PLATTSBURGH — Left Hand Black. Not a Danzig song. Not a San Diego Tattoo studio.
Just four Plattsburgh grown-and-honed musicians — Ray Ruffin (vocals and drums), Jeremy Humiston (vocals and guitar), Steve Nolan (guitar) and Ernie Burl (light and sound) slinging their own brand of rock ‘n’ roll, country R&B, pop and funk on the Lake City and beyond. On Jan. 18, Left Hand Black takes the stage at 8 Ball Billiards on Route 9N in Plattsburgh.
Over the years, Ruffin, Humiston, Nolan and Burl have played with each other and others in different band configurations, but this time around, it was band leader Ruffin’s thing and he wanted to do what he wanted to do.
“I started with totally different musicians,” Ruffin said. “I’ve been the core of the band. It’s not a democracy. It’s not a dictatorship. We focus on music that’s danceable that everybody knows. They used to know this song and haven’t heard it in a long time. When we play out, we want it to be more about people moving or bopping their head or a child dancing on the floor because the beat is so obvious.”
Born in Greenville, S.C., Ruffin came to the Plattsburgh when the U.S. Air Force transferred his family from Spain to Plattsburgh in 1962.
Mid-century musical icons the Beatles and Monkees riveted his attention to music. Locally, he played in a few different bands such as Kicker and Enp before he went on the road with R Factor.
“We did a show with Shirelles in Lake George,” Ruffin said. “They were traveling around and did a rehearsal with them and two shows in the evening.”
Opportunity knocked, Ruffin answered and auditioned for Junior Walker & the All Stars. He had a chance to go on tour with the legendary Motown artist.