Ringo Starr

Third All-Starr Band, Vol. 1

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Given the disappointing sales of the previous two All-Starr Band live albums, Ringo's star wasn't bright enough to get this release out on a major label or even a conventional label. As a stopgap, it was available only in Blockbuster Music stores for a brief time -- at the rock-bottom bargain price of 5.99 dollars -- and further volumes were not forthcoming. A shame, actually, for this was the best of the three All-Starr albums up to that point, representing what was probably Ringo's finest all-around group of the 1990s. Recorded in Tokyo's Nippon Budokan Hall, this round robin of golden oldies sounds like a straight transfer of the concert, following the order of the first part of the show with the rest presumably saved for the unissued volume two. The band of traveling rock & roll veterans sounds as sharp as the second band, and the repertoire is as potent as that of the first album, properly recorded and balanced this time. Billy Preston returns with a boppin' "Nothin' From Nothin'," Mark Farner trots out Grand Funk Railroad's hit version of Little Eva's "Locomotion," Randy Bachman represents both the Guess Who ("No Sugar Tonight") and the Bachman-Turner Overdrive (a driving "You Ain't Seen Nothin Yet"). Felix Cavaliere's high-spirited "People Got to Be Free" finds him drifting into the O'Jays' "Love Train" at one point, while John Entwistle's rendition of "Boris the Spider" -- which stole the show in Los Angeles -- sounds a bit tepid here. Ringo's own solo spots -- "Don't Go Where the Road Don't Go," "It Don't Come Easy," "Boys," "You're 16," "Yellow Submarine," and the only "new" addition to the recorded canon, "I Wanna Be Your Man" -- are on the pro forma side. He's not exerting much effort, just having a good time playing Ringmaster at a lively party of aging yet well-drilled rock & roll survivors who can still bring it.