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Ringo Starr Photograph: The Very Best Of Ringo Review

Compilation. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

The talented Beatle gets due recognition at last...

Chris Jones 2007

At last – the talented one from that group of Liverpudlian, long-haired louts gets his due recognition. While his fellow remaining band fellow sells his soul to a large multi-national beverage franchise the former Richard Starkey keeps a relatively low profile. Probably now more famous in the UK for being the voice of a small blue train, Ringo’s career has been kept alive in the States by his road jaunts with a crew of stellar mates in his All-Starr band. But why has the man who had the first post-Beatles solo hit fallen off the radar to such a large extent? How could we forget the most lovable mop top?

The clue is in the chronology of this fine compilation of hits and choice cuts from the last 35 years. The conspicuous gap between the early 80s and early 90s. Yes, personal demons (now happily defeated) saw to it that Ringo became the unlovable moptop for a while.

But before this unfortunate fall from grace our Ringo was in fact a man who made remarkably fine pop records. Of the eight hits contained here, seven are top tenners. Cleverly he always knew his limitations and wasn’t above a little help from his friends. The cast list on everything from “It Don’t Come Easy” in 1971 to “Hey Baby” from Ringo’s Rotogravure (a record he admits to not even remembering having made) is staggering. Still close buddies with George Harrison (who co-wrote the title track of this compilation and produced his first two hits) and John Lennon (who wrote both “I’m The Greatest” and “(It’s All Down To) Goodnight Vienna)”, Ringo also could call on seemingly every toast-of-Beverly-Hills legend at the time, including Harry Nilsson, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Martha Reeves, Jim Keltner, Arif Mardin, Marc Bolan, Elton John and Bernie Taupin…the list is mind-boggling. With this much talent on board no amount of carousing could totally obscure the results.

Wisely, a large quantity of tracks come from his finest albums, Ringo (including the wonderful “Oh My My”) and its follow-up, Goodnight Vienna. But you also get the title track from his country project, Beaucoup Of Blues, the autobiographical b-side of “It Don’t Come Easy”, “Early 1970”, and even his collaboration with the criminally underrated Jellyfish, “Weight Of The World”.

With candidly direct sleevenotes by the big-nosed one himself, Photograph is a heart-warming reminder that Ringo was always more than a drummer.

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