The formula for reviewing Ringo Starr Lps is as simple as making them: First note the big gun producer (here, Arif Mardin) and how he piles on the layers of backing to compensate for the drummer’s lack of pipes or taste; next, explain that an outrageously large number of rock royalty (e.g. Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton, Dr. John, Jim Keltner, Sneeky Pete Kleinow, etc., etc., etc.) is on hand giving the record a certain kind of credibility; third, make sure to breathlessly allude to the virtual Beatles reunion when referring to the second-tier songs (they aren’t going to give away their A-list material, are they?) provided by each of his former band mates; finally, compare the work favorably or unfavorably, depending on your mood, to Ringo, the album which instigated the correct procedure for the making of Ringo records. Hey, presto! Your Ringo review is written and the bonus is you don’t have to listen to the album, the relevant information can simply be gleaned from the liner notes.
Now, Thrifty Vinyl readers may be surprised to learn that I’m something of a Beatles fan and am inclined to forgive them all manner of sins; so for my 70p*, and for all its mediocrity, Rotogravure is a bouncy and cheery nostalgia-fest and by no means a complete wash out. Really, it’s not that much better or worse than the overly praised Ringo. Top-notch support ensures the music’s good enough and one imagines a coke and alcohol-fueled good time was had by all who contributed; nonetheless, it’s hard not to notice that, without the Starr of the show’s pedigree, the record would never have been made.
*Yes, literally. It was on sale for a pound, but 70 pence was all I had left, so they let it go at a discount. A different stall in Great Chart.