Johnny Adams - I Won't Cry (Ric 961)
I Won't Cry
Here's where it all started for our man Johnny Adams in 1959. As the story goes, Dorothy Labostrie (the woman who had supplied the 'clean' lyrics to Little Richard's 'Tutti Frutti') lived in the apartment upstairs from him, and when she heard him singing 'Precious Lord' in the shower, she was so impressed with his voice that she talked him into 'crossing over' and singing a new song she had written entitled 'Oh Why'.
Dorothy brought him down to see Joe Ruffino who (after taking half of the composer's credit on her song) signed Johnny up to his new Ric label. Ruffino's producer and A&R man at this point was the young Mac Rebennack, who worked on the song with Adams, creating this timeless slice of New Orleans in the process. I'm not sure who changed the 'Oh Why' to 'I Won't Cry', but it really doesn't matter. Long Johnny's signature tune (he recorded it again for Shelby Singleton in 1970 and took it to #41 R&B), they just don't come much better than this, folks.
As you know, I'm a huge fan of The Tan Canary, and he's been featured on these pages several times. I was recently contacted by his widow, Judy, who wrote to tell us about the brand new book she's written about Johnny's life and times, The Johnny Adams Story. She has started up a website where you can purchase the 'E-book' as well as some other cool stuff...
"The Johnny Adams Story E-book is about a man, his music, and a life long struggle to become free from a corrupt music industry that often denied legal counsel, worked hard to keep many black recording artists under their tight control, and ultimately robbed them and their families of their earnings and royalties. How Johnny sang his songs to a nation while being shackled and enslaved by corrupt record labels and record producers. By purchasing the book by e-mail the funds go directly to the widow and estate of Johnny Adams. Hard and softcover book copies will be released later this year..."
Judy has also set up the Johnny Adams Memorial Fund, and donations are being accepted at her site.
"The Johnny Adams story may shock you; it may even anger you; but one thing is certain…it will inspire and teach you that even when it seems the whole world is conspiring against you; that love is still the binder that holds the pages of life together."
Thank You, Mrs. Adams.