‘Give More Love’: A Track-by-Track Preview of Ringo’s New Album

Beatlefan Publisher Bill King previews Ringo Starr’s “Give More Love” album, set for Sept. 15 release on CD and download and Sept. 22 on vinyl. …

 

If you’ve listened to Ringo’s three most recent albums that he’s self-produced with engineer Bruce Sugar (2010’s “Y Not,” 2012’s “Ringo 2012” and 2015’s “Postcards From Paradise”), you already have a pretty good idea what to expect from most of the tracks on Ringo’s 19th solo studio album, “Give More Love” — upbeat philosophy, lots of midtempo rockers, an unabashed love song to wife Barbara, a host of famous sidemen, and plenty of namechecks from the drummer’s storied career.

This time, however, he offers more tracks on the CD and digital configurations. And, refreshingly, Ringo takes a slightly different approach to a few of the numbers. While, overall, the album is very much in keeping with recent Ringo efforts, the sound is a bit rockier in places, and there’s also a straight-up country number, a taste of ’50s rock ’n’ roll and some surprisingly bluesy numbers.

The overall set isn’t quite as strong in terms of material as “Postcards From Paradise,” which received regular play in my car CD player for a good three months. But I’d give a strong thumbs-up to half of the 14 tracks. And Ringo is in good voice throughout; he’s much more versatile as a singer than in his earlier days.

Paul McCartney and Joe Walsh guest on the album.

Recorded at Roccabella West, Ringo’s home studio in Los Angeles, “Give More Love” has 10 new tracks featuring collaborations with friends, including Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Edgar Winter, Steve Lukather, Peter Frampton, Benmont Tench, Timothy B. Schmit, Richard Page, Amy Keys, Richard Marx, Nathan East, Gary Burr, Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard, Don Was, Gary Nicholson and Gregg Bissonette.

The three advance singles available as downloads are the catchy title track; the hard-rocking “We’re On the Road Again,” which features McCartney on bass and backing vocals; and the country number “So Wrong for So Long.”

The four CD/digital bonus tracks that won’t appear on the vinyl version are remakes of “Back Off Boogaloo,” “Don’t Pass Me By,” “You Can’t Fight Lightning” and “Photograph,” and generally present the tracks in a more stripped-down, bluesier style than the originals.

The new version of “Back Off Booglaloo” is based on the original recording Ringo made when he wrote the song. The other three bonus tracks are collaborations based on performances from Starr’s 2016 Peace & Love birthday event. Anglo-Swedish rock band Alberta Cross performed “You Can’t Fight Lightning” and Louisville, KY-based indie-folk group Vandaveer performed “Photograph” and “Don’t Pass Me By.” Starr loved their renditions and asked them to record the songs for his new album, adding his own vocals.

The new album picks up where the last one left off.

The album was produced by Ringo and “recorded” by Sugar, and the two of them mixed the tracks.

Here’s a track-by-track look at the album, complete with credits, my thoughts in italics, as well as comments from Ringo provided by Universal Music Enterprises:

“We’re on the Road Again”

Written by Richard Starkey and Steve Lukather

Ringo Starr: Drums, Vocals, Percussion

Paul McCartney: Bass

Steve Lukather: Guitar, Keyboards

Jim Cox: Piano

Backing Vocals: Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Gary Nicholson, Gary Burr, Georgia Middleman, Edgar Winter, Richard Marx, Steve Lukather

This upbeat rocker features a raucous lead guitar riff that should sound very familiar to those who’ve listened to Ringo’s recent albums, and the lyrics are self-referential, as is common on his albums. Macca plays some throbbing bass and adds some shouts at the end. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this one played by the All Starrs in concert.

RINGO SAYS:

Steve Lukather is Mr. Vitality when he’s rocking, and that’s how we got this rocker going. Luke and I were hanging out, and we had a bit of a rhythm pattern going and started to put a track down. We got a bit crazed in the beginning thinking that there’s already Willie Nelson — who we love — singing his “On the Road Again.” But we realized Willie doesn’t own that line, and our road trip is a lot more rocking. Yes, that is Paul McCartney on bass and on screams, too. I didn’t ask Paul or others on this song to scream — they just did it; like Paul, Edgar Winter and Joe Walsh at the end. They all went off and rocked. Real rock & roll and screams just seem to go together.

“Laughable”

Written by Richard Starkey and Peter Frampton

Ringo Starr: Drums, Vocals, Percussion

Peter Frampton: Guitar, Background Vocals

Benmont Tench: Keyboards

Timothy B. Schmit, Richard Page Amy Keys: Backing Vocals

Matt Legge: Additional Engineering

This midtempo number features some tasty playing and a nice electric guitar solo, but it’s not a very memorable tune.

RINGO SAYS:

Recording with Peter Frampton.

This is the first song that I’ve ever written with Peter Frampton. Pete came up to the house, and he had that line about things these days being, “Laughable / If it wasn’t sad.” That’s all we need. Anyone can have a good line, and we can write a song all around it. Pete wanted this song to get a little bit more political, and I thought it was political enough. And, in every interview, I am not political — I’m about Peace & Love. But the expression of the song does speak to the times we are in now.

“Show Me the Way”

Written by Richard Starkey and Steve Lukather

Ringo Starr: Drums, Vocals, Percussion

Steve Lukather: Guitar, Keyboards

Paul McCartney: Bass

Jim Cox: Organ

Timothy B. Schmit, Richard Page Amy Keys: Backing Vocals

This love ballad for Barbara has only a so-so melody but it benefits from having Macca on bass and a very good guitar solo by Lukather.  

RINGO SAYS:

“Show Me the Way” is for Barbara. She shows me the way. We’ve been together 37 years, You have ups-and-downs. I’ll cry. She’ll cry. We’ll cry — there are those days. But there’s so much love and so much support. We’re still getting to know each other and loving it. Steve Lukather co-wrote this one with me. I really wanted Paul to play bass on this track, because it’s an important track to me because of the expression to Barbara, and Paul said “Yes.” For me, he’s still the most melodic, incredible bass player. Paul plays every note great. And, yes, we have some history and chemistry. That also comes into play. I’d love someone with a big, great voice like Celine Dion to sing this song, because I love it and it’s important to me. But, until then, I’ll have to do.

“Speed of Sound”

Written by Richard Starkey and Richard Marx

Ringo Starr: Drums, Vocals, Percussion

Richard Marx: Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals

Steve Lukather: Guitar

Peter Frampton: Guitar, Talkbox guitar solo

Nathan East: Bass

Windy Wagner, Amy Keys: Backing Vocals

A midtempo rocker with a strong drum beat and some of Frampton’s voicebox guitar.

RINGO SAYS:

Fooling around with Richard Marx.

I was writing with Richard Marx and he said, “I want to do something raucous,” because usually we do something more ballady. Richard had a good line about the “Speed of Sound,” and I thought, how can we show that? That’s why I asked Pete Frampton about doing a little talkbox for me — something he and Joe Walsh both know a lot about. Richard is so great and so easy. We have a competition, he and I. We have to write the song in 25 minutes, so, if it takes 34 minutes, it’s like, “Oh no, it took FOREVER.” I love Richard. These days, I don’t have time for hard cases. We have fun, and we know what we’re doing.

“Standing Still”

Written by Richard Starkey and Gary Burr

Ringo Starr: Vocals, Percussion, Claps

Nathan East: Upright Bass

Gary Burr: Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals

Georgia Middleman: Backing Vocals

Greg Leisz: Dobro

Steve Dudas: Guitar

Bruce Sugar: Drum Programming, Claps

One of the album’s best tracks, “Standing Still” has a very bluesy sound, thanks to the guitar and dobro. I like the rootsy feel, and it has a very catchy chorus.

RINGO SAYS:

Gary Burr was in Ringo and the Roundheads for years, and we’ve been friends ever since. Now, Gary’s with Georgia Middleman and she’s a great writer and a country girl. Gary and I wrote this song together, and then Gary and Georgia came back and do the harmonies. It’s great to have people you love on your record. I’m still thinking of putting a country record together, but I don’t know if I’ll do it at home or in Nashville. I went to Nashville to record before a lot of people, but, lately, Nashville’s been coming to me. And what about that Greg Leisz on dobro? He plays with such emotion, and it was so great to find him.

“King of the Kingdom”  

Written by Richard Starkey and Van Dyke Parks

Ringo Starr: Drums, Vocals, Percussion

Nathan East: Bass

Dave “Wawa” Stewart: Guitar

Edgar Winter: Tenor Sax

Steve Dudas: Guitar

Bruce Sugar: Keyboards, Synth Programming

Windy Wagner, Amy Keys: Backing Vocals

This sprightly number features a reggae beat (and a lyrical tribute to Bob Marley) backed by some funky guitar and a sax solo. I’d rank it in the second tier of tracks from the album.

RINGO SAYS:

A couple of songs from the new album might show up on the next All Starr tour.

Van Dyke Parks is an old friend. I’ve known Van Dyke since like 1975. And on most of my records lately, we’ve written a song together because I do tend to call my old pals. Van Dyke came over one day and I had a bit of a track, and I said something about, “She’s the king of the kingdom, and I’m in charge of the band.” Then, because the emotion on this song was kind of reggae, we started talking about Haile Selassie. So, we went on the Internet to read up on him, and that led us to “One Love” and, of course, to Bob Marley. I wanted to reference Bob Marley and give credit to Bob Marley because I loved him and what he brought to music.

“Electricity”

Written by Richard Starkey and Glen Ballard

Ringo Starr: Drums, Vocals, Percussion

Joe Walsh: Guitar

Don Was: Bass

Benmont Tench: Keyboards

Glen Ballard: Rhodes Piano, Backing Vocals

Windy Wagner, Amy Keys: Backing Vocals

Each album, in recent years, Ringo has done one of his Liverpool/autobiography songs, and this is the one for the new album. He namechecks Rory and the Hurricanes (subject of last album’s song) and, mainly, Johnny Guitar, with brother-in-law Walsh doing the honors on axe.

RINGO SAYS:

“Electricity” was written with Glen Ballard, who I originally met through Dave Stewart. This is another one of my personal history lessons that talks about my old band Rory and the Hurricanes, and Johnny “Guitar” Byrne, who was an amazing player we had in the group. There’s also a reference to “Gangster of Love,” which is a classic by another great player, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, from America. Glen had the bit about “electricity going through his fingers,” so I put that crazy vocal effect on so this track would feel very electric. This was the first track we put guitar on for the album and I got Joe Walsh to come down, because he’s a relative and a very electric guy, too, a beautiful human who plays great. What else do you need?

“So Wrong for So Long” 

Written by Richard Starkey and Dave Stewart

Ringo Starr: Drums, Vocals, Percussion

Dave Stewart: Guitars

Nathan East: Upright Bass

Greg Leisz: Pedal Steel Guitar

Jim Cox: Keyboards

Gary Burr, Georgia Middleman: Backing Vocals

Ned Douglas: Additional Engineering

Ringo goes traditional country on this tale of heartbreak, complete with pedal steel guitar and a namecheck for “Johnny Cash and June.”

RINGO SAYS:

Here you have two Brits — Dave Stewart and I — writing a great country song. In a way, this was the start of this record, because we were originally going to go to Nashville last June to do a country album. We wrote a few songs before we’d go there so we’d sound professional. Then, they offered me a summer tour, so I went on the road instead. Dave’s a great friend who’s very inventive and great to have around. I remember I had the line, “I hope you’re happy / I hope he’s happy too / But just like all the others / I’ll get over you.”  That’s my favorite line — some of my own lines blow me away!

“Shake It Up”

Written by Richard Starkey and Gary Nicholson

Ringo Starr: Drums, Vocals, Percussion

Don Was: Upright Bass

Steve Dudas: Guitars

Gary Nicholson: Acoustic Guitar

Edgar Winter: Piano

Windy Wagner,  Amy Keys: Backing Vocals

An upbeat, 1950s-style rock ’n’ roll number, this one is basically a riff on “Shake, Rattle and Roll” and, in fact, gets Rutlesclose to being a remake of that song at points. But it does a nice job of re-creating the musical feel of that era.

RINGO SAYS:

Ringo is in good voice on the new album.

I love Gary Nicholson. As soon as this record is out, he’ll be calling me and saying, “So are you starting a new record, because I’m coming to town.” We have a good time writing together. He is so professional. He has a computer full of things and phrases he’s said. Usually, there’s a good title going down. For me, “Shake It Up” is like the school hop — on this track, it’s like we’re in white jackets and we’re rocking. He’s on guitar. I’m on drums. Edgar Winter is on it — Edgar is rock & roll, and so is Don Was, who I first worked with in 1990 on “Time Takes Time.” I had four producers then, because I was so insecure. It was sort of left in his hands. Don always does a great job.

“Give More Love”

Written by Richard Starkey and Gary Nicholson

Ringo Starr: Drums, Vocals, Percussion

Steve Dudas: Guitars

Matt Bissonette: Bass

Greg Bissonette: Hang Drum

Jim Cox: Keyboards

Timothy B. Schmit, Richard Page, Amy Keys: Backing Vocals

Another concert-likely number, this one is sort of quintessential latterday Ringo. It has a comfortable feel, like a pair of old shoes, and is pretty catchy.

RINGO SAYS:

I wrote “Give More Love” with Gary Nicholson, too, and it’s a great message for the album, because it’s what I’m all about. This track features so many friends, new and old. Jim Cox is back on keyboards and it’s great to have him. We have Matt Bissonette on bass, and his brother Greg Bissonette on Hang Drum. Olivia and Dhani Harrison gave me this steel drum, one you can just sort of have on your knee, and that’s what Gregg was playing. And you can’t do better than Timothy B. Schmitt, Richard Page and Amy Keys on backing vocals. What a beautiful sound with the three of them: Amy and the boys, who can sound more like girls than she does!

“Back Off Boogaloo”   

Written by Richard Starkey and George Harrison

Ringo Starr:  Drums, Vocals, Percussion, Guitar

Joe Walsh: Guitar

Jeff Lynne: Acoustic Guitar

Nathan East: Bass

Bob Malone: Piano

Steve Jay: Additional Engineering

This re-do opens with Ringo’s original acoustic guitar demo for the song and then turns into a rockier reading of the number. One of the album’s high points.

RINGO SAYS:

The original version was a hit single for Ringo.

We were moving house to Los Angeles, and a ship brought six containers of my stuff — of course, most of it was Barbara’s. But I’m going through it, and found a box of little two-inch reel-to-reel tapes. My assistant Scotty was checking out everything in the office, and he said, “You should listen to this.” It’s me singing “Back Off Boogaloo” with this great guitar. I’m thinking who the hell is that playing? Then I realize, I’m on guitar! It’s 1971, Marc Bolan had been over the night before and used the word “Boogaloo,” and I woke up and the reel-to-reel captures the song coming. So, I gave the tape to Jeff [Lynne] to do some new production around that, which he did, then he got busy on tour, but his guitar is on it; so are Nathan East and Joe Walsh.

“Don’t Pass Me By”

Written by Richard Starkey

Performed by Ringo Starr and Vandaveer

Ringo Starr: Vocals, Piano

Mark Charles Heidinger: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar

Rose Guerin: Vocals

Tom Hnatow: Resonator Guitar, Acoustic Guitar

Robby Cosenza: Drums, Percussion, Harmonica

Track produced and engineered by Duane Lundy

My favorite track, this re-do features a more overtly country reading of the song than on the White Album, and throws in a bit of “Octopus’s Garden” at the end. The resonator guitar gives it a much rootsier sound than most Ringo tracks.

RINGO SAYS:

See Ringo’s comments on “Don’t Pass Me By” below, paired with “Photograph.”

“You Can’t Fight Lightning”

Written by Richard Starkey

Performed by Ringo Starr and Alberta Cross

Track produced and arranged by Petter Ericson Stakee and Peter R. Ericson

Engineers: Viktor Buck and Fred Appelvist

Recorded at Fred´s Kitchen Studios in Stockholm

Ringo Starr: Vocals

Petter Ericson Stakee: Guitar, Backing Vocals, Percussion

Matthew Pynn: Guitar, Lap Steel

Fredrik Aspelin: Drums, Percussion

Erik MacQueen: Bass Guitar

Pete Remm: Piano, Hammond Organ

Viktor Buck and Peter R. Ericson: Backing Vocals

The original version from 1981 was done with Paul and Linda and featured Macca on drums. This version is slightly less weird, with a bluesier feel and a better vocal by Ringo than on the original, which was basically just a jam.

RINGO SAYS:

For my birthday “Peace & Love” celebration last year in Los Angeles, my publicist, Elizabeth Freund, arranged for a few talented young groups to perform. Alberta Cross — a Swede and a Brit who come from Brooklyn — picked “You Can’t Fight Lightning,” which was a wild choice of an obscure song I wrote a long time and recorded with Paul and Linda many years ago. Paul produced that track, and I played guitar since it was all one chord. But Alberta Cross did such a great job with the song, it made me want to rediscover the song again with their help. I love it.

“Photograph”

Written by Richard Starkey and George Harrison

Performed by Ringo Starr and Vandaveer

Ringo Starr: Vocals

Mark Charles Heidinger: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar

Rose Guerin: Vocals

Tom Hnatow: Resonator Guitar, Electric Guitar

Robby Cosenza: Drums, Percussion

Track produced and engineered by Duane Lundy

Not as majestic as the Richard Perry-produced original, but a nice variation on a classic. I wish Ringo would consider doing an entire album of material in the same style as “Standing Still,” “Don’t Pass Me By” and “Photograph” are done here.

RINGO SAYS:

[“Don’t Pass Me By” and “Photograph”] are two songs that people already know and love that I did here with Vandaveer, who also played my birthday party in Hollywood. Vandaveer is a very cool musical project from Louisville, Kentucky, led by a man named Mark Charles Heidinger. These are not obscure songs at all, but Vandaveer did them great and they did them differently, so that even the old songs on this album feel new.

All in all, a solid effort from Ringo, with some very welcome stylistic variations.

— Bill King

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to ‘Give More Love’: A Track-by-Track Preview of Ringo’s New Album

  1. John K. Walker (subscriber since 1985) says:

    I know you already know this and that the mistake was essentially a typo, but for the record and for any latter-days fans who may not actually know, unlike “It Don’t Come Easy” and “Back Off Boogaloo,” George didn’t produce the original “Photograph,” Richard Perry did. (Guitar, backing vocals, and co-wrote the immortal RINGO album song, yes.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s