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Y Not
Ringo Starr
Label: Hip-O Records
Reviewed: June, 2010

Y Not.  It’s the title of Ringo Starr’s 15th solo album and the project is as interesting and intriguing as the title.  As you listen through the album with a discriminating ear, you’ll soon note its autobiographical, philosophical, happy and sad vibe, depending on the song.

Some of the old friends that work with Starr on this album are Joe Walsh, Ben Harper, Gary Wright, Edgar Winter, Dave Stewart, and Billy Squier, to name a few.  Oh, and some guy named Paul McCartney joins him on a song or two.

Ever hear of him?  Just asking.

Y Not opens with a catchy tune called Fill In The Blanks Ringo and Joe Walsh wrote together.  This song has all the makings of an irresistible earworm the unmistakable guitar work of Joe Walsh that drips from every pore of this song.  I’d pay good money to watch Walsh perform this cut with Ringo.  

Next in the mix is Peace Dream, which was co-written with Gary Wright and Gary Nicholson.  With Sir Paul delivering smooth, steady support on bass, this song is one of those songs that conjures up images of peace and an end to hunger in the world.  If you listen to the lyrics very closely, you’ll recognize some snippets of lyrics to some other songs by certain friends of his.  It’s very artfully and tastefully done.  You’ll love it. Trust me.

The Other Side Of Liverpool is an autobiographical tune with skillfully written lyrics that melodically tells part of Ringo’s upbringing in his home town.  While Liverpool has great hooks, I especially liked the subtle organ work supplied by Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers).  You’ll like the song just for the insight of Ringo’s early years from his perspective.

What I consider to be the best song on the project, by far, is Walk With You.  I’ve researched other interviews to see if there’s any indication by Ringo as to what the story behind the song might be but I couldn’t find any.  So, here’s my take on it:  As the words are sung (with the great back-up vocals provided by Paul McCartney), I just get this feeling that the song is about love and future reconciliation between Ringo and someone who has passed away – maybe  John Lennon?  I dunno. That’s what makes music fun and universal: everyone interprets it in ways that are meaningful to the listener. All I know is that, once you’ve listened to this song once, the earworm is in you for days.

Time has a positive message and was co-written by Dave Stewart (Eurhythmics) who also happened to provide the guitar work.  Whoever is walking the bass on this tune (maybe it’s Bruce Sugar’s keyboard work), delivers is as smoothly as I’ve ever heard bass delivered as is Tench’s tickling of the ivories. The violin towards the end of the song is perfectly delivered by Ann Marie Calhoun.  Right behind Time is the philosophical Everyone Wins which, again, features the signature guitar work of Joe Walsh.

Mystery of the Night launches with sounds of Steve Dudas’s guitar that conjures up memories of Mott the Hoople. While you’re listening closely to the song, you might pick out Richard Marx in the background vocals. Can’t Do It Wrong is classic Ringo, putting me in mind a little bit of You’re Sixteen, You’re Beautiful (And You’re Mine). 

As always, I don’t want to spill all of the beans about this album.  There are other great songs on it that you’re just going to have to buy and listen for yourself.  I will say, though, that Joss Stone gives an incredible performance on the last cut.

To say that this album is the “feel good album of the year” may sound corny but it’s true.  If you like to fill you mind with positive thoughts, Y Not will help you do exactly that.

You can order or download Y Not by clicking on the images at the top of the page.