Ruby


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1977-78)

- Bobby Cochran -- vocals, drums, percussion 
- Anthony Davis -- vocals, bass 
- Tom Fogerty (RIP 1990) -- vocals, guitar 
- Randy Oda -- vocals, guitar, keyboards 

 

- Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Tom Fogerty (solo efforts)
- Tom Fogerty and the Blue Velvets
- The Golliwogs
- Oda (Randy Oda)

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Ruby

Company: PRB

Catalog: 7001

Year: 1977

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): NM / NM

Comments: still in shrink wrap; bullet hole top left; played once

Available: 1

Catalog number: 5252

Price: $40.00

 

Best known for his work with Creedence Clearwater Revival, on the heels of four relatively unsuccessful solo albums Tom Fogerty decided to try a return to a band format.  Recruiting drummer Bobby Cochran, bassist Anthony Davis, and former Oda multi-instrumentalist Randy Oda, the newly formed Ruby debuted with an obscure and highly collectable 1975 single on Fogerty's own Ginseng label:

 

- 1975's 'Judy Lee' b/w 'Baby What You Want Me To Do' (Ginseng catalog number 0001)

 

Though the single vanished without a trace, it attracted the attention of the slightly larger PRB International label which promptly signed the quartet to a recording contract. 

Released in 1977, the group's self-titled debut wasn't exactly the year's most original offering, but within limits proved mildly enjoyable. For Fogerty the return to a band environment proved a mixed blessing. Highlights included the bouncy Fogerty original 'Life Is But a Dream' and an energetic cover of Jimmy Reed's 'Baby What You Want Me To Do'.  Unfortunately, the band format called for a democratic sharing of the spotlight. Far less impressive were the band's stabs at jazz-rock (the Oda-penned instrumental 'B.A.R.T"), Davis' hideous disco-influenced pop track ('Can You Really Say') and AOR ballads like Cochran's 'Starry Eyed'  (not the great Records' song).   In fact, a word of warning - anyone expecting to hear a Fogerty solo album needs to reset their expectations since Fogerty is far and few between on this set.  He only handles lead vocals on a couple of songs.  In the songwriting department his contributions were equally sparse,  He wrote one song and co-writing two more with Oda.   It's far from a great debut, but then I guess "Ruby" could have been far worse ... Once again, it was uncanny how much Fogerty sounded like brother John ...

"Ruby" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Life Is But a Dream   (Randy Oda - Tom Fogerty) - 3:26

Showcasing Fogerty's likeable voice (close your eyes and it was easy to imagine this was a CCR effort), 'Life Is But a Dream' had a distinctive '60s vibe that was propelled by lots of jangle guitar, sweet harmony vocals, and one of those melodies that you unexpectedly found yourself humming.  My pick for the album's stand out perforrnance.  It was also tapped as an instantly obscure single.  rating: **** stars
2.) Can You Really Say   (Anthony Davis) - 2:37

I guess you couldn't really blame the band for being influenced by then-prevailing musical trends.  On the other hand, you could blame them for falling victim to the influence of mindless disco.  Penned and sung by bassist Davis, 'Can You Really Say' was a mindless, second rate dance number.  Seriously bad.  rating: * star
3.) B.A.R.T. (instrumental)   (Randy Oda) - 5:17

Penned by guitarist Oda, 'B.A.R.T' was a decent guitar propelled instrumental.  Musically the track sounded a bit like the jazz-rock fusion Jeef Beck and others were pandering in the mid-'70s, though Oda had the sense to ensure the song had a commercial edge.  Wonder if it was inspired by the San Francisco subway system which goes by the same name ...   rating: *** stars
4.) Starry Eyed   (Bobby Cochran) - 5:12

Fogerty and company were lucky Paul McCartney didn't sue them for borrowing the opening to 'Band On the Run'.  Wish the rest of the song had been as good.  Instead 'Starry Eyed;' was a bland lounge act ballad.  Completely forgettable, the performance had all the energy of a slug.  Coupled with an awful lead vocal (Odea sounded like he was being strangled), this was another truly painful song.  rating: * star
5.) Baby What You Want Me To Do   (J. Reed) - 4:10

Side one ended with a perfunctory stab at Jimmy Reed's 'Baby What You Want Me To Do'.  The song hand previously appeared as the 'B' side on Ruby's 1975 debut single 'Judy Lee'.  Given a 'heavy rock' arrangement, it wasn't the best cover of the classic tune you've ever heard, but compared to the previous three songs, was a step in the right direction.   Always wondered why Fogerty decided against including 'Judy Lee' on the LP ...    rating: *** stars

(side 2)

1.) Running Back To Me   (Randy Oda - Tom Fogerty) - 7:24

Most folks probably aren't old enough to remember the mid-'70s when bands like Journey and Pablo Cruise took over the airwaves with their AOR moves.  Regardless, 'Running Back To Me' would have sounded right at home next to those chart topping acts.  A guitar-propelled rocker, this one literally sounded like it had been written for FM radio exposure (geez, it even embedded Joe Walsh-styled voice box guitar effects).  That wasn't to say it had a lick of originality across the seven and a half minutes of playing time ...  rating: *** stars
2.) Take Me Back To London   (Randy Oda - Tom Fogerty) - 4:15

The title sounded promising, as did the opening jangle rock guitar ... and then things kind of fell apart with the song basically degenerating into a slice of lounge act pop complete with cheesy synthesizers and sweeping harmonies ...  'Course 80 percent of the song was the title track repeated on and on and on ...   Giving credit where due, Oda and Fogerty turned in some nice dual lead guitar, but that wasn;t enough to save this one.    rating: ** stars
3.) It's Taking a Long Time   (Randy Oda) - 3:24

Another isolated highlight, if only because Tom handled the lead vocals, 'It's Taking a Long Time' was a pretty Oda-penned ballad.  Wonder what this one would have sounded like given a stripped down, more acoustic sound.   rating: *** stars
4.) Slippin' and Slidin'/Big Fat Woman   (Penniman - Bocage/Collins - Smith) - 5:08

The album's 'Slippin' and Slidin'/Big Fat Woman' was probably the album's most CCR--ish sounding performance.  The band sounded like they were having fun recording the songs, but I can't say it was anything earth-shattering.  I'm thinkin' this was one that would have been much more effective in a small club after you had a couple of cold beers.  rating: *** stars

 

As mentioned, the album spun off one obscure single:

 

- 1976's 'Life is But a Dream' b/w 'Running Back to Me' (PBR catalog number 507)

 


 

 


Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Rock 'n' Roll Madness

Company: PRB

Catalog: 7004

Country/State: US

Year: 1978

Grade (cover/record): --

Comments: --

Available: --

Price: --

 

1978's "Rock 'n' Roll Madness" did little to expand their musical horizons or commercial audience. By the end of the year they'd broken up with Fogerty moving to Hawaii where he took up real estate.

"Rock 'n' Roll Madness" track listing:
unknown

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Tom Fogerty + Ruby

Company: Fantasy

Catalog: F-9637 

Year: 1981

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog number:  

Price: $10.00

 

1984's "Tom Fogerty + Ruby" wasn't half bad.  Pulling together eight tracks from the two Ruby studio albums and adding an earlier non-LP single, it didn't offer up any hidden treasures, rather provided a convenient way for casual fans, or those merely curious, to check out this part of Fogerty's career without a lot of time or effort. Sure, much of the material bogged down amidst anonymous AOR moves; particularly when Oda was singing ('Running Back To Me', 'Can You Really Sa', and 'Take Me Back To London'), but Fogerty sounded surprisingly impressive on the raucous 'Dance All Night' and the raw 'Mistreater' (the latter baring an uncanny resemblance to brother John's solo work). (Congratulations to Fantasy on coming up with one of the year's ugliest and cheapest looking cover concepts.)

"Tom Fogerty + Ruby" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Running Back To Me (Randy Oda - Tom Fogerty - Bobby Cochran) - 7:24
2.) Life Is But a Dream (Randy Oda - Tom Fogerty) 3:26
3.) Mistreater (Randy Oda) - 2:45
4.) Run with Your Love (Randy Oda) - 3:03
5.) Bart (instrumental) (Randy Oda) - 5:17

 

(side 2)
1.) Take Me Back To London (Randy Oda - Tom Fogerty) - 4:15
2.) Can You Really Say (Anthony Davis) - 2:37
3.) Singin' the Blues (Mary McCreary) - 4:25
4.) Dance All Night (Anthony Davis) - 3:25


Sadly, in late 1990 Fogerty died from complications associated with his long standing fight with TB.

 

 

 


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