Rainbow Connection

Although a month late, celebrating the wonderful milestone of the 75th birthday of Baby Boy, Ronald Smith, of Portland, OR, with a series of vintage tracks that all revolve around color. #blackmusic #birthday #blackveterans

This program was supposed to come out a month ago, on a very special and truly unique milestone: the 75th birthday of Baby Boy, aka Ron Smith, who was my co-host for my series of Black Message tracks last year.

Ron Smith with a signed, numbered copy of the Ace of Spades PDX 2021 International Jazz Day event poster. Taken 29 August by yours truly.

Instead of a standard playlist of songs (how Spotify), I decided that this occasion needed something that would be personal. Among his many achievements, Mr. Smith is a Vietnam-era veteran, serving in the Air Force as a Staff Sgt. in Minot, North Dakota, and was a crew chief for B-52 bombers servicing the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) to prevent potential attacks from enemy forces. He also happens to be a person of color, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Undated photo of the B-52, nicknamed the “flying fortress”, a plane that Mr. Smith was responsible for maintaining with his crew for U.S. defense during the late 1960’s. Courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

It was the latter that drove the selections in this program, with each being performed by a person or persons of color and all revolving around different colors, particularly those in the most recent iteration of the Pride flag, meant to be more inclusive that the standard ranbow and reflecting more diversity in our community.

The Progress Pride Flag. Illustration by yours truly.

Happy belated birthday Baby Boy. I hope this show brings a smile to your face and truly celebrates your life as a gay, Black veteran and all-around wonderful person. I know my life would be much different without you, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to share your milestone.

First Part

  • Charlie Brown, 1958, The Coasters, 45RPM single A-side
  • Mood Indigo, 1958, Nina Simone, Little Girl Blue
  • Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You, 1970, Wilson Pickett, Wilson Pickett in Philadelphia
  • Pink Champagne, 1950. Joe Liggins and His Honeydrippers, 78RPM single A-side
  • And Black Is Beautiful, 1968, Nickie Lee, 45RPM single A-side
  • The Yellow Dog Blues, 1925, Bessie Smith, 78RPM single A-side
  • Girl (Why You Wanna make Me Blue), 1964, The Temptations, The Temptin’ Temptations
  • Purple Rain Drops, 1965, Little Stevie Wonder, “Uptight (Everything’s Alright) single B-side
  • Sweet Rhode Island Red, 1974. Ike and Tina Turner, Sweet Rhode Island Red

Second Part

  • White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It), 1983, Grandmaster & Melle Mel, 12″ single A-side
  • Rainbow, 1963, Gene Chandler, 45RPM single A-side
  • Band of Gold, 1970, Freda Payne, Band of Gold
  • Orange Colored Sky, 1950, Nat “King Cole”, 78RPM single A-side


  • Silver Cycles, recorded 1968/released 1969, Eddie Harris, Silver Cycles

Love to you all.

Ben “Daddy Ben Bear” Brown Jr. 
Host, Show Producer, Webmaster, Audio Engineer, Researcher, Videographer and Writer

Instagram: brownjr.ben
Twitter: @BenBrownJunior
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