Thursday, October 18, 2012

This Week's Obsession: Ruby Nash

Ruby & The Romantics' 1963 smash "Our Day Will Come" is one of *the* great records of our time. That organ, that drumbeat and those lush background vocals comprise what is a unique and wonderfully evocative piece of pop music perfection.

Aside from that song and "When You're Young & In Love," I can't say I had heard much else from Ruby & The Romantics, but I love "Our Day Will Come" so much, I was thrilled to find a beautiful mono copy of that LP this past weekend. I listened to it all, and I am now officially obsessed with Ruby Nash.

You could make a list of 50 great female vocalists and I bet you still wouldn't name Ruby Nash. But after listening to this record, which I admit, is a bit samey in the arrangement department, I can't help but think Ruby Nash belongs somewhere in the Top 10.

Almost all of the songs are ballads, some more upbeat than others, and remnants of Doo Wop are everywhere throughout a sound that Ruby & The Romantics clearly owns. Nash's voice is pure and natural. Basically, I had chills for the duration of this longplayer.

Two songs that really stood out were "By The Way" & "Stranger On The Shore," the latter being the great haunting instrumental by Mr. Acker Bilk that I never knew had lyrics, and the former, speaking of lyrics, is a sad and beautiful heartbreaker.

Check out "By The Way."

And before you check out Ruby's version of "Stranger On The Shore," here's Mr. Acker Bilk to refresh your memory.

There are some other great tunes on this LP, like the great spins on The Platters classic "My Prayer" and Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry." There is also a jam-packed compilation which is priced nicely and a great bang for your buck.

Ruby Nash, kids.  Ruby Nash.


Anonymous said...

"Our Day Will Come" was going through my head when I woke up this morning. Maybe it's a sign. I'll check out the compilation.

J. Loslo

A walk in the woods said...


And I noticed the drumbeat is basically the same as Ahmad Jamal's "Poinciana," yes? Released the same year as this Ruby song! Coincidence, or is there more to the story?

steve simels said...

Gorgeous stuff, Sal, and a great call.

Anonymous said...

She's good but top ten, you have to be kidding.


Sal Nunziato said...

Off the top of my head and in no particular order except for # 1

Etta James
Gladys Knight
Irma Thomas
Mavis Staples
Darlene Love
Mary Wells
Ann Peebles
Ruth Brown

Also look at this list--

Ruby Nash isn't even in the Top 150.

I don't know. I don't think it's unreasonable to put her at 10, at least for my tastes.

Anonymous said...

Your top nine (ten) list is great! Many of my favorites. Notice they're all African-American. Says something about our greatest singers. The only white singer I might add to the list is Lucinda Williams.


steve simels said...

I'd put Barbara Lewis ahead of her, but not by much.

Dave said...

I've owned this album since it came out. Ruby has a beautiful voice, but if I were drafting, this would be my team. pantheon of soul singers (and actually, the first four might be my favorite female singers of any genre).

Dionne Warwick
Darlene Love
Gladys Knight

Then just below:

Dinah Washington
Gladys Horton
Maxine Brown
Barbara Lewis
Etta James
Dee Dee Sharp (who knows how much she could
have achieved with better material)
Kathy Sledge (see above)
Arlene Smith (see above)
June Pointer
Laura Nyro
Brenda Holloway
LaLa Brooks
Wanda Rogers/Young