AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson
The success of Ringo Starr's Ringo album did more than propel the ex-Beatles drummer into a limelight which threatened, at times, to eclipse even his former bandmates' solo fame. It also inspired ARP synthesizer whizz Hentschel to record a full re-creation of that album, for release -- of course -- on Starr's own Ring-O label. It was not entirely an original concept. Paul McCartney's Ram was given the orchestral treatment by Percy Thrillington several years earlier. But whereas that set conspired to transform well-crafted pop into neo-classical splendour, Startling Music realigned Ringo's record as a sometimes jazzy, often rocky and certainly prog-drenched firestorm. Searing guitars from Ronnie Caryl, some of Phil Collins' best ever drumming, and, of course, Hentschel's synths utterly reinvent Ringo. Some of Hentschel's effects seem a little dated today -- as, of course, does the ARP itself. At the time, however, it was a thing of wonder that he could convert "Sunshine Life for Me" into a bagpipe-driven military march; or litter "Devil Woman" with little ELP flourishes. The melodies (and, lest we forget, the original album was awash in them) are instantly identifiable, but the entire mood is altered, away from the thinking-man's bubblegum of "You're 16," "Photograph," and "Devil Woman," and into realms which, indeed, would not have disgraced a period Genesis instrumental interlude. The fact the album was seemingly recorded with the headphone-wearing listener in mind only adds to the impression.
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