[Review] Ringo Starr: Time Takes Time (1992)

Ringo gets the same starr treatment that George, Tom Petty and Roger McGuinn enjoyed, resulting in his best album in more than a decade.

Kronomyth 13.0: Back from RIngO.

There was a sort of Beatles/Byrds renaissance happening around this time, with the careers of George Harrison (Cloud Nine), Roger McGuinn (Back From Rio) and Tom Petty (Full Moon Fever) in various states of revival with what were invariably termed their best album since (fill in the blank). In the case of Time Takes Time, the blank was typically Ringo, because apparently no one owns a copy of Goodnight Vienna. Ringo Starr’s career was already in semi-revival thanks to the popular All-Starr Band tours. This time, however, the impressive guests are seated in the producer’s chair: Jeff Lynne, Don Was, Phil Ramone, Peter Asher. Ringo recorded a few tracks with each of them, using material furnished for the most part by professional songsmiths (somehow, impossibly, a Posies cover got in there) that sounded like someone’s approximation of The Beatles and The Byrds circa 1990.

The producers had their work cut out for them in making The Velvet Smog sound good; Ringo hits so many flat notes he’s like a human whack-a-mole. The solution, not surprisingly, is a liberal use of sparkle and spackle. No less than 25 people are credited with background vocals; in other words, it takes a village to raise Ringo’s voice to humanly acceptable levels. My snide comments aside, Time Takes Time is one of the more “fun” Ringo records to come around in years. Songs like “Weight of The World,” “Don’t Know A Thing About Love” and “I Don’t Believe You” are nice vehicles for Ringo, and the rest of the record passes pleasantly enough, even the Ringo originals (which really aren’t the best songs on here).

I’d take the best-record-since-Ringo comments with a grain of salt, however, since Ringo fans tend to be soft critics for obvious reasons. I wouldn’t call it a comeback since so much of the material comes from other people who aren’t named John, Paul or George, but it is nice to hear Ringo getting the starr treatment from the day’s top pop producers. As an added bonus, the Japanese version includes a fine cover of “Don’t Be Cruel,” which I’m sure John would have appreciated.

Original elpee version

A1. Weight of the World (Brian O’Doherty/Fred Velez)
A2. Don’t Know A Thing About Love (Richard Feldman/Stan Lynch)
A3. Don’t Go Where The Road Don’t Go (Richard Starkey/Johnny Warman/Gary Grainger)
A4. Golden Blunders (Jonathan Auer/Kenneth Stringfellow)
A5. All In The Name of Love (Jerry Lynn Williams)
B1. After All These Years (Richard Starkey/Johnny Warman)
B2. I Don’t Believe You (Andy Sturmer/Roger Manning)
B3. Runaways (Richard Starkey/Johnny Warman)
B4. In A Heart Beat (Diane Warren)
B5. What Goes Around (Rick Suchow)

Japanese CD bonus track
11. Don’t Be Cruel

The Players

Ringo Starr (vocals, drums, percussion, tambourine), James “Hutch” Hutchinson (bass), Andrew Sturmer (background vocals, acoustic guitar), Benmont Tench (keyboards, piano, Hammond B-3, harmonium) with Peter Asher (tambourine and background vocals on track 4), Berton Averre (background vocals on track 2), Jeff Baxter (guitar on tracks 5 and 8), Robbie Buchanan (keyboards on tracks 4 and 9), Rosemary Butler (background vocals on track 4), Valerie Carter (background vocals on tracks 4 and 8), Craig Copeland (background vocals on tracks 5 and 8), Kathryn Cotter (background vocals), Doug Fieger (background vocals on tracks 2 & 9), Wendy Fraser (background vocals on track 4), Bob Glaub (bass on track 4), Andrew Gold (acoustic guitar, guitar solo, background vocals on tracks 4 , 9 & 10), Mark Goldenberg (guitar on tracks 1, 2 and 9), David Grissom (acoustic guitar on tracks 7 & 10), Mark Hart (synth keyboards, guitar and background vocals on tracks 5 and 8), Jim Horn (sax on track 3), Mark Hudson (percussion, background vocals, background vocal arrangement on tracks 5 and 8), Raven Kane (background vocals on track 4), Suzie Katayama (cello on track 3), Darlene Koldenhoven (background vocals on tracks 5 and 8), Michael Landau (guitar on tracks 7 & 10), Jeff Lynne (guitar, bass, piano, keyboards and background vocals on tracks 3 and 6), Roger Manning (background vocals, acoustic guitar), Jamie Muhoberac (keyboards on track 9), Harry Nilsson (special guest appearance on track 8), Brian O’Doherty (background vocals and background vocal arrangement and track 9), Bobbie Page (background vocals on track 4), Tom Petty, Andrea Robinson (background vocals on track 4), Stephanie Spruill (background vocals on track 4), Naomi Star (background vocals on tracks 5 and 8), Neil Stubenhaus (bass on tracks 5 and 8), Michael Thompson (guitar on tracks 5 and 8), Carmen Twillie (background vocals on track 4), Jeffrey Vanston (keyboards and arrangements on tracks 5 and 8), Waddy Wachtel (guitar on track 4), Mark Warman (background vocals on track 8), Brian Wilson (background vocals on track 9), Terri Wood (background vocals on track 4). Tracks 1, 2, 7, 9 & 10 produced by Don Was, tracks 3 & 6 produced by Jeff Lynne, track 4 produced by Peter Asher, tracks 5 and 8 produced by Phil Ramone; engineered by Bill Drescher, Ed Cherney, Richard Dodd, Mark Linnet, Rik Pekkonen and Frank Wolf; mixed by Jeff Lynne, Ed Cherney, Bob Clearmountain, Richard Dodd, Rik Pekkonen and Frank Wolf.

The Pictures

Art direction by Melanie Penny. Illustration by Mark Ryden. Photography by Catanzaro & Mahdessian. Design by Kurt De Munbrun.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, compact disc and cassette on May 22, 1992 in the US (Private Music, 82097-2/4), Brazil (BMG/Private Music, 150 8154), Germany and Turkey (Private Music, 412902) and Thailand (BMG, 412902).

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in 1998 (BMG Special Products, 44684).
  2. Re-released on 180g green vinyl elpee on July 1, 2016 in the US (Friday Music).

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