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RUBY MURRAY Softly, Softly

Her 31 finest 1954-1962

RETROSPECTIVE RTR 4371 [77:46]

1. Softly, Softly (2:26)

2. Heartbeat (2:07)

3. Happy Days and Lonely Nights (2:39)

4. Let Me Go, Lover (2:31)

5. Goin’ Co’Tin’ (2:19)

6. If Anyone Finds This, I Love You (2:56)

7. Evermore (2:23)

8. I’ll Come When You Call (2:34)

9. Danny Boy (2:07)

10. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (1:56)

11. Galway Bay (3:09)

12. The Mountains Of Mourne (2:33)

13. The Very First Christmas Of All (3:10)

14. You Are My First Love (2:21)

15. True Love (2:29)

16. Ave Maria (2:31)

17. Good Health, Good Luck, God Bless You (2:48)

18. Mister Wonderful (2:50)

19. Scarlet Ribbons (2:42)

20. Little White Lies (2:16)

21. Passing Strangers (2:16)

22. Ain’t That A Grand And Glorious Feeling? (2:13)

23. Real Love (2:05)

24. Coortin’ In The Kitchen (2:46)

25. Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms (2:24)

26. Let Him Go, Let Him Tarry (3:00)

27. Nevertheless (I’m In Love With You) (2:22)

28. A Pretty Irish Girl (2:40)\

29. Smile (2:52)

30. Trottin’ To The Fair (2:14)

31. Goodbye, Jimmy, Goodbye (2:46)

 

Ruby Florence Murray (1935-1996) was born in Belfast, North Ireland into a large working-class family. As a baby, Ruby had surgery on her throat for swollen glands. Her voice developed an unmistakably huskiness, which Ruby used to good advantage. At the age tender of five she began a career as a singer and child entertainer. This disc presents 31 of her songs recorded between 1954 and 1962, a collection of light pop songs, sentimental ballads, and traditional Irish tunes.

Ruby’s biggest hit song was Softly, Softly, recorded for Columbia Records in 1955. The song topped the charts that year, with Ruby accompanied by Ray Martin and his Orchestra. The orchestra provides a lush, velvety string background blending with smooth, layered background vocals. Songwriter Jerry Stevens wrote Heartbeat in 1954, and Ruby recorded it that year with a lively swing arrangement. Another one of her more up-beat numbers is Happy Days and Lonely Nights, written in 1928 by Fred Fisher and Billy Rose, which she recorded in February 1955. She also recorded Let Me Go, Lover the same month, followed in March by a duet with Anne Warren titled If Anyone Finds This I Love You. During the week of March 26, 1955 all five of her songs were in the Top 20 in the UK chart list, an amazing record which has never been broken by another artist, and matched only by Michael Jackson.

Ruby recorded a number of tunes with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra and the talented Bill Shepherd Chorus. Cole Porter composed True Love for the 1956 film High Society, and Ruby sings the lovely number in her own unique style. The huskiness of her voice gave it a vibrant color that was instantly recognizable. Besides the color, Ruby was a natural singer, and sang with perfect pitch, phrasing and a gentle, effortless vibrato that made her unusual voice so interesting. One of my favorite songs on this album is Little White Lies, composed by Walter Donaldson in 1930. Ruby sings and swings a spirited rendition, and the back-up singers are first-rate.

A 12-page booklet is included with the disc, with comments by Ray Crick. Ray also compiled the music. Martin Haskell performed the audio restoration and remastering.

The sound quality on all tracks is excellent.

Bruce McCollum