The Lonely Goatherd Blog And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats - Matthew 25:32
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January 12, 2008
Ruth Brown Photo Gallery She was born Ruth Alston Weston in Portsmouth, Virginia on January 12, 1928, so this would have been Ruth Brown's 80th birthday. She had something of a rough start, running away with a trumpet player named Jimmy Brown and getting married at 17 - but he turned out to already be kinda married. Then just as she was scheduled for an audition at Atlantic Records, she was in an ugly car wreck that left her hospitalized for most of a year.
But Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson from NYC to DC to hear her. She sang "So Long" (perhaps my favorite song of hers) at her first audition in 1949, which became a pretty good hit for her. But "Teardrops From My Eyes" in 1950 was a big ol' breakthrough hit. She was great with a ballad like "So Long" or "It's Raining", but "Teardrops From My Eyes" and other uptempo numbers got her the nickname "Miss Rhythm."
This was the first of 18 US top 10 r&b hits running through 1960. She was paying the bills for Atlantic long years before they heard of Ray Charles or Aretha Franklin. Thus, Atlantic Records became known as "the house that Ruth built." Can't get enough of stuff like "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean" and "5-10-15 Hours."
She faded from public view in the 1960s, leaving the business entirely for a dozen years or so to be a housewife and mother. Redd Foxx convinced her to get back into the business starting in 1975. She had some roles as a comedic actress, and appeared in a couple of Broadway shows. She earned a Tony award for her appearance in Black and Blue, and a Grammy for the album from the show.
In the 1990s, she toured with Bonnie Raitt and wrote an award winning autobiography, Miss Rhythm. She passed in 2006.