Be Bop Wino Pages

Joan Selects - the complete Joan Selects Collection

Big Ten Inchers - 78rpm rips by El Enmascarado

Attention Mac Users!

Mac users have been experiencing problems in unpacking the WinRAR archives used on this blog. Two solutions have been suggested.

1. Use The Unarchiver - - see comments on Little Esther Bad Baad Girl post for details.

2. Use Keka - - see comments on Johnny Otis Presents post.

Friday 30 March 2018

Maxwell Davis - Father Of West Coast R&B (re-up)

Side 1:
01. Boogie Cocktails - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
02. Bristol Drive - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
03. Flying Home - Gene Phillips & His Orchestra
04. Royal Boogie - Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces
05. Resistor - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
06. Belmont Special - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
07. Jumpin' With Lloyd - Lloyd Glen & His All Stars

Side 2:
01. Thunderbird - Maxwell Davis & His Rock'n'Roll Orchestra
02. Cool Diggin' - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
03. Bluesville - Maxwell Davis & His Rock'n'Roll Orchestra
04. Rocking With Maxie - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
05. Tempo Rock - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra
06. Gene Jumps The Blues - Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces
07. Boogie Cocktails - Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra

Outstanding 1988 Ace LP of instros from the Modern / RPM stable presented in an attractive gatefold sleeve. This LP was originally posted on the blog in October 2009. For this re-up I've added label shots. The full gatefold which contains a very informative biographical article on Maxwell Davis by Ray Topping is included in the download.

It's now almost a cliche to say that Maxwell Davis is an unsung hero of rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll. He worked for a multiplicity of Los Angeles based record labels from the 1940's to 1970 in a variety of roles including tenor sax sideman'  arranger, producer and bandleader. The gatefold sleeve includes a long list of the R&B hits to which he contributed including "Safronia B." by Calvin Boze, "Please Send Me Someone To Love" by Percy Mayfield, "I Got Loaded" by Peppermint Harris, "Call Operator 210" by Floyd Dixon, and a whole heap o' hits by B.B. King and Amos Milburn.

Fax On The Trax, Jack

Maxwell Davis & His Orchestra - Los Angeles, circa November 1950. Personnel: Jake Porter (trumpet); Jack McVea (alto sax); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); Maurice Simon (baritone sax); Austin McCoy (piano); Chuck Norris (guitar); Red Callender (bass); Lee Young (drums):

Boogie Cocktail, Belmont Special, Resistor, Bristol Drive.

Boogie Cocktail / Belmont Special released on Modern 20-791 in January 1951.

Bristol Drive / Resistor released on Modern 20-805 in March 1951.

Maxwell Davis and his Rock and Roll Orchestra - Los Angeles , 1955. Personnel: Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); unknown others:

Thunderbird, Bluesville, Tempo Rock, Cool Diggin'.

Thunderbird / Bluesville released on RPM 449 in December 1955.

Above: The Cash Box, 17th December 1955

Tempo Rock / Cool Diggin' released on RPM 482 in December 1956.

Rocking With Maxie - unreleased mid 1950's track.

Gene Phillips And His Rhythm Aces - Los Angeles, 1948. Possible personnel: Gene Phillips (guitar); Jake Porter (trumpet); Marshall Royal (alto sax); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); Lloyd Glenn (piano); Arthur Edwards (bass); William Streets (drums).

Gene Jumps The Blues, Flying Home, Royal Boogie.

Gene Jumps The Blues unreleased.

Royal Boogie / Stinkin' Drunk released on Modern 20-586 in June 1948.

Flying Home -Bruyninckx lists its release on Modern 20-614, possibly in October 1948. I can find no other mention of such a release. This is the same track which was released in November 1951 as "New Flying Home" (RPM 332x45) with overdubbed crowd noise and credited to the "Lloyd Glenn All Stars featuring Maxwell Davis."

The B Side of RPM 332x45 was "Jumpin' With Lloyd" which also had overdubbed crowd noise, as can be heard on this LP. There has also been a release of this disc with both sides credited simply to "Maxwell Davis." "Jumpin' With Lloyd" was originally an unreleased Gene Phillips recording from 1947 / 1948 which was "transformed" into the Lloyd Glenn / Maxwell Davis instro with the addition of crowd noise and some echo.

Elsewhere On The Blog:

Maxwell Davis And His Tenor Sax:

A 1980's reissue of a 1950's Maxwell Davis Aladdin LP. The original article with background information on Maxwell and on the evolution of this LP through various reissues can be found here:

The LP can be downloaded from here:

or here:

Recommended purchase:

Triple CD set on the Fantastic Voyage label. Compiled by Dave Penny, CD1 has 31 tracks issued on various labels (Aladdin, Modern, Pacific, Down Beat, Miltone, etc) under Maxwell Davis' name. CD2 and CD3 contain tracks from the '40's and '50's on which Maxwell played, including records by Helen Humes, Charles Mingus, Jimmy Witherspoon, Calvin Boze, Jimmy Nelson and Percy Mayfield. The collection deliberately avoids the big R&B hits on which he played, opting instead for lesser known sides. Very highly recommended, especially if like me you're into the more obscure areas of West Coast R&B. There's a review of this set on the blog here:

Happy Easter, music fans.

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Charlie Parker - The Complete Savoy Sessions Volume 2 (1945)

Side 1:
01. Billie's Bounce (takes 4 and 5) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
02. Now's The Time (takes 1, 2 and 3) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
03. Now's The Time (take 4) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
04. Thriving On A Riff (take 1) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
05. Thriving On A Riff (takes 2 and 3) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
06. Meandering - Charlie Parker's Reboppers

Side 2:
01. Koko (takes 1 and 2) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
02. Dizzy Boogie (take 1) - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra
03. Dizzy Boogie (take 2) - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra
04. Flat Foot Floogie (take 1) - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra
05. Flat Foot Floogie (take 2) - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra
06. Popity Pop (take 2) - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra
07. Slim's Jam - Slim Gaillard And His Orchestra

"The Complete Savoy Sessions Volume 2" continues with the rest of the NYC session from the 26th November 1945 which brought Volume 1 to a close. This was the session which gave us "Ko Ko" and "Now's The Time." The latter track would be the unacknowledged basis for the huge R&B hit "The Hucklebuck."

At the end of 1945 Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker took a band to California for an engagement at Billy Berg's nightclub in Hollywood. On December 29th 1945 Bird and Diz joined the resident band at Berg's, the Slim Gaillard Trio, along with Dodo Marmarosa and Jack McVea for a light hearted recording session for the small Bel-Tone label. There were two reworkings of the Gaillard warhorse "Flat Foot Floogie" and an equally mad "Popity Pop (Goes The Motorsickle)." The final track from the session, "Slim's Jam," is a wonderfully relaxed piece of nonsense in which everyone is obviously enjoying themselves.

Alas, for Charlie Parker dark clouds were gathering as his heroin addiction spiraled out of control. "Lowlights" of his stay in California included signing away half of all his royalties to a heroin dealer, selling his return ticket to NYC for money to buy more heroin and thus ending up stranded, and wandering naked through his hotel lobby before setting his room on fire. In August 1946 he was committed to Camarillo State Hospital. But let us return to that "Now's The Time" session ...

So here we are in the WOR Studios, NYC, on the 26th of November 1945 where under the supervision of Teddy Reig, Charlie Parker is recording his first session as leader. With him are 3 members of his regular group - 19 year old Miles Davis on trumpet, Curly Russell on bass and Max Roach on drums. He had also asked Thelonius Monk and then Bud Powell to play piano on the session but neither could make it, so Sadik Hakim was the pianist. Also along was Dizzy Gillespie with whom Charlie had an acrimonious split back in July. That split was the end of the first great bebop group, the Gillespie - Parker combo. Diz formed a short lived big band for a tour of the southern states while Charlie kept a small combo going with Miles Davis coming in on trumpet.

Miles had arrived in New York from St Louis in September 1944, ostensibly to study music at Juilliard, but mainly to contact Bird and Diz with whom he had become acquainted during his brief spell filling in on trumpet with the Billy Eckstine band in St Louis in August 1944. Every night after classes at Juilliard Miles would head for the 52nd Street clubs or else uptown to Minton's in search of the elusive duo, eventually hooking up with them after a few weeks. Soon the young Miles was being invited to join the Minton's jam sessions by Parker and Gillespie. In May 1945 he had his first recording session (with Herbie Fields) and around the same time had a regular nightclub gig on 52nd Street with a group led by Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis.

When Bird was looking for a new trumpet player following the departure of Dizzy in July 1945, he naturally thought of Miles and the new band started playing at the Three Deuces in August. Dizzy returned for the Savoy session on 26th November, prepared to play both piano and trumpet if necessary. It may be that the pair got together again for the session as they had an upcoming gig at Billy Berg's club in Hollywood, Berg having stipulated that the offer was only open to a group which included both Parker and Gillespie.

Miles was aware of his own limitations at this time and felt unable to perform on "Ko Ko", a Parker composition based on "Cherokee" which he always had trouble playing, so Dizzy played trumpet on that track. Here's a summary of who played what on the tracks -

Charlie Parker (alto sax), Curly Russell (bass) and Max Roach (drums) on all tracks. Miles Davis trumpet on "Billie's Bounce," "Now's The Time" and "Thriving On A Riff." Dizzy Gillespie trumpet and piano on "Ko Ko," piano on "Warming Up A Riff," "Billie's Bounce," "Now's The Time" and "Meandering." Argonne Thornton (Sadik Hakim) piano on "Thriving On A Riff."

Single release of tracks:

"Billie's Bounce" / "Now's The Time" on Savoy 573 in February 1946. ("Billie's Bounce" take 5 and "Now's The Time" take 4)

"Ko Ko" was released as the B-Side of "How High The Moon" by the Don Byas Quintette on Savoy 597 in April 1946. ("Ko Ko" take 2)

"Thriving From A Riff" (note title change) was credited to "The Be Bop Boys" and released as the B-Side of "Opus De Bop" by "The Be Bop Boys featuring Stan Getz, tenor sax." ("Thriving On A Riff" take 3)

"Warming Up A Riff" / "Thriving On A Riff" released on Savoy 945. "Warming Up A Riff" credited to "Charlie Parker and the Be Bop Boys." "Thriving On A Riff" credited to "The Be Bop Boys." ("Warming Up A Riff" only take; "Thriving On A Riff" take 3).

"Meandering" first released on LP Savoy MG 12079, "The Charlie Parker Story," in 1956.

The following group, under the leadership of Dizzy Gillespie, headed west to Dreamland to fulfill a near two month engagement at Billy Berg's club in Hollywood: Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Charlie Parker (alto sax), Milt Jackson (vibes); Al Haig (piano); Ray Brown (bass) and Stan Levey (drums). They opened on Monday 10th December. On Saturday 29th December the band had a live recording for the AFRS "Jubilee" show scheduled, but earlier in the day Diz and Bird dropped in on a session being held by the resident band at Billy Berg's, the Slim Gaillard Trio. The sides were recorded for a small and short lived Hollywood label called Bel-Tone Records.

Above: Slim, Zutty and Bam at Billy Berg's, 1945

The regular trio of Slim Gaillard (guitar and vocals), Bam Brown (bass) and Zutty Singleton (drums) were joined by Dodo Marmarosa (piano), Jack McVouty (tenor sax and shout of "open up the door, Richard!"), Charlie Yardbird Orooney (alto sax) and Daz McSkivens Vouts Orooney (trumpet).

Original releases:

"Dizzy Boogie" / "Popity Pop" by the Slim Gaillard Orchestra released on Bel-Tone 753 ("Dizzy Boogie" take 2).

"Flat Foot Floogie" / "School Kids Hop" by The Slim Gaillard Orchestra released on Bel-Tone 758 ("Flat Foot Floogie" take 2)

"Slim's Jam" / "Santa Monica Jump" by The Slim Gaillard Orchestra released on Bel-Tone 761.

"Santa Monica Jump" and "School Kids Hop" were from a January 1946 session on which the Slim Gaillard Trio were joined by Howard McGhee, Marshall Royal, Lucky Thompson and Dodo Marmarosa.

Above: Bird at Berg's, 1945

Above: Berg's - Bird strung out, Diz not happy. Camarillo beckons

Recommended reading:

"Bird's Diary - The Life of Charlie Parker 1945 - 1955" by Ken Vail. Castle Communications, 1996.

"Miles - The Autobiography" by Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe.Picador, 2012.

"Bird Lives! - The High Life and Hard Times of Charlie 'Yardbird' Parker" by Ross Russell, Quartet Books, 1976.

Sunday 18 March 2018

Charlie Parker - The Complete Savoy Sessions Volume 1 (1944-1945)

Side 1:
01. Tiny's Tempo (take 1) - Tiny Grimes Quintette
02. Tiny's Tempo (take 2) - Tiny Grimes Quintette
03. Tiny's Tempo (take 3) - Tiny Grimes Quintette
04. I'll Always Love You Just The Same (take 1) - Tiny Grimes Quintette
05. I'll Always Love You Just The Same (take 2) - Tiny Grimes Quintette
06. Romance Without Finance (take 1) - Tiny Grimes Quintette
07. Romance Without Finance (takes 2 and 3) - Tiny Grimes Quintette

Side 2:
01. Romance Without Finance (takes 4 and 5) - Tiny Grimes Quintette
02. Red Cross (take 1) - Tiny Grimes Quintette
03. Red Cross (take 2) - Tiny Grimes Quintette
04. Billie's Bounce (take 1) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
05. Billie's Bounce (takes 2 and 3) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers
06. Warming Up A Riff (take 1) - Charlie Parker's Reboppers

Be Bop starts here (sort of)! I posted the first two volumes of  "Charlie Parker - The Complete Savoy Sessions" back in the earliest days of the blog, and here they are again, with new cover and label scans. First up is Volume 1 which covers Charlie's first official small group session - with swing guitarist Tiny Grimes, plus the start of Charlie's second Savoy session featuring his own band which included a young Miles Davis on trumpet and a guest / support appearance by Dizzy Gillespie on piano and trumpet.

The LPs feature the complete sessions including multiple takes and occasionally aborted takes. The post includes information on which of the takes were released as singles. The Grimes session includes two vocal efforts by Tiny, the dreadfully square "I'll Always Love You Just The Same" and the half-heartedly hip "Romance Without Finance." The main interest in this session centres on the swinging instro "Tiny's Tempo" and the Parker composition "Red Cross."

Background to the Savoy Sessions

In 1944 Savoy Records started recording sides by the jazz musicians who jammed in the clubs of Harlem and 52nd Street. Ben Webster, The Count Basie Band (under Earl Warren's name), Lester Young, Hot Lips Page, Pete Brown, Don Byas, Miss Rhapsody and Cozy Cole were among the artists who were recorded. The Hot Lips Page band which recorded a session on September 12th included Earl Bostic, Ike Quebec and guitarist Lloyd "Tiny" Grimes in its lineup. Three days later Tiny Grimes was back leading a small group which had Clyde Hart on piano, Jimmy Butts on bass, Doc West on drums and on alto sax one Charles Parker Esq, late of Kansas City whence he had arrived in the Big Apple with the Jay McShann Orchestra back in January 1942.

When the McShann outfit headed back to K.C. in the summer of '42, Charlie Parker elected to remain in N.Y.C. and play the clubs. At the end of the year he was recruited into the Earl Hines Orchestra at the suggestion of Billy Eckstine and Benny Harris. Also in the band were Sarah Vaughan and Dizzy Gillespie.

In April 1944 Eckstine formed a new band which included Parker, Gillespie, Vaughan, Wardell Gray and Art Blakey. In August 1944 the Eckstine band played a 2 week residency in St Louis where an 18 year old Miles Davis sat in to replace an ill Buddy Anderson. The band then played a week long engagement at the Regal Theatre in Chicago. Charlie Parker quit when the band returned to NYC. Shortly afterwards he was at the Onyx Club in 52nd Street where he worked with Ben Webster. He then appeared at another 52nd Street club, the Three Deuces, in a band which had Howard McGhee on trumpet, Dizzy Gillespie having decided to stick with the Eckstine band.

Just a few doors down 52nd Street from the Three Deuces was the Downbeat Club, where Charlie would drop in to jam with the band led by guitarist Tiny Grimes. On the 14th September Savoy asked Tiny to record a session for them. The following day he turned up with a group which included Charlie Parker. The complete session is on this LP, taking up the whole of Side 1, plus the first three tracks on Side 2.

Five 78 rpm discs were generated from this session. The same takes of each track were used on all of these singles -

Tiny's Tempo (take 3) and I'll Always Love You Just The Same (take 2), were released on Savoy 526.

Romance Without Finance (take 5) and Red Cross (take 2) were released on Savoy 532.

Red Cross (take 2) and Tiny's Tempo (take 3) were released on Savoy 541 credited to Charlie Parker.

I'll Always Love You Just The Same (take 2) and Red Cross (take 2) were released on Savoy 563, credited respectively to Tiny Grimes and Charlie Parker.

Romance Without Finance (take 5) and I'll Always Love You Just The Same (take 2) were released on Savoy 613 credited to Tiny Grimes Quintette.

It would be more than a year before Charlie Parker recorded another Savoy session. This time it would be under his own name. The time between the sessions was a busy one with Charlie involved in recording sessions with inter alia "Clyde Hart's All Stars" (featuring Don Byas) for Continental, Red Norvo, Sarah Vaughan (for Continental) and Sir Charles Thompson's All Stars (including Dexter Gordon) for Apollo. His most important recordings and live appearances were as a member of the small group featuring himself and Dizzy Gillespie. In February 1945 they recorded "Groovin' High," "All The Things You Are" and "Dizzy Atmosphere" for Guild. In May 1945 they recorded "Salt Peanuts," "Shaw 'Nuff," " Hot House" and "Lover Man" (with Sarah Vaughan on vocal) also for Guild. The Gillespie - Parker combo had a residency at the Three Deuces on 52nd Street from March until July 1945.

When the Three Deuces residency finished Dizzy Gillespie formed a big band for a Southern tour. Charlie attended a few rehearsals then split to form his own combo which opened at the Three Deuces in early August. In October the combo was at The Spotlite, also on 52nd Street, with the line up pictured below - Charlie Parker (alto sax), Miles Davis (trumpet), Dexter Gordon (tenor sax), Sir Charles Thompson (piano), Leonard Gaskin (bass) and Stan Levey (drums).

On 26th November Charlie Parker arrived at WOR studios in NYC for his Savoy session where he was accompanied by Miles Davis (trumpet), Argonne Thornton aka Sadik Hakim (piano), Curly Russell (bass), Max Roach (drums) and Dizzy Gillespie (piano, trumpet).

The first 3 takes of "Billie's Bounce" are on this LP, but it would be take 5 (on Volume 2) which would be the released take. Before proceeding to takes 4 and 5 the group improvised on the harmonies of "Cherokee" with what was later named "Warming Up A Riff" which was eventually released on Savoy 945 b/w "Thriving On A Riff" from later in the same session. Volume 2 which will be posted soon has the remainder of this session, including more takes of "Billie's Bounce," "Now's The Time" and "Koko." Stick around for more bop!

Elsewhere on the blog:

Info on Tiny Grimes here:

In the next thrilling episode - "Now's The Time" and "Is This The Way To Camarillo?" Bird and Diz head out West and meet up with Slim Gaillard. Vout-o-roonie!

Monday 5 March 2018

Ruth Brown - Rockin' With Ruth (re-up)

Side 1:
01. Teardrops From My Eyes
02. 5-10-15 Hours
03. Daddy Daddy
04. Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean
05. Wild Wild Young Men
06. Love Contest
07. Hello Little Boy
08. Oh, What A Dream

Side 2:
01. Somebody Touched Me
02. Bye Bye Young Men
03. I Can See Everybody's Baby
04. As Long As I'm Moving
05. This Little Girl's Gone Rockin'
06. I Can't Hear A Word You Say
07. Papa Daddy
08. Don't Deceive Me

Note: download includes bonus folder of label scans from Joan. "Rockin' With Ruth" was originally posted on this blog on the 9th March 2010. This re-up has new cover and label scans. The archive is a Zip file generated by PeaZip. Some downloaders have been unable to open the RAR archive files since WinRAR was updated, so I thought I would try an alternative archiver. Please let me know if there are any problems.

This post started as a response to a re-up request but just kinda grew and grew. Here we go -

Ruth Brown - The Atlantic Years

Ruth Brown's massive record sales helped establish Atlantic as the top R&B label of the 1950s, so much so, that Atlantic was sometimes referred to as "The House That Ruth Built." Her best selling years were from 1951 - 1954, although she continued to have R&B chart entries (and some pop hits too) until 1960.

She was born Ruth Weston in Portsmouth, Virginia, on January 12th 1928. "Brown" was the surname of her first husband, trumpet player Jimmy Brown, whom she married early in her career. Like many R&B artists, Ruth's earliest exposure to music came through the church, in Ruth's case through the different styles of music in two churches - the organ / piano accompanied music of the African Methodist Episcopal church of which her father was a member, and the acapella singing of the North Carolina Baptist church to which her mother's family belonged.

Her father sang in the church choir and played the piano at home where family singsongs would consist mainly of sacred songs and old fashioned sentimental (and 100% "clean") pop songs. When a teenage Ruth started to get gigs singing blues songs at local clubs and USO venues, she had to "sneak out" to perform. Her most spectacular feat of fooling her parents came in 1944 when she took a bus to New York under the pretext of visiting her uncle but in reality with the intention of entering the amateur night at the Apollo, which she won.

Once she had graduated from high school Ruth was in a position to be more open about her musical ambitions and took gigs from bigger and more distant venues. It was while performing at a club in Detroit that she was spotted by bandleader Lucky Millinder and it seemed that her big break had arrived when he signed her as a vocalist for his band. The big break proved to be illusory as he already had a strong female vocalist in Anisteen Allen, and Ruth was fired on the flimsiest of pretexts after singing at just one gig in Washington D.C.

Left stranded by Millinder, Ruth had the good luck to get an audition for former bandleader Blanche Calloway, the older sister of Cab, who was running a Washington club called the Crystal Caverns. Blanche was impressed enough to offer young Ruth a temporary spot at the club to help her get back on her feet and back home. This was the real career break for Ruth, because her performances went down so well that word got to Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson at Atlantic Records. The two diskery honchos made the trek to Washington and were impressed enough to offer Ruth the chance to sign up to what was still a pretty small recording company without a hit record to its name.

Blanche Calloway who had become Ruth's manager phoned the Apollo Theater in New York and arranged an appearance for her new client with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, and so in October 1948 Ruth set out by car for NYC to appear at the premier black entertainment venue and to record for Atlantic. She made it as far as Chester, Pennsylvania, when the car crashed and Ruth wound up in hospital for months. She was still in crutches when she made her delayed recording debut in April 1949 at a session credited to Texas Johnny Brown, who was backed by Amos Milburn and his band. Ruth sang one track, "Rain Is a Bringdown" which was unreleased until it appeared many years later on a Route 66 LP.

Ruth's recording debut proper came on May 25th, 1949 when she cut "So Long," a tear-jerking ballad previously popularized by Little Miss Cornshucks. Coupled with "It's Raining," it was a hit, reaching number six in the Billboard R&B chart. This was the second hit that Atlantic had produced as earlier in the month Stick McGhee and His Buddies had stormed to number 3 in the charts with "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee O-Dee."

The follow up, another sentimental ballad, "I'll Get Along Somehow," was another success in late 1949, but in October 1950 Ruth recorded the side which really propelled Atlantic to its position as number 1 R&B label, the rocking Rudy Toombs composition, "Teardrops From My Eyes"  which was her first number 1 R&B hit. It was the second highest selling single of 1951 (behind "Sixty Minute Man" by The Dominoes). The following release, "I'll Wait For You," reached number 8 in the R&B chart in March 1951, while "Teardrops From My Eyes" was still high in the same chart at number 5.

Her next release, "I Know," reached number 7 in August 1951, then in the spring of 1952 came another massive hit, the Rudy Toombs stomper "5 - 10 - 15 Hours." Backed by the sinuous sax of her second husband, Willis Jackson, Ruth's raunchy performance was a mile and more away from her early ballad successes.

The follow-up, "Daddy Daddy" another Rudy Toombs composition, which was much more explicit in its expression of lustful longing, also featured sax by Willis Jackson but somehow lacked the appeal of  "5 - 10 - 15 Hours" and stalled at number 5 in the charts in October 1952. Thanks to the sales of records by The Clovers, Ruth Brown and Joe Turner, Atlantic was the top selling R&B label again in 1952.

In early 1953 Ruth was back at the top of the R&B chart with "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean," a disc which sparked a slew of answer discs by other artists. Ruth's next disc, the hard rocking "Wild, Wild Young Men" kept up the chart momentum, reaching number 3 at the end of June.

Ruth's autumn 1953 release, "The Tears Keep Tumbling Down" failed to chart nationally although it sold strongly in a few locations. This trend continued with Ruth's early 1954 releases - "Love Contest" sold well regionally but failed to crack the national charts, a reissue of a 1950 recording of "Sentimental Journey" with The Delta Rhythm Boys didn't do much while "Hello Little Boy" picked up some regional action in Chicago.

The second half of 1954 saw a revival in Ruth Brown's record sales, beginning with the Chuck Willis composition "Oh What A Dream" which reached number 1 in September. The follow up, "Mambo Baby" / "Somebody Touched Me" was released in October and reached number 1 in the R&B charts on November 20th, to give Ruth a successful close out to the year.

At this point, it's worth looking back over the years 1951 - 1954. In each of these years Ruth had finished in the top ten best selling R&B artist list. In 1951, '52 and '53 she was the top selling female R&B vocalist and in 1954 she came second to Faye Adams. In each of these years Atlantic was the top selling R&B label. In '51, '52 and '53 the top selling Atlantic act was The Clovers, and in '54 it was Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters, an indication that vocal groups were emerging as the most popular form of R&B. From the point of view of consistent record sales, these years were the most successful that Ruth would enjoy as the second half of the 1950's would prove to be much more uneven.

Above - Atlantic ad from January 1955. The old order changeth, giving way to the new. 1955 would bring great success to Ray Charles, LaVern Baker and Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters. Joe Turner continued to sell reasonably well, but it wasn't such a good year for Ruth Brown or for The Clovers. Ruth's January 1955 release of "Bye Bye Young Men" didn't chart but in April she had a double sided hit with "I Can See Everybody's Baby" reaching number 7 while the reverse side "As Long As I'm Moving" did even better, climbing to number 4 in the R&B chart.

She recorded some duets with Clyde McPhatter but only one of their collaborations was a good seller - "Love Has Joined Us Together" which was released in November 1955, made it to number 8 on the R&B chart. In 1956 Ruth could only scrape into the top fifty list of best selling R&B artists but 1957 brought an improvement with her recording of a jaunty Leiber - Stoller pop song, "Lucky Lips" which reached number 6 in the R&B chart and climbed to number 25 in the pop chart in March.

In 1958 a Leiber - Stoller production of the Bobby Darin penned "This Little Girl's Gone Rockin'" brought more pop success for Ruth, as it reached number 24 in the Billboard Hot 100 in October, and number 7 in the R&B chart. Ruth was now 30 years old so there was definitely something incongruous about her performance as a teenybopper telling her mama about the completion of her household chores before going out to sample the delights of rock and roll.

A Leiber - Stoller composition "Jack O'Diamonds" earned Ruth a number 23 R&B chart place in July 1959. It was essentially a pop production, with the superior (and very cynical) "I Can't Hear A Word You Say," which was reminiscent of Leiber - Stoller's material for The Coasters, relegated to the B-Side. Later in the year a fine bluesy production of "I Don't Know" reached number 5 in the R&B chart and number 64 in the Hot 100. A very convincing performance indeed

In April 1960 Ruth's recording of a Chuck Willis song "Don't Deceive Me," complete with string section and choir, made it to number 10 in the R&B chart and number 62 in the Hot 100 for Ruth's last chart hit on Atlantic.

Ruth's bluesy soulful vocals on "I Don't Know" and "Taking Care Of Business" (from September 1960) show a performer of great maturity and technique yet her career with Atlantic had stalled as far as chart action was concerned. In December 1959 Atlantic issued an LP of Ruth performing standards - "Late Date With Ruth Brown." With tasteful big band and string accompaniment, some tracks work well, while others don't. If more material like "I Don't Know" or "Taking Care Of Business" had been made available to Ruth then perhaps her Atlantic recording career wouldn't have petered out the way it did in the early '60's.

Cover shot from

In 1962 she left Atlantic and signed with Philips where she recorded "Along Came Ruth" - an album of cover versions of R&B hits such as "Sea Of Love" and "Cry Cry Cry." She also recorded an album of gospel songs but left the label sometime in 1963.

Ruth's career continued to decline and for some years was virtually dead as she took up jobs outside the music business in order to raise her sons and put them through university. However her fortunes began to revive in the 1980's with parts in stage shows "The Amen Corner," "Staggerlee" and the original Paris production of "Black and Blue." She was Motormouth Maybelle in John Waters' 1988 movie "Hairspray" and when "Black and Blue" opened on Broadway in January 1989 her comeback was complete - a Tony and a Grammy (for the original cast recording) followed.

When a lawyer fan learned that she was receiving no royalty payments from Atlantic (they claimed SHE owed them money) he took on her case and won substantial compensation not only for Ruth but for other surviving R&B veterans. This led to the setting up of The Rhythm and Blues Foundation, an organisation dedicated to the interests and welfare of a generation of forgotten (and often cheated) R&B performers.

Ruth Brown passed away in Las Vegas in November 2006 having suffered a heart attack and stroke.

The Facts On The Tracks on "Rockin' With Ruth"

"Teardrops From My Eyes" recorded in NYC in September 1950. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocals) with: 2 unknown, trumpet; unknown, alto sax; Willis Jackson (tenor sax); probably Haywood Henry (baritone sax); unknown, piano, guitar, bass, drums; Budd Johnson (arranger).

Released in October 1950, b/w "Am I Making The Same Mistake Again" on Atlantic 919. Number 1 in the Billboard R&B chart for 11 weeks.

"5 - 10 - 15 Hours" recorded in NYC on February 13th, 1952. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocals) with: unknown, trumpet; Willis Jackson (tenor sax); 2 unknown, saxes; Harry Van Walls (piano); unknown, guitar; unknown, bass; Connie Kay (drums).

Released in March 1952, b/w "Be Anything (But Be Mine)" on Atlantic 962. Number 1 in the Billboard R&B chart for 7 weeks.

"Daddy Daddy" was recorded in NYC on July 2nd, 1952. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocals) with: Willis Jackson (tenor sax); unknown, cello; Harry Van Walls (piano); unknown, guitar; unknown, bass; unknown, drums; The James Quintet (vocal group).

Released in August 1952, b/w "Have A Good Time" on Atlantic 973. Number 5 in the Billboard R&B chart in October 1952.

"(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" was recorded in NYC on 19th December, 1952. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocal) with: Taft Jordan (trumpet); Paul Williams (alto sax); Sam "The Man" Taylor (tenor sax); Jesse Stone (piano); Mickey Baker (guitar); Lloyd Trotman (bass); Connie Kay (drums); Hal Jackson (tambourine).

Released in January 1953, b/w "R.B. Blues" on Atlantic 986.  Number 1 on the Billboard R&B charts for 5 weeks. 6th best selling R&B record of 1953.

"Wild Wild Young Men" was recorded in NYC on 10th April 1953. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocals) with: Taft Jordan (trumpet); Freddie Mitchell (tenor sax); Haywood Henry (baritone sax); Harry Van Walls (piano); Rector Bailey (guitar); George Duvivier (bass); Connie Kay (drums); Jesse Stone (arranger).

Released in April 1953, b/w "Mend Your Ways" on Atlantic 993. Number 3 in Billboard R&B chart, 27th June 1953.

"Love Contest" was recorded in NYC on 16th December 1953. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocals) with: Sam "The Man" Taylor (tenor sax); Paul Williams (baritone sax); Kelly Owens (piano); Mickey Baker (guitar); Lloyd Trotman (bass); Joe Marshall (drums); Jesse Stone (arranger).

Released in January 1954, b/w "You Don't Want Me" on Atlantic 1018.

"Hello Little Boy" was recorded at the same session as "Love Contest." Personnel as above except John Lewis replaces Kelly Owens on piano.

Released in April 1954, b/w "If I Had Any Sense" on Atlantic 1027.

"Oh What A Dream" was recorded in NYC on 7th May 1954. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocals) with: Ed "Tiger" Lewis (trumpet); Richard Harris (trombone); Arnett Cobb (tenor sax); Sylvester Thomas (baritone sax); Bu Pleasant (piano); Mickey Baker (guitar); Benny Moten (bass); Noruddin Zafer (drums); The Rhythmakers (vocal group).

Released in July 1954, b/w "Please Don't Freeze" on Atlantic 1036. Number 1 in Billboard R&B chart, first two weeks of September 1954, 16 weeks in chart in total.

"Somebody Touched Me" was recorded at the same session as "Oh What A Dream." Personnel as above (the Arnett Cobb band plus The Rhythmakers vocal group).

Released in October 1954, B-Side of "Mambo Baby" on Atlantic 1044. "Mambo Baby" reached number 1 in the Billboard best selling R&B chart on 20th November 1954.

"Bye Bye Young Men" was recorded in NYC on 11th August, 1954. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocals) with: unknown trumpet, tenor and baritone saxes, piano, bass and drums. The Rhythmakers (vocal group).

Released in January 1955 b/w "Ever Since My Baby's Been Gone" on Atlantic 1051.

"I Can See Everybody's Baby" and "As Long As I'm Moving" were recorded in NYC on 1st March 1955. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocals) with: Sam "The Man" Taylor (tenor sax); The Rhythmakers (vocal group); rest unknown.

Released in April 1955, "I Can See Everybody's Baby" / "As Long As I'm Moving" on Atlantic 1059. "I Can See Everybody's Baby" reached number 7 on the Billboard R&B chart and "As Long As I'm Moving" reached number 4.

Above: 1955 Atlantic EP "Ruth Brown Sings."

"This Little Girl's Gone Rockin'" was recorded in NYC on 30th July 1958. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocal) with: Joe Wilder, Steve Lipkin (trumpets); King Curtis (tenor sax); Mike Stoller (piano); Charles Macey, Everett Barksdale (guitars); Lloyd Trotman (bass); Joe Marshall (drums) Bradley Spirmer (percussion); unknown vocal group; Howard Biggs (arranger).

Released in August 1958, b/w "Why Me" on Atlantic 1197. Number 24 in the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, October 1958 and number 7 in the R&B chart. "Why Me" reached number 17 in the Billboard Hot R&B Sides chart in November 1958.

"I Can't Hear A Word You Say" was recorded in NYC on 7th March 1959. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocals) with: Jimmy Cleveland (trombone); King Curtis, Budd Johnson (tenor saxes); Ernie Hayes (piano); Bill Suyker, Wally Richardson (guitars); Earl Mays (bass); Sticks Evans (drums); Howard Biggs (arranger).

Released in May 1959, B-Side of "Jack O'Diamonds" on Atlantic 2026. "Jack O'Diamonds" was number 23 in the Billboard Hot R&B Sides chart in July 1959.

"Papa Daddy" was recorded at the same session as "I Can't Hear A Word You Say" with the same personnel.

Released in August 1959, B-Side of "I Don't Know" on Atlantic 2035. "I Don't Know" was number 5 in the Billboard Hot R&B Sides chart and number 64 in the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1959.

May 1959 compilation LP

"Don't Deceive Me" was recorded in NYC on 30th September 1959. Personnel: Ruth Brown (vocals) with: Sol Gubin (vibes); Mickey Baker, Mundell Lowe, Carl Lynch (guitars); Abie Baker (bass); Sticks Evans (drums); Elise Bretton, Jerome Graff, Bill Marine, Merrill Ostrus, Marcia Patterson, Nelson Starr, choir; 8 violins, 2 violas, 2 celli, Reggie Obrecht, Richard Wess, conductor.

Released in February 1960, b/w "I Burned Your Letter" on Atlantic 2052. Number 10 in the Billboard Hot R&B Sides chart and number 62 in the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1960.

Thanks to Joan K for label scans and cover scans used throughout this post. Information sources include Billboard, The Cash Box,,,, YouTube, Spotify, Bruyninckx discography, and most of all "Blue Rhythms: Six Lives In Rhythm And Blues" by Chip Deffaa, Da Capo Press, 2000 edition.