February 20, 2012

Ruby Johnson: Epitome of Deep Soul.

Some of the unsung heroes (and heroines) of music this week. Ruby Johnson is a name almost completely completely unknown these days, and probably would have been forgotten had it not been for the UK Northern Soul revival in the early 1990's and collectors discovery of her singles recorded for Stax in the mid-1960's.

Johnson recorded for several different labels before landing at Stax. And even though she got a lot of support and top-notch production, her singles failed to chart and she eventually packed it in around 1974 and changed careers. Despite several attempts from UK Soul reissue labels to get her out of retirement, she closed that chapter of her history and passed away in 1999 at age 63.

Tonight it's an alternate take of one of her singles for Stax, recorded in 1966, It's Not That Easy. It features the writing/production team of Issac Hayes and David Porter and is first class all the way.

Hard to imagine she didn't achieve a wild measure of success, but I guess that just proves how unpredictable the world of music really is.

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