Ringo (1973)


 
1. I'm the Greatest 2. Have You Seen My Baby? 3. Photograph 4. Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond) 5. You're Sixteen (You're Beautfiul and You're Mine) 6. Oh, My My 7. Step Lightly 8. Six O'Clock 9. Devil Woman 10.You and Me (Babe) 11.It Don't Come Easy 11.Early 1970 12.Down and Out

 

Ringo's first full length album in over three years was regarded as a major triumph, and for good reason. After the lukewarm reception of his first two solo albums where he essentially played tribute to big band and country, he probably realized that maybe an entire album of Ringo songs that sounded like....well.... Ringo, was exactly what everyone was really wanting. A bit ironic, but the album title, therefore, was perfect.

When The Beatles would release an album, Ringo always got to sing a song. It wasn't until 1968 that Ringo actually wrote some of the music that he performed, but that never really mattered. Most people would never be disappointed with the "Ringo" song on a Beatle album, so in many ways, this is a complete album of the same type of music. And it's no coincidence that all of the other Beatles are featured on this album - as writers and performers - although never all at the same time.

First up is a John Lennon composition I'm the Greatest. This is the only song I don't really care for. It's good in places, but tries too hard to be a tongue and cheek retrospective of Ringo's career and focuses more on humor and nostalgia and not enough on music. George Harrison pens Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond) and one can tell immediately that it's a George song, with its fine electric guitar leads and somewhat wispy vocals. It tends to get overlooked here, but that's only because there really is so much great stuff here. Paul McCartney's Six O' Clock is also a highlight. It's so damn schmaltzy and sentimental that you just can't help but croon along after a few listens. It's classic McCartney.

Then, you need to also give kudos to Ringo himself for writing some of his own material and having it be some of the strongest here. True, the only one where he doesn't share a writing credit is Step Lightly, but he co-writes some classics such as Oh My My, Devil Woman and the best thing here, Photograph (with George Harrison). Also in the plus column is the great classic You're Sixteen (You're Beautiful and You're Mine). In case you are wondering, that's Beatle Paul playing the kazoo. There's a host of other talented musicians joining in the party as well, and this record was probably just as much fun to make as it is to listen. So much that the closer, You and Me (Babe) does suffer a bit as Ringo does a silly little "thank you and goodnight" speech on the song. It would have been better had he expressed his gratitude without the tape rolling.

Future compact disc pressings featured a few tunes that were a couple of years old that hadn't made it to an album format yet including the classic It Don't Come Easy. It just makes the record that much better. So not only was this a great Ringo album, but a great album period.


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