Ringo Starr I Wanna Be Santa Claus (Mercury)
Reviewed by Ken Lieck, Fri., Dec. 24, 1999
I Wanna Be Santa Claus (Mercury)I'm not a betting man, but even if I was, I never would've wagered that Ringo, the wacky Beatle with the novelty-record voice, would be that last Beatle to release a holiday album. He is, though, waiting some 15 years since Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime" single followed John Lennon's "Merry Christmas (War Is Over)," and George Harrison's lesser-known "Ding Dong, Ding Dong." And as a Christmas single, the title song is indeed a winner, as is I Wanna Be Santa Claus' opener, "Come on Christmas, Christmas Come On," a Gary Glittery number that pounds along nicely while the Starr pipes gently keep well within the Crimble (Beatle talk for Xmas) spirit. In fact, there's only a couple of holiday turkeys in this basket, notably Starr's cover of "Christmas Time Is Here Again," a tune the Beatles originally recorded for their annual fan club releases. And there's a reason the original only made it to the B-side of a single off of Anthology: The song is a repetitive bit of frosting that was never meant to be played in its entirety, but instead intended to be sampled between the band's Xmas messages. Here, predictably, it seems both endless and charmless, a sad distraction from Ringo's mostly right-on rockin' versions of standards from both "Blue-" and "White Christmas" to (naturally) "Little Drummer Boy." If anything's really annoying about the album, it's that the music is enjoyable enough that after about three songs you wish he'd keep singing -- about anything besides Christmas!