Tag Archives: vistas

163. RUBY AND THE REVELATORS “Walk With Me” (2017)

(Image: O.Stevens)

It’s always nice to hear what Ruby Tiger has been doing with her band The Revelators. So I was delighted when she sent me the download to her debut album Walk With Me recently, followed by a CD copy.

I can’t believe it’s been nearly three years since I was invited to Ruby’s Vistas EP launch back in July ’14 (see my review #16). Since then, she and the band have released a couple of singles (see #62 and #138) and a live EP (see #81), but Walk With Me is their first full album.

Ruby And The Revelators are now a five-piece band consisting of Ruby Tiger herself, of course (vocals); Louise Maggs (guitar); John Whale (bass); Frazer Wigg (keys); and Paco Muñoz (drums). Various other fine musos were brought in as necessary for particular songs.

It is a ten track collection of songs that have been part of their live set for a while now, and therefore were honed to perfection before recording began. Most of the songs I didn’t know, and I was struck by the musicianship; the quality of the song-writing; the recording of them; and the sheer variety included – as Ruby herself says: ‘I didn’t want to be a slave to genre, I wanted the songs to come first, and the emotion behind them’. The excellent lyrics apart from the title track (which are by ex-band member King Rollo) are written by Ruby herself; and music penned by Ruby and various band members.

It is a mix of Soul, Blues and Funk with more than a little Jazz influence – yet a bright, fresh take on all of them with nothing jaded or rehashed. Above all it is a work of undeniable quality and class. These are well written songs that’ll either make you dance, cry, or just nod your head with approval.

Ruby’s vocals are exceptionally good, with her characteristic nuances and subtleties having got even better, and are a joy to listen to. Guitar work by Louise is eye-brow raisingly impressive I must say (I knew she was good but she really shines brightly on this album!)  Keys, bass, drums and other instrumentation are all excellent too, and contribute to a very impressive album.

I particularly liked the opener ‘When I See You’, but there are a lot of possible favourites to chose from in this collection. I love the Bluesy ‘Pity City’; the smoky Jazz club vibe of ‘Cold Cold Winter’; and the fun Blues-groove of ‘Find Me A Man’. I found the laid back ‘By My Side’ very pleasing too with it’s wonderful harp work; and the King Rollo penned title track ‘Walk With Me’ finishes the collection in a pensive mood with heart-felt vocal and beautifully sympathetic guitar. But let’s face it, the whole album is a winner!

The CD version comes in a standard Jewel Case with a booklet stating all the usual credits and thanks etc; plus great pics and all lyrics. Nice cover art too. My copy was signed and contained a lovely personal note from Ruby. It’s one of the best albums I’ve heard so far this year and I’m recommending it highly – worth the wait! Check the band’s website for more info. PTMQ

 

81. RUBY AND THE REVELATORS’ : ‘LIVE’ at The Tuesday Night Music Club (EP) (2015)

(Pic: O.Stevens)

(Pic: O.Stevens)

I was pleased to receive this new Ruby And The Revelators EP from Ruby herself recently. She had previously told me it was in the pipeline and I know she was very excited about it. Having heard it I can see why!

It was recorded at The Tuesday Night Music Club in Coulsdon, Surrey, UK, on 14th July this year; by Simon Taylor of EQ Audio. It is a five track EP of four covers and one original song.  It is the second EP from the band; the first being the excellent Vistas (2014).

Ruby Tiger of course is the vocalist; and the Revelators consist of:  Louise Maggs (guitar); Russ Grooms (bass); and Vinnie Lammy (drums). Between them they’ve jelled into a fine live band – as is apparent from this recording.  (Louise has recently moved from being bassist in the band to guitarist; replacing Ruby’s great friend and collaborator King Rollo).

The four covers are all well-known Blues staples: ‘They Call It Stormy Monday’; ‘Need Your Love So Bad’; ‘It Hurts Me Too’ (see my review of this Ruby single review #62); and ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’. These songs are so well-known that they need no introduction from myself. I’ve said before that I like covers that are not slavish copies; but rather fresh interpretations. I am not disappointed with these songs, as not only are they subject to Ruby’s genuinely emotional and singular vocal style; but they also benefit from Louise’s wonderful Jazz-orientated guitar chops, which makes every one of them a unique rendition. The only original number on in this collection is the heart-felt Ruby / Rollo penned, ‘Best Friend’ (from the Vistas EP). Again it shines because of vocals and guitar. The rhythm section of Grooms and Lammy are tight, reliable and competent throughout the EP too.

The CD comes in a simple slip case, designed by Ruby and Andy Gooding; with a photo by John Bull of Rockpix on the front. There is a lovely explanatory message from Ruby; and all the basic necessary info / credits etc. It is well recorded; and was mixed and mastered by Paul Long. My only (and very minor complaint) is that I thought the audience applause could have been mixed much louder to emphasise the live feel of the recording. Apart from that I think its a faultless piece of work.

All in all, its a very pleasing EP to listen to indeed, and I recommend it to anyone who likes their Blues on the Jazzy edge of the genre; or to anyone who appreciates great female vocal and fine guitar work. I’m looking forward to a full studio album from the band ASAP. PTMQ

For my review of the Ruby And The Revelators gig at The Chichester Inn, Sussex, in July 2014, see my article #16)

For more info on Ruby & Co (CDs, gigs etc) … http://rubytigersings.com/

62. RUBY TIGER’s new single: ‘It Hurts Me Too’; and a little about her forthcoming live EP.

I was delighted to hear that my friend, Blues singer Ruby Tiger had recorded a new single entitled ‘It Hurts Me Too’. I’d been wondering if she would be in the studio again sometime soon; because its been a year since the release of her wonderful debut EP Vistas. She invited me to the Vistas EP launch party in her hometown of Chichester, Sussex, at that time; and I was very impressed by both the EP and the live performance given by herself and her band, The Revelators. (See my Blog entry #16).

Ruby Tiger: It hurts me too (Photo by permission of Oliva Stevens)

Ruby Tiger: It hurts me too (Photo by permission of Olivia Stevens)

‘It Hurts Me Too’ is, of course, a cover of the old Blues standard first recorded by Tampa Red – and perhaps more famously by Elmore James. I like it a lot. My readers will already know that I appreciate a cover; but it has to be a fresh interpretation for me, not a slavish copy – otherwise I can see no point in doing it. The song has been covered by many an artist, with many a take, of course, but I’m glad to report that Ruby has given this old staple a fine new make-over; arranged in collaboration with her dear friend King Rollo, a veteran Bluesman and one-time member of The Revelators (and a name well-known to this Blog, see entry #52).

Ruby describes the song for herself very well indeed….

‘This was one of the first tracks that I began performing with King Rollo some 5 years ago. I found a version by 70’s troubadour Karen Dalton much admired by Dylan and fell in love with the more folky stripped back treatment, which lent the lyrics a more yearning affect…this is what I’ve striven to achieve; to draw out all the emotion that the song’s unique take on how it feels to love someone, evokes’.

If you download the track, I think you’ll agree that Ruby has achieved exactly what she set out to do with this song. Her soulful voice is a joy to hear. She conveys the emotion that she intended – yet remains controlled throughout. I think there is a great deal of Ruby herself in this song; and that’s why it works so well – its from the heart. Rollo’s guitar work is excellent, as we’ve come to expect; and there is additional Lap Steel Guitar from Nick Evans. The song was produced and recorded by King Rollo; and a fine job he’s done too. It will only be available as a download though (link below).

So what else does Ruby have in the pipeline at the moment? When I spoke to her on the phone the other day, she was excited not only about the release of this new single; but also about her forthcoming live EP. This was recorded on 14th July, at The Tuesday Night Music Club in Coulsdon, Surrey; and mixed by Simon Taylor at EQ Audio. It will contain 5 or 6 tracks from the Ruby And The Revelators’ set played that evening – which by all accounts was a great show. The new EP should be available by mid-September; and I’m certainly looking forward to hearing it.

Ruby and her band are a great live act and I’d recommend going to see them. They’ve been gigging further afield than their South Coast homebase lately too – including London’s prestigious 100 Club in Oxford Street – and that is a measure of their increasing popularity. Forthcoming gigs are detailed on Ruby’s website (see below). Enjoy! PTMQ

Here is a link to Bandcamp where you can download the song…

https://rubytiger.bandcamp.com/track/it-hurts-me-too-elmore-james

Here is a link to Ruby’s website….

http://rubytigersings.com/