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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Ruby without 'Jools' is still a Jewel. Ruby Turner @ The Sage, Gateshead.

Ruby Turner (vcl), Al MacSween (keys), Simon Moore (dms), Nick Marland (gtr), Paul Pryor (bs gtr).
We packed out Hall Two - all three tiers of it. An eager hush of anticipation falls as the band go into a 'vamp till ready' mode. The riff builds up then, suddenly, the audience erupt and it's game on - Ruby's here!
A one set, non-stop, gig - no interval to slake your thirst or cool you down.
Gospel and Soul intermingle and I'm sure the Good Lord approves.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe's This Train rocks like no Gospel train ever rocked before. Stay With Me Baby sings Ruby and we stay - we ain't goin' nowhere!
Ruby sounds good singing with Jools' Big Band but hearing her exposed with just a quartet behind her the gal loses nothing by comparision. The rich timbre of her powerful contralto reaches out and finds every corner of the room - particularly in Oh Mary Don't You Weep.
All too soon it's finale time - I'd Rather Go Blind - a number that 'charted' in 1987.
A belter, it brings the crowd to their feet (myself included) and we bay like Banshees for more.
After the inevitable 'will she? won't she?' cliffhanging routine Ruby returns and gives out with another charter from that period If You're Ready.
We are ready!
The band has extended solos all-round but, sadly, I don't catch their names which are lost midst the roar of the crowd (nor are Ruby's websites any more forthcoming so please someone help me out here) they all sounded pretty jazzy at heart.
A good night - one Helluva good night!
PS: Thanks to Gaynor of The Sage for finalising the names.

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