Who: Ringo Starr
What: “Postcards From Paradise”
Where: Recorded in Roccabella West, Los Angeles and Rydenhurst, UK
Why: As a rule Ringo Starr’s albums are for the most part criminally overlooked. Perhaps not since his sobering 1992 album “Time Takes Time” has there been any kind of thoughtful examination of his post Beatles output. All too often greeted with not much more than a collective yawn the music world’s response to a new Ringo Starr album is generally nothing short of patronizing (“Oh look dear, Ringo has a new record out, isn’t that cute that he’s still trying?”).
There has been little to no serious examination of Starr’s music for decades now and there is much to talk about here. Ringo’s twenty plus year’s of rock ‘n’ roll debauchery (reportedly not even the cocaine crazed Keith Moon could keep up with him) made Lennon’s lost weekend look like a children’s tea party, one that eventually took a serious toll. Starr’s life saving sobriety had him step away from the music world and not release an album for close to ten years back in the early 1980’s.
After a decade of self imposed exile Ringo returned, reinvigorated by a new musical partnership with Mark Hudson. Over a fifteen year period from 1992 through to 2007 the two fostered a musical legacy that endured some five years longer than Starr’s association with the Fab Four, producing 10 albums and close to 100 songs. In 2002 Ringo said of Hudson, “Mark puts the fun back in recording. We always have such a great time. He lets the musicians know that anything is possible. He’s a great musician, has lots of energy and he’s a lot of fun to work with”. And then it all ended.
Much mystery surrounds the dissolution of the partnership between Starr and Hudson. In June of 2007 Ringo rather unceremoniously announced through his attorny that his partnership with Hudson was over and that they would no longer be working together. In spite of the fact that Hudson had already co-written and recorded all 12 songs that were to appear on his then un-released “Liverpool 8” album Ringo brought in Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics to remix the whole thing and rather cheekily credited Stewart as “re-producer” upon the albums eventual release in 2008. Since then Ringo has not looked back self producing his last three albums including his latest.
2015’s “Postcards From Paradise” is perhaps the leanest most direct Ringo Starr album since the one that successfully launched his solo career some 40 years ago, the now legendary “Ringo” album of 1973. Gone is the easy going party atmosphere that inhabited much of Starr’s previous efforts replaced this time around by a tighter more serious tone as witnessed by the hard edged sax driven reggae of “Island In The Sun”, the synclavier heavy soul funk of “Bamboula”, the urban dance floor groove of “You Bring The Party Down”, the psychedelic dream pop of the title track and the heartfelt balladry of “Not Looking Back”.
At a time in his life when most folks his age are busy finding a comfortable spot to rest in this 75 year old is rocking alright and it ain’t no rocking chair!
When: Released March 31, 2015