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Ram Jam

 

Ram Jam were an American rock band popular in the 70s, best known for their 1977 Top 20 hit “Black Betty” (a cover of an old Leadbelly tune) that has been remixed and re-released many times. The band members were Bill Bartlett (guitar), Pete Charles (drums), Myke Scavone (lead singer), and Howie Arthur Blauvett (bass). Jimmy Santoro, who toured with the band in support of their debut album, joined on guitar for the follow-up album.

Bill Bartlett was formerly lead guitarist for sunshine pop group The Lemon Pipers, while Blauvett played with then budding pop artist Billy Joel in two bands: The Hassles and El Primo. Ram Jam were known for incorporating blues and soul influences in their sound, which set them apart from many contemporaries and brought them brief but strong chart success.


The band members were Bill Bartlett (guitar), Howie Arthur Blauvelt (bass), Pete Charles (drums), and Myke Scavone (vocals). Also, Jimmy Santoro, who toured with the band in support of their debut album, joined on guitar for the follow-up album. Bartlett was formerly lead guitarist for bubblegum group The Lemon Pipers, while Blauvelt played with Billy Joel in two bands, The Hassles and El Primo. Maxx Mann, one time singer with Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Kings of Christmas, was recruited by producers Kasenetz/Katz to front a version of the group in the 1990s.

Bill Bartlett went on from the Lemon Pipers to form a group called Starstruck. Starstruck originally including Steve Walmsley (bass) and Bob Nave (organ) from the Lemon Pipers. Walmsley left the band and was replaced by David Goldflies (who later played for years with Dickey Betts and Great Southern, and the Allman Brothers). While in Starstruck, Bartlett took Lead Belly's 59 second long "Black Betty" and arranged, recorded and released it on the group's own TruckStar label. "Black Betty" became a regional hit, then was picked up by producers in New York who formed a group around Bartlett called Ram Jam. They re-released the song, and it became a hit nationally. The Ram Jam "recording" was actually the same one originally recorded by Starstruck, the band at that time composed of Bartlett, lead guitar and vocals, Tom Kurtz, rhythm guitar and vocals, David Goldflies, bass, David Fleeman on drums. The rest of the tracks on the first studio album containing "Black Betty" was played by the Ram Jam lineup. The song caused a stir with the NAACP and Congress of Racial Equality calling for a boycott due to the lyrics.

Despite the controversy, the song reached number 18 on the singles chart in 1977 in the U.S. and Top Ten in the United Kingdom and Australia, while the Ram Jam album reached the U.S. Top 40. It was also a hit in the Netherlands, reaching number 4.

Ram Jam was an American 1970s rock band.
In 2006 Ram Jam was featured in an article that included bands like Moxy and Tucky Buzzard called "Top 6 Classic Rock Bands You Never Knew You Didn't Know".

 

70's Rock

Black Betty

Members of this Group


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Jeff

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