Wednesday, 07 July 2021 23:12

S.E. Oklahoma Country Music Pioneers - Ramona Reed Featured

Written by Terry Joe Wiles
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Grannies Nightmare Grannies Nightmare

Support Live Music #126 --- LeFlore Co, Area By Terry Joe Wiles

Ya know , not many Singers can say that they got their first BIG job with a band on the first try . Miss Ramona Reed (19) and her Mother took a Greyhound to Nashville in 1949 and before they got the bags unpacked , she had landed a purty nice gig ! Her audition for Bob Wills got her the job singing with one of the most recorded and most popular bands in Country music .

I hope to be able to visit with her soon , but all this info is on-line and from you-tube interviews . There are several good interviews and a lot of her songs on you-tube ! I would like to hear , in her own words , what it was like to have talent and a dream to be a singer . There were a couple of early records and a job on the Saturday Radio Country Music show . And with the encouragement of friends and folks in the music business , she went to Nashville . It is a whirlwind start of a lifelong career in Country Music !

The audition for Bob Wills has a couple of memories , Singing one song , then a request from Bob and she sang nearly all the songs that she knew ! To get comfortable and get over being a lil’ nervous , she kicked her shoes off and became the very first Texas Playgirl !

But the “Rest of the Story” tells of just singing all the time from 4-5 yrs. old . Front porch singing and the nearest neighbors sitting and listening from their front porch . And every Sat. going 40 miles to McAlester and singing 3 songs on KPMC radio with her music teacher playing piano . So this Lady has earned her place on stage . She has definitely paid her dues .

Her voice is loud and clear . Yodeling was a specialty and was always requested . The PA equipment was just barely able to be heard above a 7-9 piece band but she was up to the task . Remember , she grew up singing for hilltop to hilltop for neighbors . She also did shows with Johnny Lee Wills, who played in LeFlore Co. several times . There are mention of several nites at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa but I’m curious to see if there are any memories from Taylor’s Inn . I will find out ! What a shame all the posters and pics were destroyed in the fire at the Inn .

And there was never a dull moment during her early years in Nashville . She walked into WSM Nashville and landed a spot on a Noontime Neighbor Show that day . That got her a spot on the Grand Ole Opry the next Sat. Night . Then , she went back to college for a year in Colrado. Then got the job with Bob Wills and the Texas playboys for over two years . After a show on the Grand Ole Opry , she was asked to be the Singing Representative for sponsor Martha White Flour . So she became “Martha White” ! Her life , at 19 , became a whirlwind of performances with some of the biggest stars and shows in Country Music !

She was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2009 ! A well deserved honor for this humble lady . Her career spans over 70 years . On Radio , on stage , at the Grand Ole Opry ! It is quite a story !
My hats off to Ramona Reed , Pioneer in Country Music !

Tales of the Fourth ! I got out of the house to go Downtown and listen to some Live music ! The Celebration was lively .. Lots of families , lawn chairs , food trucks and games . Took my scooter (THX Tommy Robertson) so I wouldn’t have to do any walking . Listened to Grannie’s Nightmare . Great R&R ! Rich Johnson contributed the stage on wheels (a Trailer) . My only suggestion - Please consider the musicians on placement . The sun was brutal , even tho the temps were kind ! If the trailer was setup facing SE it would be better ! Musicians are a delicate breed and there have been a couple of fall outs and that required EMS treatment ! Be kind to your bands , don’t leave them out in the sun this Summer !

Rocky , Brad and Dale announced , as promised , that they would put $100 in the tip jar and challenged the crowd to match it ! All money in the tip jar would be donated to the Boys and Girls Club in Poteau . The response from a generous audience more than matched it , the total was $232 . Thx to Grannie’s Nightmare for being so City-minded ! That money will help a lot ! Kinda makes me Poteau Proud ! The band has a gig on the 17th at Shooters in the Fort !

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Then Connie Abbott and Country Pride took the stage at 7:30 . By then the crowd was over 200 and appreciated the Country Music that the band offered ! Connie , vocals/keys , David Abbott , vocals/ lead guitar and Bob Garrett , vocals / steel guitar will be a part of another event in the Pocket Park - ReUnion #2 on July the 17th ! More info soon !

Only Live Music on my radar - Oklahoma Moon will play at La Mansion Restaurant on the 8th in Locust Grove . Then on the 9th , they play up at Lake Tenkiller at Pine Cove Marina . THEN on the 10th , at Neumeier’s Rib Room in Ft Smith ! All three shows start at 6 pm !

And don’t forget the DAV Open Mic every Friday nite at 6 pm. John Sanders is the Host and singers and pickers are welcome !

For more info and any questions , call 918-649-5736 or .