Great Moments In Pop – The 90s Part 51.

This is another group who were “bubbling under” on the singles chart in the mid-90s. Ruby were a duo consisting of Scottish-born singer Lesley and Mark. Lesley had already been on the music scene for a while though, having previously been a member of Silverfish. This was a group who were in a genre called “noise” (isn’t all music essentially noise?), but they took this to the extreme, and many people who attended their concerts reportedly had their ears fall off.

They released several singles from 1989-1993, although none of these made the chart, but one of their albums did make the lower end of the Top 75 in June 1992. Also in this year, Lesley appeared on the cover of Melody Maker alongside Brett from Suede, at which point she was rather lacking in the hair department, and looked rather scary.

After Silverfish ended, she decided to do something a little different, and her songs in Ruby were more to my taste, and could be described as acid trip-hop or smooth funk or some other genre that I’ve made up, some these songs were rather weird but good, and they had the added bonus of preserving your ears. In September 1995 “Paraffin” was released, which reached an unofficial no. 78, but this was still their highest peak in the UK.

The video was featured on an Indie Chart on The Chart Show, but this wasn’t played as far as I can remember. But something that I definitely did notice, and yes I am going to go on about this again, was at this time Lesley had blue hair, and I just can’t resist it really (but it was nice that she had any hair at all). Also around this time she appeared on BBC2’s Later… Next in February 1996 was “Tiny Meat”, which reached an unofficial no. 86.

The promotion around this time seemed to be increasing. Lesley appeared on the cover of French music magazine Les Inrockuptibles (possibly an attempt to break across Europe, along with America), and she also performed this on ITV’s late-night show Hotel Babylon. One critic said “the delightful Ruby, a group whose main purpose seems to be to go against the grain a la Garbage”. In April 1996 the album “Salt Peter” made the Top 100.

In June 1996 “Hoops” reached an unofficial no. 90, but this would be the final time that they would make the Top 100 in the UK. After a long break, Ruby returned (and was now essentially a Lesley solo project) in 2000 with the album “Short Staffed At The Gene Pool”. And by now she had bright red hair. There were further singles in 2001 including “Grace” and “Lamplight”, which really was rather strange and trippy, this should’ve been a hit, but unfortunately the days of making the chart had gone.

In more recent years, the Ruby project has been revived again, and there have been more tours and singles, including a cover of “Jolene”, which lots of groups have covered (including Strawberry Switchblade just before they went their separate ways). Although I don’t remember them from the time, it’s always good to track down groups like this from the 90s, if Garbage or Moloko had released some of these singles, they’d have been huge I’m sure.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s