Fans Review Ringo's Vertical Man

Ringo's new album, Vertical Man, was released on Tuesday, June 16, 1998, and it is with great pleasure that we provide you -- his fans -- space to say what you think of it. Please send your comments to gshultz@airmail.net and be sure to include your name.



Reviewers: Al | Albert Staub | Bobby Wysner | Brendon Byrne | Scott Brookman | Cindy Garland | Dana J |
Dave Herber | Don Benton | Edie Nelson | Göran Berglund | Jeremy | Judy Bikas | Karen Ryan |
Kent Roessler | Liz Snyder | Liz |Luine| Mallory Weeman | Mary Ann | Mikael Lenstrup | Mike Perry |
Pam Dupre | Patrick Henvey | Raphael | Raul | Rick Crawley | Rickey | Ron Biegel | Tony Sledge | Scott Baker
|
Sharon Weeman | Stan Yinger | Steve | Terumi | Tom Jackson | Travis Truitt | Yuri Golubev | Jorge Jettar |
Glenn Hamilton | Gary Owen | Jenny | Jonathan | JL | Steven Topping | J.Kenneth Harrer | Dan Lea | Karen

It's been six years since we've had a new CD from Ringo, but his new offering, Vertical Man, more than makes up for the wait. The thirteen songs that comprise the album are catchy, happy, high-spirited, well produced and perfectly arranged. For the most part, the lyrics are a well-blended combination of lighthearted seriousness. Eleven of the songs were written by Ringo, Dean Grakal, Steve Dudas, and Mark Hudson, who also arranged and produced the material.
Ringo is in fine voice and sounds as if he is having a great time. He says that these days he's trying to promote understanding, peace, and love. These themes are liberally sprinkled throughout the album through lyrics such as Being in love ain’t enough; let it show and Do yourself a favor. You've got to love your neighbor.
There is not a clunker in the mix. On first listen, four songs immediately jumped out at me. La De Da has instant appeal. It's a bouncy energetic sing-along type of song that fits Ringo’s personality and philosophy to a T. La De DA is the first single and if there is any justice in the world, it should be a hit.
Mindfield is another sure bet. It's got a slightly harder edge and the quick rhyming lines are witty and fun, but the serious side is there too. Everything you do or say comes with a price that you must pay. I didn't know that yesterday.
Vertical Man is another standout. It's theme is echoed in the refrain, If you feel like giving up, If you feel you've had enough, let it go.
I Was Walkin’ had me dancing on first listen and contains some of my favorite lines, Everybody’s movin’. Everybody’s groovin’, goin’ through the motions ‘cause we don’t know what we’re doin’. Look in the mirror; you're the solution. Inner peace and love is the only revolution.
By the second and third listen I’d added the galloping Puppet with the addictive You’ve got to break down to break through chorus to my list of favorites. In addition, What in the World had become stuck in my head and the fifty ish-style I’ll Be Fine Anywhere had slipped into my favorite list. These seven so far constitute my first tier picks for the album, but that in no way implies that the other songs are lacking in any way.
The two covers Drift Away and Love Me Do are quite good as is I’m Yours, Ringo’s tender and touching love ballad to his wife, Barbara. Ringo does a fine job on the country-flavored King of Broken Hearts as well.
The pleasantly poppy One and the extravagantly arranged Without Understanding, make up my third tier of songs, but they are still quite enjoyable.
Ringo has hit the mark with Vertical Man. The album is sure to please Ringo’s fans and should win him many new ones.
~ Mary Ann (6/10/98)

This is Ringo's greatest album.  Even better than the five star RINGO.  The timing was perfect for Ringo to hit one out of the park and that he did! 
"Drift Away" is stunning.  Ringo's singing is warm and wonderfully nuanced. The acoustical production on this is fabulous.  The added vocals by Tom Petty and Alanis Morrisette make this an instant classic.  They make up three generations of Rock & Roll classic artists.  The combination is so captivating.  This song should be a single.
"I'm Yours" is a beautiful, touching, and warm ballad that features the greatest quality of Ringo's voice.  That wonderful melodic warmth.  This is my second favorite track on the album.
"Vertical Man" Another stunning vocal performance by Ringo.  I was expecting the typical catchy Ringo type numbers but what totally blew me away when I listened to this cd was the depth and texture of the songs. 
"La De Da" What else can you say, this is totally Ringo!!
"King Of Broken Hearts"  Next to "Drift Away" this is the greatest vocal performance of Ringo's career.  Again, the wonderful nuances!  All of the underrated brilliance of Ringo's singing on "Beaucoups of Blues" is equaled and even surpassed here.  Ringo is an awesome country singer.
"Puppet"  Phenomenal drumming on this track and on the album as well.  Ringo is rock steady as usual and his fills are as wonderfully emotional and melodic as usual.  But he even stretches his style some more to  show us a "busier than usual" drumming style.  Ringo simply proves that he can fire off eighth note or sixteenth note tom fills at will.  And of course there is that wonderfully loose and open snare sound of his.  And the slightly behind the beat fills that he originated are all over the album
"One" Caught my attention instantly.  As powerful an opener as "I Am The Greatest". 
"Love Me Do"  This version rocks.  A powerful statement by Ringo that puts the exclamation on that point for good!!!!
I had high expectations for this cd and I was delighted when I listened to it. Easily one of the best Beatle solo albums. Interestingly this sounds more Beatlesque than any other Beatle solo effort.  I thought that Ringo's last album 'Time Takes Time" was an underrated gem.  And as well produced as that was, this one is off the charts!  Ringo is The Greatest!
~ Bobby Wysner, editor  (6/17/98)
JAILHOUSE ROCK CONFIDENTIAL MAGAZINE

I just want to say that I think Ringo's new album, Vertical Man, is his best one yet! There is not a single song on that album that I don't absolutely love!! I've heard pieces of the song, La De Da, for the last month or so, so I was really excited about getting my own copy of that song!
Even though La De Da is probably my favorite on Vertical Man, I think all the other songs are wonderful too! I just listen to the album over and over again!! Vertical Man is my 4th Ringo album (I also have The Ringo Album, Goodnight Vienna, and Time Takes Time) and I can honestly say that Ringo just seems to get better and better with every album!!
~ Karen Ryan

Just received "Vertical Man" CD as a present from my son. It only confirms what I've known all along. Ringo is a musician in the true sense of the word. Who can't find it life affirming "I've been around too long to care ". There is something strangely approachable in Ringo's approach to music. You get the distinct impression that if it weren't for the Beatles he'd still be in the local pub banging away on the drum's.
Without going over the top Vertical Man is clearly his Sargent Pepper. Stronger , more consistent and with a clarity of voice than anything since "Ringo" but this time with Starr clearly at the helm. In a prepackaged commercial world isn't it interesting that someone can clearly count on this diversity of musical talent as friends'.
Instantly recognizable, vaguely familiar but brand new. No need to try to rank in order of preference. Each take uncovers another lyrical twist in Ringo's own positive life affirming fashion. Even the King of Broken Hearts ends up with poetic license to Barbara in the end.
Anyone who is unclear as to Ringo's stature as musician only needs attend one of the All Starr Band concerts. It is now mandatory in our household when Ringo's in town the whole crew attends. Sit outside on a summer night and try not to sing along.
Suddenly out of the blue a whole new compilation with the same endearing infectious nature.
From us in Canada to the Vertical Man's submarine crew everywhere Peace , Love and Allanis too! "Be your own Guru" Find your someone to love.
~ Brendon Byrne


Vertical Man rules!!
Too bad the CD sales aren't as good as the music. If it said Paul, or George on the cover of the disc, it'd sell, at least gold. That is what bugs me . I like  Paul, George, John, but, Ringo is underappreciated by  the music buyers.
 The last time I can recall hearing Ringo on the radio was in '92, when "Time Takes Time"came out. Nothing from VM. This is a weird analogy, but, people will buy a Toyota Corolla ,(before they buy a Chevy Prism, which is basically the same car ) just because of the badge name up front.
I feel the same is happening to Ringo, maybe? If his name isn't John, Paul or George on the cover, forget it.( but yet, his music is similar,and as good.) Know what I mean??
Not to insult the others, just stating my feelings about it.
~ JL

"Vertical Man" follows the "Ringo" blueprint to the best effect since the original.  We still have as many Beatles as possible, guest starrs, some oldies, lots of backing vocalists and much echo and reverb.  There are some differences this time around, and to coin a Ringoism, those differences make all the difference.  Consistent production, with a sympathetic mix from Geoff Emerick, Ringo once again reigning supreme in the drummer's seat.  This time, the guests seem to be there more because they wanted to be on a Ringo album than Ringo wanting them there.  (It works with Steve Tyler, and most of the rest of the guests are Beatlemaniacs, too.)  And the songwriting by committee actually works.  (Same concept as Janet Jackson albums with the songwriters working with the artist to come up with songs to express the personality of the artists, rather than just an assembly line job.)  "Vertical Man" winds up showing us more of Richard Starkey than any album since "Ringo The 4th," and that's he's a very different man since then.  And he's more comfortable with his Beatleness.  If there's anything that sounds Beatlesque, it has more to do with Ringo than anything else.  "One" is a great opener, and quite a different song than Nilsson's.  One is no longer the loneliest number as long as someone else is that one.  "What In The...World" is further testament to that fact.  It's also a joy to hear the world's greatest rhythm section again.  With "Mindfield," is he doing a Lennon or a Dylan?  Perhaps he's just being Ringo.  Be your own guru and let's all get well together.  "King Of Broken Hearts" may be the most obviously Beatlesque, but it sounds just as much like Julian's "Saltwater" as it does "Strawberry Fields Forever."  Always a pleasure to hear George on slide, too.  OK, so maybe Ringo doesn't remember playing on the single of "Love Me Do," but this beats Paul's "PS Love Me Do."  "Vertical Man" isn't merely the title track, but the album's manifesto.  You can give up, but don't surrender.  The vertical man don't lay down.  Sadly, "Drift Away" is my least favorite song on the album and I had such high hopes for it.  Not due to Ringo, though.  It's just that it sounds like they dragged Tom Petty out of bed to replace Steve Tyler at the last minute, and Alanis Morrisette sounds as if she's already drifted away without getting the beat.  But Ringo plays guitar!  "I Was Walkin'" is a great rocker that only loses points because it sounds so much better live.  "La De Da" is the most Ringoish song in many a year.  It also features Ringo's most subtle vocal ever.  Yes, the man can sing.  (If you can find the promo single, the radio edit with drum intro was copied for "Storytellers.")  Is it just me, or is Paul's backing vocal mixed rather loud?  "Without Understanding" uses negatives to point out the necessary positives in life.  It just needs a tune.  Fortunately, it's followed by "I'll Be Fine Anywhere" featuring that great rockabilly guitarist, George.  "Puppet" just may be the most meaningful song.  (It was great seeing him on the 10th Anniversary All-Starr tour being comfortable enough being Ringo rather than acting like Ringo.)  "I'm Yours" is a fitting end to the album.  He belongs to Barbara.  "Vertical Man" belongs to us.  (Extra points for the best packaging since "Ringo."  I still haven't figured it out, yet.  More extra points for the bonus tracks from Best Buy.  "Mr. Doubleitup" is a true life update of "No No Song."  "Sometimes" is a rewrite of "Cryin,'" but the original is better.  The real highlight is "Good News", the biggest string of country music cliches since "You Never Even Called Me By My Name". )

~ Steven Topping

It's got to be a challenge, being in the business as long as Ringo has, to stick to the same message yet keep it fresh, catchy and contemporary. Yet Ringo's peace love theme's are still refreshing. Some of my immediate favorites are "Minefield","I Was Walkin'", and "La De Da". "Without Understanding" has a particularly uplifting stanza towards the end.
This is a very enjoyable effort by Ringo. I have not heard much play of any of this new CD on the AM waves- KDUK of Eugene Oregon doesn't even have the CD....Shame on you KDUK!
~ Liz Snyder


I feel kind of silly posting this more than a year after its initial release, but I just need to say that, on a scale of one to ten, this album gets an eleven!   It's just a great album plain and simple. Ringo did a terrific job on it.
~Karen


Just bought Ringo’s new CD, like it a lot. Keep up the good work Ringo. My favorite song on the CD, is "King Of Broken Hearts".
~ Albert Staub

I just finished listening to Ringo's "Vertical Man" CD, and what a fantastic record! It's definitely his best work to date. I played the selection "I'm Yours" for my wife, and then took out the "White Album" and played "Goodnight". Both my wife and I thought "I'm Yours" could have fit nicely on the White Album. His singing is still as sharp as it was 30 years ago.
Wish I could E Mail Ringo personally, to congratulate him on a wonderful album, and hope that he records another album like this in the near future.
Now, it will be George Harrison's turn to release his long-awaited album. If it turns out like Paul's "Flaming Pie" and Ringo's "Vertical Man", we will all be treated to some great music.
~ Dave Herber
Riverside, CA

I absolutely love it. I do. Simple yet different. I like how it has a jazz style and rock style combined, and the guest appearances were cool. The album KICKS ASS!! Ringo rules.
~ Rickey

When June 16th came around, I hopped in my car and drove to the nearest record store to buy Vertical Man. I couldn't wait to get home and play the CD. Every single song is a 10! Ringo sounds terrific and it's evident that he had a lot of fun while making this CD.
I'm a first generation Beatle fan, and Ringo has always been my favorite. I have all his CD's, and Vertical Man ranks right up there with RINGO and Time Takes Time. Bad Boy has always been a favorite of mine, also.
All thirteen tracks on Vertical Man are wonderful, but my favorites include I Was Walkin', La De Da, Vertical Man, and I'll Be Fine Anywhere. I absolutely LOVE the way Ringo sings and plays drums on Love Me Do. I hope Ringo knows the joy and happiness that he has given to so many people. He seems to be very happy and content with his life and he deserves every good thing that comes his way. Ringo and Vertical Man ROCK!!!!!!
~ Sharon Weeman
Kennebunk, Maine.

This new CD by Ringo is surely a treat!  I really enjoy every song on the CD. His singing and especially his drumming are superb!  I'm looking forward to his appearance on VH1 Storytellers this week.
I sure hope that the radio stations play "something" from this great collection of songs.  There is definitely something from each category of music: Rock (I Was Walkin), Country (Good News), Rockabilly (Mr. Doubleitup).
If I had to choose a favorite track from his new CD it would have to be the lovely "King of Broken Hearts".  George's slide guitar is stunning and along with Ringo's trademark drum fills, lifts the song to a whole new level of listening pleasure.
Way to go Ringo!
God Bless You and keep on Rockin'
~ Kent Roessler

New CD is the best thing Ringo ever did, and I've been listing for 30 years.
Good Luck Ringo.
~ Mike Perry

I just wanted to say that Ringo's new album is just great! it feels like a party.  I think that Ringo's new version of Love Me Do is just great, along with the songs What In The World and I Was Walking. Ringo's made a great come back yet he was never really gone.
~ Tom Jackson Jr.

Throughout his career as a musician, and especially during the Beatle years, Ringo Starr has been a great drummer.  At times he has been a very good singer who conveys a lot of sincerity and emotion, and he has also written some excellent songs.  Ringo's solo albums, though, have
not always shown his true talents and abilities as an entertainer. 
"Vertical Man," on the other hand, proves what many of Ringo's fans already knew--Ringo Starr is great.  "Vertical Man" is truly Ringo's masterpiece.  "What In The. . . World" is an excellent song that sounds like a really good, new Beatles tune, with Paul McCartney singing
background vocals and playing bass.  Ringo's drumming on this song, as well as many others throughout the album, is inspired.  He hasn't played drums this aggressively in years.  "Mindfield" features great lyrics and an exciting, modern sound.  "King of Broken Hearts" is another great
song, and it sounds like a mixture of "Beaucoups of Blues," "Strawberry Fields Forever," and "Free As A Bird."  George Harrison's guitar sounds great, but it's Ringo's singing that makes the song.  Another favorite of mine is "Without Understanding."  The opera voice in the background
and the gospel choir really add something great to this song, but again, Ringo just sounds confident, self-assured, and excited.  "Puppet" is another fine song, with some interesting and meaningful lyrics, as is "Vertical Man," and "La De Da" is undeniably catchy and upbeat.  There
isn't a bad song on the whole disc.  "Drift Away" is like the icing on this great cake of an album.  When Tom Petty starts singing, one can't help but smile, and Alanis Morissette's vocals give the song kind of a sexy feel.  "Drift Away" is a rock classic, and this is a great and historic version of that song. 
However you want to rate this album, five stars, two thumbs up, ten out of ten, whatever, Ringo Starr deserves high praise.  His message of believing in yourself, with lyrics like "Inner peace and love is the only revolution" and "Be your own guru," is believable because it seems like it's a message Ringo has taken to heart.  Let's hear it for the vertical man.
~ Travis Truitt

I'm almost eight years old, going into the third grade and I love the Beatles.  I especially love George and Ringo.  Vertical Man is my favorite CD by Ringo.  I like ALL of the songs, but my very favorites are One, I Was Walkin', La De Da, and I'll Be Fine Anywhere.  I think La De Da is the best song on Vertical Man. 
~ Mallory Weeman
Kennebunk, Maine

Vertical Man is my 4th Ringo album(Ringo, Goodnight Vienna, and Time Takes Time were the first three) and I must say that this album practically blows them away.  Ringo has made his Sgt. Pepper indeed.
I like just about every song on Vertical Man.  If I had to pick a favorite song off of Vertical Man it would probably be a tie between "One", "What in the World", "Vertical Man", and "La De Da".  Hopefully it'll take less than 6 years for Ringo's next musical effort.
~ Jeremy

Back in 1973 myself and the world waited for the album "RINGO." Fast forward 1998. I waited patiently for Vertical Man. No disappointments. As I played the CD I kept half waiting for a weak song .Pleasantly I was kept waiting .
The best cut for me is "What In The...World." This song could easily show what a Beatles song for 98 would and does sound like. "King of Broken Hearts" is our Rechew doing what he does best ,especially with George on lead guitar. "La De Da;" no question why it is the promo single .This song is so infectious you'd think Macca wrote it . "I Was Walkin' " -- 20 years from now it'll still be an upbeat pleasant good time tune . "Drift Away" just bowled me over. I didn't think anyone could improve on this, but Ringo just keeps batting 100. Well it took rich 36 years to release his "Love Me Do." If John were here he'd probably say "I like this better than our version."
With the number of talents that Ringo recruited for this anyone else may have been overshadowed but he manages to maintain the spotlight all through this wonderful album . The closer for this album "I'm Yours" shows how really happy he is with Barbara,  and she should really be pleased with the love they inspire .As time has passed Ringo has shown such great growth as a person and definitely an equal in the writing talent of the Fabs .This makes me want to go back to when artists would annually release an album. Richie, you've definitely passed the audition . More please -- and soon.

~ Stan Yinger
Somewhere in Michigan

I've been listening to 'Vertical Man' quite a bit over the last week since I got the album. Although I liked Ringo's last album, 'Time Takes Time' very much, I'd have to say that this one sounds more cohesive with more of an 'edge' to it. Ringo obviously had a lot of fun doing this album, and you can hear it. The overall sound does hearken back to the early '70s and his 'Ringo' album. Ever since Ringo started working again a decade ago, he has just been getting better and better. His voice is in it's best shape in years, as is his drumming. I think Mark Hudson was a good choice as producer. The tracks that really stand out for me are Vertical Man (a truly awesome production), Without Understanding (wasn't sure I really liked in on the first listen but it has grown on me so much that it's now one of my favorite songs), I Was Walkin' (a real toe-tapper), What in the...World (it's great to hear Paul on backup and bass), Drift Away (good mix of leads), La De Da (great sing-a-long), and Love Me Do (maybe Ringo should have sung it in the first place!).
Keep on rockin', Ringo! Let's hear it for the vertical man!
~ Judy Bikas
Mississauga, Ontario

This is my favorite album probably since Flaming Pie.  My thanks to Ringo, it's a great collection of talent and songs.  I hope this is his most successful one yet.  Also, I've enjoyed seeing Ringo on Television lately (Larry King and Story Tellers)  My thanks to the home page for letting us fans know when to watch.
~ Edie Nelson

That's Ringo's best album, and I'm sure about that, because I've got all of Ringo's albums!! That's the CD the Oasis wanted to do, but they don't know how! (laughs).........
I guess I'm the first Brazilian who bought this CD, and I really enjoy every song on the CD.....
Yes, Ringo rules!!!!!!! I give a 10.......
~ Raul
Brazil

After six long years I finally got a new Ringo record from a friend in the U.S. (thanks Pam). I've followed Ringo’s career ever since I was 10 in 1977, and I must say Vertical Man is his masterpiece! My favorite songs are Puppet, I was Walkin',  Mindfield and Without understanding.
Ringo, I got a ticket for your opening performance of the European tour the 7th of August, looking forward to see you again. First time I flew from Stockholm to New York to see and hear you at Garden State Art Center (11th of August 1989) the show Springsteen joined you on stage! Second time was at Gröna Lund amusement park in Stockholm 1992.

~ Mikael Lenstrup
Stockholm, Sweden

 

I have had the pleasure of seeing Ringo's four All Starr tours and had looked forward to the new album. Upon playing it eight or ten times there is no doubt in my mind that this is his best music in 20 years.     
The one sour note is I haven't heard the single on radio and I have not seen the video. With so much garbage passing itself off as music I feel this album will go largely unnoticed.There will be a large number of Ringo fans who will never hear this new album. That really is the shame in all this.
~ Don Benton

A BIG 10-----can't be bothered writing all the great comments about it, I've got to go listen to it again...can't get the tunes out of my head!!......they are all terrific!!!!
All his albums are great, but this is frosting on the cake.
~ AL

What a wonderful new CD from the world's greatest drummer!! I drove to Best Buy on my lunch break the day it came out, just to be sure I got the  bonus CD.  A fine CD indeed. My favorite song is I Was Walkin. Yes, it does remind one of Oh My My, maybe that's why I like it. A real toe tapper. Alanis sounds good in the background, too. Puppet grows on you quickly as well. Mark Hudson was a good choice for producer. Maybe it's because he is a fan as well?? This is one of Ringo's best a 10 all the way. 
~ Dana J

I was extremely impressed by Ringo's new album, Vertical Man. This much anticipated album has a lot to offer for those who enjoy variety in their music selections, and enjoy collaborations of great artists. To me, the whole album resembled a party.  I mean you really feel the excitement that everyone was feeling in these sessions. Let me give you a rundown of the songs as i see them: My fav's were:
    Mindfield:  A+   This song is great.  Ringo uses great vocal experimentation here, as he throws out catchy lyrics.  you will find your leg bouncing on this one.  Has sort of a Billy Joel-"We didn't start the fire"-sound to it, but better.  Beatle fans will love the slight reminiscent references to Beatledom:  "rock stars, pop stars living in an ant farm" and a nod to the "maharishi".  Tyler and Morrisette offer great backing on the song. Ringo, as always, offers a positive suggestion: "Let's
all get well together..."

La De DA: A+  This is the stuff singles are made of.  It's fun, catchy, and carefree.  Be prepared to start singing along, you won't be able to help it.  The song build up really gets you feeling great.  It's fun to watch Ringo and Mark Hudson sing this live...you know these guys are having a great time.

Drift Away: A  I tend to be skeptical of covers, but Dobie Gray would not be offended at this rendition.  Ringo handles this one well.  His voice and personality are just perfect for this number. When Tom Petty comes in singing the second verse, you find yourself really smiling....especially
with that "wastin' time" bit.  It's great.  Unfortunately, Morrisette's soft rendition on the third verse is a slight let down from Ringo and Petty's more rockin' parts.  One would have hoped she could have really used some of her more characteristic powerful sound, say from her
well known "hand in my pocket, you oughta know, or you learn".  Maybe a duet of Ringo and Petty would have fit better on this final verse sequence. The chorus however, makes up for it, and all 3 join in for a great wind-down of the song.  Overall the song was very enjoyable.

"Next to fav" set for me would be:
King of Broken Hearts:  A-/B+   This is a nice mellow song.  Ringo can do great laid-back songs, as you all know.  The Slide Guitar of George is very present throughout, reminding one of guitar work in  "my sweet lord".

I'll Be Fine Anywhere: B+  Fun, countryish/rockabilly song.  It's fun to hear Ringo doing sort of an early Elvis waver on his voice in the chorus. Harrison's Guitar playing is great, as rockabilly is his forte.

Love Me Do:  B+/B  Ringo handles the lyrics great.  Not a bad "up to date" version.  Tyler offers the harmonica bits, but it's hard to beat Lennon's established sound. One is relieved that Ringo doesn't feel like he has to "change the song" to make it more list enable today (say for example, as Macca unfortunately has done with his less than appealing PS I LOVE YOU/
Love Me Do medley...)

Vertical Man: B+/B  Nice laid back song with fun extras.  Again, Ringo handles this very well.  The Strings are a nice bonus.  The background singing is very enjoyable and works well with Ringo’s singing. (The Sgt Pepper/ELO type  sound of "Round and Round" and "Down down down"... is extremely noteworthy--a lot of fun!).  The harmonies were
handled great and the ending was nice.

The rest of the numbers were good, but not particularly noteworthy. (Perhaps "I'm Yours" is noteworthy, as Beatle fans will love the reminiscent feel of "Good Night" here.  It's a cute song.) (Also Paul sings backing vocals on What in the World" and i believe another.)  This is not
to suggest they were "bad" cuts, because quite frankly, the entire album is a great listen.  You wont find yourself fumbling for the "skip" button. There are no duds here. 

Overall, this album can be summed up by the word:  EXCITING!  This is a group of friends getting together and having a great time.  The neat thing is you feel their excitement, and so naturally, you become one of the friends--just sitting there, singing along, and having a great time. If you have been lucky enough to catch Ringo and Hudson and the band on the tonight show or on "the view" or "Regis and Kathie lee", you will see that excitement really coming out in the live sessions.  Believe me, THE ALBUM IS NO DIFFERENT.  the excitement comes shining right through.  I really hope Ringo's next album will be in collaboration with Hudson, because you
can guarantee that there is a great creativity streaming from these guys when they work together.

For those of you interested, the cd cover is really fun, especially if you get yours at BEST BUY.  If your lucky, you may be able to still get one there.  Best Buy put out a great limited edition cd that folds out revealing a nice photograph of Ringo--peace sign and all. The cd also comes with booklet with fabulous art work---a collage of photos...modern and from the past.  The Best Buy limited edition also comes with a bonus cd featuring 3 songs that sport a more "country sound".  They are fun, too. 

This album is exciting and fun, go out and grab one today!

~ Patrick Henvey

This is as great an album as McCartney's "Flaming Pie."  I can't stop playing it. There is not a single bland song on the album. The joy in the music radiates from the relaxed enjoyment of the recording sessions. With the fun sound of this album, I'd love to sing backing vocals on his
next album! I'm already singing backing vocals to and from work everyday! It is the best album of the year....It's 'Startling' music!!! I'll ask for an encore in a U.S. concert tour!

~ Rick Crawley

I absolutely love Ringo's new album. (Of course, I may treat it a bit lovingly since he has been my favorite since I was three years old!) All the other fan reviews do an excellent job of defining why and how it is a fantastic work. For me, I can sum it up in two sentences: It made me happy. I feel the same thrill and comfort as if I had just become reacquainted with an old, dear friend.

~ Cindy Garland

VM is a fine piece of work that shows RS (and Mark Hudson) in creative 1966-1968 psychadelic mode to good effect.
    The bulk of the songwriting is more mature than what one would have expected, with the lyrics at times bringing Ringo and his pals' AA 12-step philosophy to the fore without sermonizing. I found it deplorable that industry publications such as Rolling Stone deemed the cd unworthy of review. They did their readership a disservice.
    Yes, there were strong songs interspersed among the lesser quality pieces on Ringo past few efforts. And, his biggest cd, Ringo, and it's follow-up, Goodnight Vienna, have dated rather badly.   However, with the exception of possibly What In The World (sorry George Harrison), and the musical verses of Puppet, Vertical Man is perhaps his finest pop/rock effort.
    Vertical Man joins Sentimental Journey as my favorite Ringo works.

~ Steve in Arcadia, California

When the album, "Ringo" first hit music stores "all those years ago", it didn't seem possible that any album could equal it.  But after some scattered gems and some rough spots, along came "Time Takes Time", a superb album that more than deserves its place on the same pedestal.  Six years later, Ringo has added yet a third and equally impressive chapter to his musical history.  Simply, "Vertical Man" is an outstanding album!!! 
With the exception of Drift Away and Love Me Do,  Ringo co-wrote every song on the album, teaming up with Mark Hudson, Dean Grakel and Steve Dudas. As with any album, some of the songs reach out and GRAB you during the first listen.  The second, third and fourth time through, more gems begin to sparkle and shine that require several listenings to be adequately appreciated.  But by the fifth or sixth time through, I had fallen in love with every song on the album.  I'm glad I bought three copies -- most Ringo fans will agree that you'll wear out the CD if you buy only one!  
I am greatly impressed with the production quality of the album.  The shadings and tones, and Ringo's gifted and perfectly appropriate drum line, coupled with rich instrumentation and backing vocals, provides style and variety.  Ringo's voice sounds strong.  Close your eyes, and see if you don't hear the same youthful voice that captured your heart on Ringo’s songs from the Beatles’ era!  Ringo teams up with a "Starr-studded" cast of supporting players as well which includes Paul McCartney on bass and backing vocals,  George Harrison on slide guitar, Mark Hudson, Joe Walsh, Brian Wilson, Dave Gibbs, Steve Dudas, Tom Petty,
Jim Cox, Steven Tyler and Alanis Morissette, among others!
"One" opens the album, with an attractive melody and heartfelt lyrics.  This is an easy going soft rocker and a nice opener.  What in the World has a breezy beat, great lyrics and Paul on backing vocals and bass.  Gorgeous guitar work, strong lyrics and a pounding beat make Mindfield a winner.  Play it loud! King of Broken Hearts slows the pace a bit, with a sad mildly country flavor, and lovely slide guitar work from George.  Love Me Do is a deliciously tart, jazzy blend of a familiar classic with a cool twist of Ringo.  It’s a joy to hear Ringo sing and drum on a song that has a somewhat checkered past.  Now it’s all Ringo’s, and you can hear as well as feel the gleeful satisfaction running through this historical treasure. The album’s title song,Vertical Man (turn it up!), features drums with an attitude, a dissonant, hauntingly Beatle-esque style and strong lyrics.  If you don’t love it the first time, just wait.  This one grows on you in a powerful way.  Drift Away is next, and Ringo does a terrific job with a memorable classic which also features super solos by Tom Petty and Alanis Morissette.  I Was Walkin’ is one of the best songs on the album.  This bluesy upbeat song has spicy lyrics and a compelling, jaunty melody line that grabs you and doesn’t let go.  Next up is La De Da, and as the title implies, an easy-breezy, lilting sing-a-long song that features a large group of background vocalists, including Lee Starkey and Barbara Bach Starkey.  You’ll be joinin them in no time!  Without Understanding does an abrupt about face, with a spicy, driving melody, lyrics to match, and powerful instrumental and background vocals. Featuring a lovely slide guitar solo by George, I’ll Be Fine Anywhere skips along with a frisky melody that grabs you quick and sets your feet to dancing.  Ringo had fun with this one!  Puppet continues the mood, with an upbeat  melody line that swings with a smile.  The album ends with I’m Yours, a sweet, soft, gentle love song to Barbara.  George Martin did the pretty string arrangement.  This one is Ringo’s heart on his sleeve.
If you were one of the lucky ones to get the album’s outtakes on the bonus CD from Best Buy, then you already know that it’s a shame any of these were taken off the album.  They are winners all. If you didn’t get the bonus CD, find someone who did, and tape them.  You’ll be glad you did.   Mr. Doubleitup has naughty, funny, cool lyrics accompanied by an awesome beat that ends with a faint replay of a familiar friend from the past.  There’s a country flavor to Sometimes plus a toe-tapping beat and some nice guitar.  The bonus tracks end with Good News -- a superb country rocker with super cool drumming. lively, funny lyrics and a hard-driving beat that just won’t quit! This one really rocks!
Put it all together, and Vertical Man plus its outtakes combine to make this album one of Ringo’s finest hours.  And each time you give it a listen, it will be one of yours as well.
~ Pam Dupre
Mundelein, Illinois



I just wanted to say that I have been a Beatles fan for a little more than a year (don't judge me- I'm only 15), and have been collecting the most recent solo albums of the Fab Four as I wrap up our Beatles collection.  I have Flaming Pie- love it.  I have Lennon Legend- love it.  Then I heard that Ringo was putting something out.  Since I hadn't heard much of Ringo's music (sadly, because Paul and John and George sort of stole the show), I was a little skeptical at first.  Luckily, Borders (my absolute FAVORITE store in the whole wide world) had it on display to listen to.  I started listening, track by track, and I thought to myself, "Hey!  This is really good!"  Then I got to La De Da and just started laughing.  That song made me feel so good and I started
singing in the store!!!  My brother and my mother were slightly curious as to what was going on, so I let them listen.  By the end of the trip to Borders, I was convinced that this CD had to be mine!  The guy at the cash register even commented that he had been selling a lot of those!
    The Beatles got me through my freshman year (and what a year it was!), I hope that Ringo and the rest of them can pull me through again.  And again.  And the year after that.  And through college . . .(Ten "starrs" for Ringo!)
~ Luine

Basically , I just love the new album. It features some of the best drumplaying done in ages. Listen especially for the fill after 50 seconds in "I was walking"! Groovy!
~Göran Berglund

        I wanted to express my comments on the new album VERTICAL MAN. I
just bought it recently and I wouldn't have even known about it if I
hadn't seen Ringo on  Jay Leno. But I am very glad I did hear about it
because it is a great album and Ringo Starr was always my favorite
Beatle.  My favorite song is " Mindfield", and that seems to be the one
my friends like too.

~ Liz

I like very much Ringo's new CD.-I think that " WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING" is really great :can't stop playing it ! Should be the next CD single, and a possible chart topper....-Same goes for "Mindfield" "King of Broken Hearts" .-As  for "Times take time"the up tempo numbers are the best.-This cd is even better than "T T T "
~ Raphael Vandenberghe

I bought your latest album, "VERTICAL MAN". It is very nice album, so I listen in the car everyday when I go to work.
Hope you come back to Japan.
~ Terumi

The more I listen to this CD the better I like it.  My only question is why aren't we hearing these songs on the radio?  Anyway, hope Ringo knows how much his fans enjoy this album and that we play it all the time. 
~ Ron Biegel
Neshanic Station, N.J.

I am an old-time Ringo's fan since I heard "Sentimental Journey" for the first time. As for me, I thought that "Goodnight Vienna" was the best Ringo's album. But now, with the new album Ringo made a new step forward. Of course, with a little help from his friends. It's pure (or natural) Ringo. If you liked him before, you should like his new album, too. There are many interesting musical nuances on the album - from "I'm the Walrus" (and the Beatles, of course) to Jeff Lynn.
The best songs are : "King Of Broken Hearts" (with fantastic slide guitar of George) and amazing, full of life and love "La De Da" (special thanks to Sir Paul).
Well done, old chap !
~ Yuri Golubev
St. Petersburg, Russia

I've listened to "Vertical Man" and am blown away again by Ringo's solo endeavor. The musical help that Ringo enlists on the album is impeccable.
My compliments to the "Starr".
~ Scott Baker

Listening to Vertical Man and watching the video, VH1 Storytellers, just refreshed my memory of how big is Ringo, how important he is for Rock' n Roll´s history. Recording and playing with such great musicians and dominating the scene with his talent and simpathy, shows us the legend he truly is.

~ Jorge Jettar
  BRAZIL

Most of us Beatle fans would be happy with a Ringo Starr lp that is anything slightly above average. Well, this isn't it. Not at all.
What we have with Vertical Man is simply the best record Ringo has done since the Beatles skipped out on their lease in 1970. Yes, I'm saying it's better than the oft -celebrated Ringo lp, the one with the huge hits, including "Photograph" and "Oh My My." I think if we can look at it objectively, this lp is nearly as fine as McCartney's latest! It's certainly as much fun to listen to, and that's got to count for nearly everything. And that this is Ringo, a guy you root for, that you want to do good work, a guy that any sane person just loves for being himself, well, friends, that just adds to the fun.
The material on Vertical Man is almost unbelievably excellent, the product of the writing team of Richard Starkey, Mark Hudson (of the Hudson Brothers), Bruce Grakal and/or Steve Dudas. Nearly every track here is worthy of the best of the solo Beatles music. And, it's the most "Beatley" release by any of the ex-lads in some time. Vertical Man, though a thoroughly contemporary sounding disc (somewhere between Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne?), is filled to the brim with Beatle touches: sneering Lennonesque strings and mellotron, slide guitars a la George Harrison (who actually does play slide on two tracks, though, on other cuts Mark Hudson's work sounds more like George than George. Eh, wot?), Abbey Road era guitar effects and riffs, and nicely realized fab-style vocal harmony. There's even a lot of "headphone humor" for those who enjoy deciphering Beatle records in that special way. Though they appear on two tracks each (separate but equal of course!), Harrison and McCartney contribute little to this arch-Beatleness believe it or not; it is totally the effort of Starr and the core band of Hudson and Dudas. However, fifth Beatle Sir George Martin's string arrangement for the ballad "I'm Yours" is an important contribution, and one with which I'd rather have seen him end his career than the celebrity-filled salute.
"Let's all get well together," a line from "Mindfield," might be considered the heart of the lp. Though many of lyrics are a mix of pop's usual love's labor's lost both personal and generic, Starr is mainly concerned with a kind of post-Betty Ford Clinic healing for the hard-living members of his generation. That may sound awful, and it could be, but somehow it comes across in a Brian Wilsony sense of "healing," not preachy but genuine and heartfelt (Brian is brilliant on "Without Understanding" by the way). In part this is accomplished with Starr's voice, an instrument whose limitations have been overemphasized. To be sure, his is a personality voice, not a "great" voice, but it is certainly in fine form here and the material, including "La De Da" (complete with sing along chorus) is just right for him. Also of note is that several tracks are similar to certain of Ringo's previous successes. "King of Broken Hearts" is not unlike "Photograph" and the above mentioned "I'm Yours" would not have existed without "Good Night" from the White Album.
If there has to be a downside to all this, it is without question the two covers, "Love Me Do," with its in joke for the elite, and "Drift Away," both of which are reminiscent of the tepid hippie "boogie" that at one time or another plagued the post-Beatles releases of all but McCartney. (See Alan Clayson's Harrison bio for a dead-on description of this style, a result of the aggravating "heavy friends" trend of the early 70's.) Today's version of the "heavy friends" is the roster of pointless celebrity guests, something that the elder statesmen of Starr's generation find hard to resist. At times this can resemble a talk show: the guest walks on, lays down an unimportant backing vocal-often rendered en masse with others of the same stature---then moves one more chair to the left of the host, and the next guest walks on. Add tedium. Mix well. Repeat process. Though Starr is guilty of calling on too many famous friends here, good taste somehow managed to minimize these performances in most cases.
Great listening aside, this may be a historic recording. Why? It's finally Ringo's turn to record with musicians who grew up, not as Beatle contemporaries, but as younger fans. McCartney has already experienced this with Elvis Costello and Eric Stewart of 10cc; so has Harrison with Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne in the Traveling Wilburys. Now with Mark Hudson and the others it's Ringo's turn to enjoy that status. That the production and writing partnership with Hudson went so well is truly encouraging, and I hope the two stick it out for a few more releases.
~Scott Brookman

Very excited when I heard that Ringo, once again was gonna tour. Even much more so when I heard his new album, Vertical Man. This is the best album he has done so far in his career. The album flows. It reminds me of a good experience of listening to the music of the 60s and 70s, lps that flowed, had a purpose and the songs fit well together. I thought he wouldn't be able to beat RINGO and even Time Takes Time, but he has done it, and very well I must say. My favorite tracks: "One ," " Mindfield," "La De Da," "King of Broken Hearts"..... Ringo, as good as it gets, as good as anything Paul Mccartneys put out, ever.
~Tony Sledge

I've been a fan of Ringo since 1964 when I was eleven years old. I went to see Hard Day's night on my 12th birthday and saw the Beatles in Candlestick Park in 1966.
I learned to play the drums like Ringo and still enjoy banging a head or two when I get the chance.
I picked up the Vertical Man tape a couple of weeks ago and am dedicated to it.  My favorite cuts are "Drift Away" and "La-Dee-Da."
It's good to know my hero is still doing fine and turning out great stuff.
~ Rev. Glenn J. Hamilton
Warren, PA

Okay, now I've seen others reviews on Vertical Man, and I think the best way to put the review is sort of grading it (like on a report card). If I do bad, (Ringo if you're reading this) please forgive me! The day this CD was released, it was my little sister's birthday, so I wasn't able to get it the first day it was out, like I did with Paul's Flaming Pie (even though I like Ringo much more than Paul)! I got it the next day though. I hope everyone who reads this review enjoys it.

~ Jenny

Simply put, I hate this album!!!!!!!! It was so disappointing coming off the heals of "Anthology"and "Flaming Pie" and hearing this one. Reasons being: 1)Production is garbage. Ringo has that 90's "Boop Boop" sound on his snare. Simply awful; 2) Songs go nowhere. What the hell is "I'm Your's"????!!!!!!What is he kidding?????!!!!!!!! ; and 3) Alanis Morrisette and Ringo Starr? STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!
I do like "La De Da"{I happen to know one of the girls in the video}. "One" is o.k. The packaging is excellent. That's it. This one gets a 2 1/2. 1 for the packaging,1 for "La De Da" and 1/2 for "One". Major let down from the nice "Time Takes Time"

~ Gary Owen

 

I am a Beatle fan (of course).  I'm a little bit closed minded to music that was created during the last two decades though.  And, although I have thoroughly enjoyed Ringo's 3rd, 4th and 5th All-Star Band concerts over the last five years, I was never "blown away" by one of Ringo's
compositions. Not until I purchased his latest release "Vertical Man".  I now have renewed faith in mankind to compose rock and roll songs of deep, musical and intrinsical value.
I understand that Ringo wrote the songs with Mark Hudson of the Hudson Brothers.  Although I am 33 years old, I do not remember much about the Hudson Brothers.  That is not important now.  What is important is that we spread the word about this incredible album that Mark and Ringo have put together.  It keeps getting better!!  I've been listening to it for about 3 1/2 months now.  I got the headphones thing going lately.  These songs are precious.  I think "One" probably has the best single potential.  It is catchy and pop-like.  La-De-Da has the anthemesqueness
of Hey Jude.  The chorus of Vertical Man has a cyclical build feature that I've yet to fully comprehend.  It "blows me away."  The trippy vocal harmonies of "King of Broken Hearts" with its dreamy slide guitar melodies make it a classic.
I suspect that Ringo is a little saddened that the record sales have not been great.  I've bought 5 copies and gave 4 as gifts to friends and relatives.  But I feel the need to do more.  It is our responsibility to alert the world to this pricless creation of music.  Please let me know
If jobs open up in Ringo's marketing department so I can fulfill my life's destiny.  How about the energy of that "Puppet" song.  It is not time to put the Puppet to bed!  Vertical Man can help point us in the correct musical direction
Jonathan --New York, NY

Just sitting here listening to it; and...WOW! This album's the best that the mellow, aging gent from Liverpool's done since he was even an Hurricane; eh? Major kudos on a true breakthrough, Squire Starkey.
~ J.Kenneth Harrer

I was very pleased to find on this site that others enjoyed "Vertical Man" as much as I did.  I drove one of my local record stores crazy calling the week it was released to ask when they would get it in.  I got the same woman every morning:  "Ringo in yet?"  "No, not yet (laugh)".  I finally gave up on them and found it in a chain discount store, and my expectations were exceeded by far.  I wanted to get the cd mainly because I am a huge Ringo fan, but found the best reason to buy it is that it is a great album!  I think it's terrific when an artist as far into his career as Ringo is, turns out something truly great, rather than just another product to market to the masses.  I was waiting for the rest of the world to discover how great this album was, but, unfortunately, Ringo seems to have been ignored by radio. This is one of my favorite albums of all time, and outranks any other Beatle solo album in my collection.
~ Dan Lea
Eau Claire, WI

 

Return to The Ringo Home Page.

This page was last updated Sept. 10, 1999.