Ruth Brown, born Ruth Weston, on January 30, 1928, in Portsmouth, Va., she was one of Atlantic Records' most successful recording artists of the 1950s. In fact, Atlantic Records has been referred to as "The house that Ruth built" (apologies to The Babe).  From 1949 to 1955 Ruth had many hits on the R&B Charts. Songs like "5-10-15 Hours", "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean", and "Mambo Baby" made it to number 1.


Like many Blues artists Ruth Brown grew up singing in her father's church choir in Portsmouth, Virginia. Young Ruth Weston was inspired initially by jazz chanteuses Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Dinah Washington. She ran away from her Portsmouth home in 1945 to hit the road with trumpeter Jimmy Brown. A month with bandleader Lucky Millinder's orchestra in 1947 ended abruptly in Washington, D.C., when she was canned for delivering a round of drinks to members of the band.. In 1948 she signed with Atlantic Records. On the way to her very first recording session for the label she was seriously injured in an automobile accident, which put her career on hold for a year. In 1949, she made her first recording "So Long." "Teardrops from My Eyes," only her second recording became her first number 1 single.

In 1957 she had a top-40 hit with Leiber and Stoller's "Lucky Lips." She continued to record for Atlantic until 1960. She disappeared from the public eye until the 1970s when she began a comeback. She performed in a number of musicals, including a touring version of Guys and Dolls. In the 1980s, Ruth appeared on Broadway in "Black and Blue" and won a Tony Award for her performance. She also appeared in the films "Under the Rainbow" and "Hairspray". In the late 1980s Brown began recording for the Fantasy label. Her performance on her 1989 album, "Blues on Broadway", won her a Grammy for best female jazz vocalist. Ruth was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. In 1998 she won a W.C. Handy award as the "Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year" and her Bullseye Records CD "R + B = Ruth Brown" won as "Soul Blues Album of the Year". She remains one of the most talented and moving Blues singers of this or any era.  -   P.W. Fenton

Miss Rhythm : The Autobiography of Ruth Brown, Rhythm and Blues Legend
Rhythm and Blues Legend Handy Award winner Ruth Brown is a rhythm-and-blues revolutionary--a woman whose early successes earned her instant worldwide fame and launched a career that has influenced such legendary performers as Aretha Franklin, Dinah Washington, Little Richard and Stevie Wonder. This candid autobiography offers the true story of her extraordinary life and career. Photos. Discography.

Essential Listening:
1956 Ruth Brown Sings Favorites - Atlantic
1957 Ruth Brown - Atlantic
1959 Late Date With Ruth Brown - Atlantic
1962 Along Comes Ruth - Philips
1962 Gospel Time - Polygram
1964 Ruth Brown '65 - Mainstream
1968 Fine Brown Frame - Koch
1969 Black Is Brown and Brown Is Beautiful - DCC
1970 You Don't Know Me - Dobre
1980 Takin' Care of Business - Stockholm
1988 Have a Good Time [live] - Fantasy
1989 Blues on Broadway - Fantasy
1990 Brown, Black & Beautiful - Ichiban
1991 Fine and Mellow - Fantasy
1993 Songs of My Life - Fantasy
1996 Live in London - Jazz House
1997 R+B = Ruth Brown - Bullseye Blues
1999 Good Day for the Blues - Bullseye Blues

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© 2003 Lea A. Gilmore and P.W. Fenton, All Rights Reserved.