1. We're On The Road Again 2. Laughable 3. Show Me The Way 4. Speed Of Sound 5. Standing Still 6. King Of The Kingdom 7. Electricity 8. So Wrong For So Long 9. Shake It Up 10. Give More Love 11. Back Off Boogaloo (Re-do) 12. Don't Pass Me By 13. You Can't Fight Lighting (Re-do) 14. Photograph
'Give More Love' is Ringo Starr's 4th studio album since 2010's 'Y Not', an impressive output but is the the album impressive?
Ringo first planned to record a country & western album with the cream of Nashville musicians, aka, Beaucoups of Blues, but instead decided to call on his friends & brother in law, Joe Walsh, to help him record 'Give More Love'.
Friends include Paul McCartney, Peter Frampton, Timothy B Schmit, Jeff Lynne, Richard Page, Richard Marx, Gary Burr, Dave Stewart and Don Was. I wish I had friends like that:-).
Recorded at Ringo's home studio the album features ten brand new songs but also four re-do's, namely 'Back Off Boogaloo', 'Don't Pass Me By', 'You Can't Fight Lightening' & 'Photograph' but we'll return to those later.
Ringo released four 'singles' prior to the release of the album that promised high hopes for 'Give More Love'.
The album's opener 'We're On The Road Again' is a raucous rocker co-written with All Starr Band member Steve Lukather, featuring one Paul McCartney on bass guitar and screams:-). Apparently, Paul had difficulty learning the bass lines written by Steve because he doesn't read notation, but managed to busk his way through it. His fellow Beatle also features on 'Show Me the Way' a love song to Barbara,
Ringo co-wrote all the ten songs on the album, for the catchy 'Laughable' he partnered with Peter Frampton who adds some nice lead guitar.
You would have thought Paul McCartney would have appeared on 'Speed of Sound' if only because of the title! It's cracking rocker written with Richard Marx, "I know what I've got to do and do it right now" If one thing is true, I'm breaking through at the Speed of Sound."
'Standing Still' is one of a number of country tinged songs on the album, along with the second single 'So Wrong for so Long', co-written with Dave Stewart, are two of my favourite tracks on the album.
'King of Kingdom' is probably the weakest track in this collection, it's Bob Marley inspired as Ringo sings 'One Love, One Heart, Bob Marley always did it for me'. It sounds as though the band are having a great time recording it but...
The 'Rory Storm & the Hurricanes' song on 'Give More Love' is 'Electricity', a tribute to to the great late 'Johnny 'guitar' Byrne'. We used to see Johnny regularly on Merseyside with his reformed Hurricanes and yes, he was that good!
The remaining two new songs on the album are 'Shake It Up' a Carl Perkins traditional rockabilly number that would be a fantastic addition to Ringo's live repertoire and the title track 'Give More Love' sounding like a partial re-write of 'Never Without You'.
'Ringo 2012' included successful remakes of 'Step Lightly' and 'Wings'. Here Ringo doubles that tally with 'redo's of 'Back Off Boogaloo', 'Don't Pass Me By', You 'Can't Fight Lightening' & 'Photograph' with varying degrees of success.
While everybody's raving about the new version of 'Back Off Boogaloo', being of a certain age I can't consider it as anything near as good as the original even with its interesting history.
Of the other three redo's, 'You Can't Fight Lightening' is a great version of the 'Stop and Smell the Roses' bonus track but it's the Duane Lundy produced 'Don't Pass Me By' & 'Photograph' recorded with Vandaveer that are pure gold. When I saw these songs on the track listing I feared the worst but Duane does a fantastic job and both either match the original version or as in the case of 'Don't Pass Me By', surpass the original Beatles version.
So, Ringo continues his return to form with 'Give More Love' being up there with 'Time Takes Time' & 'Vertical Man'.
Now, please Ringo, go ahead with your country & western album, plus a CD of remakes produced by Duane Lundy would be a welcome addition to your impressive output:-)