This week we start off Monday right with some slow brewed Soul out of New Jersey. It’s amazing that I used to live about 10 minutes from where this artist was born, and this guy was so good, he should have had a statue erected in the center of town. They were too busy worshipping Springsteen, they should have been worshipping Harry Ray. Here’s Harry Ray with “Ride Your Pony Girl” on Sylvia Robinson’s (R.I.P.) Stang label from 1974.
Harry Milton Ray was born in 1946 in Long Branch, NJ. Ray was known for being the lead singer in Ray, Goodman, and Brown (formerly called The Moments, a band who changed members more than James Brown’s band), and can be heard melting hearts on their “Sexy Mama” side among others. Ray came in just as The Moments were in a struggle to leave Stang and take the name to Polydor. New label, new singer, fresh start. It wasn’t that easy, and while the legal proceedings were going on, the trio took some time to sing back up for the great Millie Jackson. When it was finally decided that they couldn’t be The Moments anymore, the band settled on their own last names: Ray, Goodman, and Brown, and it stuck. They released records on Polydor, Mercury and EMI, and eventually had a come back in ’83 (different members once again), and continued to release records until the late 80’s. Harry Milton Ray released a few singles as well as a solo artist. This 45 on Stang was by far the best, but there were a few on Sugar Hill (Sylvia Robinson connection), and one on Panoromic. Ray died in 1992, but this side lives on.
Starting off with some nice drums, and sweet little bass line and that guitar lick we all love, Harry Ray gets into some great low rider Soul with “Ride Your Pony Girl”. This is some Jersey juice here people, a sweet slice of Soul that takes it home late night, possibly in the back of a Cadillac Broham (the kind with that fake wheel on the trunk). I especially like the shouts of “Ride Your Pony Girl!” stuck in for good measure. Pony is slowly becoming one of my fave 45s on Stang, and I hope it will be one of yours. Keep Diggin’!
Shout out to Pat James Longo for putting me on to this.