Ruth Wallis, the "Saucy Chantoosey"




Brooklyn, NY native Ruth Wallis was called "the high priestess of the double entendre" and "Queen of the wicked ditties." The first novelty record by the quintessential singer of risqu songs was released in 1948, and she continued to release 45s and 78s under her own name. The Wallis Original Record Corporation later issued 10" LP collections and listed an address of Linden, New Jersey. By the time of the 12" LP reissues, this had changed to Miami Beach, Florida, presumably Ms. Wallis' own postal address. Manufacturing services were contracted from Crown of Pennsylvania. Albums were produced roughly at every year's end at least until the material was taken over and reissued again by King. New albums in her later career include a live one for King and one on Mercury.

It is significant that she formed Wallis Original and protected her copyright. Even in her youthful prime, Ruth Wallis sang with only a fraction of the voice of, say, Julie London. But that is to miss the point; at least she sang better than naughty redheaded comedienne Rusty Warren. Wallis wrote all her own songs, and many were worthy of being covered by other artists, although she may have protected them through rigid copyright control. This is particularly true of her first 12" LP, a collection of relatively serious torch songs, and her album of calypsos.

A typical Wallis original is as thought-provoking and even brilliant as it is absurd and often juvenile. She sang of the usual personal and domestic issues, such as money, men, and marriage, as well as spun more fantastic tales of an exotic nature. Backing music for the former was small-combo jazz or upbeat rhythm and blues; for the latter it was something suggestive of the theme: Latin, calypso, oriental, or Hawaiian. Arrangements and musical direction duties fell to Jimmy Carroll. His abilities improved over the course of her career as much as hers did.

It stood to reason Wallis would make a fine "blue-eyed" calypsonian, and she nearly proved it in odd songs on various albums. But Cruise Party (the 12", not the unrelated 10" LP) removed any doubt. By the time she recorded that one as well as the rocking "Man, It's a Jungle" on the subsequent album, her career had reached its zenith. She had married her inimitable humor and originality to enjoyable music. What more could anyone want?

Buying: All are worthwhile; with the 12" LPs one does not need the earlier 10" LPs and 45s. Collectors may want to avoid the King reissues and compilations.



Ruth Wallis 10" LPs

Rating
6Old Party Favorites; Wallis Original W1
6Old Party Favorites (volume 2); Wallis Original W2
6Cafe Party; Wallis Original W3
6Latin Party Rhythms; Wallis Original W4
6Holiday Party; Wallis Original W5
6Life of the Party; Wallis Original W6
6Cruise Party; Wallis Original W7


Ruth Wallis 12" LPs

Rating
7Of Men & Memories; Wallis Original WLP-9 ([Torrid Love Songs] Of Men & Memories)
7Wallis on the Party Line; Wallis Original WLP-10 (all but 1st press jackets titled "Ruth Wallis on the Party Line")
7Saucy Hit Parade; Wallis Original WLP-11 (reissues WP1 & WP2)
7That Saucy Redhead; Wallis Original WLP-12 (reissues WP3 & WP4)
8For Sophisticates Only; Wallis Original WLP-13 (reissues WP5 & WP6; 1st press is red vinyl w/black jacket)
8French Postcards Set to Music; Wallis Original WLP-14 (reissues WP7 & WP8-?)
9Cruise Party; Wallis Original WLP-15 (also as "Saucy Calypso" w/different jacket art)
8Salty Songs for Underwater Listening; Wallis Original WLP-16; 1958
7Love is for the Birds; Wallis Original WLP-17
8Hot Songs for Cool Knights; Wallis Original WLP-18
6Live & Kicking; Wallis Original WLP-19 (appearance in Sydney, Australia; reissued as Saucy Hit Parade; King 904)
8How to Stay Sexy Tho' Married; Mercury SR-61210
7The Spice is Right; Jubilee JGM-2050 (compilation of Wallis Original songs)


Ruth Wallis 45s

Rating
Fishing Song/How Levine Does the Rhumba; Deluxe 1110
6Dear Mr. Godfrey/Say Hello to Joe; Monarch 3005


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