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Miss Rhythm: The Autobiography of Ruth Brown, Rhythm and Blues Legend
     

Miss Rhythm: The Autobiography of Ruth Brown, Rhythm and Blues Legend

by Maurice J. E. Brown, Andrew Yule
 

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Before Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and Tina Turner, there was Ruth Brown, the legendary rhythm and blues singer best known for her hits "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean," "Teardrops from My Eyes," and "5-10-15 Hours." Her powerhouse voice and sassy squeal brought worldwide success to the Atlantic label in the 1950s. But it took a decades-long battle

Overview


Before Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and Tina Turner, there was Ruth Brown, the legendary rhythm and blues singer best known for her hits "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean," "Teardrops from My Eyes," and "5-10-15 Hours." Her powerhouse voice and sassy squeal brought worldwide success to the Atlantic label in the 1950s. But it took a decades-long battle with Atlantic to receive her full royalties, which inspired the creation of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.In Miss Rhythm, the singer shares candid recollections: the early days of R&B; the racism she endured on the road; and her abusive husbands and lovers. In the '80s and '90s, Brown earned a Tony and Grammy Award and a role as Motormouth Maybelle in John Water's cult film Hairspray. Miss Rhythm is a story of trial and triumph, and of chart-topping success despite seemingly impossible odds.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Born in 1928, Brown was one of the top female rhythm-and-blues singers by the 1950s, recording for Atlantic Records, a company that made a fortune from her hits, such as ``Teardrops from My Eyes,'' but paid her practically no royalties. In the 1960s, after three disastrous marriages, her career flagged and she supported herself and her two sons by working as a teacher's aid, a bus driver and a housekeeper. A chance encounter with Redd Foxx in the mid-1970s led to a comeback that included the part of Motormouth Maybelle in the movie Hairspray, a Tony Award-winning performance in the Broadway show Black and Blue and a Grammy Award-winning album, Blues on Broadway. Since her career was reignited, Brown has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She has also recovered some of her Atlantic royalties and works for royalty reform through the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. She and Yule (Fast Fade) tell the story of her colorful life in boisterous detail, from her childhood in Virginia and North Carolina-where she got her musical training through singing spirituals in a church choir-to her present renewed fame. Photos. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Brown's rise was not uncommon. A small-town Southern girl begins to sing in church and "coloreds-only" USO shows, gets discovered, and is offered a recording contract. In Brown's case the record company is newcomer Atlantic, soon to become the premier R&B label of the 1950s and 1960s. Brown's string of hits over a ten-year period caused Atlantic to be known as the House that Ruth Brown Built. But after the hits stopped and she was forced to earn her living at a series of menial jobs, she realized how the accepted accounting procedures of the day had diverted huge sums from the artist to the record companies. Through the efforts of Brown and others, the companies were forced into a settlement that led to the establishment of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation for the support of early artists. Brown's career, currently enjoying a successful revival, is an important slice of the history of the music business. For public libraries.-Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306808883
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
05/06/1999
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.23(h) x 0.99(d)

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