Following Ray’s sudden passing in April 2022 we have invited recollections from friends, acquaintances, and those whose life he touched along the journey.
If you would like to contribute please use the contact form.
Memories of Boston College
Paul Tomlinson, 5 May 2022
Only heard the news today of Ray’s passing and would like to send my condolences to his family and close friends.
I was a student at Boston College from 1996 to 1998 doing a Media Studies Course. Two lecturers still stand out for the influence they had on me.
The first was Richard Knight from a synth band in the 80’s and of course Ray known to us at that time for his involvement in the Spencer Davis & Ian Gillan bands.
As you can imagine a 16 year old being lectured by two guys who had made it in the music industry was a big deal. A real inspiration and role models.
Ray always spoke to me as an equal despite the age gap and teacher student relationship. He was a real gentleman and I always felt he projected a warmth to the time we all spend in his classes.
Most Fridays a few of us would sit in the music hall during lunch breaks and free periods watching Ray on stage either jamming with the young lads starting out in groups or even showing an absolute novice how to hold a drum stick.
You could see his passion for the industry rub off on others and was so patient in his teaching methods. After leaving college I’d often see him sporadically in Spalding and would exchange words or put a hand up.
It’s funny that I only had two years of my life exposed to Ray but 24 years on from leaving college it’s saddens me hearing the news. Just shows what an influence he had on me.
Sad that Ray is no longer with us and once again my thoughts go to his family.
Ray taught at Boston College, Lincolnshire from 1995-2008
David Randall, 5 May 2022
I first met Ray in the late 1990s when he was working with Peter Purnell at Angel Air Records in respect of his back catalogue. Peter suggested I might help Ray create a website as I had already developed one for the launch of Angel Air.
Ray drove up to my home in Wirral and we spent a weekend sifting through memorabilia and capturing his thoughts on cassette tape. Some of these interviews are now featured on his website.
In the early millennium I encouraged Ray to come up with a smooth jazz offering as – at the time – smooth jazz had a national radio outlet in Jazz FM. And so ‘Tam Tam’ received some airplay and was later re-worked for his digital EP release in January 2021. It’s a lovely piece and a great groove.
There was an incentive to refurbish Ray’s website with the flurry of activity in 2020/21. Ray spent Lockdown readying tracks for his new anthology and was gracious enough to listen to my own thoughts about track sequencing and what he might leave out or substitute. He also entrusted me with the liner notes.
That 4000 word essay was an opportunity to gather research and remind myself just what a great musician he was. I told him that he really deserved the anthology as it fully represented his canon of work. The release in April 2021 coincided with his 60th anniversary in music, an amazing achievement. Sadly his passing came exactly twelve months after that release.
Ray will be remembered by his fans as a true rock journeyman who dipped in and out of different genres but always underpinned by his consummate good taste. As an ace session player he was highly adaptable – “have guitar, will travel” was his watchword – but, left to his own devices, his guitar work was always expressive, economical, or elevated when the song or circumstances dictated.
Ray’s light may have extinguished but his musical legacy – for mere mortals – remains undimmed and, frankly, unsurpassed.
David Randall is Managing Editor at www.getreadytorock.com