Ruby's big year was 1955, before Elvis changed the course of pop music forever. In that year, Ruby had a lot of hits in Britain, including five in the top twenty simultaneously at one point. This comprehensive anthology was released to mark the fiftieth anniversary of that achievement.
Ruby's songs included some traditional music from her homeland and many of those songs are included here, all superbly performed. They include It's the Irish in me, The green glens of Antrim, O'Malley's tango, At Finnegan's ball, With me shillelagh under me arm and Mick McGilligan's ball as well as seven live recordings of Irish songs, two of which (Teddy O'Neil, Doonaree) also appear in studio versions. If even this compilation doesn't satisfy your desire to hear Ruby's Irish songs, a twofer has been released concentrating entirely on them.
Ruby's UK pop hits include Heartbeat, Softly softly, Let me go lover, Happy days and lonely nights, Evermore and I'll come when you call, every one of them peaking at six or better in 1955, with Softly softly going all the way to number one. There was to be just one more top ten hit for Ruby - Goodbye Jimmy Goodbye, which just made the top ten in 1959. In the intervening years, Ruby recorded several fine singles including Mr Wonderful, Little white lies, Make him jealous and Knock on any door. The last three of these are omitted from this anthology but can be found on a single CD (Magic of Ruby Murray) that I reviewed a long time ago. I suspect that most people who are interested in buying this anthology already have that collection, just as I do.
There are many other treasures to be found here including Ruby's covers of classic songs such as True love, Scarlet ribbons, Passing strangers, You are my sunshine and many others. There are also many songs that may be unfamiliar including a Christmas song (The very first Christmas of all) but everything here is well worth a listen.
The liner notes are extensive as far as her career was concerned but do not contain a discography, which omission is the only flaw in this compilation. In my review of the single CD that I mentioned earlier, I concluded by saying that it was a wonderful tribute to the memory of one of the finest singers ever to emerge from Ireland. Well, it still is, but this anthology far exceeds anything that Ruby's fans could ever have expected to be able to buy on CD. If you enjoy pop music of the pre-Elvis era, it just doesn't get any better than this.