Ringo Starr – Ringo

xxx

  • A KILLER copy with both sides earning Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades for sound and pressed on exceptionally quiet vinyl
  • Another Richard Perry production that sounds great – big and rich – thanks to excellent engineering skills of Bill Schnee, who you may remember from the credits of some of Sheffield’s better direct to disc recordings
  • The big hits are here and they sound fantastic: Photograph, You’re Sixteen, Oh My My and many, many more
  • “Ringo’s best and most consistent new studio album, Ringo represented both the drummer/singer’s most dramatic comeback and his commercial peak.”

Like Nilsson Schmilsson – an amazing Richard Perry production with much the same amazing sound – the bad copies are really just awful — veiled, smeary, compressed, rolled off up top and leaned out down low. It’s a big studio pop production with a lot going on; when it doesn’t work it really doesn’t work. Thankfully, on some copies it does, and this is one of those.

If you’ve tried killer Hot Stamper pressings of any of our favorite Richard Perry productions — No Secrets, Nilsson Schmilsson, Son of Schmilsson and Breakaway come to mind — you know the sound of this album.

Bill Schnee did some of the engineering. You probably know his name from the famous Sheffield Direct to Disc recordings he made there. If you like your records will lots of bottom end, richness, Tubey Magic and powerful dynamics, he’s the guy that can get that sound on tape, and Doug Sax, the mastering engineer for the album, is the guy that can get that sound onto disc. They made a great team.

(I had a chance to tour Bill Schnee’s studio when he sold it to a friend of mine. The main room was huge with a vaulted high ceiling and lots of acoustically variable panels on the walls. It’s sure to be all digital by now; more’s the pity.)

What do the best Hot Stamper pressings of Ringo give you?

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1973
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

 What We’re Listening For on Ringo

  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

I’m The Greatest
Hold On
Photograph
Sunshine Life For Me (Sail Away Raymond)
You’re Sixteen

Side Two

Oh My My
Step Lightly
Six O’Clock
Devil Woman
You And Me (Babe)

AMG  Review

… Starr finally put his solo career in gear in 1973. Ringo was a big-budget pop album produced by Richard Perry and featuring Ringo’s former Beatles bandmates as songwriters, singers, and instrumentalists.

But it wasn’t only the guests who made Ringo a success: Ringo advanced his own cause by co-writing two of the album’s Top Ten singles, the number one “Photograph” and “Oh My My.” The album’s biggest hit was a second chart-topper, Ringo’s cover of the old Johnny Burnette hit “You’re Sixteen.”

Songs like “Have You Seen My Baby,” a Randy Newman song with guitar by Marc Bolan, and Ringo and Vini Poncia’s “Devil Woman” were just as good as the hits. Ringo’s best and most consistent new studio album, Ringo represented both the drummer/singer’s most dramatic comeback and his commercial peak.