Photograph: The Very Best of Ringo Starr (2007)


23 Jun 2009, 15:55

Talk about an oxymoron, I hear you say!!

Well, you're the oxymoron for thinking that about this thoroughly enjoyable 20 track 2007 compilation from good ol' Ringo!!!

The main criticism that was levelled at Starr during his career (and probably still is) was the strength of his voice. But along with being an excellent and original drummer, Ringo's foghorn voice is what elevates so much of this otherwise pedestrian material to jovial levels. He's no Dennis Wilson but he is eons ahead of Keith Moon who surely had one of the most laughable voices ever committed to vinyl (Phil Collins aside).

His vocal reputation was not helped by the dross he had to sing with the Beatles, notably 'Yellow Submarine' - one of the worst Beatles songs ever.

But as mentioned, it's Ringo's sincerity and straightforward delivery which make these corny songs so great. Who else could get away with "You're Sixteen (You're Beautiful and You're Mine)" and its utterly ridiculous, borderline smutty lyrics? Not Bill Wyman anyway!

There is one genuine classic on the whole record, that being "It Don't Come Easy" a song written with George Harrison. With trademark Starr fills and a snappy Harrison solo, it was a deserving hit.

Elsewhere, there is the exercise in nostalgia ("Photograph" - not a Nickleback cover, strangely enough), an atrocious Elton John song which he rescues with a brilliant vocal performance ('Snookeroo") and the hilarious anti-drug message ("The No-No Song"). Who else but Ringo could make the sappy Harrison tribute "Never Without You" work? There's also a good cover of "Act Naturally". Sadly, the Lennon donation "(It's All Down To) Goodnight Vienna" is a bit disappointing.

The formula never changes. It's fat horns, soaring strings, twangy guitars and thunderous low-end piano all the way. Add hilarious vocals and good drumming and you've got a decent compilation of songs.

And what about the cover? It's tasteful! Baring in mind that Ringo was responsible for some of the most horrific cover-art ever (even GG Allin never pushed it as far as ol' Richard), the picture on Photograph is very sharp indeed. But let's never forget the cover to Ringo the 4th in which his head is between a woman's legs! Fun for all the family!!! (the Mansons that is)

10/10 for effort, great fun. Put it on at your next gathering and alienate your family and friends.

Ringo Starr
The Beatles


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