Note....this page is currently gone from the net,
but the data is too valuable to not share it, until that wonderful
site, The Blue Pages, returns.
The BLUE PAGES
The Encyclopedic Guide to 78 R. P. M. Party Records
© David Diehl 1996
Born in Brooklyn, NY. and still alive and well. Started singing with
big bands such as Isham Jones. Featured as a single at the Hotel forrest
in New York City in 1941. Married to Hy Pastman, manager of the Latin
Quarter in Boston who became her manager. She later had her own highly
successful party label but earlier recorded her gently risque tunes
for legitimate labels so her entire 78 R.P.M. output is listed as
nearly as possible. Goldmine published an interview with her in 1997.
--And DeLuxe Rhythm Men, Fall, 1947
(408) Your Daddy Was a Soldier........DELUXE 1089-B, MILTONE 1089
(409) Johnny Had a Yo Yo..............DELUXE 1089-A, MILTONE 1089
(410) Oil Man from Texas..............DELUXE 1091, MILTONE 1091
(411) Too Many Men....................DELUXE 1091, MILTONE 1091
--The King label acquired Deluxe and Michael Ruppli's King Discography
notes the following rejected session from 1947:
(453) Fishing Song
(454) Senorita Whats Her Name
(455) Pull Down the Shade Marie
(456) It's a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba
(457) Jose Lives the Life of Reilly
(458) Down In the Indies
--Late 1947, first three discs in Deluxe album 2, Miltone album
No. 86 both titled "Rhumba Party"
(524) Fishing Song...............................DELUXE 1110, MILTONE
(525) Senorita Whats Her Name....................DELUXE 1111, MILTONE
(526) Pull Down the Shade Marie..................DELUXE 1112, MILTONE
(527) Jose Lives the Life of Reilly..............DELUXE 1111, MILTONE
(528) Down In the Indies.........................DELUXE 1112, MILTONE
(529) It's a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba...DELUXE 1110, MILTONE
(530) Have a Baby................................DELUXE 1124
(531) Teacher, What's a Shmoe?...................DELUXE 1124
(819) Evolution..........................MILTONE 1011
(820) I Can't Wed You....................MILTONE 1011
(821) The Dinghy Song....................DELUXE 1183-A
(822) Tonight You Sleep In the Bathtub...DELUXE 1183-B
--c. late 1953 Orch. arranged and conducted by Dave Terry. "Dear
Mr. Godfrey" can be heard on A&E's 'Biography' episode devoted
(MO-57) Dear Mr. Godfrey.........................MONARCH MO 3005
(MO-58) Say Hello To Joe.........................MONARCH MO 3005
(MO-59) Like Papa and Me.........................MONARCH MO-3006
(MO-60) Kiss-a-Me-Slow...........................MONARCH MO-3006
(MO-63) The Pharoah's Daughter-in-law...MONARCH MO-3007
(MO-64) Dear Liberace............................MONARCH MO-3007
Soda Jerk.........................SIMPLEX 101
--With Dixieland-style accomp. 2000,1 and 2 in album W-3 "Cafe
Party" c. 1953 Many copies show a reversed ampersand (&)
in the runoff.
(W100-2) Gimme (What You Promise Me)........WALLIS ORIGINAL 2002
(W102-2) Sweater Girl.......................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2000
(W104-3) The Pistol Song....................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2001
(W105-2) The Admirals Daughter..............WALLIS ORIGINAL 2000
(W106-3) Tonight For Sure...................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2001
(W107-2) (It's Been a) Long Long Time.......WALLIS ORIGINAL 2002
(W109) Jamaica Rum..........................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2003
(W110) Down in Montivideo.......................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2005
(W111) Chile Was Hot (But Willie Was Not)...WALLIS ORIGINAL 2004
(W112) The Love Samba ......................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2004
(W113) Ubangi!..............................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2003
(W114) The Bells Song.............................WALLIS ORIGINAL
--With Ray Charles Chorus and Mac Ceppos Orch. (This series is not
(W115) Remember...................WALLIS ORIGINAL 3001
(W116) Pleasant, Present Pastime.......WALLIS ORIGINAL 3002
(W117) Bella Bella................WALLIS ORIGINAL 3001
(W118) Friendship....................WALLIS ORIGINAL 3002
(W119) 4-F Papa...................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2006
(W120) New YoYo Song..............WALLIS ORIGINAL 2007
(W121) Stay Out of My Pantry......WALLIS ORIGINAL 2007
(W122) The Cowboy Song............WALLIS ORIGINAL 2006
(W123) Long-Playing Daddy.........WALLIS ORIGINAL 2008
(W124) Gold Mine..................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2008
(W125) The Fishing Pole Song.............WALLIS ORIGINAL 2009
(W126) My Old Soldier (Isn't Fading Away)...WALLIS ORIGINAL 2009
(W127)The Hawaiian Lei Song.............WALLIS ORIGINAL 2010
(W128) Vacation Song.....................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2010
(W129) Large Size Mama (Small Size Papa)..............WALLIS ORIGINAL
(W130) If I Had Said Yes.................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2011
She Never Gets Got................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2012
Confidential Kitty................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2012
The Pop-up Song...................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2013
Education.........................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2013
Down in the Bahamas...............WALLIS ORIGINAL 2014
Drill 'Em All.....................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2014
Davy's Dinghy.....................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2015
Queer Things (Are Happening)......WALLIS ORIGINAL 2015
Down In the Indies................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2017
Tonight You Sleep In the Bathtub..WALLIS ORIGINAL 2017
The Fishing Song..................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2018
(Too Many) Men in My Life.........WALLIS ORIGINAL 2018
Pull Down The Shade Marie.........WALLIS ORIGINAL 2019
The Dinghy Song...................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2019
Psycho Mambo......................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2020
This Old House....................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2020
Wallis First Time Starter.........WALLIS ORIGINAL 2021
All Night Long....................WALLIS ORIGINAL 2021
Take Me To Your Boss..............WALLIS ORIGINAL 2025
Wallis recorded for King in 1966 at which time that company acquired
her WALLIS ORIGINAL material. Unfortunately there seems to be no documentation
in the files.
Ruth WALLIS had her own label in the mid-1950's with distribution
in the U.S. and Canada. Headquartered in Linden, NJ, it was a partnership
of Wallis, her husband/manager Hy Pastman and Joe Liebowitz of Deluxe
Records at 20-28 E. Elizabeth Ave, Linden. Cream label with dark brown
print or white with red print. Known range 2000-2025 plus a lone popular
series entry at 3001. Matrix series begins at 200, prefixed by W in
the runoff. Take numbers appear after mx. number on the label and
in the runoff, if shown at all. Small variations in titles and label
credits exist from pressing to pressing. King acquired the label and
renumbered everything for microgroove reissue and recorded some new
material in 1966 but the original files have not yet come to light.
The following interview/article appeared in Goldmine, and was on
the net, and now gone.
RUTH WALLIS: RETURN OF THE SAUCY CHANTEUSE
By Chuck Miller
Originally published in Goldmine
It's 1965 at a small supper club in Lake Tahoe. A lady takes the stage,
sitting down at the piano. A trio of
musicians behind her - a drummer, a violinist, a trumpeter - prepare
for the first number. The lady begins playing the keys. The show begins.
"Loretta's a sweater girl now... Loretta's a better girl now...
How does she steal away each fellow's heart? She's got two outstanding
reasons... she's cute and she's smart," she sings.
Many of the patrons have purchased copies of her most recent albums,
even though they had to scour
three or four record stores for the discs. Not because they were rare,
mind you. She continues her show, singing
about an Italian man who wanted nothing more than a little pizza every
night. Or a Russian man who polished his
samovar while his girlfriend waited all night. With a wink of an eye
and a flighty giggle, Ruth Wallis had another
Throughout the 1950's and 1960's, Ruth Wallis was the queen of
the risqué records - less blatant than
Rusty Warren, more eye-appealing than Belle Barth. "I've collected
Ruth Wallis material for about 10 years now," said Darcy McCrea,
a Wallis fan from Alberta. "If you get into period pieces of
the 60's, you pick up a Rusty Warren or Woody Woodbury record, but
those songs get dated real fast. Ruth's songs are just so timeless.
Those classic tunes are just incredible. And the fact that she pulled
it off as a woman, running her own independent company, writing her
own music. And she's still doing that today."
Even today, the saucy chanteuse still writes and produces music,
this time for the Broadway stage.
Novelty music fans to kitsch collectors hunt the record shows and
flea markets for her music. A revue of her most famous songs, Boobs,
is in pre-production for the Los Angeles theater circuit. Not bad
for a woman whose songs were never played on top 40 radio. Ruth Wallis
was born in Brooklyn, either during the Roaring 20's or the Depression-era
1930's - she wouldn't give her age, simply saying with a wink of an
eye, "The year has since passed."
After high school, the teenager sang in both the Isham Jones and
Benny Goodman orchestras. "I had one
week with Benny Goodman," said Wallis, "but he said I was
a soloist, not a vocalist." From there, she toured around the
country with other orchestras, slowly building her own stage presence
and confidence. By the early 1940's, she joined the cocktail lounge
circuit, where she sat at a piano and sang for the dining customers.
Sometimes she would perform at the hotel lounges from city to city,
finally settling down for a time at Boston's Latin Quarter. It was
there she met Hy Pastman. He was the manager of the Latin Quarter,
and a two-week engagement later became a three-week engagement, then
a diamond ring engagement, then marriage.
Ruth continued to tour after she and Hy were married, returning
to the Latin Quarter for some shows. The patrons liked Ruth's songs,
especially the torch ballads she wrote herself. They especially went
wild over some songs Ruth inserted into the show - novelty songs with
a smidgeon of double-entendre - singing about how Johnny had a yo-yo
that he played with all day long, or about Freddy the fisherman's
son, and how long his fishing pole was. "There were times when
the audience was very funny," she said, "and while they
were laughing at me, I was laughing at them." Soon fans asked
Ruth where they could purchase her songs. "I was
performing songs like 'She's Got Freckles On Her But She Is Nice.'
And somebody said to me, 'Gee Ruth, why don't you try to follow that
up with a song of your own?' "So I wrote 'Johnny Had A Yo-Yo.'
I sat at the piano and the words would come to me and the music would
come to me. I always figured it all related back to an
ancestor who was an Italian satirical writer. I was told many years
later that I had an ancestor like that in Italy - I never knew his
real name, but I guess I got my writing ability from him." But
the large record companies at the time - RCA, Columbia, Decca - were
not interested in performers with ribald, sexy double-entendre lyrics.
No station would play those records on the radio, for fear of losing
their FCC license. Most record stores wouldn't stock them. The few
record companies that did produce such records were small labels like
DeLuxe or Jubilee, companies who could keep the overhead low and the
Ruth Wallis originally signed with DeLuxe Records, a Newark, New
Jersey-based company. She released
some 45's and 78 rpm box sets with the company, including a song that
would become her trademark - "The Dinghy Song" (DeLuxe 1183,
re-released as Wallis Original 2019). The song told of Davey, a man
with "the cutest little dinghy in the Navy," and it sold
a quarter of a million copies. It even spawned three recorded sequels
- "Davy's Dinghy," "The Admiral's Daughter" and
"The New Dinghy Song" - all written by Wallis.
By 1952, Ruth and Hi decided it was time to form their own record
company. "The director of DeLuxe, Joe
Liebowitz, became a family friend. We formed Wallis Original Records,
and he actually became half-partner. It
was our own company - my husband and Joe were the bosses."
Wallis Original started releasing 10-inch LP's containing a mixture
of previously-recorded material, standards
from her Latin Quarter shows, and newly recorded pieces. Wallis sang
and played the piano on these discs,
with musical accompaniment from New York's best studio musicians,
such as the Ray Charles Singers and the Mac Ceppos Orchestra. "On
the recordings, we had musicians from big orchestras, who were willing
to do outside jobs and recording sessions," said Wallis. "We
had some of the finest musicians who got a kick out of doing the stuff,
because it was away from their usual pattern. Jimmy Carroll was a
very big director and
conductor, and he did all the orchestrations, a very talented man.
He brought in all the musicians from the big bands, saying, 'Let's
go do a session with Ruth Wallis, it'll be fun.' We recorded in New
York. When I did my calypso albums, we had a lot of fun. The fellas
got such a kick out of that kind of music, it wasn't the kind they
were accustomed to playing. I had to attempt to have an accent to
record lyrics like, 'Down in the Indies / They don't wear undies /
Except on Sundays / Because Sunday is a day of rest,' and songs with
titles like, 'The Gay Young Lad from Trinidad.'"
One of Ruth's biggest non-saucy records was recorded in 1953.
Arthur Godfrey was an early television
pioneer and talk show host, while singer Julius LaRosa was a regular
performer on the program. LaRosa began to draw more fan letters than
Godfrey, and on October 1953, Godfrey fired LaRosa from his show,
claiming that the loyal singer "had lost his humility."
That "humility" comment became the basis for "Dear
Mr. Godfrey" (Monarch 3005), where Wallis skewered
the pompous television host. "Dear Mr. Godfrey Listen to my plea
Hire me and fire me And make a star of me..."
Recently, when A&E produced a Biography episode about Arthur Godfrey,
Ruth's song "Dear Mr. Godfrey"
was heard as background music, one of the few times a Wallis tune
has made it to the television airwaves.
A few years later, Ruth was tempted to rewrite the hit, this time
as a letter to Liberace. "I started to write a song for Liberace,
he was a wonderful person. He was going to get married at the time,
and I couldn't fathom it. So I started writing what was going to be
a takeoff on 'Dear Mr. Godfrey,' it was going to go something like,
'Dear Liberace, don't marry that darn girl.' I never went through
with it, because his manager had a little disagreement with me on
that. I could understand that now - Lee couldn't have married that
anyway. But Lee was a lovely person." Liberace wasn't the only
famous person Ruth Wallis encountered on her tours. During an early
1960's lounge club engagement in New Orleans, Wallis performed "(Mama
Told Us) Bring The Boys To The House," a blistering satire of
the often-married Gabor sisters. "I was working in New Orleans
at the Monteleone Hotel, and at that time Zsa Zsa was engaged to the
mayor or the governor of New Orleans, I can't remember which. He was
in the audience during my show, and after I got through with that
number, he came up to me and said to me, 'Ruth, you really shouldn't
do that number when you're here in New Orleans.'" Six months
later, she was in Miami at another show. Figuring she was far enough
away from New Orleans and anybody Zsa Zsa Gabor was engaged to, she
performed "Bring The Boys To The House" again. "After
the show, the Gabor sisters' mother came backstage to meet me. She
was in the audience, I didn't know that. And she told me, in that
Hungarian accent, 'Darling, oh you are so deliciously dirty.' She
was very charming. I was flattered."
In 1964, she was the featured performer at the Fountainbleu Hotel
in Miami, when some other guests of the
hotel were causing a stir among the staff. "The Beatles had just
come over from England, and I was working at the Fountainbleu Hotel
for Lou Walters, who was Barbara Walters' father. He was the head
of the entertainment, and he booked me there. My children went to
see the Beatles, so I let them. I didn't have the time. I'm sure John
Lennon wasn't interested at the time in hearing me sing about the
cutest little dinghy in the navy." Ruth didn't have time for
the Beatles or anybody else. She was releasing two albums a year,
albums of saucy material with torch ballad albums with coy titles
like Love Is For The Birds and Torrid Love Songs Of Men And Memories.
"I always had one ballad in the middle of the show, and at the
end I would sing a song called, 'This Is The Only Life I Know,' about
a performer who didn't have much of a life, and when
she was going to get older, what was going to happen. It was a sad
song. And people couldn't get over the fact that I closed on that
show. They would tell me, 'Oh I feel so sorry for you,' and I told
them, 'Don't feel sorry for
me. My family's waiting for me at the other end of the building.'"
But she had to watch as her best novelty songs were covered by
artists like Rusty Warren and Belle Barth, singers whose humor was
more vulgar than Wallis ever imagined. "Belle Barth would come
up to me and say, 'I do your songs much better than you do.' And I
don't know why - I never did the stuff crudely. There was no point
to it. But the words spoke for themselves. It was never a matter of
portraying sex. And Belle Barth couldn't exude sex. I simply said
to her, 'Thank you.' What am I going to say to her, 'No you don't?'
"I went on to accomplish so much more than they did. When
Stan Irwin came to hire me for the Sahara, I was working in Tahoe
in the early 60's, and he came up to see me and he said, 'Ruth, I
want to hire you to come in and work the lounges.' "I said, 'Lounges?'
"He said, 'Ruth, if you don't take this thing, I'm going to hire
Rusty Warren.' "At the time, I wasn't aware she was doing my
songs. I said, 'Don't worry Stan, I'll be there.'"
She even had to contend with a soundalike named Ruth Wallace. "We
stopped her from issuing her album. I was always working, I was busy
recording, my husband and Joe took care of the business. I cashed
the royalty checks." Meanwhile, Pastman and Liebowitz were trying
to find record stores that would stock Wallis Original records. "Since
the day I recorded 'Johnny Had a Yo-Yo,' my music was banned in Boston.
I had a lot of stories in the newspapers, 'Ruth Wallis is Banned in
Boston.' The radio stations wouldn't play my stuff, they said forget
it. I could perform at the Latin Quarter and the Bradford Hotel in
Boston, but I couldn't hear my songs on the radio. Because I was 'Banned
in Boston,' that's was brought people in to hear me."
But Pastman and Liebowitz did find an outlet for the records -
in Canada, in England, in France - anyplace
where the broadcasting standards were less restrictive. So while Ruth
was making an adequate living on the
supper club circuit, her albums became huge sellers in foreign countries.
In London and Toronto, in Hong Kong and in Paris, record stores couldn't
stock Ruth Wallis records fast enough. It was while she was expecting
her second child that she received a phone call from Johnny Franz,
a British record company president. Franz wanted Wallis to come to
England and record an album. "When I got to London, I worked
the big hotel rooms there, playing my songs to such large crowds.
It was like coming out of the shadows into the sunshine. In the recording
studio at the record company, the pianist said to me, 'Ruth, it's
been a pleasure playing your songs, I've accompanied so many singers
doing your songs.' I never played the very big theaters in America.
It wasn't until I went overseas that they booked me into these terrific
rooms and places. They weren't lounges - they were big nightclubs."
By the mid-1960's, Ruth Wallis appeared in Australia for a two-week
engagement at a Sydney nightclub. It
was to be the first of seven Australian tours over a ten-year period,
and Ruth and Hy brought their two children,
Ronnie and Alan, for a family vacation Down Under. But as she disembarked
from the plane at Sydney's Mascot Airport, customs agents seized eighteen
copies of "Hot Songs For Cool Knights" from her arms. They
would not let the albums enter the country - and if Wallis wasn't
careful, they would not let her into the country, either. The customs
agents brought Wallis into a room and questioned her for an hour about
her music. She told
the Australian newspapers that there should have been no reason why
her records should be banned from an entire continent. "There
is definitely nothing obscene or salacious about any of my songs,"
she told a Variety reporter at the time. "I'll fight this ridiculous
ban to the very limit. How can they ban my records when they haven't
even heard them?"
Finally the records were returned to Wallis and she was allowed
to perform. The songs still couldn't be
heard on Australian radio ... but if you knew somebody who knew somebody
who had connections, a wellheeled
Aussie could nab a couple of discs for his own personal listening
pleasure. An example of the brouhaha can be heard on Wallis' concert
album, Live and Kicking (Wallis Original WLP 19). "I've been
on your talk shows," she said to the cheering Sydney crowd, "I've
been on your television shows - and in your Equity courts." She
joked about her confiscated albums, informing the crowd that if they
wanted copies, they could purchase them at
Mascot Airport. "I got a lot of publicity on that trip,"
she recalls today. "I did tremendous business, I played twice
after that on that tour in the hotels there. The Aussies were just
wonderful for me. When I went to Australia, I was on all the talk
shows. They finally let me have the records back."
During the 1960's, Wallis performed around the world - San Francisco,
Hong Kong, Melbourne, Johannesburg, London - and although her saucy
songs were never heard on the radio, fans still lined up at concert
halls and nightclubs to hear her sing. "I was hired to perform
in Honolulu, at an Army base. And I had a couple of shows to do there.
Unknown to me, they had also hired a bevy of strippers. The strippers
came on first, and then I came on. After my show, they told me I wasn't
risqué enough. The promoter had to warn me - don't go home
with any of the soldiers, have someone pick you up and take you home.
The strippers thought my songs were great, but the soldiers didn't
think I was risqué enough. That was the first time I performed
In America, Wallis still made appearances at supper clubs and lounges,
playing the same venues as the hottest
comedians and bandleaders around. "Louis Prima had a group that
played in the lounge when I performed. Joe E. Lewis, a very famous
comedian, also played the lounges. I followed Lenny Bruce in a little
club in Los Angeles. What a filthy little mouth he had. My audience
was wonderful. Anybody got out of line, made a rude comment to me,
I'd tell them, 'Go wait in the car.'" Yet as her career was reaching
its peak, Ruth spent so much time writing and performing that her
two children - daughter Ronnie and son Alan - were drifting away.
"We were living in Boston, but I was never home. I always had
a housekeeper, my parents - and Hy's parents - were there all the
time. My husband was there some of the time, but he went with me to
Australia as my manager. I never tackled business, my husband and
Joe Liebowitz ran the business. I would sit myself in the corner with
a pad of paper and a pen and start writing. My children would say,
'Mom, mom,' and I would say, 'Please don't bother me, I'm writing.'
It happens with children - my son understands now - what went on before.
My daughter always thought I loved my son Alan more than I loved her.
And consequently, they had not been getting on for years. "A
while back, I wrote to my granddaughter Melissa. In the letter, I
told her I was not much of a
conversationalist, because I've never spoken much. I didn't have many
friends when I was going to high school, I sat in a corner when I
was home and just kept on writing songs. At the end of the letter,
I asked Melissa if she would let her mother read it. So when my daughter
Ronnie read it, she understood that it wasn't that I didn't love them
any less. I just didn't have enough time to love them more."
So in the early 1970's, Wallis retired from performing, giving
her final concert in Australia.
Today, Wallis splits her time between an apartment in London and a
ranch house in eastern Connecticut
that she shares with her son Alan and two cats, Bonnie and Clyde.
Hy Pastman, her husband and manager,
passed away in 1987, and Ruth still recalls the great memories and
time they spent together. A framed picture of them sits in their morning
room, adjacent to an abstract painting commemorating Ruth's career
- even a little
painted dinghy tucked away in the corner of the canvas. She has turned
her focus toward writing movie scripts and Broadway shows. Some of
the musical scores she has created - "Once Upon Atlantis,"
"Prinny," "Mama Was A Star" - have received positive
feedback, and all are in various stages of preparation for Broadway
production. Wallis wrote all the songs for the shows, eschewing her
previous salacious material for a more articulate twist of the lyric.
"Once Upon Atlantis takes place in the Hotel Atlantis, off
the coast of Florida. And it's about a young British novelist and
her aunt Jess, who come over to the island to do some research on
Atlantis. And in the course of time, she meets with the strange Zizabooty
from the other end of the island, a mysterious multimillionaire, and
it floats back to the days when she was a goddess in Atlantis, and
he was just a fella. It goes back and forth between the past and the
"Prinny is based on King George IV of England, when he was
the Prince of Wales, and he had to marry a German princess, Caroline,
because they needed money. And he had a few ladies on the side, which
is very prevalent today, even in London. Barbra Streisand's sister
wanted to play the part of Caroline, but she got tired of waiting
for the money to come in."
"And Mama Was A Star was about a star who had been married
at least twice, and was getting unhappy, getting a little older, and
her daughter, who really didn't love her too much, her daughter also
wanted to be in show business, and about the romance she had with
an older producer. And about the kids at that age. It takes place
in the 50's or the 40's, I can't remember that part. Robert Goulet
heard one of the songs from that show, 'All the Clowns Are Not In
the Circus,' and he loved it. He told me he wanted to perform that
Lately, Ruth Wallis records have been rediscovered by a new audience.
Tunes like "The Dinghy Song" and "Johnny Had A Yo-Yo"
finally found a radio home on the Dr. Demento show. Wallis appeared
with Dr. Demento on one of his broadcasts, and fielded some questions
from the listening audience. And for fans who missed Ruth Wallis'
songs, she is preparing a cabaret show called Boobs, a revue of her
best material, headlined by British cabaret performer Ruby Venezuela.
"Boobs would be the 'Happy-Gay-Lucky' review. We would have some
very fine female impersonators, plus one real live girl, and with
some staging and constumes. This would incorporate many of my old
hits. It would be like a showpiece from La Cage Aux Folles."
A cassette of Wallis' most famous songs was released in England
last year, but Wallis doesn't think very much of it. Even today, she
still cares about how her songs are performed and aired. And every
year, she still receives a tidy royalty from her songs, with ASCAP
statements coming in from Italy, England and France. "A performer
in Miami wanted my songs, but he thought he had the right to do anything
he wanted with the songs - he really didn't. And at that time I thought
I had a manager in London. I had one, but he wasn't worth tuppence.
And what he did was - he put this cassette out - took the artwork
from one of my old album covers - and he didn't even bother to remaster
the tape. The balance was all off. I took the tape away from him.
I get letters from young people who found my old records, and they
want to know where they can get the rest of them. We're trying to
find somebody who can put the records out again. Somehow I thought
the music would be passe now, but it's not and I'm flattered. I started
out being a writer, and I ended up being a writer, because of these
musicals. The scripts and the music and the words. I came full circle."
Was there one song that Ruth Wallis liked among all the saucy,
ribald material she recorded? Was there
one classic she would most like to be remembered for? "My favorite
song - the one I'm most proud of - is 'My Children Are My Treasure.'
You've never heard that. And the audience never heard that. That was
one I wrote specifically for my children, when they were very young.
And I only performed it for them."