Remembering Ruth Wallis

December 18th, 2009 | admin | No Comments | Categories: Blog

  • Two years ago this month, we were saddened to learn of the loss the remarkable singer, songwriter, pianist, and comic Ruth Wallis– a genius of the risque, a poet of the saucy. Like so many, we were long-time fans of Wallis classics like ‘It’s a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba,” “The Dinghy Song,” “Queer Things,” “Drill ‘Em All,” and of course, “Marriage Jewish Style.”

    Wallis was born in Brooklyn and sang with Benny Goodman, before dominating the the cocktail lounge circuit in the 50s and 60s, ruling Boston’s Latin Quarter, and releasing a slew of LPs for labels like DeLuxe, King, and eventually the label she founded with her husband Hy Pastman, Wallis Original Records.

    After she passed, we connected with her son Alan Pastman, who has been doing amazing work preserving his mother’s important legacy. He’s overseen two compilations: the first, Boobs features the double entendre dazzle– clever, but never vulgar– Wallis was best known for, and the second Love Is For The Birds re-issues a 1959 jazz album of more straight ahead material. Fittingly, Pastman includes a previously unreleased bonus track, “My Children are My Treasure.”

    As he told us last year, “I think that most people will find it hard to believe that ‘My Children are My Treasure’ was written by the same person that wrote ‘You’ve Gotta Have Boobs’.”

    To mark the two year anniversary of his mother’s death, Pastman sent us this short tribute:

    “Ruth Wallis wrote words and music to 150+ songs. Her career spanned three decades and four continents. Typecast as solely a risque cabaret performer, her music was eschewed by the media and banned in Boston during the Eisenhower era. December 22nd will mark the second anniversary of my mother’s passing. Since then, she’s received more notice from the mainstream media than during her 30 year career. The New York Times published a nice article about Ruth Wallis in their January 3 (2008) edition. Time Magazine gave her kind mention in their “Milestones” section. “Boobs ! the Musical” opened at New York’s Triad Theater in May of 2003. Based on Ruth Wallis’ catalogue of music, it ran for 300+ performances, with encores in New Orleans and Wichita. There’s been a resurgence of interest in Ruth Wallis’ music. College stations have been introducing her music to new fans around the U.S. Not bad for the “Saucy Chanteuse” who was banned in Boston.”

    Click here to read her New York Times obit.

    And here are some other Ruth Wallis gems:

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

* Name, Email, and Comment are Required