Postcards From Paradise

Ringo Starr

Postcards From Paradise is Ringo Starr’s 18th studio release. As can be expected from the former Beatle drummer who tours with his All Star Band annually, lots of famous musician friends made an appearance on this 11-song collection. “Rory And The Hurricanes” opens with a big snare, a single-note riff and some 50s-sounding organ on a song about Starr’s pre-Beatles days as the drummer for Rory Storm And The Hurricanes. You got to love the timbales on the chunky “You Bring The Party Down.” An accordion-led nonsense song "Bambotula" is a song Starr co-wrote with Van Dyke Parks. And who can resist the big heavy hitting on “Touch And Go” with a light lyric about meeting a girl and loving her for the rest of your life.

The title track has Todd Rundgren playing an understated guitar and harmonizing beneath a strong Starr vocal, while "Not Looking Back" is a piano and strings ballad with a truly heartbreaking melody. “Island In The Sun,” written by Starr, Rundgren, Richard Page, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie, Warren Ham and Gregg Bissonette, sees a full complement of musicians on board. Rolie’s distinctive organ sound pushes this tune, as do those solo moments from Warren Ham’s horn.

“Confirmation” is another looking-back-at-a-love yarn, and the big sing-a-long jam of “Let Love Lead” ends the disc. Is Ringo Starr, the last Beatles to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame for his solo work, breaking new ground here? Are these songs in the same class as “Photograph,” “It Don’t Come Easy” or “Back Off Boogaloo”? That’s really a matter of option and perspective. Whatever the goal, the writers and musicians on Postcards From Paradise help make this an easy-going rock and roll record with universal themes like love and looking back on times past.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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