Saturday, November 24, 2007

I Have a "Weak Spot" for Ruby Johnson

So many people came through the doors of Stax Records that it's hard to keep up with them all. In fact, every time I walk through the "Hall of Records" inside the museum (which is almost every day!), I see something I hadn't seen before. Another artist who had one LP or some singles but never had that breakthrough hit for whatever reason.

One of those artists is Ruby Johnson, who signed to Stax/Volt in 1965. I actually found out about her when the punk Detroit Cobras covered one of her singles, "Weak Spot," written by the incredible duo of Isaac Hayes and David Porter. I discovered that in our Satellite Record & Gift Shop, we carried the one Ruby Johnson complilation CD, "I'll Run Your Hurt Away," which includes "Weak Spot." I haven't stopped listening to it since.

I recently asked David Porter about Johnson (who passed away in 1999 after a quiet life outside the music business for the most part). I'm paraphrasing David here, but he told me that she had something very special, that all of the sadness and other emotions in her life came through in her voice and in her styling of a song. Indeed.

I haven't been able to find any live video of Johnson, but came across this piece from You Tube, on which "Weak Spot" is the background song for a photo montage of stills of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hope you enjoy is as much as I do. If the sound skips on your computer, just got to You Tube and type "Ruby Johnson Stax" into the search bar.



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later/dp said...

How awesome! Never envisioned junxtaposing Ruby Johnson's "Weak Spot" with Rev. Dr. MLK, Jr. Incredible!
Ruby Johnson was a phenomenal Soul sister, singer and artist. I know because I had the privilege of working with her. She was an ideal recording artist and a producer's dream. I regret that she did not get the chance to blossom at Stax Records. Ruby had so much potential and personality and passion for Soul music. Like you, Tim, I listen to the only album (now cd) that Ruby recorded on the STAX label. It's a jewel. Thanks for remembering Ruby Johnson. She turns me on too!

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