hannusch2In his second book, The Soul of New Orleans: A Legacy of Rhythm and Blues, Jeff Hannusch devotes a chapter to Joe Ruffino and his two labels under the heading Ric & Ron Records: Records with Class, and opens with these words:

"Between 1958 and 1962, the Ric and Ron labels were an important force in New Orleans rhythm and blues. Together they provided Johnny Adams, Irma Thomas, Martha Carter, Robert Parker, Warren Lee, and Al Johnson their first opportunity to record. They also extended the careers of Eddie Bo, Bobby Mitchell, Tommy Ridgley, and Professor Longhair.

"The punchy Ric and Ron sound was unique, even when compared to Minit, Instant, Ace, Frisco, and Imperial, labels active in New Orleans during that same period. This was due largely to the ambitious owner Joe Ruffino, whose aspiration was to create a label different from the competition."

In response to the Cosimo Code team's request, Jeff describes how he managed to rescue the Ric and Ron master tapes in the 1980s for eventual reissue by Rounder:

ridgley"I'll try to briefly explain my involvement in archiving the Ric and Ron catalog. I was hired as a sales rep for Rounder Records covering Louisiana and Mississippi in the mid-1980s. You could also say I was Rounder's A&R rep, as on my recommendation, I convinced them to sign (ex-Ric and Ron artists) Irma Thomas and Johnny Adams among others. Rounder was doing well with New Orleans/Louisiana contemporary releases, but they were also interested in reissuing past glories too. I had become friends with Tommy Ridgley. We often talked about his Ric records. Tommy told me where he thought the master tapes might be.

ron 995a"Back track: Ruffino was Joe Assunto's (One Stop Records) brother-in-law. After Ruffino died in the fall of 1962, Assunto procured the Ric and Ron tapes and kept the label mildly active, putting out a couple of Johnny Adams singles and repressing Carnival Time around Mardi Gras. Assunto died around 1980 and his daughter took over the store. However, One Stop folded after the jukebox business tanked in the early 1980s. She kept the existing Ric and Ron tapes however.

"Tommy told me he thought she was living in LaPlace, La. Sure enough, we tracked her down and she had a closet full of 5-inch reels of tapes. We (Rounder) made a deal in her living room...

cos tape box

"Before I sent the tapes off to Cambridge, Mass., the home of Rounder, I Xeroxed the back of all the tape boxes and the existing paperwork contained in the boxes. Now that I recall, a lot of those boxes had Cosimo's paperwork folded neatly inside. They were printed on cheap, yellow paper with the Gov. Nichols address, and some of the earlier ones had the familiar logo of a trumpet player at the top as well. The paperwork listed the songs in the tape box and their duration written neatly with a fountain pen. Don't ask me which ones, but there were a lot.

1962 Session Sheet

"Cos spliced a lot of tapes too. I transferred those tapes to digital at a studio in Marblehead, Mass., and a lot of the splices disintegrated when I replayed them and had to put them back together. I also recall Cos liked to recycle tape. I found one Johnny Adams master tape box that was originally a Shirley & Lee session.

1959 Tape Box

"I then put together a series of Ric and Ron reissues that appeared on Rounder LPs. I saved the Ric and Ron Xeroxes in my garage for several years. Unfortunately, in 2005 we were introduced to Hurricane Katrina; the Xeroxes were all destroyed.

Ray Topping"Luckily, I had pencilled in the Ric and Ron recording dates next to where they were listed in Ray Topping's invaluable booklet New Orleans Rhythm & Blues Record Label Listings. That was on the second floor of my house - Katrina didn't get that.

"Thanks now to the Cosimo Code, I can share this information with collectors and lovers of New Orleans music."
- Jeff Hannusch, May 2013

In the few months since Jeff submitted this piece, he was able (through Scott Billington and Adam Taylor at Rounder Records) to procure high quality scans of those original tape boxes that he found in that closet in La Place all those years ago, and he has kindly consented to allow us to feature some of them here on this page. We here at the Cosimo Code are just blown way by the generosity of all involved, and we can't thank them enough!

Complete RecordingsIn 2010, Rounder Records was acquired by Concord Music Group, which already owned the Stax, Fantasy, Galaxy, Specialty, Ebb, Prestige and Riverside catalogues. Concord itself was bought out in March 2013 by Wood Creek Capital Management, a private equity firm based in New Haven, Conn. That's where Ric and Ron reside at present. Prior to the takeover, Concord had released The Complete Ric & Ron Recordings, a seven volume set that is available for download in the U.S. in mp3 format.

Listed below, in chronological order, are all of the records that Jeff had 'pencilled in' his well worn copy of the Topping discography, along with their original recording dates. Links are provided to the corresponding scans on 45cat, and to the official mp3 of each side at Amazon:

ric 960a RIC 960
 Lenny Capello and The Dots

Cotton Candy / Tootles
 Recorded March 22, 1958

ric 958a RIC 958
 The Velvetiers

Oh Baby / Feelin' Right Saturday Night
 Recorded August 3, 1958

ron 324a RON 324
 Eddie Lang

Troubles Troubles / She's Mine All Mine
 Recorded October 25, 1958

rIC 962a RIC 962
 Eddie Bo

Hey There Baby / I Need Someone
 Recorded June 1, 1959

ric 967a RIC 967
 Al Johnson

Carnival Time / Good Lookin'
 Recorded December 22, 1959

ron 320a RON 332
 The Goldenaires

Love Letter / Ding Bats
 Recorded April 15, 1960

ric 974a RIC 974
 Eddie Bo

Warm Daddy / Ain't It The Truth Now
 Recorded August 22, 1960

ric 975a RIC 975
 Martha Nelson

I Don't Talk Too Much / Bless You Darling
 Recorded November 3, 1960

ric 977a RIC 977
 Eddie Bo

It Must Be Love / What A Fool I've Been
 Recorded December 12, 1960

ric 981a RIC 981
 Eddie Bo

Dinky Doo / Everybody, Everything Needs Love
 Recorded March 7, 1961

ron 340a RON 340
 The Party Boys

We Got A Party, Part I / We Got A Party, Part II
 Recorded May 8, 1961

ric 984a RIC 984
 Tommy Ridgley

In The Same Old Way / The Girl From Kooka Monga
 Recorded September 20, 1961

ric 988a RIC 988
 Freddie Tino & The
 Twisting Cyclones

Come On Let's Twist / Shoestring Twist
 Recorded February 15, 1962

ric 993a RIC 993
 Tommy Ridgley

Heavenly / I Love You Yes I Do
 Recorded December 8, 1962

ron 995a RON 995
 Johnny Adams

Lonely Drifter / I Want To Do Everything For You
 Recorded May 16, 1964
ric 956a RIC 956
 Al Johnson

You Done Me Wrong / Lena
 Recorded June 6, 1958

ron 320a RON 320
 Eddie Lang

On My Way / Easy Rockin'
 Recorded October 25, 1958

ron 320a RON 322
 Paul Marvin

Hurry Up / Cinderella
 Recorded February 12, 1959

ric 964a RIC 964
 Eddie Bo

You Got Your Mojo Working / Everybody Knows
 Recorded August 25, 1959

ric 971a RIC 971
 Johnny Adams

Let The Wind Blow / Someone For Me
 Recorded April 7, 1960

ric 972a RIC 972
 Joe Jones

You Talk Too Much / I Love You Still
 Recorded June 6, 1960

ron 336a RON 336
 Martha Carter

Nobody Knows / I'm Through Crying
 Recorded September 8, 1960

ric 976a RIC 976
 Johnny Adams

You Can Make It If You Try / Closer To You
 Recorded November 10, 1960

ric 978a RIC 978
 Tommy Ridgley

Should I Ever Love Again / Double Eye Whammy
 Recorded November 13, 1960

ric 977a RIC 980
 Johnny Adams

Wedding Day / Ooh So Nice
 Recorded March 7, 1961

ric 985a RIC 985
 Eddie Bo

I Got To Know / Bless You Darling
 Recorded August 2, 1961

ric 984a RIC 990
 Tommy Ridgley

My Ordinary Girl / She's Got What It Takes
 Recorded September 20, 1961

ric 991a RIC 991
 Lenny Capello & The Dots

Geneveve / 90 Pound Weakling
 Recorded July 15, 1962

ric 994a RIC 994
 Tommy Ridgley

I've Heard That Story Before / Honest I Do
 Recorded December 8, 1962

ron 996a RON 996
 Johnny Adams

Comin' Around The Mountain / Cold Cold Heart
 Recorded February 17, 1965

ricron singlesIn 2012, for Record Store Day, Rounder released a box set of 10 newly-pressed 45 rpm discs, titled From the Vaults of Ric & Ron Records: Rare and Unreleased Recordings 1958-1962 in a limited edition of 1500. The featured artists were Johnny Adams, Edgar Blanchard, Eddie Bo, Al Johnson, Barbara Lynn and Paul Marvin. A few copies are still available for sale at Louisiana Music Factory. Get them while you can!

ricron singlesJust released by our friends at Ace Records in the UK, You Talk Too Much: The Ric & Ron Story Volume 1 "...salutes the great work of Joe Ruffino and the A&R men, artists, songwriters and musicians whose contributions made Ric and Ron 45s as fresh and invigorating today as they were when first issued. The first volume features material from the first couple of years of Ric and Ron... with this volume we bring you -in the approximate order of their signing to Joe Ruffino's labels - the artists who helped build Ric and Ron's position as a major source for New Orleans music in the late 50s and early 60s." Yeah You Rite!

ricron singles vol2Ain't It The Truth - The Ric & Ron Story Volume 2 "takes up from where the first volume left off at the end of 1960, and follows through to early 1963, shortly after Ruffino's death. All the labels' biggest artists of the period are featured, including Tommy Ridgley, Eddie Bo and Johnny Adams... along with a selection of rare demos that make their CD debuts. Some of the greatest New Orleans jukebox hits of the period are featured... along with titles by... future mainstays of the area's soul scene. Almost all tracks are mastered from fresh transfers of the original Ric and Ron tapes. You will never have heard them sounding as good as they do here!"