|ALBUM PREVIEW: RINGO STARR “GIVE MORE LOVE”
UNIVERSAL MUSIC, RELEASE DATE SEPTEMBER 15, 2017
Ringo Starr´s upcoming CD will be called Give More Love, so now we give more Give More Love info, with a carefully listened-to and evaluated rundown of all the songs on the CD, including several re-dos.
This article was prepared for us by Brunch contributor Frank Thomas:
On 7/7/17, our favorite drummer turned 77.
That’s a lot of 7’s, which proved more than lucky as the birthday proceedings included news everyone could celebrate, the release of the title track from Ringo’s new album “Give More Love”, due in stores September 15th (a vinyl release follows a week later on September 22nd).
The album, like Ringo’s group of road warriors heading out on tour this fall is an all-Starr affair. Appearing on the album are All Starr Band members past and present, including Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter, Peter Frampton, Timothy B. Schmit, Richard Page, Steve Lukather, Richard Marx and Gregg Bissonette. Also helping out are Jeff Lynne, Don Was, Dave Stewart, Nathan East and Benmont Tench, along with Gary Nicholson, Gary Burr & Steve Dudas from Ringo’s erstwhile Roundheads ensemble, Oh, and Paul McCartney dropped by for a couple of songs.
The 10-song set is complemented by four re-makes from Ringo’s past, including a classic from The Beatles’ White Album, "Don´t Pass Me By".
The set kicks off with, appropriately enough, “We’re On The Road Again”. This lead-guitar driven track would be a perfect candidate - musically and thematically - for the “new song” spotlight in the All Starr Band set list for the coming tour. Co-writer and guitarist extraordinaire Steve Lukather shines on lead guitar as the song is propelled by The Beatles rhythm section of Paul & Ringo, with some ad-libbed vocals from Macca launching the songs instrumental coda.
Next up is “Laughable”, co-written with Frampton, an upbeat song with some very delicate and intricate drumming from Ringo. Includes the requisite “peace and love” lyric.
Here’s something for all you trivia fanatics: the album’s next two songs are “Show Me The Way” and “Speed of Sound”. “Show Me The Way” mirrors the title only of a hit Peter Frampton song from 1976, and features Paul McCartney; “Speed of Sound bears the title of a hit McCartney album from 1976, and features Frampton. The former is a ballad co-written with Lukather, with McCartney on bass. Frampton’s trademark “talkbox” guitar solo highlights the latter.
Ringo notes “Give More Love” was originally planned as a country album, so “Standing Still”, finds Ringo right at home in this genre, accompanied by some very tasty dobro playing.
“King of The Kingdom” is the lone solo composition among the new titles in the set. A little left of center lyrically (“she is the king of the kingdom” go the lyrics; wouldn’t that make her the queen?). In any event, while she may be king of the kingdom, it is he who “is in charge of the band”. A funky track with some nice wa-wa guitar from Dave Stewart, a sax solo from Edgar Winter, and a “one love, one heart” nod to Bob Marley thrown in for good measure.
A cursory read of the album’s song titles would indicate an absence of a Liverpool recollection as featured on Ringo’s past four studio albums, with “Liverpool 8”, “The Other Side Of Liverpool”, “In Liverpool” and “Rory and the Hurricanes”. Not to worry, the next track “Electricity” finds our hero waxing poetic about not only his hometown and Rory, but paying homage to The Hurricanes’ guitarist Johnny Guitar. The tradition carries on, with brother-in-law Joe Walsh spotlighted here on lead guitar.
From the Nashville country sessions, “So Wrong For So Long” follows, with some nice pedal steel guitar courtesy of Greg Leisz (who turned in the dobro performance on “Standing Still” referenced earlier), and a nice nod to Johnny & June Cash.
“Shake It Up” is the album’s strongest rocker and would make a nice addition to the All Starr Band set list on the forthcoming tour as well. Terrific rockabilly guitar from Steve Dudas, appropriately thumping upright bass from Nathan East and a super lead vocal from Ringo recalling “Shake Rattle and Roll”, featuring some great drumming as well. A rousing Saturday night record. Excellent stuff, this is. Maybe a country / rockabilly set wasn’t such a bad idea …. Just saying’.
The album’s title track “Give More Love” closes the main set. This one should resonate with Ringo fans as it immediately recalls 2003’s “Never Without You” in both arrangement and tempo.
Moving on to the remakes:
First up is “Back Off Boogaloo”. This is the second time Ringo has revisited this song in the studio for a latter day album (the first was for 1981’s “Stop and Smell The Roses” collection). Unlike the previous recreation, which was layered with a slew of Beatle titles and lyrical references, this is a straight-forward performance with Ringo taking a rare turn on guitar as well as drums. Inspired by a recent unearthing of the original composing tape, this open-space production makes for a nice contrast to the heavy production stamp put on the 1972 single.
My favorite of the remakes is next, a truly countrified version of “Don’t Pass Me By”, credited to Ringo and Vanderveer. Once again stepping out from behind the kit, Ringo plays piano on this one, and offers up a nice lyrical coda of his other Beatles composition “Octopus’ Garden” over the song’s trail-off. Beautifully done.
While of course Ringo sings several Beatles´ songs in his live shows, recreating a Beatles song for one of his studio albums is not without precedent. Fans may recall his rendition of “Love Me Do”, with Ringo finally getting to play the drum part on record, found on 1998’s “Vertical Man” CD.
The next re-make bears and asterisk of a different kind, as it was never actually included on an original release. “Can’t Fight Lightning” was considered as the title track for what became the aforementioned “Stop and Smell The Roses”, but was nixed and only ever appeared as a bonus track when the album was reissued on CD more than a decade later. While the new album was recorded at Ringo’s home studio, this track was layer down in Stockholm, and is credited to Ringo and Alberta Cross.
Wrapping things up and again credited to Ringo Starr and Vanderveer, is a turn on the #1 hit from 1973, “Photograph”. A more sparse arrangement and production than Richard Perry’s masterful original , it’s a pleasant way to bring the set to a close.
Ringo Starr and The All Starr Band launch their fall tour with eight shows at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas in October, winding their way south through Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia and Virginia, before wrapping up with three shows in the NY metro area in mid-November.