One of Yogi Berra’s more infamous quotes is “You can observe a lot just by watching,” and fellow malaproprian Ringo Starr has certainly had a fortuitous vantage point over the past forty-odd years to draw inspiration from. On his latest solo effort, Y Not, Ringo has decided not only to conjure creativity from past Beatlesque themes of peace and love, but to also have a go at the production reigns, resulting in one of his best records to date. Taking a cue from his own All Starr Band legacy, the assembled musicians list for Y Not reads like a who’s who of popular music including, among others, Joe Walsh, Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard, Richard Marx, Joss Stone, Don Was, Benmont Tench, and old friend Paul McCartney. As a result of these various collaborations and influences a wonderfully eclectic mix of songs is born, creating a very different kind of Ringo Starr record.
“The Other Side Of Liverpool” stands out as an autobiographical reflection of the darker times of his youth — before fame’s spotlight — and includes a stomping backbeat that helps Starr retrace his steps back around the shadowy corners of his past. “Mystery Of The Night” is a surprising but most welcomed big ballad that’s more reminiscent of an REO Speedwagon or Journey classic than anything from Ringo’s previous catalog, and it absolutely shines under his exuberant production. There are several tips of the newsboy cap to former band mates George and John throughout the record, but the highlight of this glorious homecoming has to be “Walk With You.” Ringo’s ardent and heartfelt duet with Paul McCartney is a song about days gone by and days ahead spent in the warmth, comfort, and company of a time-tested friend. “Who’s Your Daddy” closes out the record with Joss Stone channeling Janis Joplin whilst confronting her two-timing, penny-pinching man, and Ringo’s deadpan yet cavalier delivery makes this an instant classic that should be played as a crowd fluffer at every N.Y. Yankee home game from now on.
Y Not is a fabulous return to form for Starr, and with all the recent Beatles activity breaking even more sales records and gaining yet another generation of fans, you could probably say “Its DéjÃ Vu all over again.”
Ringo Starr: www.ringostarr.com