Ringo's Rotogravure (1976)


 
1. A Dose of Rock & Roll 2. Hey! Baby 3. Pure Gold 4. Cryin' 5. You Don't Know Me at All 6. Cookin' (In the Kitchen of Love) 7. I'll Still Love You 8. This Be Called a Song 9. Las Brisas 10.Lady Gaye 11.Spooky Weirdness

 

The year 1976 found Ringo Starr once again trying to capture the magic of 1973's Ringo. He, again, tries many of the same formulas, mainly incorporating ex-Beatlemates as performers/song writers alongs with gobs of well known musical talent. The main difference here is that Ringo is trying to "get with the times", meaning that this album has a bit more of a dance-ish, disco-ish feel. Just a bit, though. It never encompasses or buries the tunes, which is a good thing. It just feels a bit dated.

One of the ironic things about this record is what songs actually work, and what songs don't. If I had to pick the "bottom half" of this record, I would probably include the Paul McCartney song (Pure Gold) as well as the John Lennon song (Cookin' (In the Kitchen of Love)). I also thought the single, A Dose of Rock & Roll was pretty light weight as well. Why does Ringo insist on enhancing some of these pieces by constantly talking during the tracks? Was he that high on cocaine during the time? I'm not that crazy about the Eric Clapton piece, This Be Called a Song either.

So then we look at what does work on the album, and ironically, all three of the songs co-written by Ringo come off quite well. There's the country-ish heartbreak song Cryin', the latin flavored Las Brisas and the "it's just a somewhat simple but effective pop song" Lady Gaye. You Don't Know Me at All is probably the most catchy thing on the record, and I probably would have voted for this song to be the lead single. Hey! Baby is embarrassingly catchy considering its kitsch-like dance feel. It works in a peculiar way. The George Harrison track I'll Still Love You works very nicely, and unlike his ex-Beatlemates, he manages to make the song his own even though he handed it off to Ringo.

For a Ringo album, this delivers on basically exactly what it is expected to do. Ringo will never go down as one of the "greats" as a solo artist, and expectations were never terribly high for his solo work. He would try and fail sometimes, while other times he would try and succeed beyond anyone's hopes. This record falls a bit in the middle, and is mostly a nice overall effort.


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