Editor's Note: During late October and November, we are featuring Storytellers as the album of the month. Please tell us what you like or don't like about the album and rank it from 1 (positively awful) to 10 (great beyond your wildest dreams). Fans Reviews follow the General Commentary. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org , and be sure to include your name. Click here to read reviews of other Ringo albums.
While promoting Vertical Man last summer Ringo remarked, "I'm really blessed, because in my life if I can hold the sticks, then I can play. As a young man I used to just wonder why those old guys were up there playing. And now I know, it's what we do. Thank you, Lord."
I'll add my thanks to Ringo's. It's great to have Ringo still going strong. In the last nine years we've grown used to him headlining music-packed and fun-filled live concerts, putting out fine albums, and charming us with his observations, wit, and wisdom. His Storytellers album, released on October twentieth, has been ranked by many as his finest ever live album.
Storytellers consists of fourteen tracks, eleven of which are complete songs. Eight of these songs: "With A Little Help from My Friends," "It Don't Come Easy," "Don't Pass Me By," "Back Off Boogaloo," "King of Broken Hearts," "Octopus's Garden," "La De Da," and "Love Me Do" were aired on VH1 Storytellers earlier this year. Three songs recorded at the same time, but not broadcast, are included on the CD. These are: "I Was Walkin' " and "What in the ....World" from Vertical Man, as well as the perennial favorite "Photograph."
The remaining tracks consists of a reprise of "With A Little Help from My Friends" as well as a track called "Blisters" in which Ringo affirms that it was indeed he who shouted "I've got blisters on my fingers" at the end of "Helter Skelter." The final track is a small snippet of conversation titled "The End."
Ringo performs the vocals on all of the songs. He also drums on "Love Me Do," "I Was Walkin'," and "Back Off Boogaloo." As an extra treat, Ringo plays keyboard for the first few bars of "Don't Pass Me By." On all of the songs he is accompanied by The Roundheads consisting of Joe Walsh, Mark Hudson, Gary Burr, Steve Dudas, Jack Blades, Jim Cox, Simon Kirke, and Scott Gordon.
In it's review of Storytellers, Entertainment Weekly noted, "It's his yams that are most engaging." Certainly Ringo's stories are told with that certain Ringo flair. You can almost see the twinkle in his eye. You can certainly hear the chuckle in his voice. There are no stories to accompany "I Was Walkin'," "Photograph," or "What In the ...World." As a matter of fact, not all of the spoken parts from the television program made it onto the CD. However, those bits of dialogue that did make the cut capture the fun and relaxed atmosphere of the event. Ringo's reminiscences and observations reflect his charm and sense of humor.
The performances are strong. The band is
tight and Ringo sounds fabulous. This album is a must for Ringo fans. It
will certainly whet you appetite for an All -Ringo concert sometime in the
This album is by far one of the best live
albums by a Beatle, right up there with George Harrison's Live in Japan!
Crank up the volume for this album....it rocks...it is a much tighter performance,
much better than the All Starr sets, which were never favorites for me....the
strong points of the album are the never performed live before Beatle cuts
like Don't Pass Me By and Octopuses Garden...the albums weaker points are
the more lesser known Vertical Man tracks...however the performance is so
tight that you often think of this as a well crafted studio album...like
a Ringo's Greatest Hits album...simply a 10...it is not only the best Ringo
live album, but , to me, the best Ringo album ever!.
~Michael P. McGrath
~ Travis Truitt
Wow, is this disc sounding good! Ringo
never sounded as professional as he does on this live recording. I
have the 1989, 1992 & 1995 live tour cd's - but Ringo and this All Starr
Band really outdo all of the other live recordings he has released prior.
"Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus's Garden" are absolute treats to hear live for the first time. Ringo's 1970s singles "It Don't Come Easy", "Back Off Boogaloo" and "Photograph" are performed to perfection as they were originally recorded. These five tracks are the major highlights of the album for me.
The new "Vertical Man" selections are also right on target. "I Was Walkin'", "King of Broken Hearts", "La De Da", and "What in the ... World" are great to hear live. Ringo's vocals are also the best I have ever heard him. Hudson as musical director has really upgraded Ringo from
the relaxed vocalist he usually portrays himself as to an ex-Beatle giving
Ringo is the Beatle who's career is really hopping since the Anthology CD series. Three albums in two years! 1997's "Third All Starr Band" live and two album's in 1998! Plus, Ringo is the only Beatle to ever play in Russia! I hope Ringo will tour with this band for an ALL RINGO TOUR in 1999!
The last two songs that open and close "Storyteller s" are, of course, Beatle numbers; "With A Little Help From My Friend" and "Love ME DO". Ringo's signature song is a metaphor because he always has famous friends with him when he plays before an audience. Singing "Love Me Do" 35 years later is a great way to bring his career full circle.
The little stories Ringo shares to embellish some of the songs are also nice gems that enhance the impact of this live album. Ringo has never sounded better. In fact, if these two new albums are any indication, Ringo is ... 'getting better all the time'!
~ Timothy Tilghman
I just recently purchased a copy of Storytellers
and am totally in love with it.....the songs are terrific and with Ringos
great a beat of the drums makes it extra special...this is the first of
Ringos albums I have bought but it will not be the last. I am an old
Beatles fan and have been concentrating mostly on Paul's music...this
is a very pleasant surprise for me ..I've always loved Ringo from the sixties
but the nineties have put him in a new prospective..He is so funny...I was
cracking up all the way home!!!!! ...RINGO IS THE BEST!!!!!
~ Jenna............in Texas....
I made it to the record store the day it
was released because I was sure that the album promised to be something
special. It far surpassed my expectations. Ringo and the Roundheads
performed each of the songs perfectly. While hearing "Octopus's
Garden", "Love Me Do" and "Don't Pass Me By"
performed live was exciting, Ringo's solo material stood on its own
likewise a treat. His performance of "King of Broken Hearts" may be his finest vocal moment on the album. This performance of Ringo's latest "All Starrs" is by the far the best...I just hope he brings this line up and song selection to the US.
~ David T. Merson
Albany, New York
I can only agree with everybody else out
there, the CD is wonderful. It's so refreshing to hear Ringo really perform,
and not just cheerlead and lollygag around as he seems to like to do with
The stories are great,Ringo is quite a storyteller indeed. The band compliments him perfectly. I wish him and this band could go around together and just show up in small clubs and play, like the stones do when they're on tour.
One observation/criticism. When Ringo sings it don't come easy he leaves out the first verse (forget about the past and all your sorrow...), Goes instead into "open up your heart...", And ends up singing "peace remember peace" two times. He has done this during every All-Starr show where he sings it don't come easy. I, for one, really don't like this, as I think it cheapens the song by leaving out a great verse, and makes the song sound second rate and less creative. Anyone else have any thoughts on that.
Anyway, I would rank the Storytellers disc as perhaps his best. Way to go Ringo!
~ Stuart Fischer,
"Storytellers" is an incredible
record. All the songs,ALL,are wonderfully performed by an incredible band.Forget
all the All Starr-Bands,the Roundheads are the
best band who ever backed Ringo! (if you except these three guys who were playing with him in the 60's).Their backing vocals are particularly good,they're just great! Ringo's singing is very good,better than on the other live albums.And for the first time we can hear a full live album with Ringo on lead vocals! He and his band seem to have fun,and we're having fun too! I just keep on listening to this CD again and again,it's so good! 1998 is one of Ringo's greatest years ever!!!
A special note to Beatles fans who are not big Ringo fans (I know some people like this),and who might be reading this: whatever you think of Ringo,this album is one of the three you've GOT to get (the two others being "Ringo" and "Vertical Man").You can't be disappointed.
Thank you Ringo,thank you The Roundheads!!!
~ Yann Darson
Who would have guessed? Ringo, the
hardest working ex-Beatle of the 90s. And it pays off. I won't
compare this to the All Starrs (or the Beatles). I think it is Apples
and oranges. Ringo is singing better than ever. Maybe he cannot
hold a note, but his voice is stronger than it has ever been. The
band is tight, there is not a saxophone in earshot, but would somebody please
Mark Hudson up? (Just because you know people does not mean anybody knows you.) It is great to hear the songs he had not done before, including the "Vertical Man" songs, and especially "Back Off Boogaloo". (Please do these songs next time! Please, be a next time!) Although most of the stories have been told many a time, it was nice to hear that "Back Off Boogaloo" had nothing to do with Paul. And George's demo of "It Don't Come Easy" is finally
explained. Anyhow, buy it for yourself, make Ringo happy, make yourself happy. Some things do come easy.
~ Steven B. Topping
The album "Storytellers" is a fantastic
album. It shows that Ringo doesn't need other artists and their numbers
to make a great show. We listened to Ringo in Skanderborg in Denmark two
months ago, where he was accompanied with his All Starr Band. But it was
Ringo we came for. Ringo, as kind as he is, he let the other members of
the band get their fair share of the numbers performed. The concert was
really good, but gosh, if he had made it as on the album. Thank you very
~ Jorgen Moller Knudsen
I'll be very short, because the CD speaks
It's strong and vivid music. It sounds fresh. The band is really good, full of energy much better than the All Stars. They must be Beatlefanatics with talent, as they sound very Beatlish. Ringo should have gone on tour with this band and play these songs except for "With a Little Help From My Friends," which is really déja vu, like Paul's "Yesterday." It's a real "best of"CD that increased the quality of the originals. Congratulations !
The show may be shown on belgian TV too !
~ Raphaël Vandenberghe-
Belgium, 1st generation fan .
Storytellers has got me into a real Ringo-period,
listening to Ringo CDs every day.
But now I'm sure (after a dozen of listenings) that Storytellers is the best Ringo CD ever. (Even better than RINGO). Absolute 10 out of ten.
Even the new John Lennon box couldn´t stop my Ringo-period. The Lennon box only got a couple of listenings. I'm back to Ringo and Storytellers.
~ Helge Serup, Denmark
Let's talk about the storytellers...what
can i say??
This is one of the greatest live albums that i've ever heard!! Great songs, great musicians, and, himself, mr mersey beat on vocals and drums..And for the first time, he performed "Octopus garden"and Don't pass me by...i give it a 10....or 10000......great...please, Ringo, come here.
Really got to give Storytellers a BIG 10!
We really love everything about it, especially the added section
on I Was Walkin! Ringo easily tells of experiances in his travels
that he fondly remembers--but not so fondly being served octipus to eat!
Every aspect of this CD is GREAT!
The Roundheads are super!
~ William & Sherry Molner
I missed the VH1 show, and the audio release
of Ringo's STORYTELLERS could almost make me subscribe to cable television.
I rate STORYTELLERS a 7.
Reading the STORYTELLERS song selection, I realized Ringo's catalog of Beatles and post-Beatles tunes is now so deep he could afford to exclude his excellent work written with Vini Poncia ("Oh My My"), Joe Walsh ("In My Car") and Johnny Warman ("Don't Go Where The Road Don't Go"). Further, the new music, especially "I Was Walkin'" and "What In the World" held its ground next to his 60s and 70s classics.
STORYTELLERS also proves that Ringo can carry a live show himself. His All Starr tours are just a way of giving his friends a little help.
Side note: To those who think Ringo performed "Back Off Boogaloo" live for the first time on STORYTELLERS, he did that one live on the 1989 All Starr tour. I saw him perform (with Jim Keltner and Dr. John helping him out on drums and percussion) at New Jersey's Garden State Arts Center.
~ Jim LaRegina
The Storytellers CD is definantly my favorite
Ringo album. I saw the VH1 show and it was great too. I loved the story
for Back Off Boogaloo in particular. It almost sounded more like a comedy
CD than a music CD the first time around (or the 1 millionth)! I got the
CD for my birthday this year along with three other Beatle CD's and it was
the perfect present (along with my new wireless phone) (no, it's much better!).
All in all, I love the album and it's worth buying if you don't have it.
Ringo, you've done a great job as always!
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