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Throw Back Thursday: The Queen of R&B ... Ruth Brown!

Posted on August 6, 2020 at 10:25 AM

Mornin' Ginchers,

How about a little Throw Back Thursday with the Queen of R&B ... Ruth Brown!   Now that is a handle right there, Ruth Brown, American Singer-Songwriter and Actress given the title of "Queen of R&B", and rightfully so ... but, it didn't stop there ... for her contributions to Atlantic Records she became known as the "House that Ruth built" (a take off of Yankee Stadium and the house that Babe Ruth built!).  Some of those great records included "So Long" , "Lucky Lipps", "Teardrops From My Eyes", " Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean" and "This Little Girl's Gone Rockin". She also was inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame in 1993, won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical (Black and Blue), received the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer award, inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame and a Grammy Lifetime Achievment Award.  At the age of 17, Ruth Brown ran away from home with trumpeter Jimmy Brown, and were soon married after that, to sing in clubs where she spent a month in Lucky Millinder's Orchestra.  Cab Calloway's sister Blanche helped her get into some of the bigger clubs like the Crystal Caverns in D.C., whcih led to a contract with Ahmet Ertigun and Atlantic Records.  In 1950 she released her second record for the label "Teardrops from My Eyes" where it spent 11 weeks at number 1 on the Billboard R&B charts, which earned her the nickname "Miss Rhythm" and within a few months she became the acknowledged "Queen of R&B!".  You can only imagine how excited I was to meet the legendary Ruth Brown, it was at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame that I was invited to a party with some of the distinguished guests for the new wing ribbon cutting.  Bo Diddley, Jerry Butler, my friend Bill Pinkney, Joe Walsh, Michelle Phillips, Little Richard, George Clinton, Ike Turner and Ruth Brown all in one room ... talk about a kid in a candy store!  I still have autographed ribbon pieces from almost all of the artists who cut the opening day ribbon for the new wing and stories to go along with them in my museum. Ruth Brown took time to talk with me, sign my albums and discuss her days as the Queen of R&B.  I asked her if she would like to come to Pittsburgh and do a concert with us  ... she gave me her contact information and I couldn't wait to see her live on stage once again.  Unfortunately not long after that Ruth took sick and it never happened, one of the biggest dissapointments in my music career.  I do have the memories and a lot of her 78 rpm Atlantic records to keep her legacy alive, after all she is royalty, she is a pioneer, she is the  "QUEEN of R&B" ... Ruth Brown!  Till tomorrow, stay safe, stay healthy, help a neighbor when you can ... and, GOD Bless!

Johnny


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