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For the first time in one of popular music's
most enduring and illustrious careers, Ringo Starr has
decided to take charge and produce himself. The result is
perhaps the most personal and impressive album of this rock
legend's entire solo career. How on earth did Starr finally
locate the absolutely perfect producer to work with him?
"Well, I looked in the mirror," Ringo says with a smile.
"And I was looking real groovy that day."
Starr's decision to take a stronger role in
the recording of his latest and greatest solo album was a
significant and fortuitous one. "I didn't do it at the
start," Starr says. "I was the least involved in the
production of the Beatle records. And then with my solo
records, I worked with some other great producers like
Richard Perry, Arif Mardin, and Don Was. So it just seemed
like that's the way that it goes. Then suddenly, it's
another point in your life, and you say, 'I'm going do this
now.' So I'll be producing anything I make from now on.
That's the good news. It's a confidence thing, I suppose.
And Y Not is really another way of me saying, 'Yes, I can.'"
The joyous result of Starr looking in the
mirror is Y Not, a groovy and deeply felt song cycle that
finds Ringo leading a smaller core group of old and new
friends including longtime pal and recent brother- n-law Joe
Walsh, Dave Stewart and longtime Roundheads member Steve
Dudas on guitar, Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the
Heartbreakers on keyboards, Don Was and Mike Bradford on
bass. The album also features Starr's engineer and
co-producer Bruce Sugar on keyboards, as well as some
special guests like Joss Stone, Ben Harper and Richard Marx
on vocals, Ann Marie Calhoun on violin and Tina Sugandh --
aka Tina The Tabla Girl - on tabla and chanting. Starr's
songwriting collaborators on Y Not also include familiar and
new names like Joe Walsh, Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, Glen
Ballard, Richard Marx, Van Dyke Parks, Gary Nicholson plus
Gary Wright and his former Roundhead band member, Gary Burr.
Yet no collaborator featured on Y Not is
likely to receive as much attention as Starr's former
bandmate and longstanding mate Paul McCartney, who adds a
characteristically brilliant bass part to the inspiring
"Peace Dream" -- Starr's latest heartfelt plea for peace and
love -- and even more notably provides his unmistakably
fabulous vocals to "Walk With You," an exquisite new
composition by Starr and Van Dyke Parks.
"Walk With You" is a moving, even spiritual
meditation about the lasting power of friendship, and
McCartney's inspired participation on the track was a
testament to McCartney's generosity of spirit and musical
talent. "Paul was doing the Grammys, so he came over to the
house and was playing bass on 'Peace Dream.' So I played him
this other track and Paul said, 'Give me the headphones.
Give me a pair of cans.' And he went to the mike and he just
invented that part where he follows on my vocal. That was
all Paul McCartney, and there could be nothing better. He
makes it bigger and he makes it fuller. It makes the song
like a conversation between us, and that was Paul's idea to
do his part one beat behind me. That's why he's a gen-i-us
and an incredible bass player."
Indeed, there's a whole lot of genius on
display throughout Y Not. Highpoints here include "Fill In
The Blanks," the album's rocking opening track written,
played and sung only by Starr and Walsh. Then there's "The
Other Side Of Liverpool," a revealing autobiographical song
that explores Starr's earliest and darkest days. "People
believe I was born, was a Beatle and lived in a big house,"
Starr explains. "And where I come from was a very dark,
damp, violent neighborhood. I wanted to write another little
snapshot of my life, and I'm going to do this every album.
It's better for me than doing it in a book. In two lines I
can say what would take five pages. Like the song says, 'The
other side of Liverpool is cold and damp/Only way out of
there/drums, guitar and amp.'" Starr was already
particularly thrilled with one early review for the first
album he produced that came from someone he helped produce
too. "I just played it for my son Zak," Starr explains. "And
Zak was so great. He said, 'Dad, it's great. This rocks! You
should have been doing this forever.' It's nice coming from
your boy, especially since he's a really good drummer."
Listen for yourself. And hear Ringo Starr --
also a really good drummer -- doing exactly what he should
be doing today and forever.
NEW (FACTORY SEALED)
JEWEL CASE: STANDARD CD CASE
RECORD LABEL: HIP-O-RECORDS
NO. OF DISCS: 1
01 Fill in the Blanks
02 Peace Dream
03 The Other Side of Liverpool
04 Walk with You
06 Everyone Wins
07 Mystery of the Night
08 Can't Do It Wrong
09 Y Not
10 Who's Your Daddy
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