Event location: Arch Social Club, 2426 Pennsylvania Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217 (across from the library). Dress attire is required at Arch Social Club. Ru-Jac Records & The Legacy of Baltimore Soul is an
Event location: Arch Social Club, 2426 Pennsylvania Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217 (across from the library). Dress attire is required at Arch Social Club.
Ru-Jac Records & The Legacy of Baltimore Soul is an event celebrating the history of the 1960s West Baltimore R&B record label. Featuring performances by Ru-Jac stars Winfield Parker and Joe Quarterman as well as Joy Postell, all backed by young Baltimore musicians. Beginning the night is a panel discussion that takes a deep look into the Ru-Jac Records’ place in the era’s bustling music scene. Discussion moderated by Brooks Long. The event will take place at Arch Social Club, a century-old African-American organization that has been centered in Penn North neighborhood, close to Ru-Jac’s headquarters, for over 40 years.
To connect the generations of Baltimore to their rich, largely forgotten musical heritage, using the music of Ru-Jac Records and the story of Rufus Mitchell as a vehicle to reveal the city’s vibrant musical past and uncover important stories of black entrepreneurship.
Ru-Jac Records, located at 427 Laurens Street, was owned and operated by Rufus E. Mitchell. An associate of the notorious yet empowering business man Little Willie Adams, Mr. Mitchell was for decades one of the central figures of the Baltimore’s black entertainment scene. Among other places, Mitchell booked at the Baltimore Civic Center (now the Royal Farms Arena), the historic Royal Theatre and the legendary Carr’s Beach, a segregation-era beach for African-Americans that Mitchell and Little Willie turned into a top east coast destination. As general manager of Carr’s Beach, Mitchell booked the most famous black acts of its time to perform, including Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and James Brown. Mitchell’s life is a prime example of black business people turning injustice on its head and finding paths for success.
Through his Ace Bookings business, Rufus maintained a roster of some the area’s very best black pop talent whom he often booked as openers for famous acts. In the early 1960s Rufus began Ru-Jac Records, recording sides for most of his Ace Bookings roster including early Ru-Jac star Winfield Parker, duo Gene & Eddie, Rita Doryse and a young Arthur Conley. Thanks to Mitchell’s relationship with Otis Redding, Redding later produced and co-wrote Conley’s giant hit, “Sweet Soul Music” a #2 Billboard Top 100 hit and enduring soul anthem. Ru-Jac was a launching pad not only for Conley; Winfield Parker and Sir Joe Quarterman found success after the head start provided by Ru-Jac. Ru-Jac Records helps tell the story of a dynamic Baltimore music scene and an ambitious black entrepreneur at the center.
The talent, energy and dynamic ingenuity of 1960s Baltmore is ripe for rediscovery and reclamation of local artistic inheritance. It all starts with this event, Ru-Jac Records & The Legacy of Baltimore Soul.
8pm $10, $8 members (+$3 at the door)
The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation
Ru-Jac Records & The Legacy of Baltimore Soul is made possible through a fellowship grant from The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, which “exists to promote innovation in science and technology, arts, education and social justice.”
(Saturday) 8:00 pm
Arch Social Club
2426 Pennsylvania Ave, Baltimore, MD 21217