Ringo StarrRingo 2012
By Gillian G. Gaar
Ringo Starr’s latest album finds him in his usual good spirits, with the opening track, “Anthem,” setting the tone. Though it starts off with the militaristic sound of marching feet, Starr’s intentions quickly become clear as he assures the listener “This is an anthem/of peace and love.” Though you do wonder if he needs a little more in the way of inspiration — with only nine tracks, the album runs just under 30 minutes.
Starr digs back into his own catalogue for two remakes. “Wings” first appeared on 1977’s “Ringo the 4th” album. Joe Walsh plays guitar on this new version, which makes it rock a lot harder (although interestingly, comments on YouTube tend to favor the more organic feel of the original). “Step Lightly” is the other remake, from Starr’s classic 1973 “Ringo” album; the original has a warmth and a more expressive vocal the remake can’t match.
There are also two covers on the album, a bright “Think It Over” (which originally appeared on the compilation “Listen To Me: Buddy Holly”), and a breezy version of the skiffle standard “Rock Island Line.” The remaining songs are originals, the best of which is the atmospheric “Samba,” co-written by Starr and Van Dyke Parks. “In Liverpool” is another ode to his hometown, along the lines of the title track of “Liverpool 8” (2008) and “The Other Side of Liverpool” on “Y Not” (2010); “Liverpool 8” remains the best in this trilogy.
Starr’s in good voice here, making “Ringo 2012” a pleasant enough album. But the material isn’t strong enough to make much of an impression; it’s the kind of record you get to complete your collection but that you won’t find yourself listening to that much. It’s definitely worth “upgrading” to the deluxe edition, which comes with a DVD that has Starr’s brief comments about each track.