Hillbilly-Music.com - Keeping Country Music History Alive
Hillbilly-Music Folio Display

Sunshine Ruby
Born:  October 19, 1939
Died:  January 26, 2022
KRLD Big D Jamboree
WFAA Saturday Night Shindig

About The Artist

Portrait - Sunshine Ruby Bateman - Circa 1950's

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."

Promo Ad - Mayfair Club - Texas Barn Dance - Joe and Merle Shelton - Sunshine Ruby - Curley Sanders - Joe Price - Jerry Hanson - April 1952
Promo Ad - Big D Jamboree - Mayfair Building - East Texas Fairgrounds - Riley Crabtree - Sonny Carpenter - Darrel Glenn - Big Bill Lister - Sunshine Ruby - George McCoy - Leon Rhodes - Bill Messick - June 1953
Promo Ad - Big D Jamboree - Navarro College Gym - Corsicana, TX - Charline Arthur - Riley Crabtree - Sunshine Ruby - The Belew Twins - Johnny Hicks, MC - November 1954

Promo Ad - Corsicana High School Auditorium - Corsicana, TX - Sunshine Ruby - Rudy Gettis - Rudy Gray - Captain Johnny - Fuzzy Q. Jones - January 1956
Promo Ad - Shady Grove - Kilgore, TX - Link Davis - Sunshine Ruby - August 1953
Promo Ad - Shady Grove - Kilgore, TX - Sunshine Ruby - August 1953

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."

"I didn't bring my western hat because I didn't know how much room we'd have on the plane. I'd never been on a plane before." Ms. Toomey noted she was wearing a black and gold satin fringed skirt and jacket.

She doesn't read music, so she was asked how she learns new songs.

"Just listen to it till I learn it" was her answer in a Texas drawl. She mentioned her favorite musical accompaniment included a band — a fiddle, a git-tar, a bass and drums.

Readers learned she didn't necessarily want to learn to read music or to study voice. "I stay on key all right."

Promo Ad - Billboard - Brenner Music In. - Too Young To Tango - Teresa Brewer - Joel Grey - Sunshine Ruby - June Anthony - September 1953 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.

  1. Goldie Hill
  2. Bonnie Lou
  3. Kitty Wells
  4. Jean Shepard
  5. Rosalie Allen
  6. Sue Thompson
  7. Carolyn Bradshaw
  8. Rose Maddox
  9. Little Rita Faye
  10. 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.

Portrait - Sunshine Ruby Bateman Clower - Posing With 1950's Photo 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.

Sunshine Ruby
Record Reviews
The Cash Box and The Billboard

Date Label Rec No. Review
5/2/1953 (CB) RCA Victor 20-5250 Too Young To Tango — RCA youngster sings a set of lyrics to tango rhythm against a string backing. (Rating: B+)

Hearts Weren't Meant To Be Broken — The chirp sings a slow ballad with romantic lament lyrics. Ruby employs a light yodel and the etching is a pleasurable one. (Rating: B+)
7/11/1953 (BB) RCA Victor 20-5374 Nobody Asked Me To Dance — Hokey style of the thrush comes across well on wax. Story ballad about a wallflower who finds romance is kinda cute and seems slated for okay juke box action. (Rating: 73)

Datin' — Another bouncy side sung engagingly by the thrush. (Rating: 71)
7/18/1953 (CB) RCA Victor 20-5374 Nobody Asked Me To Dance — New Victor thrush excellent on her second release. A quick beat fetching item deliciously done. A lilting story of the little girl nobody asked to dance. (Rating: B+)

Datin' — Another gay hustler about the little girl who thinks she’s old enough to go datin’. Ruby has lots on the ball. Loads of personality on wax. (Rating: C+)
8/1/1953 (BB) RCA Victor 20-5374 Nobody Asked Me To Dance — b/w — Datin' [This Week's Best Buys] The stir created by Sunshine Ruby's "Too Young to Tango" has led to an immediate response to this new disk. Strong reports were returned from Dallas, St. Louis and Buffalo while other territories reported that it was just getting started. The manufacturer lists it as its number one hillbilly seller.
12/12/1953 (BB) RCA Victor 20-5474 Too Fat For The Chimney — Sprightly holiday ditty is warbled brightly by Miss Ruby. Good seasonal wax. (Rating: 74)

I Wanna Do Something For Santa Claus — Gal sings of her wish to help Santa In this okay Christmas slicing. (Rating: 69)
1/23/1954 (CB) Mercury 70560 I Got My First Kiss Last Night — Sunshine Ruby comes up with a moderate beat cutie in a tantalizing manner. The thrush delivers a refreshing vocal effort as she tells of the effects of her initial kiss. (Rating: B)

That Ain't In The Catalog — The chirp displays her versatility as she ups the tempo and changes her vocal style on a bouncey item with captivating lyrics. (Rating: B)

Portrait - Sunshine Ruby

Portrait - Sunshine Ruby Bateman Clower - 1939 - 2022

Credits & Sources

  • Sunshine Ruby Not Impressed On Her First Visit To Gotham; Elizabeth Toomey; June 16, 1953; Brownsville Herald; Brownsville, TX
  • The Younger Generation; Cowboy Songs No.28; September 1953, American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
  • Talent On The Rise; December 1953; Country Song Roundup; Issue No. 27; American Folk Publications; Charlton Building; Derby, CT
  • 1953 In Review; February 1954; Country Song Roundup; Issue No. 29; American Folk Publications; Charlton Building; Derby, CT
  • Three-day RRV Exposition Attendance Passes 13,000; October 14, 1954; The Paris News; Paris, TX
  • Country Music Show; September 4, 1955; Tyler Courier Times; Tyler, TX
  • Cross Country Jamboree - Eastland, TX; Sammy Lillibridge; January 1956; Country & Western Jamboree; Maher Publications, Inc.; Chicago, IL
  • Nashville Scene; September 7, 1968; The Billboard; Cincinnati, OH
  • Letters to the Editor; Blanche Trinajstick; November 30, 1954; Pickin' And Singin' News; Fountain Publications, Inc.; Nashville, TN
  • Fan Club Corral; Blanche Trinajstick; January 1954; Hillbilly & Western Hoedown; Vol. 1 No. 5; Hoedown, Inc.; Cincinnati, OH

Sound Sample—(YouTube Video Format)

Hearts Weren't Meant To Be Broken

Printer Friendly Version

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

RCA Victor
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  20-5250 A Hearts Weren't Meant To Be Broken
  20-5250 B Too Young To Tango
  20-5374 A Datin'
  20-5374 B Nobody Asked Me To Dance
  20-5467 A Little Girl Love
  20-5467 B Too Old For Toys
  20-5474 A I Wanna Do Something For Santa Claus
  20-5474 B Too Fat For The Chimney
  20-5582 A I Got My First Kiss Last Night
  20-5582 B That Ain't In Any Catalog
  20-5806 A I Think He Winked At Me
  20-5806 B I'm So Bashful
  20-5860 A Don't You Know I Love You?
  20-5860 B Hankerin'
  20-5930 A I Don't Care What The General Said
  20-5930 B My Daddy Has Two Sweethearts
  20-5931 A I Don't Care What The General Said
  20-5931 B My Daddy Has Two Sweethearts

Artist Lists


Yes, Hillbilly Music. You may perhaps wonder why. You may even snicker. But trust us, soon your feet will start tappin' and before you know it, you'll be comin' back for more...Hillbilly Music.

Hillbilly-music.com ...
It's about the people, the music, the history.