RUBY STARR - LONG BEACH 1975 [MILLARD TAPE]

November 24, 2020 – 5:32 am

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RUBY STARR AND GREY GHOST
Long Beach 1975 [Mike Millard Master Tapes via JEMS, 2CD]

The Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone Tapes Volume 55. Live at the Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA; September 7, 1975 (Opening for Black Sabbath). Fairly to very good audience recording.

Thanks to Mike Millard; Rob, Jim R; Barry G; JEMS; BK; and mjk5510 for sharing the show at Dime.

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Known Faults:
- Burning Whiskey: opening song presumed missing
- You Need a Chain: joined in progress

Welcome to JEMS’ Lost and Found Mike the MICrophone series presenting recordings made by legendary taper Mike Millard, AKA Mike the MICrophone, best known for his masters of Led Zeppelin done in and around Los Angeles circa 1975-77.

Until 2020, the Lost and Found series presented fresh transfers of previously unavailable first-generation copies made by Mike himself for friends like Stan Gutoski of JEMS, Jim R, Bill C. and Barry G. These sources were upgrades to circulating copies and in most instances marked the only time verified first generation Millard sources had been directly digitized in the torrent era.

That all changed with the discovery of many of Mike Millard’s original master tapes.

Yes, you read that correctly, Mike Millard’s master cassettes, long rumored to be destroyed or lost, have been found. Not all of them but many, and with them a much more complete picture has emerged of what Millard recorded between his first show in late 1973 and his last in early 1992.

The reason the rediscovery of his master tapes is such a revelation is that we’ve been told for decades they were gone. Internet myths suggest Millard destroyed his master tapes before taking his own life, an imprudent detail likely concocted based on the assumption that because his master tapes never surfaced and Mike’s mental state was troubled he would do something rash WITH HIS LIFE’S WORK. There’s also a version of the story where Mike’s family dumps the tapes after he dies. Why would they do that?

The truth is Mike’s masters remained in his bedroom for many years after his death in 1994. We know at least a few of Millard’s friends and acquaintances contacted his mother Lia inquiring about the tapes at the time to no avail. But in the early 2000s, longtime Millard friend Rob S was the one she knew and trusted enough to preserve Mike’s work.

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Ruby Starr and Grey Ghost - Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, CA; September 7, 1975

This week we showcase one of the more obscure artists Mike recorded, Ruby Starr and Grey Ghost performing an opening set ahead of Black Sabbath.

It was not Mike’s standard practice to record opening acts. In fact, there are but a handful of occasions when he did. The presumption as to why is that he didn’t want to run the risk of getting caught recording a band he likely didn’t care all that much about, which might cause him to miss the artist he had gone to all the trouble to come record in the first place.

It did happen a few times early on. After that it evolved to a selective choice based on the opening artist. I suspect Mike was not a Ruby Starr fan nor had he ever heard of Grey Ghost as they were billed. Many of you probably aren’t familiar either, unless you on the scene in Milwaukee in the ’70s and ’80s where she had a solid career as a club act.

Starr is probably best known as back-up singer for Black Oak Arkansas and the duet partner of lead singer Jim “Dandy” Mangrum on the self-referential single, “Jim Dandy.”

Starr signed to Capitol and released three albums in the mid-’70s, the first of which was the eponymous Ruby Starr & Grey Ghost which they were supporting this night in the opening slot for Sabbath.

Starr’s style may not be as Southern Rock as Black Oak Arkansas, but she is a classic rock belter and delivers an over the top performance that is joined in progress, missing (based on another West Coast set list) her best known song at that time, “Burning Whiskey.”

I mean no disrespect when I say Starr and Grey Ghost are interchangeable with any number of generic and largely forgotten classic rock bands in the ’70s. Based on a YouTube video of the San Francisco show within days of this appearance, Starr surely garnered attention for wearing cutoff shorts and a bra on stage, with a huge head of hair to swing around.

Most of the songs in the set come from her debut album, the origin of others is unclear as are a couple of the song titles which I guessed at.

Those of you who downloaded the Sabbath set will recall it had incredible up-close sound and that’s repeated here. So despite it being a recording of a band most people don’t even know, Mike’s work is positively stellar. Samples provided.

I also know there are going to be a handful of you there who will be blown away by the appearance of any live Ruby Starr recordings, let alone a Millard master.

I asked Jim if he remembered anything about Ruby Starr and he said, “I thought enough of her to take a couple of pictures. Usually I do not take any of a warm-up band. At the show I thought she was a reincarnation of Janis Joplin. Maybe even a cross between Janis Joplin and Tina Turner (her legs).” Jim’s photos give us original images for our cover art.

[Note: In the early 1990s, Starr quit the road and moved to Las Vegas, playing at casino/hotels on the Strip such as the Riviera and the Stardust as well as local clubs. During this period, The Ruby Star Band also performed as the opening act for Kansas, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and April Wine. Shortly after she was chosen to perform in the Country Legends show at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, she learned she had cancer. After being diagnosed with lung cancer and a brain tumor, Starr returned home to her family in Toledo where she passed away in 1995 at the age of 45. - wikipedia]

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JEMS is proud to partner with Rob, Jim R, Barry G and other friends to release Millard’s historic recordings and to help set the record straight about the man himself.

We can’t thank Rob enough for reconnecting with Jim and putting his trust in our Millard reissue campaign. He kept Mike’s precious tapes under wraps for two decades, but once Rob learned of our methods and stewardship, he agreed to contribute the Millard DATs and cassettes to the program. Our releases would not be nearly as compelling without Jim’s memories, photos and other background contributions. As many of you have noted, the stories offer an entertaining complement to Mike’s incredible audio documents.

Our roll call of collaborators this week again includes pitch maestro Professor Goody, along with the perennial inclusion of mjk5510 who is the backbone of the consistency of this series. We thank them both.

Finally, cheers to the late, great Mike the MICrophone. His work truly never ceases to impress. May he rest in peace.

BK for JEMS

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Lineage:
AKG 451E Microphones (CK-1 cardioid capsules) > Nakamichi 550 Cassette Recorder
Transfer: Mike Millard Master Cassette > Nakamichi CR-7A (azimuth adjustment; Dolby On) > Sound Devices USBPre 2 > Audacity 2.0 capture > iZotope RX8 > iZotope Ozone 8 > Audacity > TLH > FLAC


Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later.

Kindly email us if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files. Also email us if you have any rarities you’d like to share with our readers.

Track 01. You Need A Chain 1:36
Track 02. Sweet Sweet Sweet 3:56
Track 03. Long Wait 4:13
Track 04. Let Your Love Drift Away 3:26
Track 05. Money 3:46
Track 06. Wall To Wall 4:01
Track 07. I’ll Come Back 3:30
Track 08. Living Proof 6:35
Track 09. Top Me Off With All Of Your Love 4:05
36 mins

Click here to order Ruby Starr releases.

  1. 10 Responses to “RUBY STARR - LONG BEACH 1975 [MILLARD TAPE]”

  2. Rumor has it that this guy gots a Lil Un

    By U L E on Nov 24, 2020

  3. What a treat! Thanks for sharing!!

    By oneL on Nov 24, 2020

  4. Thanks BigO. This is a surprise. I saw Ruby with Black Oak back in ‘74.

    By sking on Nov 24, 2020

  5. Burning Whiskey 091175 Winterland youtube good sound. Used Clipgrab at 256kbps.

    By ScarRad on Nov 24, 2020

  6. Jerking off to her photos helps to ease the pain of seeing my hero Donald Trump losing badly.

    By Corey M on Nov 24, 2020

  7. I have a Lil Un. Sob.

    By Corey M on Nov 24, 2020

  8. Even with female-fronted bands, i like to imagine it’s a guy so I can comment on his Un. Gay enough for you yet?

    By U L E on Nov 25, 2020

  9. I actually think its kinda cool that Mike Millard recorded this.

    By dropkicksarge on Nov 25, 2020

  10. Excellent! Thanks for sharing!

    By Larry on Nov 28, 2020

  11. When I was a kid, I thought she was hot. In looking at pix nowadays, she was pretty damned ugly! But still kinda hot in fishnets!

    By Mike Villano on Dec 16, 2020

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