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Ringo The 4th by Ringo Starr-Sep1977

1977 was a bad year for US fans of the solo Beatles. Lennon and Harrison had no new material. McCartney released his UK smash "Mull Of Kintyre" but it did not chart in the US. And Ringo released this, his weakest album yet. The first song, written by Gamble and Huff has good instrumentation but Ringo tries an R&B growl which he cannot handle. The only interesting thing about "Tango All Night" is the back up singers are Bette Midler and Melissa Manchester. "Can She Do It Like She Dances" has a drunken sounding Ringo straining his voice again. The rest of the record is mostly monotonous and instantly forgettable disco stuff.

 

 

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Bad Boy by Ringo Starr-Apr 1978

Ringo's last album was very weak, but this one is even worse. It was released around the same time he did a TV special to promote it. The show was a little bit better, George Harrison appeared as host and narrator, other big stars like Art Carney, Vincent Price and Carrie Fisher had cameos. Ringo performed the Beatles classic "With A Little Help From My Friends" and his solo hit "You're Sixteen" as well as a few songs from this album. The first song "Who Needs A Heart" is easy to forget once it's over. The only half decent song is "Lipstick Traces" which has an OK melody. He does a dull version of a Louis Armstrong song "Bad Boy". He also does an inferior rendition of "Where Did Our Love Go", which was a big hit for the Supremes, who were the only American group to have almost as many hits as the Beatles. The record ends with "A Man Like Me" which I recall was also the song that ended the TV special, I thought it was boring then and still do.

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George Harrison-Feb 1979

A very good self titled album. his best since All Things Must Pass. It begins with a joyous tune, "Love Comes To Everyone" great guitar and George's singing is some of his most confident. "Not Guilty" was a leftover from The White Album, more nice guitar work. "Here Comes The Moon" has a nice celestial sound to it, and catchy chorus. "Soft Hearted Hana" is the first song George talks about drugs again, inspired by a magic mushroom trip he took in Hawaii. It has good dobro on it. "Blow Away" is the best on the album, with a beautiful soothing guitar solo to begin it and very catchy chorus, it became a top 20 hit. Side 2 opens with "Faster" a very good tribute to auto racing and inspired by UK drivers Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda. "Dark Sweet Lady" is a sweet song for his new wife Olivia. "Your Love Is Forever" and "Soft Touch" are two more nice love songs. The final song is "If You Believe" a pretty good inspirational song co written with Gary Wright.

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Somewhere In England by George Harrison- Jun 1981

George's first release after John Lennon's murder. It was not as good as his last album but has some good songs. "Blood From A Clone" is a sardonic, up tempo song he included because the record execs felt the album was too laid back. "Unconsciousness Rules" is a put down of the disco scene. "Life Itself" is a nice spiritual song. "All Those Years Ago" is George's tribute to Lennon, with some bitter lyrics about how he felt John was treated in his lifetime, Ringo plays drums and Paul McCartney (with wife Linda) provides back up vocals, the closest to a Beatle reunion since "I'm The Greatest" on the Ringo album. It reached #2 on the charts. "Baltimore Oriole" is a version of a Hoagy Carmichael song, some good jazzy horns by Tom Scott. "Teardrops" is a catchy up tempo track. "That What I Have Lost" is the weakest song, very forgettable. "Writing's On The Wall" is nice inspirational song. Another Carmichael song is next, an amusing tale of an unfortunate coloured man who is sent to prison in Hong Kong for kicking "old Buddha's gong." "Save The World' is a protest song about rain forests and nukes which ends the record. 

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Stop And Smell The Roses by Ringo Starr-Oct 1981

Ringo's first in 3 years and also his first after John Lennon's death. It is better than his last two albums but not one of his best. It has a rose colored inner sleeve with the lyrics, I recall when I first bought this it smelled like roses too. The first song "Private Property" is by Paul McCartney and it is OK, good sax playing. George Harrison wrote and plays on "Wrack My Brain" a good catchy pop song that became Ringo's first top 40 hit in 5 years. "Drumming Is My Madness" is weak one, sound like it was written in a rush by Harry Nillson. "Attention" is another good one by Paul. The title song is the worst on the record, co written by Ringo and Nillson, it tries to be funny but it is just annoying. My favorite on the album is the standard "You Belong To Me" which was an early doo w o p hit for the Duprees. Ringo sings this one well is helped by George on guitar Paul helps out on another cover song, a nice one of the rockabilly classic "Sure To Fall". Another misfire song is a remake of RIngo's 1972 top ten hit "Back Off Boogaloo", it starts with the guitar riff from "It Don't Come Easy" and just seems unnecessary. 

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Gone Troppo by George Harrison-Nov 1982

This was an album to finish off a contract obligation and it sounds like it, despite a few fairly good songs. "Wake Up My Love" a synth-pop song starts things off and it is pretty good, more uptempo than the rest. "That's The Way It Goes" is slower song, lyrics about accepting disappointments. "I Really Love You" is a entertaining remake of a 1961 doo w o p song. "Greece" is a forgettable instrumental with some ad libbing vocals by George. The title song has George trying a calypso beat which doesn't quite work for him. Side 2 is mostly filler though my favorite track is "Dream Away" which appeared in the movie Time Bandits. It has a great catchy singalong chorus with backing vocals from Billy Preston and Syreeta, who had a hit duet with "With You I'm Born Again".

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Old Wave by Ringo Starr-Jun 1983

Ringo's popularity had sunk so low at this time that this didn't even get a US release. I still bought it as a import. It is not very good though. The first song "In My Car" is the best on the album, probably better than anything on his last 3 albums. He co wrote it with Joe Walsh, it is an energetic rocker with great keyboards by Gary Brooker (Procol Harum) and Chris Stanton. "She's About A Mover" is an OK version of the Sir Douglas Quintet classic. "I Keep Forgettin'" is an old Leiber/Stoller song and is not bad. Ringo tries one sad ballad "As Far As We Can Go" but it does not quite work. The rest of the record is unmemorable album filler.

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Cloud Nine by George Harrison -Nov 1987

My favorite George Harrison album, All Things Must Pass would have been if he not included that boring jam session disc. It was George's first in 5 years and every song is great. The title song sets the mood with bluesy feel with George in fine voice. "That's What It Takes" was co written by Jeff Lynne and Gary Wright and it's excellent pop song with an uplifting chorus. "Fish On The Sand" is great rocker with thumping bass line. "Just For Today" is a lovely ballad with warm vocals and nicely weeping guitar. "This Is Love" is a catchy toe tapping pop rocker. "When We Was Fab" tribute to the Beatles' psychedelic phase, Ringo is on drums with swirling cello which reminds me of "I Am The Walrus". George also adds some sitar at the end. Side 2 opens with the rocking "Devil's Radio" with George taking shots at the  gossipy media. "Someplace Else" is a sweet soothing song with more beautiful guitar solos. "Wreck Of The Hesperus" is another good rocker. "Breath Away From Heaven" has a hauntingly beautiful melody inspired by the mysterious Orient. The last and best is the #1 single "Got My Mind Set On You", a rollicking uptempo version of an obscure song by Rudi Clark. When I first heard this I was immediately jolted by walloping drum opening and later the great rockabilly backing and George's most energetic vocal performance in a long time. 

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Cloud Nine owes a huge debt to Jeff Lynne. It was the best sounding album Harrison had made, for my take, since Material World. I think some might consider it over-produced or at least close but I think it is richer than a lot of the previous albums. My CD doesn't give any writer's credits but it does give a special thanks to John, Paul, and Ringo.

I am with you on how good the songs are. It is the best overall collection in some time. All Things Must Pass is still my favorite. 

On your notes on Ringo I didn't have anything after Goodnight Vienna until Choose Love as the reviews were terrible and you have confirmed it still. 

 

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On 4/5/2021 at 1:43 PM, Det Jim McLeod said:

Old Wave by Ringo Starr-Jun 1983

The last ex-BEATLE album I bought was either Double Fantasy (actually a Christmas present that year) or McCartney II... the only RINGO  album I know I owned was Blast From Your Past.  I've enjoyed reading and learning from your reviews about these albums I ignored.  Particularly the RINGO albums I'd forgotten about. 

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Time Takes Time by Ringo Starr-May 1992

My favorite Ringo album. It had been 9 years since his last one, he was touring with his All Starr Band, the critics even liked this one. The only problem, it didn't sell. The first and best song "Weight Of The World" was like a breath of fresh air. At last, a great pop rocker better than anything he had done since 1973 and "Photograph". The band is tight and Ringo's voice sounds better than ever. "Don't Know A Thing About Love" is a good midtempo song. "Don't Go Where The Road Don't Go" is a driving rocker with Jeff Lynne on nearly all the instruments. "Golden Blunders" is good one about mistakes in life. "After All These Years" is co written by Ringo and it is a good account of a rock band's life on the road. "I Don't Believe You" is one of the catchiest songs on here, with great percussion and memorable chorus. The back up singers give it a Beatlesque feel. Ringo gets serious with the socially conscious "Runaways" about teens living on the street, it works quite well. "In A Heartbeat" is another great catchy pop song, helped by back up singers which includes Brian Wilson. "What Goes Around" is nice ending song, definitely in the spirit of good pop music that sticks with you.

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Vertical Man by Ringo Starr-Jun 1998

A very good Ringo CD, not as good as his last one but one of his best ever. He co wrote most of the songs with Mark Hudson (formerly with the comedy/musical group The Hudson Brothers) and some other writers. The first track "One" is the best, a terrific catchy pop song with great hook on the chorus. "What In The...World" is pretty good too, with bass and backing vocals from Paul McCartney. "Minefield" is a pretty good rocking track. "King Of Broken Hearts" is helped by a slide guitar solo by George Harrison. Ringo does a version of the Beatles first hit "Love Me Do", probably because he often said he was not allowed to play the drums on the original recording. It is more interesting than a great version of the song. The title song is OK, some interesting lyrics. Next is a nice remake of Dobie Gray's soulful classic "Drift Away", Ringo swaps lead vocals with Tom Petty and Alanis Morrisette on this. "I Was Walkin'" is an OK song with great guitar by Steve Cropper. "La De Da" is a fun song, sounds like singalong tune for the pub. "Without Understanding" is throwback psychedelic song and is entertaining for that reason. "I'll Be Fine Anywhere" has Ringo comfortably in rockabilly mode, more slide guitar from George. "Puppet" is an OK song, seems to be about moving on and growing up. The last and weakest song is "I'm Yours" a sentimental love song to Ringo's wife Barbara Bach, his voice cannot handle it. 

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I heard this played over the end credits of episode 2 of Hemingway the other night, and really dug the dirgey sort of "St. James Infirmary" vibe. I looked up the credits of adapted songs but saw only familiar titles that I knew were not what I'd heard. I emailed PBS and a nice lady from Ken Burns' office replied that it is "The New East St. Louis Toodle-O". I didn't know there was a new one. 

Charles "C@@tie" Williams on trumpet. (The software thinks his nickname is problematic, as the kids like to say. Read "oo" for "@@.")

 

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I Wanna Be Santa Claus by Ringo Starr-Oct 1999

Ringo's Christmas album. It's not very good, but not as bad as you would think. "Come On Christmas, Christmas Come On" is a an original that is the opener, it has a rocking sound but it's just repetitive. The title song is probably the best of the original songs, an OK tale about wanting to be the one delivering the toys. My favorite track maybe the version of "The Little Drummer Boy" it fits since Ringo is the greatest rock n roll drummer of all time and his fills on this are very good. "Christmas Eve" is a dull original, an attempt at a sad holiday ballad. An interesting new version of "Christmas Time Is Here Again" is included, the original was on the Beatles 1967 Christmas message to their fans. Ringo does an inferior version of Elvis Presley's holiday classic "Blue Christmas". It ends with a droning chant "Pax Um Biscom (Peace Be With You)' with some Indian instruments.

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Brainwashed by George Harrison-Nov 2002

George's first solo CD in 15 years, unfortunately is was his last, released one year after his death. It is a pretty good collection, not one of his best but nice enough listening experience. The first and I think best song is "Any Road" a good rocking track with nice slide guitar. "P2 Vatican Blues" is a witty one about an ex Catholic. "Looking For My Life" is a good spiritual song. "Marwan Blues" is an OK instrumental, more good slide guitar work. "Stuck Inside A Cloud" is a nice soothing ballad. "Devil And The Deep Blue Sea" is an old Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler song, a jaunty sounding track with George on ukulele and relaxed vocals. I liked the bluesy "Rocking Chair In Hawaii", George sings it like an old bluesman would. The final one is the title song, which has a great rocking sound with bitter jabs at corruption in the world. It ends with some chanting and Indian instruments.

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