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Bobby was bringing songs to Atlantic, that's how we met. We became real good friends. He was the first to look out for my royalties. He was trying to get his too. It took me 8 years to get it straightened out.

He went down to the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., and he was scared about it. It was primarily a black theatre. At the time, Bobby was making up his mind about what he wanted to do. I went down with him and introduced him to everybody. At the time, next door to the theatre was a place called Cecilia's Stage Door. That's where everybody hung out, all the performers. I stayed with him a few days and everybody loved him. We used to watch the movies between shows. Even then he wanted to do acting. His favorite actor, he just died, was Jack Elam. Bobby LOVED him as an actor.

Did I perform with him? Well, when we were at the Howard Theatre, we used to clown around. The midnight show, he introduced me from the seats. I was offstage and he hollered.

He was nervous about going. The Howard Theatre was a landmark for black performers. We used to do 2 shows a day, 7 days a week. At the Apollo it was 4 times a day. You'd meet yourself coming off the stage. People really loved Bobby. A lot of people who heard his voice didn't realize he was white, you know what I'm saying? He was a cross between Ray Charles & Jackie Wilson.

The last time I talked to him he was playing the Copa with a comic named Irving C. Watson. He invited me to a show, but I was struggling back then. I didn't own a car. He called a couple of times to invite me. I was working at a 9-5 job, and he didn't have any idea. I was struggling to get my kid in school, but he called me and invited me to come.

What a talent he was. Bobby had so much talent, and he worked with a lot of talent. Otis Blackwell and Tony Orlando were also there. Bobby was a dynamic person, and we got along real fine. I asked him to write something for me. We sat down at the piano and he gave me the idea on how to go. He put "This Little Girl's Gone Rockin' " on -- in those days you'd put a song on a demo -- and I learned from that. That whole thing was his idea.

He introduced me to Richard Wess. He got Richard to record me, and we did "Late Date." "Late Date" was the first album I did for Atlantic. We had "Porgy," -- Bobby helped pick out some of those songs. He thought I was a great singer.

The place the music is now, there's just no melody. I don't know where the legends are going to come from.

I just saw Bobby on something with Sidney. Yes, "Pressure Point." He had an ambition to become a great actor, and he did.

He had a great love affair with Sandra Dee. He was just crazy about her.

Where was I when I heard Bobby had died? Long Island. I heard it on the radio from New York City. I hollered. "OH NO! OH NO! OH NO!" I had heard rumors he was ill, but he was living in a different kind of thing, living up in California.

I still can't get over that he's gone.

Ruth Brown

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