Saturday, December 18, 2010
AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Ruby Johnson
Song:I'll Run Your Hurt Away
Album:I'll Run Your Hurt Away
Ruby Johnson was an outstanding soul singer who had a very brief run on Volt Records in the mid-60s. They only released three singles and I'll Run Your Hurt Away was her only chart single. She deserved better but sometimes great singers don't catch on even if they're working with Isaac Hayes & David Porter. A lot of her recordings were not released but you can now get them on this 1993 CD from Stax. She was born Apr. 19, 1936 in Elizabeth City, NC. The typical background of a soul singer like Ruby Johnson is she grew up singing in the church choir. But Ruby grew up singing in the synagogue choir. I'm not kidding. Her great-great-grandparents adopted Judaism and Ruby grew up observing all the holidays and laws of Judaism. She always wanted to be a singer. After graduating high school, she moved to the resort town of Virginia Beach, VA. She waitressed during the day and sang at night. She sang with Samuel Latham and the Rhythm Makers for two year and then moved to Washington, DC and joined Ambrose and the Showstoppers. Never Duncan Jr. became her manager in 1960. He started his own NEBS label and some of her singles got the attention of Washington DJ Al Bell. When Bell went to work for Stax in 1965, he brought Ruby with him. She recorded with Isaac Hayes & David Porter producing and was backed up by Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Al Jackson Jr of Booker T & The MGs. She couldn't ask for more than that. But Stax only released three singles and I'll Run Your Hurt Away reached #33 on the R & B Singles chart. Her other recordings sat unreleased in the vault until Stax issued this CD in 1993. The song is also on the Stax Complete Singles box set and that is likely what got Ruby some attention from soul fans. Ruby Johnson quit the music business in 1974 and eventually became the director of the non profit organization Foster Grandparents. She continued to attend synagogue near her home of Lanham, MD and died on July 4, 1999 at age 63. Many thanks to Pierre Perrone of The Independent for his 1999 Ruby Johnson obit. Here's a video for I'll Run Your Hurt Away by Ruby Johnson.