Ringo Rama (2002)

1. Eye to Eye 2. Missouri Loves Company 3. Instant Amnesia 4. Memphis in Your Mind 5. Never Without You 6. Imagine Me There 7. I Think Therefore I Rock 'N' Roll 8. Trippin' On My Own Tears 9. Write One For Me 10.What Love Wants To Be 11.Love First, Ask Questions Later 12.Elizabeth Reigns 13.English Garden


For about the last decade, Ringo was quietly assembling some of his best work over a lengthy time period than he had ever accomplished before. No, no one was really paying that much attention, but even some of the "big names" weren't generating much chart action in the new century. For this release, Ringo continues, at least with a good chunk of the songs, to continue in a similar vein and fashion. There are several, light, Beatle-ish tunes here that any fan of the group will embrace, and this seems to be where his overall strength lies these days, even getting song writing credits as the co-author of many of the tunes featured.

What Ringo has mostly also done, is be a bit silly and kitschy in his recordings as well. I figure that the poor guy never really out grew a lot of his insecurities, and as a self-defense mechanism, feels he always as to make jokes and be funny to compensate for, what he feels, might be a lack of talent. Unfortunately, he has plenty of talent, and, sadly, he isn't really that funny. His quirky comments over the singing and in between songs might be o.k. for a VH1 Storytellers album, but when he smothers his studio releases in this type of banter, it really does bring the overall quality down several notches. Sadly, this type of behavior seems to be all over this record.

The ironic thing is that when he just focuses on making....you know....real songs, he excels beautifully. As mentioned, he's copying a lot of the Beatles formula, but it works brilliantly. His tribute to recently departed George Harrison, Never Without You is one of the strongest pieces on here. He wisely recruits Eric Clapton in the guitar department, so you would almost swear Harrison was dialing in his parts from heaven. Other strong tracks are the slightly country-ish Missouri Loves Company and the cutesy Elizabeth Reigns. I would also almost swear he's also paying tribute to John Lennon on the slightly trippy Imagine Me There and I Think, Therefore I Rock and Roll is one of those slightly goofy pieces that only Ringo can pull off.

Sadly, there's too much filler here. Instant Amnesia is just about the worst mess (I wouldn't really even call it a song) that Ringo has ever done. With its herky-jerky arrangements and starts and stops, it's own of those songs that seems to end about three or four times before it actually does (you really wish that it would end at about time number 2). He's also trying a bit too hard on English Garden, a song that could have been beautiful had he not littered it with his so called humor, and the duet with Willie Nelson Write One For Me is a bit of a letdown as well.

Still, this is mostly a good effort, and being the fact that he really didn't have to meet anyone's tough expectations might actually serve as an asset. I just wish he would devote 100% of his effort on the music in his songs and leave out the so-called comedy.

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