Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ruby Starr and Grey Ghost - 1975

1. Burnin' Whiskey
2. Sweet,Sweet,Sweet
3. Witchin' Hour
4. Did it again
5. Everything Comes and Goes
6. Long wait
7. You need a Chain
8. Fork in the Road
9. Living Proof


Rockdetector Biography

Discovered by BLACK OAK ARKANSAS frontman Jim Dandy working in a bar in Evansville, Indiana, Ruby Starr not only shared the same manager as BLACK OAK ARKANSAS (Butch Stone), but actually wound up joining the band in 1976 after her solo work failed to take off. The strikingly sultry singer nevertheless had made an impact on the Rock media in an unexpected way when an enterprising photographer published an on stage up close and personal shot of Miss Starr minus knickers!

Starr (real name Connie Mierzwiac) had previously been known as RUBY JONES releasing an eponymous album under that name in 1971.

During the summer of 1974 erstwhile TARGET members drummer Joel Williams and keyboard player Marius Peczner were recruited into Starr's backing band. Other TARGET personell guitarist Buddy Davis and bassist Tommy Cathey had also rehearsed with Starr but negotiations between them and Butch Stone failed and this pair persevered with TARGET.

Making up the band were guitarists Ronnie Mason and Gary Levin with bassist David Mayo. This band became RUBY STARR & GREY GHOST. The grey ghost in question being a referance to Confederate Civil war hero General Mosby. Heavy touring ensued as support to BLACK OAK ARKANSAS, MOUNTAIN and HEARTSFIELD.

As 1975 dawned the band gained a major label deal with Capitol Records immediately after a television appearance on the 'Midnight Special' show. The band recorded their debut album at the legendary Muscle Shoals studios produced by former HOMBRES bassist Jerry Masters with later sessions taking place in Memphis. Throughout 1975 the band was rarely off the road opening frequently for BLACK OAK ARKANSAS as well as TODD RUNDGREN, OBLIVION EXPRESS, NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND, and conducted US East Coast support dates in July 1975 with BLACK SABBATH and PETER FRAMPTON. Later shows had the band guesting for TEN YEARS AFTER, ROBIN TROWER and FLEETWOOD MAC.

As the album was released it entered the Billboard charts at number 172. Much in demand Starr and her cohorts were straight back on the road guesting for THE FACES, STEPPENWOLF, RARE EARTH, MAHOGANY RUSH and BLACK SABBATH once again including venues as large as the Long Beach arena. A headline club tour followed before more supports to PETER FRAMPTON, EDGAR WINTER GROUP, BACHMAN TURNER OVERDRIVE and reuniting with BLACK SABBATH

In February 1976 Mike Neff took over the drum stool. Later the same year Penczner and Mayo quit to create the short lived TRIPLE CROSS with Williams.

RUBY STARR's 'Scene Stealer' album, with the bulk of the songs penned by Penczner saw BLACK OAK ARKANSAS guitarist Jimmy Henderson contributing.

Williams, Mayo and Henderson rejoined Starr for her third album 'Smokey Places' before the drummer joined the ranks of BLACK OAK ARKANSAS.

made her live debut singing with BLACK OAK ARKANSAS at the California Jam that year, although she had appeared on 'Jim Dandy To The Rescue' back in 1974 on the 'High On The Hog' album. A top 30 hit in the States, the song was mysteriously banned by the BBC in Britain.

During 1977 the singer united with Florida Rockers BLACKFOOT touring America billed as RUBY STARR AND BLACKFOOT. Starr left BLACKFOOT after falling in love with the guitarist Fred Hodnik from support band LUCY GREY. Starr wound up joining this band sharing lead vocals with Mike Finding.

The other band members were guitarist Pooh (real name (Steve Godfriarx), bassist John Kerr and the enigmatically titled Mudslide on drums.

The band adopted a new name of GREY STAR in 1980 adding ex-CAPTAIN BEYOND and IRON BUTTERFLY man Robb Hanshaw and would go on to release two albums 'Grey Star' and 1983' 'Telephone Sex'. Finding would quit renaming himself Mike Grey. A further name change was adopted to Chainsaw Caine, a guize in which he fronted Metal band SLAVE RAIDER for two albums.

GREY STAR split Ruby put together the RUBY STAR BAND with Hodnik, Mudslide and new members keyboard player Steve Marino and bassist Cary Kaylan. This unit toured the Mid-West supporting GREGG ALLMAN, CHEAP TRICK, VAN HALEN and ROBIN TROWER and recorded a couple of singles. In 1988 the band folded and Kaylan wound up working with WARP DRIVE at the turn of the decade.

Starr was diagnosed with cancer in 1994 and sadly passed away the following year.

Credit/s: Garry Sharpe-Young
Copyright: © 2001-2007 Musicdetector Websites
Last updated: 16 April 2007


bigfootkit said...

My sicere thanks again Skynfan, is there anything you don't have?

Skynfan said...

If I don't have it I'll find it. lol
I'm just glad you reminded me about Ruby. I'm trying to find all the off shoots that Ruby was on also. But these albums are really good.

bigfootkit said...

I really can't thank you enough for all the great stuff you've been putting my way.
If you're still hunting i'm really curious to hear those Grey Starr albums.
If you happen to come across them on your travels you'll have made my month.

Clarence said...

I had this album years & years ago and loved it. But time (& moving) caused it disapppear many years ago. Thank you very much for posting all of the Ruby Starr vinyl and keep them a comin' please. Got any Trouble, Bandit,
LA Jets or Black Sheep (all 1970's)?

Anonymous said...

My parents used to play this album a lot. It was the lone album they played that I actually liked - thanks so much for this. I was never able to find it anywhere - and info on any Ruby Starr recordings is incredibly hard to find.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much. I remember seeing this great band on Don Kirschner's concert. I loved it so much that I went out and bought the album.

Does that live performance exist anywhere?


BatManu said...

Thanks, Skyfan !!! I've been desperately searchingfor this album for years,I almost vcannot beleive I finally will be able to listen to it at last ! You rock my world, dude !

Anonymous said...

Thanks I need all the Ruby Starr I can find lost a bunch on a disk failure.
She was wonderful a good time babe roudy as hell at the bar. Her and Grey Ghost played at the Log Cabin Tavern just down the road from me and We always made it to see her shows.

Gone too soon.

Thunderfoot said...

Hello and thank you for everything.
Great site.
Now, is there any known recordings of Ruby with Blackfoot? Stufio or live shows?
Thank you very much!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

I'm desperately looking for Ruby Star Band's single "Under Your Spell" .. would gladly pay any price ... please contact me at if you have it (or even just an mp3 of it)

Thank you!!!

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