[Dixielandjazz] Ruby Red's Band! - Turk - Monte Ballou - Ernie Carson - more

Bigbuttbnd at aol.com Bigbuttbnd at aol.com
Fri Sep 23 07:10:31 PDT 2005

I posted this the other night and heard from a couple of you guys immediately 
but the message never showed up in my mailbox and I haven't seen it again 
since. So..... if you already got this, forgive my double post. 
Hey: I haven't been writing much lately... just lurking. Here's why.

About a year ago I partnered with 2 Atlanta musicians - L.A. Tuten and Marty 
Martin - to purchase the rights to the name "The Ruby Red's Band." The band 
has been operating since 1966 in Atlanta, was house band for 4 incarnations of 
"The Ruby Red's Warehouse" over 40 years and has played for EVERYBODY that's 
ANYBODY in the South.

I've been playing banjo with this group since 1976 so I have some status... 
not just an interloper. Anyway, many of you guys that have ties to the west 
coast and some who have a background in New York as well as New Orleans will 
especially appreciate the HISTORY PAGE of our new web site. The band's founder, 
Hal "Shorty" Johnson, hails from Portland, Oregon and played for quite some time 
in the bands of Monte Ballou and Turk Murphy as well as Ernie Carson and 
tours with Bob Greene's "World of Jellyroll Morton."

Other veterans of the Ruby Red's Band include Ernie Carson, Bill Rutan, Stew 
McGee, Ron Beisel, Terry Quinn, Dave Marty, Sammy Duncan, Herman Foretich, 
Dave Marty, Abe Vandermuhlin, Dargan "Peanuts" Fitch, Jerry Garcia (not THE Jerry 
Garcia), Ken Clark, Ed Cuneo, Zim Zimmerman, Dave Hanson, Buddy Cooner, Joe 
Grubbs, Dick Bowman, Don Gumpert, Van Paula Wilke, Skip Dirringer, Lee Floyd, 
Rocky Ball, Lee King, Mike Puckett, Dick Mott, Marty Martin, L.A. Tuten, Don 
Erdman and many others.

In the last 5 years Hal Johnson, although playing as much as ever, has 
stopped actively BOOKING the band and he and I came to terms to continue the life of 
the band for another 40 years! Hal and I and Marty Martin were partners in a 
crazy Dixieland-styled nightclub in Underground Atlanta for 4 years called 
"Fanny Moon's Beer Hall" and much of what we learned from entertaining the 
general public (not just the Dixieland or Jazz-fan public) is being applied to this 

For quite some time I have wholeheartedly agreed with Steve Barbone regarding 
the METHODOLOGY and PRACTICALLITY of playing OKOM for the general public 
(especially the college crowd). We learned that it works, not from a theoretical 
basis, but from the experience of doing it night after night. Steve and I 
differ only in the details.

I invite and encourage all of you to take a look at out new site:


...and give us some feedback, either on-list or off-list. If you find 
mistakes please point them out. We want to get it right. Peruse the HISTORY page and 
let me know if you find inaccuracies. Let me know if you like or dislike the 
ideas we are implementing regarding RETAILING our services. We've tried to 
cover all of the bases but we can only see things from our own perspective. Be our 
BETA-testers, our second set of eyes, if you will... tell us if and where 
things have gone wrong. (Of course, it doesn't hurt to let us know what you might 
think are the things we've done RIGHT, too!)

Live music in general and OKOM in particular have gone through a decline in 
Atlanta in the last few years and we are determined to find some practical 
business solutions to this problem... first and foremost marketing ourselves less 
like musicians have done in the past and more like retail operations do... 
with sales, specials, guerilla marketing techniques, mass mailings and internet 
and email strategies.

Our site is a work in progress and I'm sure we will add, subtract and change 
things continuously in the next year. We will happily be the guinea pig for 
the rest of you who are also struggling with the changing music marketplace, 
sharing what we find that works, and identifying what doesn't, to all of you on 
the list. I look forward to your feedback and to sharing our progress in the 
coming year(s).

Rocky Ball, Banjo
The Ruby Red's Band
Atlanta, Georgia

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