For his latest solo album, former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr has recorded with a slew of guest artists, including Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, Willie Nelson, and Eagles/Poco principal Timothy B. Schmit. Due March 25 from Koch, “Ringo Rama” will also feature guest turns by Shawn Colvin, Van Dyke Parks, and Charlie Haden.
As previously reported, Mark Hudson, who has worked with everyone from Aerosmith to the Baha Men and O-Town, produced the album. Others on the Starr team include musicians and songwriters Gary Burr (guitar), Dean Grakal (lyricist), Steve Dudas (guitar), Jim Cox (keyboards), and Gary Nicholson (guitar).
Together they’ve come up with what’s described as an “infectious and intimate” album. “There is a lot of me in these songs,” Starr said in a statement. “As time goes on, my personality is coming out more and more in the music. On this album my drumming is more dynamic, I’m more to the front, I think I’m singing better and I believe we’re writing better songs.”
Recorded largely at his home studio in England, “Ringo Rama” features “Never Without You,” a tribute to late Beatles guitarist George Harrison. “It was my way — with the help of Gary and Mark — to say how much George meant to me and how much he will be remembered,” Ringo said. “I actually tried to get George, John Lennon, and Harry Nilsson all into that song. But it got too busy, so I thought I’m just going to do it for George.”
Clapton, also a close friend of Harrison, adds the guitar solo to the song. “Eric’s on two tracks on the album, but I really wanted him on this song because George loved Eric and Eric loved George,” Starr added. “I wanted Eric to come and play that solo because I only wanted people on the track who George knew and loved.”
Gilmour adds guitar to “I Think Therefore I Rock & Roll” and “Missouri Loves Company,” while Nelson duets with Starr on the country-leaning “Write One for Me.” Rounding out the album is the unlisted bonus track “I Really Love Her,” which Starr recorded solo. “Just one time in my career, I wanted to do it all,” he said. “I’m tired of all my other mates doing everything. So I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to do it all.’ So that was a lot of fun for me.”
Continuing the fun will be the eighth version of his All-Starr Band tour this summer. Last out in 2001, the band has over the years featured Sheila E., Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter, Greg Lake from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Supertramp’s Roger Hodgson, Howard Jones, Dr. John, Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, Dave Edmunds, Levon Helm of the Band, the E Street Band’s Clarence Clemons, Todd Rundgren, Eric Carmen, Cream’s Jack Bruce, and the Who’s John Entwistle.
“We’re going live again this year,” Starr vowed. “And I promised our promoter David Fishof that I’ll play three new songs. So get ready.”