Ringo Starr's various late-career All Star bands may have been somewhat shaggy, nostalgia-laden affairs, but they found a warm reception with audiences far and wide. But the concept of Starr gathering a roster of stellar musician friends in a comfortable, partylike atmosphere was hardly a new one. Until 1973's Ringo
, Starr's solo work had been a strange mix of quirky exercises in nostalgia (Sentimental Journey
), country & western (Beaucoups of Blues
) and Beatles-esque top 10 hits ("It Don't Come Easy," "Back Off Boogaloo"). But under the big-budget aegis of producer Richard Perry, Starr gathered an impressive roster of musician friends (including all three fellow Beatles, the Band's Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Garth Hudson, and Harry Nilsson, Marc Bolan, Billy Preston and a dozen others) to record what remains the best album of his solo career. The Fabs contributions are warm and heartfelt, especially John Lennon's tongue-in-cheek romp, "I'm the Greatest," a track that outshines even George Harrison's upbeat sea-shanty "Sunshine Life for Me (Sail Away Raymond)" and Paul McCartney's pop-flavored "Six O'Clock." But Ringo
also proved that Starr himself was no slouch in the hit-making department, cowriting the hits "Photograph" (with Harrison) and "Oh My My," while making the Johnny Burnette chestnut "Only Sixteen" all his own. --Jerry McCulley
Limited Edition Japanese pressing of this album comes housed in a miniature LP sleeve. 2008.