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Monday, February 09, 2009

Appreciating Ruth Brown

Not only a great voice in her day, but an avid spokesperson for musicians. In the late 80s, Ms. Brown pushed for the rights of musicians to receive their fair share regarding royalties and contracts. Remember back in the day, singers were basically screwed over, their songs and rights stolen, so this was a huge deal. That this little woman was able to take on a whole system and win tells you a lot about her influence. Her many hits in the 50s led industry folk to term Atlantic Records, "the house that Ruth built."

In her later years, she won accolades for her acting as well. I never heard of her before she played Motormouth Maybelle in the first cinematic incarnation of Hairspray. Then I learned a little bit more about her via a documentary on Ray Charles about how competitive they were on their tours together. Seeing her performances in these vids, I can well imagine that Ray was more than a bit intimidated. I know I would have been. Enjoy "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean" and her soulful duet with B.B. King, "Ain't Nobody's Business." Just listen to that voice, a rarity in today's musical landscape.


Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 2/09/2009 09:35:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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