TRC

Ruth Brown: Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean 2004

Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean

Track list:

01. It’s Raining
02. So Long
03. Love Me Baby
04. I’ll Get Along Somehow
05. Rocking Blues
06. (I’ll Come Back) Someday
07. Why?
08. Am I Making the Same Mistake Again
09. Teardrops from My Eyes
10. R.B. Blues
11. I Know
12. I Don’t Want Nobody (If I Can’t Have You)
13. I’ll Wait for You
14. Standing on the Corner
15. Don’t Cry
16. It’s All for You
17. Shine On
18. Without My Love
19. Be Anything (But Be Mine)
20. 5-10-15 Hours
21. Have a Good Time
22. Daddy Daddy
23. Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean
24. Mend Your Ways
25. I Would if I Could
26. Wild Wild Young Men
27. The Tears Keep Tumbling Down

This Compilation:
Released: March 29, 2004
Label: Indigo
IGOCD 2550

Mama (2 back 1)

*****

They called Atlantic Records “the house that Ruth built” during the 1950s, and they weren’t referring to the Sultan of Swat.

Ruth Brown’s regal hit-making reign from 1949 to the close of the ’50s helped tremendously to establish the New York label’s predominance in the R&B field.

Later, the business all but forgot her — she was forced to toil as domestic help for a time — but she returned to the top, her status as a post-war R&B pioneer (and tireless advocate for the rights and royalties of her peers) recognized worldwide.

Young Ruth Weston was inspired initially by jazz chanteuses Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Dinah Washington.

She ran away from her Portsmouth home in 1945 to hit the road with trumpeter Jimmy Brown, whom she soon married.

A month with bandleader Lucky Millinder’s orchestra in 1947 ended abruptly in Washington, D.C., when she was canned for delivering a round of drinks to members of the band.

Cab Calloway’s sister Blanche gave Ruth a gig at her Crystal Caverns nightclub and assumed a managerial role in the young singer’s life.

DJ Willis Conover dug Brown’s act and recommended her to Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson, bosses of a fledgling imprint named Atlantic.

Unfortunately, Brown’s debut session for the firm was delayed by a nine-month hospital stay caused by a serious auto accident en route to New York that badly injured her leg.

When she finally made it to her first date in May 1949, she made up for lost time by waxing the torch ballad “So Long” (backed by guitarist Eddie Condon’s band), which proved to be her first hit.

Brown’s seductive vocal delivery shone incandescently on her Atlantic smashes “Teardrops in My Eyes” (an R&B chart-topper for 11 weeks in 1950), “I’ll Wait for You” and “I Know” in 1951, 1952’s “5-10-15 Hours” (another number one rocker), the seminal “(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean” in 1953, and a tender Chuck Willis-penned “Oh What a Dream,” and the timely “Mambo Baby” the next year.

Along the way, Frankie Laine tagged her “Miss Rhythm” during an engagement in Philly.

Brown belted a series of her hits on the ground-breaking TV program Showtime at the Apollo in 1955, exhibiting delicious comic timing while trading sly one-liners with MC Willie Bryant (ironically, ex-husband Jimmy Brown was a member of the show’s house band).
~Bill Dahl

*****

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