As we all know this is Ringo’s first LP since 1983’s ‘Old Wave’. It is certainly the strongest collection Ringo has put together since the ‘Ringo’ album. The albums since then have contained stronger tracks than some contained here but none of his albums since “Ringo’ have had the same degree of consistency particularly in terms of vocal performance.
‘Weight Of The World’ opens the set with a suitably Beatley feel. This track features superb back-up vocals from Roger Manning and Andrew Sturmer of Jellyfish. In fact they feature on all the album’s best moments and perhaps Ritchie should consider enlisting them again as producers/writers on any future album.
‘Don’t Know a Thing About Love is a pleasant stroll but doesn’t have the killer punch of the preceding track. The tempo increases for ‘Don’t Go Where The Road Don’t Go’ the first of the songs Ringo co-wrote on this album. It features a typically distinctive production from Jeff Lynne. I particularly enjoy Suzie Katayama’s cello playing. Jeff pushes Ritchie’s vocals higher in the mix than the other producers on the album and seems better to understand his style. A good track. ‘Golden Blunders’ has a nursery rhyme feel and doesn’t really suit Ringo despite some excellent drumming and a sympathetic production. This is followed by ‘All In The Name of Love’ which is something of a filler and never really gets anywhere.
Ringo’s old chum Marc Bolan might recognise the guitar style on ‘After All These Years! This is the second song produced by Jeff Lynne and the second to be co-written by Ringo. A good fun rock ‘n’ roll tune and a suitable B-Side if you know what I mean. The best song on the LP is the Sturmer-Manning song ‘I Don’t Believe You’. This song would have fitted quite snuggly on either ‘Help!’ or ‘Rubber Soul’. Yes it is the most Beatlish song Ringo has ever recorded! It’s almost more Beatles than the Beatles. A future single perhaps? Despite co-writing it “Runaways is wholly unsuitable for Ringo. It really isn’t him at all. There was talk before the release of this album of Ringo stretching himself on this LP, well here he is overstretched. However, it does feature Ringo’s best ‘Get Back’ style drumming.
Brian Wilson is heavily featured on ‘In A Heart Beat’ which proves to be a strong track because of this and inspite of a shaky start, . It has unsurprisingly a somewhat summertime feel and you could cruise along the freeway while listening to this one!
The final track ‘What Goes Around’ has a ‘Dear Prudence’ feel to it particularly in the outro. This track successfully wraps up proceedings in a suitably Beatlish way. If Ringo keeps on recording songs like this he will soon enough find himself enjoying further hits!!!
All in all a pleasant, enjoyable album. I perhaps could have done with one or two further stand out songs as strong as ‘Weight of the World and ‘I Don’t Believe You’. A good effort and you have to admire Ringo for that!
By Rob Turner.