Native Baltimorean Rosa “Rambling Rose” Pryor Trusty’s impact on the musical scene locally and nationally for more than four decades is legendary in the entertainment industry. Rosa managed and produced R&B, Pop, Jazz musicians and singers like Winfield Parker, The Vandals, The Fabulous Friends, The Jewel Box Review, First Class, The Soft Tones, Julius Brockington Trio, Bobby Star, Benny Johnson, Lady Rebecca, Nikki Cooper, Mickey Fields, Andy Ennis, Sir Thomas Hurley, Carlos Johnson, Bobby Ward, Tiny Tim Harris and Dennis Chambers and others throughout her career.

I asked international musician Winfield Parker why he decided to honor Rosa a 1963 Edmondson High School graduate, who also studied at Morgan State University on February 12, 2012 at the Forum. His response did not surprise me; he said, “I left Baltimore in 1966, I thought someone should step up to the plate and do something for Rosa who has help me over the years. I wanted to do something for her she has helped a lot of people and she deserves to be honor.”

Rosa started her musical career as a singer, songwriter and musician, playing saxophone and piano with Little Johnny and the Twilights a group she founded. On tour, Rosa and the Twilight’s were the opening acts for great performers such as The Shirelles, The Chantels, Ruby & the Romantics, Jimi Hendrix and Sam Cooke.

“Ramblin’ rose, ramblin’ rose why you ramble, no one knows. Wild and wind-blown, that’s how you’ve grown. Who can cling to a ramblin’ rose?”

In the late, 50’s Rosa was the opening act for the great Nat King Cole, he called her “Rambling Rose” because of the exotic sexy red gowns she wore and the long stem red roses she gave her audience. She later adopted Rambling Rose as her trade name.

As a promoter with the help of friends in the radio industry, Kelson “Chop-Chop” Fisher, Al Jefferson, Dell Edwards, Rockin’ Robin, Fat Daddy, Bob Dockins, Larry Dean, Sir Johnny O and “Hoppy” Adams, she was able to book her bands along the east coast. She recorded a song entitled “Thank you Mr. DJ” that she wrote in honor of those who helped her get started in the music industry.

In 1967, Rosa received her entertainment license, which enabled her to book national and international entertainers out of state at larger venues. Among the musical giants that benefited from Rosa’s promotional skills were entertainers Sir Walter Jackson, Joe Tex, Sonny Till and the Orioles, The Clovers, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, The Drifters, The Swallows, Philippe Wynn, Wild Man Steve, Millie Jackson, Stanley Turrentine, Jimmy McGriff, Peg Leg Bates and Jack McDuff.

Rosa later established Rosa Pryor Productions, booking musicians in the Baltimore/Washington area. As an entertainment developer and consultant, she was an asset to local nightclub and bar owners. She managed the famous Club Casino on Pennsylvania Avenue, under the ownership of Little Willie Adams; she was the general manager and booking agent for the Elgin Lounge under the ownership of Ambrose Robinson. When Elgin Lounge became The Point after Night Club and later The Hollywood Palace under the ownership of Lydell Mitchell, she continued to be the manager and promoter. An early trendsetter, Rosa was the first female member of “The Nomads Van Club” starting the Van Club Breakfast shows at Pat’s Lounge.

Because of her passion and diligent efforts, Rosa was one of the top female promoters and managers in the state of Maryland. She worked with promoters Elzie Street, Nick Mosby, Biddy Wood, Rufus Mitchell and Lou Koupusia. As a promoter, she booked shows in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, California, Pennsylvania, North & South Carolina, Detroit and Chicago. She also co-produced shows and concerts at Painters Mill Music Fair, Baltimore Civic Center, Capital Center, Carr’s Beach, Ft. Smallwood and Ebbs Picnic Grove.

Afro-American newspaper entertainment editor Ida Peters was quoted saying, “Rosa is the most talked about, popular and only Black female promoter in the Maryland/Washington Metropolitan area.”

Rosa traveled the country and the Caribbean Islands covering jazz, blues, and gospel music festivals, as the entertainment editor, account executive, and columnist for the Baltimore Times, Baltimore Magazine and the Annapolis Times.

In 1991, Rosa founded the Rosa Pryor Music Scholarship Fund, Inc. established to provide money for aspiring musicians, ages 5-17, to pay tuition and purchase instruments. Her enthusiasm for children inspired her decision to establish the scholarship when she recognized that these junior and senior high school students needed only her love and guidance to tone their vocal and instrumental talents. Her passion has nourished more than 20 musical groups that she coordinated, trained, counseled, and managed individually and as a group.

Rosa is the co-author of a collector’s item book called, “African America Entertainment in Baltimore”, about the legendary Pennsylvania Avenue clubs and entertainment during its heydays.

Rosa is a member of the National Association of Black Journalist, a Sister of, Trinity No. 5 Chapter Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Grand Lodge, and a Daughter of the Elks of Zorah Elliott Temple #717 of Baltimore, Maryland. She is an honorary member of Left Bank Jazz Society, M.U.L.B.A. (Maryland United Licensee Beverage Association), and Jazz Expressways Foundation and the Vanguard Justice Society.

She is also a recipient of numerous awards from organizations, television stations, radio stations, governors, mayors, congressmen, senators, councilmen, delegates and for her relentless contributions to the musical industry.

With her husband William “Shorty” Trusty, Rosa is the founder and CEO of Rose-Garden Entertainment Enterprises, Inc, providing entertainment for clubs, casinos, hotels, social events and racetracks.

“Rambling Rose” is currently an entertainment columnist and reporter with the Afro-American Newspaper, The Informer Newspaper, The Northwest Voice and a freelance writer for other periodicals.

Her commitment to every aspect of the music industry is a testimony of her deep soul felt love for the artistry in its entirety and is a recipient of an honor well deserved and long overdue. Rosa, “I’ll be there.”