BIOG - RAY HUMPHRIES
Ray Humphries was born in Widnes, a northern town. His fascination with music began while listening to the radio and the record collection his father owned. Greatly influenced by the Beatles and other 60’s acts the passion for music developed further when after much pestering his mother bought him his first guitar.
His first band was Spruce, a pop rock band playing covers in and around the North West. The band was formed along with school friend Chris Crane the son of an American army officer, his brother Bill Crane and various drummers including Dewey Moel and Brian Bennett. Much work was initially focused around the Burtonwood army depot before their efforts were rewarded with work further afield.
Moving on from Spruce, Ray formed Tartan with keyboard player Ray Pitt, drummer Ken Mellor, bassist Chris Keeley and singer / harmonica player Mick Wheeler. Extensive gigs were played through the North of England until the keyboard player moved on to join another local band Clearway.
Ray and Ken then teamed up with former Tartan bassist Chris Keeley and Keith Dutton to start the first of many line ups of Buster who were one of the hardest working bands on the circuit at the time. Touring extensively throughout the UK Buster went through several personnel changes including John Sweeney on bass guitar who was in turn replaced by Dave Hollington. Keith Dutton left the band and Ray, Ken and Dave continued as a three pieces working non stop. Due to pure luck Ray and the guys happened to stay in digs with 60’s hit maker Billie Davies whose husband, record producer Alan David, was looking for a band to front one his own self penned numbers. The Band changed the name to Streetkid for the purpose of a teeny pop release called Skateboard Harmony which failed to make any real impact and the band folded shortly afterwards with different members wanting to move in different musical directions.
Ray linked up with Dave Buckley and along with Jeff Hill formed the legendary Jeff Hill Band. As Jeff had just released a single on Chiswick Records the name seemed obvious. The single received good reviews but Chiswick failed to invest in the band and so a deal was done to move to Rabid Records. After a long standing relationships with Rabid Records and a UK Tour with John Cooper Clarke the band folded leaving behind a further single and album which are now collectors items.
Ray then spent several years as a working musician before retiring from the music game for a number of years to focus on his family. In 2003 a chance meeting with Dave Buckley led to the formation of The Tribal Elders who played occasional gigs and recorded a single Cardboard City a Ray Humphries song flipped with Miranda by Dave Buckley.
Ray was busy writing songs again and teamed up with Mike Evans ex Moonshine and fellow Tribal Elder Mark Petherbridge to record the album” Is It That Time Already”. Calling on friends from the local music scene the album was recorded at The Mill and released on 19 April 2012.
Since that time, although live performances have been rare, Ray has been busy in the studio working on several projects including a new album, “Nothing To Hide” which was released late in 2016.