Graham Reid | | 1 min read
To be honest Ram John Holder's name and music hadn't crossed our path since the very early Seventies when my younger sister somehow ended up with an album.
Ram John was obscure even then and more so these days, despite him receiving a CBE in the Queen's Birthday honours in 2021 for services to drama and music.
It was the first part of that award he was being acknowledged for because he disappeared from the music world after three or four poor-selling albums and made his name as an actor, notably in the British sitcom Desmond's (about which I know nothing) but also for appearances in Pressure and My Beautiful Launderette. And more recently in EastEnders.
He is 89 these days, was born in British Guyana, moved to New York and was part of the folk scene there until he relocated to London where his recording career began in the late Sixties.
What impressed about my sister's album – aside from the fact she had it all – was the power and darkness in Holder's voice. He sang the blues but also sounded like he'd lived them, and the gospel spirit also.
His albums are no doubt sought after these days and I believe there has been a reissue of a couple on a 2011 CD.
But he appears here because his name suddenly reappeared on a cover-mount CD which came with British monthly with this track from his Black London Blues album.
The free CD was titled Buried Treasures and, at least my memory of that album from long ago, he certainly was that.
For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.