Oh, and it's my 24th birthday.
Now how did one of my favorite musicians and second favorite drummer of all time know and release an album to celebrate??
Ringo Starr, ladies and gentlemen.
I have actually seen him and his All Starr band... I think 4 or 5 times. I've lost count. He tours every other year (which means I have a concert to attend this summer!), and always has an amazing line up. Seriously, if you hear he's in town, go!
So, as for the new album, of the 9 tracks two are covers, “Think It Over,” and “Rock Island Line” and two are new versions of his own songs, “Wings” and “Step Lightly.” Just to give you a little insight. And it's his SEVENTEENTH solo studio album.
Let's hear from Ringo.
We kick things off with "Anthem," a classic rock sounding jam that I'm already seeing as being a great stage number. Ringo's got this thing with his voice where you can tell how simply he likes to keep things going. Let's face it - he wasn't the singing Beatle. He has words to share though, a true Peace & Love man at heart, and gets us going for this album with that reminder.
"Wings" may sound a little familiar, and it should if you're a Ringo fan for life. This is a re-recording of his 1977 hit from Ringo the 4th. Ringo redid this one because of a need for an update, and new, if you can believe it, reggae influences he's been listening to more and more in the past couple of years. It's also the lead single from this album.
Buddy Holly makes an appearance in the fun cover of "Think It Over." Er, well, his song does. What I've always loved about Ringo's take on music is how accessible it is. He consistently gives this good old-time feeling to every piece to does, and you can't help but get into it.
"Samba" immediately has this great Spanish feel to it. I've never heard Ringo go so far in range with his music. In concert, he knows you're there to hear the classics and have a good time. On his album though, he does what feels good. Hell, he's Ringo-frickin-Starr and can damn well do what he pleases. I like this chance he took here.
John Lomax gets covered in the next, sort of out-of-place-feeling song, "Rock Island Line." There's still a good old rock feel to it, and the piano that's highlighted throughout with the guitar is a reminder of who we're dealing with. It's weird to hear songs like this that didn't come from the 60's, as there is something entirely classic about it. I'm feeling like, more and more, the Beatles really did have their very own sound.
"Step Lightly" is another re-recording from 1973's Ringo. That was actually his most successful solo album release, and partially the reason for the title of this album - a throwback, sort of. While a lot of the newer material has the peace & love themes strewn throughout, these older songs have much more of a general song sound to them, being about romantic love and friends and whatnot. Okay, still sort of in the peace and love realm, but in a less direct way.
A new song this time, "Wonderful" is next. Have to love Ringo's positivity. "The worst it ever was was wonderful." What a nice reflection that we should all be so lucky to have on life and experiences. Actually, it does make you reflect on the past a little differently. Amazing how a song can manage to do that.
"In Liverpool" serves for more reflection. As great as New York and America was, there was something special for them about Liverpool. You have to believe he's talking about his old bandmates when he speaks of the boys and their good times. He still keeps it simple vocally, but it's all honest art.
I have to say, "Slow Down" was probably my least favorite song on the album, so I feel it's a weak choice as a closing number. It's more of what Ringo's feeling at the time though, so you can't ask for too much more. The guy can sort of do whatever he pleases nowadays.
FULL SPOTIFY ALBUM LISTEN LINK
This was truly an awesome birthday gift. It was really a cool gift for the world. This over-70-year-old Beatle is still alive and hopping (not so gracefully anymore, but he still gets the crowd going). He's recording more music than ever, and still touring. Who can ask for more from a legend?