Friday, July 13, 2007
Getting Away With Ruby (And The Bass Man)!
Ruby Andrews - Away From The Crowd
Chicago soulstress Ruby Andrews' great 1967 record "Casanova (Your Playing Days Are Over)" is, in my opinion, one of the best Chicago soul records of the '60s, and her recordings for Zodiac from 1967 to 1973, which includes hits like "You Made a Believer Out of Me," the Northern Soul classic "Just Loving You," and funkier fare like "You Ole Boo Boo You" and today's selection, show that Andrews possessed a versatility that resulted in a delightfully diverse and definitely soulful body of work. For quite some time it was hard to enjoy the full breadth of her Zodiac sides absent hunting for the 45s, some of which are somewhat pricey. Collectibles Records did a comp entitled Casanova that touched on the highest points but left a lot of material out. Fortunately, Grapevine rectified this lack of coverage a couple of years ago with Just Loving You.
"Away From The Crowd" was the flip of her 1971 funky 45 reading of "Hound Dog." Although the A-side is a good tune, there's something about the groove and production on this one (via the Brothers of Soul, who had written and produced a great deal of her Zodiac material from the late '60s into the '70s) that grabs me and makes this my favorite Andrews 45. Ruby encourages her man to join her on a retreat from the "hustling, bustling crowd, all the hurrying and rushing around" to a place where they can "lay back, make love and relax." (Now that's a message to take into the weekend, isn't it!) The groove on this is a slow, bumping funk featuring nice string charts and strong background vocals. Those backing vocals are also what really makes this record a favorite of mine, for an oddball reason: on the choruses, there's this bass singer who is abnormally high in the mix. I don't know if that was by accident or by design, but it adds a little "flavor" to the chourus that really works for me.