Ruth Brown – Rock & Roll


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Ruth Brown – Rock & Roll

Ruth Brown - Rock & Roll

Rock & Roll, indeed. Ruth Brown’s sizzling full-length debut — also known by its eponymous title — symbolises what was exciting, fresh, invigorating, and raw about the burgeoning style in its halcyon days.

Originally released in 1957, and reissued here in audiophile quality for the first time in partnership with Atlantic Records’ 75th anniversary, the set remains a testament to one of the most pioneering and talented vocalists to ever command a stage.

Mastered on Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab’s renowned mastering system in California, pressed at RTI, housed in a Stoughton jacket, and strictly limited to 2,000 numbered copies, Mobile Fidelity’s 180g mono LP of Rock & Roll plays with an immediacy, vibrancy, and fullness that showcase the reach, power, and emotionalism of Brown’s voice.

The sound of her support musicians — brassy horns, swinging rhythm combos, echoing backing vocalists, rollicking pianists, jaunty guitarists — is made clear and vivid, helping the upbeat fare to jump, juke, and jive with newfound energy and exuberance. In a related manner, Brown’s slower, more understated material crackles with an intimacy and passion that let you know you’re in the presence of a woman who has lived what she sings.

The longtime Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member deserves nothing less.

In an era dominated by big-throated vocalists, few — if any — came grander than Brown.

The singer, whose repeat million-selling ‘50s success with Atlantic Records led many to call the then-indie label “The House That Ruth Built,” charted two dozen R&B hits in the span of a decade for the fledgling imprint.

Rightly coined “Miss Rhythm,” the extroverted Brown put Atlantic on the national map, became the best-selling female musician of the ‘50s, and established a precedent that would ultimately lead to Grammy and Tony Awards. Her early works have lost none of their fire or flair.

Akin to many full-length LPs of its era, Rock & Roll doubles as a collection. Its 14 tracks comprise some of the more famous sides Brown recorded for Atlantic, beginning in 1949 with the all-time-great rendition of the ballad “So Long,” and continuing through 1956. After the song caught the public’s ear, the Virginia native briefly became known for her smoldering style with lovelorn material and torch songs, approaching them (see “Oh What a Dream,” “Old Man River”) with a combination of pained sadness and hardened resilience that had no contemporary equal.

Encouraged to pursue the style by Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmt Ertegun, her R&B-driven material soon made her a constant chart presence.

Demonstrating what fellow legend Bonnie Raitt deemed “sex with class and dignity,” Brown merges blues and jazz, swing and gospel in electrifying fashion. She dares you not to move, dance, and get on your feet.

A majority of Rock & Roll explodes with uptempo runs and jaunty readings of hot-blooded R&B numbers. Sweaty and sultry, bawdy and bold, Brown eclipses the anthemic blare of the saxophones and joyful clatter of the 88s, singing with a slight catch in her voice and hurricane-gale force that threatens to blow the roof off whatever room her voice occupies.

Evidence abounds. Listen to her prod the band and encourage the band members to blow a fuse on a sizzling “Hello Little Boy,” complete with cries and wails; stretch her phrasing to the heavens on the swaying “Wild Wild Young Men,” laden with romp-and-stomp beats; plead and persuade on the snaking “5-10-15 Hours,” which flips the script on the age’s notions of dominance; use her raspy tones, high notes, and breath control to mesmerising effect on the smash “Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean,” recorded with a group led by Ray Charles; survey the scene and take charge on the steaming “As Long as I’m Moving”; and tap a classy albeit flirtatious vein on “Lucky Lips,” which dented the pop charts as her first crossover hit.

Throughout Rock & Roll, Brown knows the lyrical connotations and spirited architecture of the songs inside-out. Her assertive voice — never harsh, strident, or false — is the epitome of the passionate desires and sonic strains that turned into nascent rock ’n’ roll. Brown played a pivotal role in helping the style develop, the record a timeless reminder of a lasting legacy that will never be forgotten.

 Track List:Ruth Brown – Rock & Roll

 Lucky Lips

As Long as I’m Moving

Wild Wild Young Men

Daddy Daddy

Mambo Baby

Teardrops from My Eyes

Hello Little Boy

Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean

5-10-15 Hours

It’s Low Baby

Sentimental Journey

Old Man River

So Long

Oh What a Dream


Mobile Fidelity

Mobile Fidelity Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has been the undisputed pioneer and leader in audiophile recordings since the company's inception in 1977. Established by dedicated audiophiles, Mobile Fidelity's first and foremost goal was to offer faithfully reproduced high fidelity recordings that would compliment the numerous advances occurring in audio delivery systems. Throughout its history, Mobile Fidelity has remained true to this goal, pioneering state-of-the-art technologies and setting audiophile standards that remain in place today. In response to rapid advancements in both recording formats and audio delivery systems over the past several years, Mobile Fidelity has maintained its ongoing commitment to improving industry standards. This has resulted in the introduction of numerous innovations in the audiophile arena: half-speed mastered Original Master Recording™ LPs, Ultra High Quality Records™ (UHQRs), high fidelity cassettes, consumer alignment devices for phono cartridges and audio cassette decks, Original Master Recording™ compact discs, the 24-karat gold plated Ultradisc™ CD and the Ultradisc™ Ultra High Resolution™ (UHR). To this day the independently owned firm continues its commitment to exceeding industry standards.  

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