Ruby Blue

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This article is about the English music group. For other uses, see Ruby Blue (disambiguation).
Ruby Blue
Origin England
Genres Folk rock
Years active 1993
Labels Red Flame Records, Fontana, 26music

Ruby Blue were an English folk rock/pop band of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The original members of the band were Edinburgh friends Rebecca Pidgeon and Roger Fife. By their 1990 album Down From Above, the band included Erika Spotswood (later shortened to Erika Woods) and Anthony Coote.


In autumn 1986, Fife and Pidgeon sent a demo tape to Red Flame Records—a small London-based indie record company owned by Dave Kitson. At that time, the duo called themselves R'n'R. Kitson agreed to fund an album, which became Glances Askances. After this first album, Ruby Blue released three new singles on the Red Flame label: Because, Bloomsbury Blue, and Stand Together.

Coote was recruited to the band via an advertisement placed in Melody Maker magazine. Woods, a friend of Pidgeon's from their time at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, was added to sing harmony vocals.

Between their first two albums the band released a flexidisc, Easy, on the Fatea label, in conjunction with Fatea magazine, as a thank you for the support the magazine provided during their early career.

The first album and early singles gained play on the UK indie charts, leading to Ruby Blue signing a deal with Fontana Records and the August 1990 release of Down from Above, their best-known album.


Pidgeon left the band in late 1990, moving to the USA to be with her partner and future husband, the playwright David Mamet. Pidgeon continued a solo career and started acting.

Woods and Fife kept the band name, releasing the 1993 album Almost Naked. The album was unsuccessful, and Ruby Blue disbanded.

Woods moved to Los Angeles and married Tony Philips, the producer of Ruby Blue's Down from Above album, and has had a minor career as an actress. Fife went on to become a successful producer/engineer/mixer and has worked with a variety of artists, including Cyndi Lauper, Antony and the Johnsons and Tricky.

A Ruby Blue Remasters album came out in 2011. It featured songs selected from the time Pidgeon and Fife worked together in the band.


Ruby Blue released the following singles, some of which were not released on any of their albums (Positive Love Song, Say Goodbye, The Traveller, Sally Free and Easy, and The Raven).

  • Give us our flag back b/w The quiet mind; June 1987 (7").
  • So unlike me b/w Life and Times of the Twentieth Century; September 1987 (7" and 12").
  • Because b/w The Ruby Blue; April 1988 (7" and 12"; 12" also has extended mix of The Ruby Blue).
  • Bloomsbury Blue b/w Save Me; November 1988 (7" and 12"; 12" also has Childs Song).
  • Stand Together b/w Easy; February 1989 (7" and 12"; 12" also has Too Many Suitcases).
  • The Quiet Mind (for Joe) b/w Positive Love Song; April 1990 (7", 12" and CD single; 12" and CDs also have Say Goodbye (live)).
  • Primitive Man b/w The Traveller; June 1990 (7", 12", CDs; 12" and CDs also have Betty's Last Letter and an extended mix of Primitive Man).
  • Can It Be b/w Something's Gone Wrong; September 1990 (7", 12", CDs; 12" and CDs also have Sally Free and Easy and The Raven).

After the split, Ruby Blue released two further singles:

  • I Feel Good Now b/w Get Your Life Back; June 1991 (7", 12", CDs; 12" also has Am I Turning Into You? and CDs also has Too Far and Smile Slow).
  • Done My Thinking b/w Magnificent Truth and Almost Naked; June 1993 (CDs).


Glances Askances[edit]

Glances Askances was the first album, released on Red Flame Records in October 1987 on LP, and re-released in January 1991 on CD. Featuring only Fife and Pidgeon, the slightly tinny sound reflects its low production budget of £3000. It contains the tracks:

  • Give Us Our Flag Back
  • The Quiet Mind
  • Just Relax
  • So Unlike Me
  • Walking Home
  • The Meaning of Life
  • Wintry Day
  • Sitting in a Cafe
  • Bless You

Down From Above[edit]

Down from Above was their best-known album, released in August 1990 after signing a deal with Fontana. The production quality was markedly improved. Several of the tracks are reworkings of earlier material (especially The Quiet Mind). The track list is:

  • Primitive Man
  • The Quiet Mind (for Joe)
  • Take Your Money
  • Can It Be?
  • Away from Here
  • Pavan
  • Stand Together
  • Betty's Last Letter
  • Bloomsbury Blue
  • Midnight Road
  • Not Alone
  • Song of the Mermaid
  • Something's Gone Wrong
  • Epitaph

David Mamet wrote the lyrics for Primitive Man and Epitaph, and provided backing vocals on Pavan. Another (very different) rendition of Primitive Man appears on Rebecca's solo album The New York Girls' Club; the only Ruby Blue song to feature in her solo material.

Epitaph refers to the Marchioness disaster of 20 August 1989, where 51 people lost their lives in a collision between a pleasure boat and a dredger in the River Thames [1]. Roger Fife and Erika Spotswood were attendees at the Marchioness party and were amongst the lucky survivors. Their witness statements can be viewed on the above link. A drama-documentary about the Marchioness disaster in which both Roger and Erica were portrayed was dropped by ITV in August 2007 after relatives of the deceased described it as "distressing and insensitive". [2]

Broken Water[edit]

Broken Water, released in February 1992, is a compilation of original Red Flame material recorded in late 1987 and early 1989, and before the addition of Woods and Coote. Most of the songs were recorded as demos and were never intended for release.

  • Easy
  • Stand Together
  • Away From Here
  • Life and Times of the Twentieth Century
  • Somebody Say Something
  • Because
  • Shining Snow
  • Save Me
  • Child's Song
  • The Ruby Blue
  • Too Many Suitcases
  • Bloomsbury Blue
  • Betty
  • Stuart


Paradise was the title of a fan-club cassette released by Ruby Blue in January 1992. It contained the following tracks:

  • Bless You
  • Strength of Mind
  • Paradise
  • Elvis
  • Should Know Better
  • I Feel Good Now
  • Beyond Us
  • Too Far
  • High 'n' Low

Almost Naked[edit]

Their final album, Almost Naked, was released on Red Flame in April 1993. The track list is:

  • Recreate Your Kiss
  • Your Way
  • High For a While
  • Goddess
  • You'll Find Out
  • I Still Love You
  • Done My Thinking
  • Strength of Mind
  • Magnificent Truth
  • Almost Naked

External links[edit]