Ruth Brown “Help A Good Girl Go Bad” (From the LP Ruth Brown ’65, 1965)
Miss Rhythm, The House That Ruth Built, Ruth Brown is that legend that always fought for her face time. 65 years after her debut on Atlantic Records, 70 years after she ran off and started her performing career, we celebrate what would have been (according to some records) her 88th Birthday.
Ruth racked up countless R&B mega hits during the 1950’s for Atlantic Records, setting the groundwork for Atlantic to be able to sign their next big ticket hit makers The Drifters, LaVern Baker and Ray Charles by the Mid 50’s. Even with her occasional excursions into the Pop Charts, by 1960, Ruth found herself sidelined when it came to record release and promotional schedules. Lapses between singles came more prominently without a new single replacing one falling off the charts. Throughout the early 60’s, she was shuttled around first to many different producers, then to different labels. She went from being the toast of the town to someone Phil Spector and Ellie Greenwich tried out early not-so-masterpieces on.
By 1965 she found herself nearing 40 and making that inevitable transition towards Jazz-Soul that Female artists of her generation were prone to do. Strings and swinging arrangements abounding, my favorite from her soon to be re-cast as Softly sessions from December of 1964 was this lovely deviant chestnut given the sly wink that Ruth Brown was well known for embedding her work with.
We know that she would go on to fight for Artists Rights, conquer stage and film, and today truly miss her magnificent influence. Happiest Birthday Miss Rhythm