Thursday, January 17, 2008


I think it's cool that Ringo Starr seemed to recapture his love of making music back in the early '90s. He hadn't done an album since 1983, and hadn't done a good album in an even longer time. I imagine he cleaned up his act, and remembered how much he loved making music. In 1989 or so he went on his first ever post-Beatles tour, the first of many that he'd embark on with an "All-Starr Band." Everyone in these bands had hits of their own, and the concerts were kind of like a revue. Dr. John, Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Billy Preston, John Entwistle, Jack Bruce and Sheila E. are among those to have played in these bands over the years.

After that tour, he started working on a new album, Time Takes Time. On that album, he started working with producer/multi-instrumentalist Mark Hudson, who would work on Ringo's next few albums, Vertical Man, Ringo Rama and Choose Love. Ringo's a smart guy: he knows where his bread is buttered, and that his albums aren't going to make him much dough. I believe he has made these records for the love of making music. He likes being a part of a band, and Hudson had used a core of musicians on most of these albums.

Ringo's latest album, Liverpool 8, just came out. (Oddly, he returned to Capitol Records after decades away from the label, just as Paul McCartney left the label after spending decades there.) Also, oddly, it seems to mark his split from Hudson: the credits read Produced by Ringo Starr and Mark Hudson/ Re-produced by Ringo Starr and David A. Stewart. (Stewart is the other half of The Eurythmics.)

Anyway, like his other recent albums, it's fun, if not earth-shaking. It's fun to listen to a guy like him, who was part of a band that wasn't just a band but a cultural phenomenon, who after all these years, just loves to sing and play the drums.

However, I'll call particular attention to the last song on the album, "R U Ready." I've been thinking about making a iPod mix of George Harrison songs about acceptance about the end of this life. Look through his solo songs, as well as the ones he wrote for The Beatles and The Traveling Wilburys. I might tack Ringo's "R U Ready" on the end of that, I think George would be OK with it. It's sweet. Not in the Napoleon Dynamite way, it's actually sweet. I know Ringo is really proud of all the albums he's done since Time Takes Time, but this might be his finest song since the '70s. (I also loved "Never Without You," an ode to George from Ringo Rama that featured an Eric Clapton guitar solo). Good job, Ringo!

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