Storytellers

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 gshultz@airmail.net , and be sure to include your name. Click here to read reviews of other Ringo albums.

General Commentary

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 future.


Fans Reviews

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



The Ringo Starr VH1 Storytellers album is probably the best collection of Ringo songs ever assembled on one disc.  This cd is a joyous celebration of Ringo's music from past to present, and every performance makes the songs sound fresh and exciting.  I think the song selection is
absolutely great!  The fact that he finally performed his first two compositions, Beatles songs "Octopus's Garden" and "Don't Pass Me By," and his solo hit from the seventies, "Back Off Boogaloo," is thrilling enough, but the fact that they sound so great is what makes this album a
must for every Beatles and Ringo fan.  Ringo's backing band, the Roundheads, obviously enjoyed playing with Ringo, and their performance is remarkable.  "Back Off Boogaloo" is astonishing in its powerful rock sound.  It was never really one of my favorites before, but this
performance simply blows me away.  Ringo's new collaborator, Mark Hudson, the producer of Vertical Man and one of the Roundheads, has helped Ringo realize his potential as a songwriter and performer.  I believe Vertical Man really is his best album of new material, and the
performance captured on VH1 Storytellers is far better than any captured on the All-Starr cds, which are good, but which don't have as many Ringo songs as his fans would probably like to hear.  This seems to be, at least in artistic terms, the peak of Ringo's career.  The all-time
favorites, "With A Little Help From My Friends," "It Don't Come Easy," and "Photograph" still sound as great as ever, and the performances of some of his new material, "What. . . in the World" and "King of Broken Hearts" in particular, are also impressive.  Ringo and the Roundheads have taken songs, some of which are over thirty years old, and made them
new again.  You can feel the beautiful sadness of "Photograph," the happiness of "Octopus's Garden," the overall good feelings and Beatles nostalgia of "With A Little Help From My Friends," and the pure thrill of rock and roll in "Back Off Boogaloo."  This is not just a token live
album, it is a statement.  I would rate Ringo Starr VH1 Storytellers as a ten.  Hopefully the world will finally recognize Ringo as the talented singer, drummer, songwriter, and performer that he is.

~ 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 Ringo’s great a beat of the drums makes it extra special...this is the first of Ringo’s 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 All-Starrs.
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,
Chicago, Ill.


"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
France


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 shut
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 much Ringo.
~ Jorgen Moller Knudsen


I'll be very short, because the CD speaks for itself.-
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.
~ Raul
Brazil


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!
~ Jenny

 

 

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This page was last updated March 4, 1999.