September 09, 2007

Album Review: Ringo Starr - Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr

Since The Beatles disbanded, Ringo Starr has sustained a respectable solo career, one that’s allowed the iconic drummer to call the shots and make music by his own accord. Much of the finest music he’s made comes together on the newly released retrospective, Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr.

This solid compilation features twenty tracks, many of them bona fide hits, most of them instantly familiar. What this disc underscores, besides the songs themselves, is the quality of musicians that Starr worked with in making them, from his three former bandmates to the likes of Elton John, Billy Preston, and Eric Clapton.

Of all the artists that contributed to this music, none resonate as often or as profound as George Harrison. “Photograph” and “It Don’t Come Easy” rank as two of Starr’s most recognizable recordings, not least because of Harrison’s involvement in their creation, having co-written and produced the former while producing the latter. He also contributed the loose and bouncy track, “Wrack My Brain,” and produced the weird and wonderful smash, “Back Off Boogaloo”. Starr wrote the poignant song, “Never Without You,” which features Eric Clapton on guitar, in tribute to his departed friend.

During his “Lost Weekend,” John Lennon offered Starr two songs, “Goodnight Vienna” and the tongue-in-cheek humor of “I’m The Greatest,” which illustrates that Lennon was, perhaps, not quite as “lost” during this time as he’d claimed.

While Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr have collaborated on various projects ranging from McCartney’s Tug of War and Flaming Pie to Starr’s Vertical Man, his only appearance on this compilation comes on “You’re Sixteen (You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine)”.

Other highlights of this disc include the rollicking groove of “Oh, My My,” featuring Billy Preston on piano, and “Snookeroo,” an Elton John/Bernie Taupin composition on which the Rocket Man participated in recording.

Given his stature, it’s not surprising that Ringo Starr recruited such renowned artists with whom to make music. What’s impressive, though, is how well these songs have held up, and, moreover, how much fun it is to listen to them now.

In the liner notes, Starr offers commentary on what he remembers most about each track. While nothing jumps out as exclusive news or insight, what does come through is his lasting enjoyment of the music he’s created and covered, often with a little help from his friends.


Unknown said...

Might want to check the credits on the song "Six O'Clock", the version here being nicely extended to include some wacking good jams at the end. It's definitely a song about relationships of all sorts - and how we often fall so short.

"Your Sixteen"? It's definitely not my favorite though Linda's backing is quite good and those saxophone fills always give me a giggle.