|Born||March 6, 1914|
Newberry County, South Carolina United States
|Origin|| Brooklyn, New York |
|Died||September 13, 2002 88)(aged|
|Associated acts|| Ralph Bass |
Selah Jubilee Singers,
Thurman Ruth (also Therman Ruth, Thermon Ruth and T. Ruth) (March 6, 1914 – September 13, 2002), who got his start in vaudeville in 1927, was a gospel singer, deejay and concert promoter, and a forefather of such rhythm and blues (R&B) producers as Ralph Bass. Ruth had organized the Selah Jubilee Singers, a gospel group drawn from the membership of a church choir, leaving it in 1949 to pursue more secular interests in music.
Ruth was a deejay on WOV, a radio station in New York City, at a time in the late 1940s when gospel groups such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Pilgrim Travelers and the Five Blind Boys were touring the country playing in shabby settings with few amenities for the performers. Meanwhile, rhythm and blues groups were becoming so popular that theaters such as the Apollo Theater began featuring highly successful R&B revues.Gospel groups were popular on radio stations but their performances made no money.
No one had yet conceived of combining the power of gospel with the highly charged, money-making revue format of the successful R&B acts that appealed to urban audiences. In 1955, Ruth succeeded in signing a gospel group to play in a commercial theater for the first time in the history of American entertainment. Subsequently Ruth continued to feature gospel groups as a prominent and influential deejay and promoter.
Thermon Ruth was born in Newberry County, South Carolina, and moved as a child with his family to Brooklyn, New York in 1922.
By about 1927, while working as deejay at WOV in Brooklyn, he founded The Selah Jubilee Singers. The group later based in Raleigh, North Carolina, where they had a daily program of music on radio station WPTF. In 1949, Ruth formed a secular vocal group with fellow singers Allen Bunn, David McNeil, Hadie Rowe Jr., and Raymond "Pee Wee" Barnes. Based in New York, they became best known as The Larks, although the group also recorded under many other names including The Jubilators, The 4 Barons and The Southern Harmonaires. The group had some success on the Billboard R&B charts, their biggest hit being "Eyesight to the Blind" in 1951 on which Bunn (later known as Tarheel Slim) sang lead vocals. The original Larks split up in 1952.
By 1950, Ruth was very aware that gospel groups had become popular acts although they usually appeared in dusty store fronts, not in thriving, jiving black theaters.The lifestyle of the gospel singers prevented them from appearing in such venues as the Apollo Theater, while the secular R&B groups were appearing there and in other urban rhythm and blues theaters, performing pulsating hit gospel songs. Ruth had the idea of convincing Frank Schiffman, then owner of the Apollo (who was dubious that a gospel act would succeed in his theater) of giving the Selah Jubilee Singers a trial performance on the Apollo stage.
A more difficult task for Ruth was to convince the Selah Jubilee Singers that playing at the Apollo was not sinful. At that time, gospel music was considered sacred music and not to be performed as secular entertainment. Ruth convinced the group by arguing that, since the Apollo was a sinful den of iniquity, that was exactly where a gospel group should sing. There they could bring the sacred message to the sinners, and that the building itself should not matter if their performance of gospel was to worship God . Further, not only would they have a real stage with professional stage lighting and great musical acoustics, for the first time they would be guaranteed to be paid a remuneration whether the show was a success nor not.
On December 15, 1955, the Selah Jubilee Singers debuted at the Apollo, the first gospel group to play there or at any commercial theater. Thurman ensured that a variety of gospel was featured in order to broaden the appeal: gospel, jubilee, and spirituals but with an emphasis on rhythm as well as the emotional components of gospel. The shows were stimulating, exciting and a great success with the Apollo regulars. Dionne Warwick remembers that the audience became overwhelmed with emotion. "We were entertainers," remembers Ruth. Gospels acts became commercial hits.The Selah Jubilee Singers became a professional R&B group, the Larks, in the 1950s.
Ruth also taught the gospel groups to abide by theatrical rules, such as keeping firm to time limits on stage, as they were used to singing as long as the spirit hit them in the storefronts. Having to pay stage hands overtime was a major motivation in convincing the gospel groups to confine their performances to the time allotted to them. They also learned to keep theatrical schedules, performing their act whether the spirit hit them or not.
Ruth organized the first of many Gospel Caravans, a professional package tour of gospel acts modeled after the popular R&B revues that traveled the country's entertainment circuit. This was the beginning of the popularity of the touring gospel groups have become part of the American music scene.
Thurman Ruth was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Soul music is a popular music genre that originated in the African American community throughout the United States in the 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.
Pomaria is a town in Newberry County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 179 at the 2010 census.
Ruth Alston Brown was an American singer-songwriter and actress, sometimes known as the "Queen of R&B". She was noted for bringing a pop music style to R&B music in a series of hit songs for Atlantic Records in the 1950s, such as "So Long", "Teardrops from My Eyes" and "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean". For these contributions, Atlantic became known as "the house that Ruth built". Brown was a 1993 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Solomon Vincent McDonald Burke was an American preacher and singer who shaped the sound of rhythm and blues as one of the founding fathers of soul music in the 1960s. He has been called "a key transitional figure bridging R&B and soul", and was known for his "prodigious output".
Dinah Washington was an American singer and pianist, who has been cited as "the most popular black female recording artist of the '50s". Primarily a jazz vocalist, she performed and recorded in a wide variety of styles including blues, R&B, and traditional pop music, and gave herself the title of "Queen of the Blues". She was a 1986 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Lucius Venable "Lucky" Millinder was an American rhythm-and-blues and swing bandleader. Although he could not read or write music, did not play an instrument and rarely sang, his showmanship and musical taste made his bands successful. His group was said to have been the greatest big band to play rhythm and blues, and gave work to a number of musicians who later became influential at the dawn of the rock and roll era. He was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 1986.
The "5" Royales was an American rhythm and blues (R&B) vocal group from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States, that combined gospel, jump blues and doo-wop, marking an early and influential step in the evolution of rock and roll. Most of their big R&B hits were recorded in 1952 and 1953 and written by the guitarist Lowman "Pete" Pauling. Cover versions of the band's songs hit the Top 40, including "Dedicated to the One I Love", "Tell the Truth", and "Think". Brown modeled his first vocal group after the "5" Royales, and both Eric Clapton and Stax guitarist Steve Cropper cited Pauling as a key influence. The Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger covered "Think" on his 1993 solo album Wandering Spirit. The "5" Royales were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
African-American music is an umbrella term covering a diverse range of music and musical genres largely developed by African Americans. Their origins are in musical forms that arose out of the historical condition of slavery that characterized the lives of African Americans prior to the American Civil War.
The Ravens were an American R&B vocal group, formed in 1946 by Jimmy Ricks and Warren Suttles. They were one of the most successful and most influential vocal quartets of the period, and had several hits on the R&B chart in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
"Eyesight to the Blind" is a 12-bar blues song written and recorded in 1951 by Sonny Boy Williamson II. He also recorded the related songs "Born Blind", "Unseeing Eye", "Don't Lose Your Eye", and "Unseen Eye" during his career. The Larks, an American rhythm and blues group, recorded the song, which reached number five on the R&B charts in 1951. Several musicians subsequently recorded it in a variety of styles. The Who used Williamson's lyrics for their adaptation for the rock opera Tommy.
Billy Ward and his Dominoes were an American R&B vocal group. One of the most successful R&B groups of the early 1950s, the Dominoes helped launch the singing careers of two notable members, Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson.
Black and Blue is a musical revue celebrating the black culture of dance and music in Paris between World War I and World War II.
Apollo Records was a record company and label founded in New York City by Hy Siegel and Ted Gottlieb in 1944. A years later it was sold to Ike and Bess Berman. Apollo was known for blues, doo-wop, gospel, jazz, and rock and roll.
The Famous Flames were an American rhythm and blues vocal group founded in Toccoa, Georgia, in 1953 by Bobby Byrd. James Brown began his career as a member of the Famous Flames, emerging as the lead singer by the time of their first professional recording, "Please, Please, Please", in 1956.
Traditional black gospel is music that is written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding African American Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music. It is a form of Christian music and a subgenre of gospel music.
The Larks were an American vocal group, active in the early 1950s. They were not the same group as the Los Angeles-based Larks featuring Don Julian, or the Philadelphia-based group The Four Larks.
Allen Rathel Bunn, who was sometimes credited as Alden Bunn and who performed as Tarheel Slim, was an American singer, guitarist and songwriter whose work spanned gospel, blues, doowop, R&B, pop, and rockabilly. After singing in various gospel groups he became a member of The Larks before recording with his wife Anna Lee "Little Ann" Sandford, and then as a solo performer.
The Selah Jubilee Singers were an American gospel vocal quartet, who appeared in public as a gospel group but who also had a successful recording career as a secular group in the 1930s & 1940s.
The Hope Rosenwald School, also known as Hope School, is a former school at 1971 Hope Station Road near Pomaria, South Carolina. As a Rosenwald School, it served rural African-American children in the early 20th century.
Nashboro Records was an American gospel label principally active in the 1950s and 1960s.