From the Vault...


Ringo Starr
"Ringo's Rotogravure"

© Atlantic Records

Year of Release: 1976

track listing
  • A Dose Of Rock 'N' Roll
  • Hey Baby
  • Pure Gold
  • Cryin'
  • You Don't Know Me
    At All
  • Cookin'
    (In The Kitchen
    Of Love)
  • I'll Still Love You
  • This Be Called A Song
  • Las Brisas
  • Lady Gaye
  • Spooky Weirdness

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    Ringo Starr
    "Ringo's Rotogravure"

    (February 25, 1943 - November 29, 2001)

    Note: An interesting piece of history (regarding WSVNRadio...) With the recent passing of George Harrison, and looking back at the past history of albums chosen as the Album Picks of the Week, here is some interesting Beatles-related information:

    1) This week in 1990, George Harrison's All Things Must Pass was chosen as Album Pick of the Week.
    2) This week in 1992, Paul McCartney's Pipes Of Peace was chosen as Album Pick of the Week.
    3) This week in 1994, John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band was chosen as Album Pick of the Week.
    4) As of this week (12/02/2001), Ringo Starr had never been selected as Album Pick of the Week.
    5) Until now... Ringo Starr's Ringo's Rotogravure is chosen as this week's Album Pick of the Week.
    Note #2: Since 1987, every album chosen was done by a computer program.

    ro·to·gra·vure: 1. a process of printing from an engraved copper cylinder on which the pictures, letters, etc., have been depressed instead of raised. 2. U.S. a print or section of a newspaper made by this process. 3. a kind of paper on which rotogravure and many picture sections and picture magazines are usually printed: [They] changed the weekly from rough newsprint to slick rotogravure (Newsweek). [American English: < roto-(graph) + gravure]

    I've always admired Ringo Starr's solo work. Most critics have ruled out Starr as being a successful solo artist, next to his former Beatle bandmates. Not true; there are albums better than others, but still, Ringo has accomplished solo albums that are quite impressive and enjoyable. Ringo's Rotogravure was his first album for Atlantic Records; Apple Records was his former recording label. And even if this release may fall in the category of "not one of his best," it is enjoyable.

    One point to make about Ringo's solo albums, is that he always had help from other musicians, whether it be playing the instruments on his songs, and/or contributing writing credits. On this album, artists who contributed their musical skills were Peter Frampton, Dr. John, Paul & Linda McCartney, John Lennon, and Eric Clapton. Some songs were cowritten by Starr, likewise there are songs written by such friends as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Eric Clapton.

    The first 3 songs defines an early rock 'n' roll sound; not exactly the 1950s, when Ringo and his former Beatles were inspired, but it could pass as songs having an early rock 'n' roll pop sound: "A Dose Of Rock 'N' Roll" (featuring Peter Frampton on guitar and Dr. John on keyboards), "Hey Baby" (the remake of the early 1960s song by Bruce Channel), and "Pure Gold," a song written by Paul McCartney, with background vocals by Paul and Linda McCartney; you can easily tell this song was written by McCartney while listening to it.

    In the early years of The Beatles, and even the very early solo albums by Ringo, he had supplied the vocals on Country cover tunes. "Cryin'" was co-written by Starr, and it has the Country atmosphere, that could easily fit the formats of Country radio stations. (Also, if you're familiar with Billy Swan [his biggest hit was the #1 "I Can Help"], both their voices sound alike. Billy Swan had recorded some Country-styled tunes on his album entitled I Can Help.)

    "You Don't Know Me At All" maybe the most least listen-to tune on this album; it's a fair-medium tempo song, and is best left as a lost album track. "Cookin' (In The Kitchen Of Love)" was written by John Lennon, and he also played piano. It's 1970s pop, you'd have to listen more than once to realize it was written by John Lennon.

    "I'll Still Love You" was written by George Harrison, and it has a somewhat bluesy feel, and is considered the best song on this particular album. As I was listening to "This Be Called A Song", the guitar is a dead giveaway: Eric Clapton played guitar, likewise wrote the song. It easily fits E.C.'s style of writing and playing during his 1970s releases.

    "Las Brisas" has the Mariachi Band helping out, and is a very enjoyable Spanish-influenced composition. This song was co-written by Starr. "Lady Gaye" (also co-written by Starr), definitely has the solo Ringo pop sound. "Spooky Weirdness" is just over a minute long, and what sounds like an open tuneup session of musicians just plucking around on their instruments, and there is a sense of spookiness heard. The only problem is that there wasn't any information about the musicians who participated on this "song," nor did it say who it was written by. It was probably just an open jam session, while the tapes were rolling.

    Ringo's Rotogravure may not be considered one of the best solo albums by Ringo, yet it is enjoyable, it's always a treat to have "a little help from your friends"; that being well-known musicians willing to participate by either playing on the records, and/or contributing a written song.

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    Previous Review: #761
    Marshall Tucker Band--Carolina Dreams
    Next Review: #763
    Tom T. Hall--Greatest Hits Volumes I And II