and musical backing. 'Fill In The Blanks', whilst reliant on some searing Joe Walsh guitar, is a decent opener.
On this, his sixteenth studio album, the song that has generated the most interest is `Walk With You' what with McCartney on additional vocals. Unfortunately, that's all it is, and whilst they do add something to the song, anyone could have had the same effect. What does let down this set is the inlay; it's nothing more than a double sheet with song credits. The least to be expected are the words!
The strange thing with Ringo's releases is that you find yourself playing them more times than you would imagine. Though his following know what to expect, it's a shame this won't be heard by a wider audience than that of his loyal fan base.