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Snookeroos's His Name!,
This review is from: Goodnight Vienna (Audio CD)
The follow up to the quintessential Ringo album which almost saw a reunion of the four Ex Beatles no less. Any album would struggle by comparison, but this album is a thoroughly competent album, with many fine highlights, if a little less consistent in its brilliance. But this one and the next one 'Rotogravure' (1976) still saw Ringo almost at the top of his game, namely an uncanny knack of picking just the right songs to cover and doing them very well and in some cases brilliantly.
The title track is a Lennon penned song which is not exactly memorable but is exuberant in its delivery and spirit. And miles better than the Lennon track 'Cookin' from the next album. The second track is a wonderful cover of Allen Toussaint's 'Occapella'. Just perfect for Ringo, especially the ba-ba-ba de de-de ba ba chorus line. 'Oo Wee' is again joyful Ringo although not exactly top drawer. The next track 'Husbands And Wives' is either loved or hated. In my case Loved. It is a deeply moving song about how a marriage can fail depite all the best intentions. Rarely has Ringo has touched real life in his songs as he does here. The guitar solo is a gem. Just perfect. Which brings us to probably one of the two strongest songs ont he album, 'Snookeroo' written by Elton John. And he is so obviously all over this track with that distinctive pounding piano. With its infectious melody, this song deserved to be a smash. But somehow wasn't wasn't. There's no telling the record buying public at times in my opinion. History will judge this one kindly. There is something so perfect and amusing about Ringo singing 'I could spend my life with a factory girl...but a factory girl's not my type'. Great Elton melody to boot.
'All By Myself' is a great self deprecating rocker about Ringo's need and ability to Do It by himself without help from his illustrious Beatles brothers. Or any other brothers for that matter. Although Lennon does play piano on this superb track! Producer Richard Perry's bass backing vocals are also perfect. 'Call Me' is rather less memorable, if not unpleasant, the backing vocals again work well here. Which brings us to 'No No Song' which is not only an inspired cover for this album but may well be Ringo's most successful covers ever. Its lyric is riotously funny and a wry comment on Ringo's happy-go-lucky lifestyle at the time. Before there was any kind of Problem. 'Only You' is another inspired choice of cover, this time chosen by Lennon who contributes acoustic guitar and most of the arrangement. You can hear Lennon's (frankly) superior rendition of this song on the Lennon Anthology. But what lifts both versions is the superb backing vocals from Harry Nilsson, who also adds immeasurably to 'No No Song' I forgot to mention. 'Easy For Me' is a decent Nilsson ballad not really suited to Ringo. And then we have the title track reprised to lesser effect but it rounds off the album off quite nicely.
So there we have it. Not quite the polished masterpiece that was 'Ringo' from the previous year. But this album sees Ringo again in top form. As usual calling upon a little help from his friends. When this album is good which it is pretty often it is Ringo at his peak. And the front cover is probably his best, worth owning the vinyl album for this alone!
Cheers Ringo :-)