lunes, 16 de noviembre de 2009

Ruth Brown: Gospel Time (1962)

The highs and lows of the American singer Ruth Brown's life merit a biopic. Dubbed the "original queen of R&B", she recorded hit songs like 'Teardrops from My Eyes', '(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean', 'Lucky Lips' and 'This Little Girl's Gone Rockin'', becoming the first big-selling artist on Atlantic Records in the '50s - indeed the label was known as "the house that Ruth built" early on. However, as R&B mutated into soul in the early-'60s, Ruth fell from favor and she was out of the business entirely, broke and working as a maid. Her run of hits ended in 1960 with 'Don’t Deceive Me', and thereafter she was largely ignored by Atlantic - which by then had become a huge corporation -, and she decided to concentrate on raising her family. It would have been a sad way to end her career there, but somehow she managed to keep on releasing albums from time to time. One of her most interesting efforts from this strange period was Gospel Time, which she recorded after leaving Atlantic in 1962 (she issued sides for several labels during that decade, including Mainstream and Rhapsody.) Gospel Time was Ruth Brown's first and only gospel album, and meant a return to her roots, as she was as influenced by Billie Holiday as she was by Mahalia Jackson. The Lp was recorded in 1963 in Nashville under Shelby Singleton's direction, using country musicians. Ray Stevens of "Ahab the Arab" fame plays organ and vocal backgrounds are by the Milestone Singers. The most impressive cuts here are 'Closer Walk With Thee,' with soulful guitar licks from Jerry Kennedy and Harold Bradley; 'Peace in the Valley,' with nice piano triplets by Harold "Pig" Robbins; the beautiful 'Walk With Me'; a fabulous version of 'Milky White Way,' and 'Deep River', which she sings as if she had just heard Mahalia Jackson sing in a Storefront Church. Brown even tries her hand at preaching in a rocking version of 'Morning Train.' Overall, this is a surprisingly fine super rare album from the obscure days of a true R&B legend.,,
Ruth Brown's performance from Rhythm and Blues Revue in 1955, when she was still known by the nickname of "Little Miss Rhythm":

4 comentarios:

Nosi dijo...

Sugar Boom Boom! dijo...

This a really... interesting... album, in lack of other words. I've never thought of Ruth as a technically skilled singer, but more of as an entertainer who really knows of get the audience emotionally connected. She handles these songs surprisingly well, and that tear in her voice makes this album very convincing. Great post!

troods dijo...

thank you for this Ruth Brown - new to me!

XOEL dijo...

thanks!! amazing blog!!