Alabama Music Achievers

Alphabetical Achievers Listing


- An enigmatic singer-songwriter who released one critically acclaimed album in 1972.
- He has been cited as an influence by Lyle Lovett.
- His songs have been covered by many artists including Jimmy Buffett "The Ballad of Spider John," Waylon Jennings "Satin Sheets," not the Jeanne Pruett song, and America and the Captain & Tennille "Muskrat Love".
- In 1977 Ramsey made an appearance on the public television concert program Austin City Limits.

JIMMY RANDOLPH - Brewton, Alabama
- As a singer he has performed with Duke Ellington, Erskine Hawkins, Quincy Jones' Orchestra, Luis Russell, Cab Calloway, Sammy Lowe's Studio Orchestra and his father, John Cheatham, in his band, the Southern Ramblers.
- He has been on Broadway in "Guys and Dolls," on television on NBC's hit sitcom, "A Different World," and in the movies, "Bingo Long and the Traveling All-Stars, the Life Story of Satchel Paige" and "Beverly Hills Brats," starring Whoopi Goldberg and Martin Sheen.

JOEL RANEY - Anderson, Alabama
- He received a scholarship to study piano at the Julliard School, where he received his M.M. in piano performance.
- President and co-owner of a Chicago based commercial music production company that specializes in arranging music for radio and television commercials.
- His clients include United Airlines, McDonald's, Sears, Coca Cola, G.T.E. and NationsBank.
- He received the 1993 Silver Cleo and the 1993 Gold Mobius awards for the best musical adaptation for an American Airlines TV commercial, titled "Homecoming."
- He has had recurring roles as a musician on "Ryan's Hope" and "Guiding Light."
- Associate conductor of "Me & My Girl" on Broadway and the associate conductor of the first national tour of the Broadway production "The Tap Dance Kid."
- As musical director of "Oil City Symphony" at the Halsted Theater in Chicago, he won the Joseph Jefferson Award for best musical direction.

NELL RANKIN - Montgomery, Alabama
- She made her professional debut with a recital at Town Hall in New York, and then moved to Europe to continue her vocal training.
- In 1950, she made her bow in opera as Ortrud in "Lohengrin" at the Zurich State Opera, and during the year she was a member of that company, gave 126 performances in 16 roles.
- She became the first American to capture first prize in the International Concours de la Musique in Geneva.
- In 1951 she joined the Metropolitan Opera appearing in the role of Amneris.

MARTY RAYBON - Tuscumbia, Alabama
- He joined his father and two brothers playing in a bluegrass band called American Bluegrass Express.
- As a songwriter his songs were recorded by Johnny Duncan and George Jones.
- As lead singer for the group Shenandoah he recorded three critically acclaimed albums for CBS, which resulted in several number one singles and a gold album.
- Awards include, The Academy of Country Music's 1991 "Vocal Group of the Year;" the 1989 "Group of the Year" citation in the annual Radio & Records' readers poll; 1990, 1991, and 1992 Country Music Association "Group of the Year" nominations; TNN/Music City News "Favorite newcomers" in 1989.
- Shenandoah won the Nashville Network's Viewers' Choice Award, and Cashbox's "Country Vocal Group Award" in 1989, and in 1991 were named "Vocal Group of the Year" by the Academy of Country Music.
- In 1997 Marty left the group to pursue a solo career.

RED, WHITE, & BLUE(GRASS) - Birmingham, Alabama
- Formed in 1969 by Grant & Ginger Boatwright and Dale Whitcomb. Later members included Norman Blake and Dave Sebolt
- Had the country hit "July You're a Woman" in 1973
- Released 4 albums before breaking up in 1979

MARTHA REEVES - Eufaula, Alabama
- In 1961 she joined the fledgling Motown organization in Detroit, where she served as secretary to William Stevenson in A&R department.
- Her other duties included supervising Little Stevie Wonder during office hours, and singing occasional backing vocals on recording sessions.
- Martha and the Vandellas, her powerful backup group, spent their early years at Motown backing up lead singers like Marvin Gaye
- They created some of the most memorable dance and party favorites of the 60s like "Heat Wave," "Nowhere to Run," "Jimmy Mack," and their unforgettable signature tune, "Dancing In The Street"

IKE REYNOLDS - Birmingham, Alabama
- In May 1915 he was asked to be director of the new music department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; the department became the School of Sacred Music in 1921. This was the first church music school established by Baptists.
- He composed two sacred music dramas, four cantatas, miscellaneous anthems, hymns, and Gospel songs.
- He authored five textbooks for his own classes as well as A Manual of Practical Church Music

LAWRENCE REYNOLDS - Pritchard, Alabama
- Wrote nearly 2,000 songs and had some recorded by artists such as Conway Twitty, Lou Rawls and Johnny Rivers.
- Best known for his song, "Jesus Is A Soul Man," which had been on Billboard's Hot 100 list for seven weeks when it rose to No. 28.
- Appearances on the "Tonight Show," the "Johnny Cash Show," the "Dick Cavett Show" and "American Bandstand" in addition to his being a featured artist at the "Grand Old Opry."
- His song was recorded in seven languages by more than 150 groups and individuals.
- "Jesus Is A Soul Man" served as an influence for the Broadway hit, "Jesus Christ Superstar."

SUE RICHARDS - Muscle Shoals, Alabama
- Sun label recording at age 11 as Maggie Sue Wimberly, only the 3rd female act on the label
- Biggest hit "Sweet Sensuous Feelings" in 1976
- Toured for many years as background vocalist with Tammy Wynette
- As a songwriter, Richards co-wrote Top 20 Hits:"Let's All Go Down to the River," "I Just Had You On My Mind", "Somebody Hold Me (Until She Passes By)", and "He Was There When I Needed You"

LIONEL RICHIE - Tuskegee, Alabama
- As a member of the Commodores, released a string of 22 gold records, six platinum, two double platinum, and three triple platinum albums, selling close to 40 million records.
- In 1982 he split from the group to pursue various solo projects including writing, singing and producing.
- Richie has won almost every prestigious award given to those in the field of popular music, Grammys, Oscars, People's Choice, Golden Globe, ASCAP Writer of the Year, American Music Award, and has been recognized for his humanitarian efforts as "Man of the Year" by the Children's Diabetes Foundation, and "Alumnus of the Year" by the United Negro College Fund.
- Richie set a record for having written nine number one singles in nine consecutive years, and having held the number one position for a total of 34 weeks throughout his career.
- His second solo LP,"Can't Slow Down", sold over 15 million copies worldwide.
- In 1985 he became the first recording artist to win a Grammy and an Academy Award for two different songs in the same year.
- Lionel not only hosted the American Music Awards Show for two consecutive years, but has won an overall total of twenty AMA's, six of those coming at the 1985 Award's show.
- Among Lionel's five Grammy Music Awards is the 1986 Songwriter's Award for "We Are The World", the international anthem of goodwill serving as a cornerstone for a campaign that raised millions of dollars for famine relief in Africa.

TIM RILEY - Gadsden, Alabama
- Began singing at age 15.
- In 1966 joined the Dixie Echoes and sang with them for several years.
- in 1974, began singing with the Southmen Quartet.
- Then in 1980 joined Gold City as bass singer, later becoming manager and eventually owner of the group.

JIMMIE RODGERS - Geiger, Alabama
- Known as the "Father of Country Music" and "The Singing Brakeman"
- One of the first three individuals inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
- He began performing in 1923, and became a full time professional musician in 1925, performing in blackface for a touring medicine show.
- His recording career began with the famous 1927 sessions with Victor's Ralph Peer, in Bristol, Tennessee, and lasted until his death in 1933.
- During those six short years, he recorded 111 songs and changed the nature and direction of country music for all time.
- With his unusual guitar style and distinctive "blue yodel," he shifted the focus away from string bands and toward the individual vocalist
- During Rodgers' recording career, he sold in the area of 12 million records

WALTER ROLAND - Pratt City, Alabama
- Recorded from 1933 to 1935 issueing 40 recordings under his own name.
- Piano accompaniment to blues singer Lucille Bogan (aka Bessie Jackson)
- He also played guitar and sang and occasionally went by the name "Alabama Sam".

CHARLES ROSE - Sheffield, Alabama
- He joined The Muscle Shoals Horns in 1970 and they went on to release three albums. One of their singles, Born to Get Down, rose to number five on the Billboard charts.
- Rose played in Madison Square Garden on John Lennon's last stage appearance and toured with Elton John on his famous "Yellow Brick Road" tour.
- Rose has played on the albums of a wide range of artists including Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Z. Z. Hill. He tours regularly with Lyle Lovett's Big Band.
- One of the most frequently heard pieces is the Monday Night Football theme Rose recorded with Hank Williams, Jr.
- He has written arrangements for Wayne Newton, Mac McAnally, Denise LaSalle, Clarence Carter.

ERNIE ROWELL - Auburn, Alabama
- Ernie spent a total of eleven years with George Jones, Ray Price, and Mel Tillis, performing for audiences in all the United States, the provinces of Canada, and several other countries.
- Ernie has enjoyed some secular chart success on his own, and as a songwriter has been recorded by George Jones, Kenny Rogers, Mel Tillis, Ricky Van Shelton, Johnny Paycheck and Gene Watson, among others.
- He is also a Christian recording artist with several hits on the Christian music charts.

WILLIE RUFF - Sheffield, Alabama
- The Mitchell-Ruff Duo was formed in 1955 when Mitchell and Ruff left Lionel Hampton's band to form their own group.
- Duo was the first jazz ensemble to perform in the Soviet Union and in Communist China.
- In 1967, he was chosen by John Hammond to be the bass player for the recording sessions of Songs of Leonard Cohen
- Ruff is known for uncovering links between traditional black gospel music, and unaccompanied psalm singing.
- Professor of music at Yale University for over 30 years
- He is a inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame

TONY RUFFINO - Birmingham, Alabama
- Tony presides over the oldest and largest concert promotion company in the State of Alabama.
- His promotion company has promoted or produced thousands of concerts in Alabama
- Tony has worked with such acts as Hank Williams, Jr., Lionel Richie, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Tim McGraw, Vince Gill, The Allman Brothers Band and The Commodores, to name just a few. During his career well over a million Alabamians have come to see concerts he has promoted.

JOE RUMORE - Birmingham, Alabama
-- Joe Rumore began his radio career in 1942 at a station in Birmingham, WJLD.
- From there it was to WAPI, "The Voice of Alabama", for a few years,
- He was lured to a new radio station which took to the air in 1947. That station was WVOK -- "The Mighty 690", and Joe had found his home.
- He was the morning voice of WVOK until well into the 1980s

LUCY HALLMAN RUSSELL - Guntersville, Alabama
- Russell has performed and taught harpsichord in Shanghai, China, St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, and in Croatia.
- With the British tenor Nigel Rogers she produced the first performance of Monteverdi's opera Orfeo (1607) at the Banchetto musicale Festival in Vilnius, Lithuania, with musicians and singers from ten countries.
- The annual international Musica Antiqua Seminar on ancient instruments in the Deutches Museum in Munich is regularly under her direction.
- Both scholar and performer, Russell is known as a specialist on Italian keyboard music of the seventeenth century and has published significant articles on keyboard performing practices of the era.

Alphabetical Achievers Listing


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