Contemporary African-Americans may be dominating today’s rap and rock, but did you know their predecessors were into Country music as well? Yeah, wrap your brain around that thought for a moment.
Enter Ms. Ruby Falls (1946-1986). According to Ms. Pamela E. Foster, author of My Country: The African Diaspora’s Country Music Heritage and My Country, Too: The Other Black Music, Ruby Falls has made it huge as a country performer with her singles making it to the Country chart nine times from 1974 to 1979. Below, I’ve attached two of her greatest hits; “You’ve Got To Mend This Heartache” (top 40, 1977) and “I’m Getting In Your Love (top 56, 1979). She was also nominated as the Most Promising Female Vocalist in 1975 and appeared in television programs such as the Ralph Emery Show, Nashville Today, Good Ol’ Nashville Music and Music Hall America.
Her going Country budded in a small farm in Jackson, Tennesse where, as a means of finding solace from the tough farm work, she tuned in to the radio frequenting on station KLAC which is somewhere out in Gallatin, Tennessee. Having grown up, she first became a lead singer for Harvey Scales and the Seven Sounds travelling and performing country, pop, and rock in such places as Las Vegas and New York supper clubs. In 1974, Johnny discovered her and signed her up to making records and going on tours for the 50 states. So, off she moved to Nashville where she gave all her heart to the music she enjoyed the most.
She was quoted saying, “It made sense. There’s a lot of country girl left in me and I guess it shows in my music like it does in my talking…I love music and I love people, so my main goal is making music that people will love. I want to do my very best all the time so people will love me.”
And did she ever dream of up-sizing her career? Definitely! However, no doors of bigger opportunities came after her grand performance during the annual Country Radio Seminar in 1976. Nevertheless, she did not see her color an issue as to why she has not progressed further. Instead, she made a statement tin 1977 for Essence magazine;
“Everybody’s been real nice to me. I’ve never had negative incidents on the road. If I did, I wouldn’t pay them any mind…I want to be a star. No one ever told me that it was gonna be easy. I’m gonna hang on in there for as long as it takes to make it.”