Album:The Very Best Of
Here's a 1977 one hit wonder that I'm sure you all remember. But who the hell was Ram Jam? Well, they only recorded two albums and Black Betty was a top 20 hit. It should have been much bigger. Ram Jam was from New York City. Guitarist Bill Bartlett was a member of The Lemon Pipers who had a big hit with Green Tambourine. When they split up, Bartlett formed the group Starstruck with other members of The Lemon Pipers. Starstruck released a cover of the Leadbelly classic Black Betty on their own label and it was a regional hit in the New York area. So you all remember the production team of Kasenetz-Katz who were behind a lot of 60s bubblegum hits. They heard Starstruck's Black Betty and they wanted to release it nationally. They thought it could be a big hit. Bartlett told them that Starstruck had disbanded. So they suggested he form a new band and they will release the record under the new name. So Bartlett formed Ram Jam with bassist Howie Blauvelt who was in The Hassles with Billy Joel, singer Myke Scavone who worked for Kasenetz-Katz and Pete Charles on drums. Ram Jam signed with Epic and Black Betty reached #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. It would have charted higher but the NAACP called for a boycott. The album Ram Jam didn't sell. Ram Jam recorded a second album Portrait of the Artist as a Young Ram. By then, Bartlett was replaced by Jimmy Santoro. That album didn't sell either and Ram Jam split up. Epic Germany released both albums on this budget CD. But you can also get Black Betty on plenty of various artists comps. The members of Ram Jam are still involved with music but nothing notable. They reformed to release the 1994 album Thank You Mam. Here's the video for Black Betty by Ram Jam.