|Birth name||Ruby Agnes Owens|
May 4, 1908|
Wise County, Texas, near Decatur
|Origin||Wise County, Texas, United States|
|Died||March 29, 1963(aged 54)|
Life and career
Ruby was born on a ranch in Wise County, Texas, near Decatur. When she was three years old she started to sing, often together with her two brothers. Her career began when a Kansas City radio station owner heard her sing in Fort Worth, Texas. In early 1937, she recorded for Decca Records. Later that year, she met Curly Fox in Fort Worth. They were married in 1939. The couple was invited to be members of The Opry in the late 1930s.
Ruby was dubbed "radio's original cowgirl". The husky voice star was something of a cross between Sophie Tucker (whom she was often compared to) and Dale Evans and with her husband, fiddler Curly Fox was an enormously popular radio and personal appearances star in the 1940s although she failed to have any hit records. Her best-known song, "Don't Let That Man Get You Down" predates Loretta Lynn's famous stand-up-to-your-man hits by twenty years. This sassy persona was adopted on most of Ruby's recordings, "Ain't You Sorry That You Lied" and "You've Been Cheating on Me", songs perhaps too trailblazing to have been record hits in that very conservative era of country music. Most of Texas Ruby's recordings were done for the King Records and Columbia Records labels. Her first sessions were for Decca Records in 1937.
Texas Ruby made her first breakthrough in the music industry working with country bandleader Zeke Clements but by the mid forties she and husband Fox had developed their own stage act and were much in demand, including a stint as regulars on the Grand Ole Opry from 1944 to 1948. The Foxes left the Opry and in late 1948 moved to Texas, where most of their concert dates were. The move seemed to push national stardom further away from the duo, who in the early 1960s moved first to Los Angeles (appearing on the Town Hall Party country music television series) and then back to Nashville in attempts to return to the limelight.
Fox, widely considered one of country music's greatest fiddlers, worked the Opry more frequently as background instrumentalist than as a star. As he was appearing on the Opry on March 29, 1963, Ruby was killed in a fire at home. It was the most grim month in Opry history as Ruby was the fifth Grand Ole Opry star to die that month, following Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, and Jack Anglin. Fox was reinstated as an official Grand Ole Opry member shortly afterward but he retired by 1970.
- Charles K. Wolfe, Classic Country: Legends of Country Music - 2001