The wonderful, underrated Lesley Rankine (AKA Ruby) does Dolly Parton with this great cover.

366 Songs 089: Tiny Meat

Another Ruby-related memory: In Barcelona in… what, 1996, I guess? A school trip, and through some unlikely magic, we’re there at the same time as Ruby doing a European tour. One of our number was related to Ruby’s management, and a couple of phone calls later, we’re on the guest-list and we wander across town, no idea where we’re going to try and find the venue in time. The show was short but wonderful, as crunchy and grumpy as this song might suggest, and we triumphantly march backstage when it’s done, only to find that the band are already on the bus and on their way to wherever they’re staying that night. Not knowing what else to do, complimentary champagne was stolen and we wandered back through the city, lost and not caring if we’d find the hotel we were staying at that night, feeling young and invincible.

(“Tiny Meat” was another single where the remix was better than the original version. I actually really like the original still – That’s it up there – but much prefer this remix by Mark Walk, the band’s regular producer, just because it sounds as if he did it just to mess with the levels of whatever you were using to play it back. Dig the distortion!)

366 Songs 088: Paraffin

Ruby were the Garbage that no-one ever remembers, a band that deserved better than the lack of success they enjoyed and one that feels particularly evocative to me for a few reasons/memories. After enjoying their debut single – That’d be this one, “Paraffin” – I was given their first album by a friend and promptly never got around to listening to it until a girlfriend/not girlfriend came to visit and decided that she had to hear what all the fuss was about. It was an October weekend, and we were sitting in my bedroom in the apartment I was staying in at the time, half-listening to this album and talking about our future when it became very obvious that we didn’t have one; I remember, still, the feeling of sadness and both of us trying not to say the obvious thing we were both thinking about, while simultaneously thinking “This album is much better than I would’ve thought.”

For weeks after, I wanted to listen to the album again, but couldn’t quite do it, convinced that there was some bad juju involved, that it was filled with bad magic because the first time I’d heard it was during a break-up of sorts.

(One of the reasons why I’d loved the “Paraffin” single so much was this remix of the song by Red Snapper, which was much jazzier, and just plain lovely. This is the reason that I wish Ruby had been given the success Garbage enjoyed, so things like this would’ve found a much wider audience:)