Ruth Brown, Oral History


Ruth Brown0001.jpg

Dublin Core


Ruth Brown, Oral History


Ruth Brown (b. Jan 12, 1928, d. Nov 17, 2006), a leading RnB vocalist with major hits in the early 1950's for Atlantic Records. Tony award winner for her performance on Broadway with the play, "Black and Blue." Host of the early 1990's RnB Revue on National Public Radio. Introduced by Keith Reed.


Ruth Brown
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


April 11, 1990


Kimberly McDade
Keith Reed
Emily Bibb







Oral History Item Type Metadata


Bob Friedman


Ruth Brown


Transcript from audio snippet:

Bob Friedman- In the early days of Rhythm and Blues, when Black music was called Race Music, it wasn’t allowed on the overwhelming amount of radio stations in this country. And it was controversial in some ways like Rap Music. Public Enemy and others today aren’t really allowed on the air today, yet their records still sold. How did folks in the community learn about your sides back then when certain stations would never even play the music. Was it word of mouth and then pushing the record store to order from the record company directly?

Ruth Brown- Yeah. Well, lots of time, as I said one of the stations that had the most to do with that was the station out of Gallatin, Tennessee called Randy’s Record Shop, who played 90% black music. But in every major city, large or small, wherever there was a black person living, they had in some kind of way a means of hearing the music that belonged to them. There were Juke Boxes. There were people who collected. Sometimes you had to buy the Rhythm & Blues magazines, and order those records. But none the less, the music, itself was not going to be stopped. And that’s why the period in which I came up was so wonderful. Because the artists that did the performing got on a bus or in a car and came to the town. I mean, in the beginning I appreciated y’all saying, ”Well, teach Birmingham who Ruth Brown is.” Birmingham knows who Ruth Brown is. You know. Um…I’ve come here so many times, sang in this particular town so many times, worked out of here for neighboring towns. Because Birmingham, even with all the problems that existed, had the one place that we could all stay comfortably. And that was Gaston’s Motel. A. G. Gaston took care of a lot of hungry performers, you know. Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke, all us owe him money right now, I betcha, for rent we couldn’t pay.


Ruth Brown and Bob Friedman, “Ruth Brown, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed January 21, 2019,

Output Formats


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>

Item Relations

This item has no relations.

Social Bookmarking