Ruby's Torch

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Fans of Nanci Griffith, were they not so devoted a lot, might be thrown a bit by Ruby's Torch, an album that wanders far afield from Griffith's exquisitely detailed folk and country recordings. Torch songs, appropriately enough, are the order of the day, and for the first time Griffith doesn't pick up a guitar on one of her recordings. Backed by a 13-piece string section, she assays 11 mid-tempo burners -- but don't write this one off as another standards set. Griffith is just as meticulous in her song selection as you'd expect, including two selections by Tom Waits and two of her own compositions, "Late Night Grande Hotel" and "Brave Companion of the Road." The latter...
See more details below
CD
$14.53
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$17.99 List Price
Other sellers (CD)
  • All (6) from $2.79   
  • New (5) from $4.87   
  • Used (1) from $2.79   

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Mark Schwartz
Fans of Nanci Griffith, were they not so devoted a lot, might be thrown a bit by Ruby's Torch, an album that wanders far afield from Griffith's exquisitely detailed folk and country recordings. Torch songs, appropriately enough, are the order of the day, and for the first time Griffith doesn't pick up a guitar on one of her recordings. Backed by a 13-piece string section, she assays 11 mid-tempo burners -- but don't write this one off as another standards set. Griffith is just as meticulous in her song selection as you'd expect, including two selections by Tom Waits and two of her own compositions, "Late Night Grande Hotel" and "Brave Companion of the Road." The latter especially demonstrates how idiosyncratic Griffith's vision of the torch song is; she makes no attempt to hide her Austin twang, and the cinematic sizzling drums and breathy saxophone are nowhere to be found. Instead, Griffith takes this long-planned detour to relax into some favorite songs and focus with her trademark intensity on her voice and its connection to the song. Apart from her own songs, perhaps the finest moment here is Donal MacDonough Long's "Never Be the Sun," its acoustic guitar-led arrangement making the most comfortable setting for Griffith's Texas Plains voice; its inspirational tone besting Lee Ann Womack at her own "I Hope You Dance" contest. Her interpretation of "Drops from the Faucet" is a close second, with a completely different feel -- bluesy vocal, muted trumpet -- that nonetheless shows what Nanci Griffith can do with a decidedly urban groove. It's easy listening in the most complimentary fashion.
All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
In her brief liner essay, Nanci Griffith claims that Ruby's Torch -- a collection of torch songs, what else? -- is a "dream come true" and something her listeners have requested over the years. Fair enough, but in typical fashion Griffith has put a spin on these nuggets, only two of which are her own compositions (old ones at that). In addition to "Brave Companion of the Road" and "Late Night Grande Hotel," there are three songs by Tom Waits (including his classic "Ruby's Arms," which the album title is adapted from), Jimmy Webb's "If These Walls Could Talk," Sandy Mason's "When I Dream" (the best-known version is by Willie Nelson, but Crystal Gayle's is better), "Bluer Than Blue" by Randy Goodrum (and a hit by Michael Johnson in the '70s), and "Never Be the Sun" by Donagh Long. In other words, what this amounts to is a recontextualizing of songs not normally in the torch repertoire. There's a great argument for Waits, given his songs' now common treatment by singers in this way. To show the juxtaposition, there is one honest-to-goodness tune from the canon in the David Mann/Bob Hilliard number "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," which headed a concept album in the 1950s by Frank Sinatra after his breakup with Ava Gardner (and was the closer on Griffith's own Clock Without Hands in 2001). Griffith uses her backing band, the Blue Moon Orchestra, as well as full-on string, horn, and woodwind sections. She's recorded in front of an orchestra before -- and not only once. Still, this feels both familiar and ambitious. But this time out she really and truly concentrates on being a singer. Her voice has more discipline, more refinement, and she has made her Texas drawl work for her in the most elegant and intimate way. While is in some ways another of her "heroes" records, it's a singer's record first and foremost. When covering songs in the past, she was highlighting the song first and her ability as a vocalist second. Ruby's Torch places equal significance on singer and song, and given her stylized readings of these tunes through a classic "Texas" sensibility, one can hear some of these songs as a soundtrack heard through the characters of Larry McMurtry's novel The Last Picture Show. While it's true that "Ruby's Arms" is the winner pulling away here -- because while Waits' version is very sad, Griffith's plaintive take is more reportorial and therefore devastating -- everything here works in context, and provides as seamless a record as she's given listeners this century thus far. In its way, this is a renaissance album for both the singer and these songs, though neither were ever hidden anywhere at all. This is the sound of passion, albeit one related by intimacy expressing itself in a dusty mirror. Recommended.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/14/2006
  • Label: Rounder / Umgd
  • UPC: 011661326521
  • Catalog Number: 613265
  • Sales rank: 95,267

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 When I Dream - Nanci Griffith (3:30)
  2. 2 If These Walls Could Speak - Nanci Griffith (3:40)
  3. 3 Ruby's Arms - Nanci Griffith (5:29)
  4. 4 Never Be the Sun - Nanci Griffith (3:58)
  5. 5 Bluer Than Blue - Nanci Griffith (3:18)
  6. 6 Brave Companion of the Road - Nanci Griffith (3:28)
  7. 7 Grapefruit Moon - Nanci Griffith (4:21)
  8. 8 Please Call Me, Baby - Nanci Griffith (4:11)
  9. 9 Late Night Grande Hotel - Nanci Griffith (2:53)
  10. 10 In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning - Nanci Griffith (2:51)
  11. 11 Drops from the Faucet - Nanci Griffith (4:07)
Read More Show Less

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Nanci Griffith Primary Artist
Jay Patten Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Rod McGaha Trumpet, Soloist
David Angell Violin
John Catchings Cello
David Davidson Viola
Connie Ellisor Violin
Jim Hoke Clarinet, Accordion
James Hooker Organ, Piano, Soloist
Anthony LaMarchina Cello
Pat McInerney Percussion, Drums
Larry Paxton Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Sousaphone, Acoustic Bass
Neal Rosengarden Trumpet
Pamela Sixfin Violin
Gary VanOsdale Viola
Mary Kathryn Van Osdale Violin
Kristin Wilkinson Conductor
Rick Lonow Drums
Monisa Angell Viola
Karen Winkelmann Violin
Jim Grossjean Viola
Michael "Mike Dee" Johnson Acoustic Guitar
Mike Paragone Overdubs
Sari Reist Cello
William Sender Overdubs
Technical Credits
Nanci Griffith Composer, Liner Notes
Frank Christian Composer
Tom Waits Composer
David Mann Composer
Peter Collins Producer
Jimmy Webb Composer
Ronn Huff Arranger
Randy Goodrum Composer
Michael Hanna Arranger
Bob Hilliard Composer
Larry Paxton Arranger, Orchestration
Kristin Wilkinson Arranger, Orchestration
Trina Shoemaker Engineer
Burt Stein Management
Donagh Long Composer
Andrew Mendelson Mastering
Sang Park Tracking Assistant
Sandy Mason Theoret Composer
John Baldwin Digital Editing
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Absolutely gorgeous

    You HAVE to buy this CD. It's very mellow and very emotional. The arrangements are so rich and beautiful and Nanci's voice has taken on a deeper timber. It gives the songs even more feeling. The first two tracks, In My Dreams and If These Walls Could Speak are two of the most devastatingly beautiful songs I have ever heard, from Nanci Griffith or anyone else. Truly a phenomenal album.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not the usual Nanci

    This recording was somewhat dissapointing for me. I have come to love Nanci as a singer, but also as a picker and am used to her strummin' the guitar and belting out stories of love, Texas and America. I really miss her guitar-driven sound and overall this album just doesn't do it for me. I don't recommend Ruby's Torch if it will be your first taste of Nanci, but all of her loyal fans will want to add it to their collection.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews