About The Artist
Sunshine Ruby was a native of Myrtle Springs, Texas, a town about 50 miles east of Dallas. Her real name was Ruby Bateman. Her parents were William Austin and Leamor Jewel Tidwell Bateman; they were married on September 18, 1937. Her father was born on July 26, 1904 and passed away on February 20, 1978. Her mother was born on April 16, 1912; she passed away on July 16, 2001.
A Cowboy Songs article on "The Younger Generation" in 1953 told readers she started school at the age of five and became a favorite performer at school plays and neighborhood gatherings.
She was invited by Bob and Joe Shelton when she was 11 years old to appear on their barn dance show at the Mayfair Club in Tyler, TX - The Texas Barn Dance. She was a hit with the audiences and stayed with the show for eleven weeks. Then she did a fifteen minute show with Joe Shelton on KTER in Terrell, TX.
She was in Dallas one weekend and attended the Big D Jamboree that aired over radio station KRLD. Al Turner had her put on the show and she was only going to do one song. But the audience took an immediate liking to this young performer and she had to do three songs before the audience let her leave the stage.
She was invited to become a part of the show and was known as "The Sweetheart of the Big 'D' Jamboree, Sunshine Ruby."
When she was 13 years old, she had a hit record with RCA Victor, released in 1953, "Too Young To Tango". The tune was written by Sheb Wooley. and was in New York at the invitation of the label with her mother. She was in town for another recording session. Elizabeth Toomey told readers of Ruby's impressions of the Big Apple.
"She sings, but she doesn't read music. She plays the "git-tar" but she left the instrument at home. She doesn't care about meeting any famous people "because I do not know any."
Ms. Toomey seemed struck by the straight forward, simplicity of Ruby as she interviewed her.
She asked Ruby what her impression of the city. Ruby said, after thinking and chewing on her gum, "Seems like the men look pale."
Ruby got her nickname "Sunshine" from the time she would sing with a group called the Sunshine Boys on the Big D Jamboree on Saturday nights in Dallas.
In a bit of trivia, Ms. Toomey learned that Ruby got $15 a night for doing those shows. She split it with her four brothers and sisters.
Could Hollywood be in her future after high school? She told Ms. Toomey, "I dunno. I couldn't go if I wanted to. My dad doesn't like it."
"I was gonna ride in a subway, but somebody said I'd get stomped." So, she walked from her hotel to the Rockefeller Center for her RCA recording session at the 67-story building.
Later, she would record a similar themed tune called "Too Old For Toys, Too Young For Boys" that was written by Jack Rhodes and Lucille Dean.
Along the way, Jim Boyd heard her sing at a personal appearance in Wills Point, TX and invited her to appear on his show during one of his personal appearances at Wills Point, Texas. She went over so well, that Jim took her with him to Dallas to appear on his radio show.
Country Song Roundup published a list of the Top Ten Male and Female Country Artists of 1953 in its February 1954 issue and it included Sunshine Ruby.
The three-day Red River Valley Exposition was held in October 1954. Total attendance was over 13,000 and on Wednesday over 7,000 showed up. But even more were expected on Thursday night when Charline Arthur was to be the headline act and would be backed up by other Big D Jamboree performers including Sunshine Ruby, Riley Crabtree, the Belew Twins, Joe Bill, Johnny Hicks and the Country Gentlemen Band. But the weather did not cooperate. News accounts indicate a chilly wind blew through the area that night but attendance at least matched the previous night. Over 1,200 people took in the Big D Jamboree concert short of the capacity crowd expected.
She was part of the entertainment package that came to the Mayfair Building in Tyler, TX in September 1955. Al Turner, then of KTBB in Tyler and former owner of the Big D Jamboree was the emcee for a show that included stars of the Louisiana Hayride and Big D Jamboree would be on hand. The star studded lineup included Jimmy and Johnny, Billy Walker, Janet Hicks, Hoot and Curley from the KWKH Hayride show. It also included Bob Shelton, Jo Bill, Cornbread, Sunshine Ruby, La Faun Paul and the Texas Sweethearts, Treon and Dwight from the Big D Jamboree.
Readers of Country & Western Jamboree learned in January 1956 from Sammy Lillibrige that Sunshine Ruby and Bob Shelton had been booked to appear the Tri-Cities Jamboree that had begun on September 13, 1956. Clyde Chesser and his Texas Village Boys were also guests on the show.
In 1968, Sunshine Ruby after a ten year absence from the recording studios, was reported by Billboard magazine to be returning to recording. She had signed with the Ebb Tide label; Charles Wright was to be her agent / producer.
In 1953, the thirteen year old Sunshine Ruby had her own fan club. The president was Blanche Trinajstick of Pueblo, CO. Blanche would go on to later publish a monthy newsletter / magazine called "K Bar T Roundup." Blanche told readers in her Hoedown magazine Fan Club column that Ruby's fan club had pooled their resources and bought Ruby a "real purty western shirt, blue, with ehite embroidery and fringe trimming the yoke for her 14th birthday.
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