Ringo Starr

VH1 Storytellers

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Just as MTV's Unplugged series started out as a great idea -- get musicians to reimagine their material in stripped-down arrangements -- then was reduced by the record business to a gimmick for a new kind of live album, which is to say, yet another way to re-sell the same material, VH1's Storytellers series has quickly traced the same decline. After all, not everybody is as eloquent, or as well-prepared, as Ray Davies, who did the first show. And as any music journalist can tell you, a musician's idea of a great story about how he came to write a song may not be anybody else's. But the format would seem perfect for bon vivant Ringo Starr, and even if he has been as guilty of padding his catalog as any veteran, he does tell short, entertaining anecdotes about the collection of Beatles favorites and solo hits included (most of which haven't been circulated widely before), which makes it forgivable that he also sneaks in four Beatlesque songs from his recently released Vertical Man album. His backup band, the Roundheads, is actually more supportive than the various editions of the All-Starr Band he used to tour with, and it's good to have a Ringo Starr live album with so much Ringo on it.

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