Britain’s Ruby Turner Releases Classic Soul Gem

Until this morning, I had never heard of Ruby Turner. Then I came across Don’t Cry Over Yesterday, a tune from her new album Love Was Here released on January 24th. After listening to the first few songs, I was immediately hooked – something that rarely happens. The Jamaican born British soul, gospel and R&B singer’s voice, the cool vibe of the ‘70s style soul tunes and the excellent sound of her backing musicians deliver a powerful package. I love it!

Turner is not a newcomer. In fact, she has been performing since 1983, and this is her 20th solo album. Turner has also worked with other artists like Bryan Ferry, Steve Winwood, Mick Jagger and UB40. And yet, I don’t recall having heard her name in the past. Ever. Have you? I’d be curious to know. Of course, I can’t exclude the possibility it’s plain ignorance on my part.

According to the bio on her website, Ruby Turner was born in Jamaica and grew up in Montego Bay. Her grandfather sang the lead in one of the island’s gospel groups. Moving to England when she was 9, Ruby has lived there ever since. Her career to date has always had many unexpected twists and turns with major tours, theatre and TV appearances…Her major break came in the mid 1980s, when she was asked to join ‘Culture Club’ at the height of their stardom…An offer of a solo record deal closely followed and she soon signed to Jive Records, part of the Zomba Group.

Between 1986 and 1995, eight of Turner’s singles entered the UK Singles Chart. In February 1990, she also scored a no. 1 hit on the Billboard R&B Chart with It’s Gonna Be Alright, a tune she wrote – apparently a rare feat that has been accomplished by less than ten British singles. Additionally, Turner has done acting, appearing on stage and television and in film. And, oh, she was also appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to music. Time to get to Love Was Here!

A good place to start is the opener Got to be Done. With a great groove, catchy chorus and neat sound, the tune sets the tone for the entire album. Like all except one of the 11 tracks, the song was co-written by Turner and the production team of Nick Atkinson and Kat Eaton.

Here’s the aforementioned Don’t Cry Over Yesterday.

Another gem is Under Your Sky.

Next up: The album’s title track.

The last tune I’d like to call is Runaway.

Frankly, I could have selected any of the other songs on the album. Each of these tunes is beautifully crafted and delivered with Turner’s warm and powerful voice and a backing band that just sounds great.

In a review on Something Else!, Turner is quoted as saying the album “is one I’ve always wanted to make. The feel and grooves I’ve heard and loved: Curtis Mayfield, B.B. King, Ry Cooder, the Rev. Al Green to name but a few.” While these are formidable reference artists, I feel Turner’s comments are not overblown.

“The opportunity came through meeting Nick Atkinson and Kat Eaton, a dynamic, confident and confident production team,” she added. “Their writing and approach was irresistible. They ignited my desire to write again, and I loved the creative process.”

This post wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging the great-sounding musicians playing on this album. Based on another review in AmericanBluesScene.com, they include Atkinson (guitar), Joe Glossop (keyboards), Jeremy Meek (bass) and John Blease (drums).

Love Was Here is an album of high quality and soulful delivery you rarely find among new music these days – a true gem!

Sources: Wikipedia; SomethingElseToReview.com; AmericanBluesScene.com; YouTube

13 thoughts on “Britain’s Ruby Turner Releases Classic Soul Gem”

  1. Ruby Turner ist eine grossartige Sängerin. Ich habe sie Mitte der 90er Jahre auf einer kleinen Bühne am späten Abend im Café Mokka in Thun live erlebt. Sie hat viele gute Alben gemacht. „Guilty“ lief damals eine Weile auf Repeat in meinem alten Marantz CD-Player.

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    1. Ich war von diesem Album sofort sehr angetan, was wirklich relativ selten vorkommt. Ruby Turners Stimme in Kombination mit einem wie ich finde wirklich Klasse Sound sind einfach ein Genuss.

      Ich kann es immer noch nicht so ganz fassen, daß ich zuvor noch nie von ihr gehört hatte. Sie in einem kleinen Venue zu erleben kann ich mir als sehr gut vorstellen. Ich denke ich werde die Dame näher erkunden.

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  2. Holy shit, that’s good. And no, I have never heard the name. I am usually pretty good with the “singers behind the scenes” but she is way off my radar. Good call on this one. You are helping keep the funk alive.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, wow, that’s quite a hodgepodge of a list. While except for Neu! I’m familiar with all names, I can’t the same regarding the music of each artist.

        Rammstein definitely is not my cup of tea, or should I perhaps say bottle of beer?😆 I know Kraftwerk is considered to be pretty influential but I‘ve never warmed to them either.

        I‘ve listened to some of Tangerine Dreams‘ music, but it dates back many years. Might revisit that one.

        Also interestingly the list includes very few German-singing artists. No BAP, no Wolf Maahn, no Udo Lindenberg, no Westernhagen…all pretty big, at least in Germany.

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      2. Yes, well it’s not considered the definitive list. I found it interesting as I’d never seen German music singled out in an online article before. I bet this guy’x coming at it from the inside out and doesn’t really know the scene.

        Can’t recall if I ever mentioned this but years ago when my friend Steve and I were backpacking around Europe we made our way to Germany for a day or two. From then on we referred to German music as oom-pah music. But of course, we had never heard a German rock band. And I believe it was the first place I’d ever been where i could drink a beer for breakfast with no recriminations.:-)

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      3. Oom-pah music – I bet you went to Southern Germany and listened to some Bavarian Alp hillbillies! Did they also wear Lederhosen and yodel? 🙂

        In any case, oom-pah is definitely part of Germany’s traditional music.

        I think a big challenge for any German rock performed in German is the language barrier. In my opinion, there are many pretty decent German rock bands, but with a few exceptions, they never make it in English-speaking markets.

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      4. Yes, yes they did wear Lederhosen and yodel! We were actually in Hamburg. I can’t recall the band’s name but it was kinda dumb. Something like Silberkäfer. Their songs were Komm, gib mir deine Hand” and “Sie liebt dich.” 🙂

        We actually went to Munich, Stuttgart to check out the, uh…. and Garmisch-Partenkirchen!

        It is true that very few German songs make it over here. 99 Luftballons was a smash but we heard it in both English and German. But not many other non-English-language songs make it here either. When they released the beautiful Japanese tune “I Look Up as I Walk,” here in the early ’60s, some fucking idiot decided they needed to call it “Sukiyaki” so we’d get it. We are so NOT international here it makes me scream.

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  3. I like Hamburg, but Lederhosen and yodel just don’t go together with that city – it was probably a Bavarian Alp hillbilly band on the road! 🙂

    And, yep, I guess Nena and her “99 Red Ballons” became famous beyond Germany’s borders. And let’s not forget about Trio and their deep and brilliant Da Da Da (I Don’t Love You You Don’t Love Me Aha Aha Aha) 🙂

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