Ramona (vocalist)

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Ramona Davies (March 11, 1909 − December 14, 1972), usually billed as Ramona and her Grand Piano, was a cabaret singer and pianist, most popular in the 1930s.

Born Estrild Raymona Myers in Lockland, Ohio to teenaged parents, 17-year-old Raymond P. Myers (for whom Raymona was named[1]) and Rachel (née DeCamp), 15 years old. Raymond Myers' parents had the marriage annulled, unaware that Rachel was carrying Raymond's child. Rachael and infant Ramona moved across the border to Ashland, Kentucky, where Rachel met her future husband, Charles C. Payne.[2]

Ramona became a vocalist and pianist for Paul Whiteman's Orchestra from 1932–37. She played mildly jazz-influenced piano and sang songs in a deep-voiced, sophisticated style. She was sometimes featured by Whiteman with a small jazz group within the band, as well as recording sides as a soloist and duets with Roy Bargy.[citation needed]

Prior to joining Whiteman, she had her own radio show in Cincinnati and also worked with Don Bestor. She performed on Whiteman's radio show in 1933, Al Jolson's radio show in 1933–34 and the Kraft Music Hall in late 1934 through early 1935 (before Bing Crosby took over the radio program in 1936). She was featured with the Whiteman band in the 20th Century-Fox 1935 film Thanks A Million. She left Whiteman's band in 1937 and worked as a single (recording for Liberty Music Shops specialty label). In the late 1930s, she led a male big band (recording for Varsity Records).[2]

Personal life[edit]

She was married three times. Her first two marriages, to Kenneth Hopkins and Howard Davies (by whose surname she was known professionally) ended in divorce, but her third marriage, to baseball broadcaster Al Helfer (on June 14, 1944), lasted until her death in 1972, and produced her only child, a daughter, Ramona Helfer.[2]

Death[edit]

Ramona Davies died on December 14, 1972 of cancer at age 63.[where?]

Discography[edit]

A number of her songs was released on CD in a 1998 collection entitled Ramona & Her Grand Piano.[1]

  1. I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby (Jimmy McHugh & Dorothy Fields), recorded September 13, 1935
  2. I Hate To Think That You'll Grow Old, Baby (Lew Brown & Ray Henderson), March 7, 1933
  3. The Beat O' My Heart (Harold Spina & Johnny Burke), February 27, 1934
  4. You Excite Me! (Mitchell Parish & Frank Perkins), August 16, 1933
  5. Annie Doesn't Live Here Anymore, (Harold Spina & Johnny Burke), October 24, 1933
  6. Broadway's Gone Hill-Billy, Lew Brown & Jay Gorney), March 27, 1934
  7. Are You Makin' Any Money? (Herman Hupfeld, July 20, 1933
  8. I Lay Me Down to Sleep, (Allie Brubel), April 19, 1933
  9. Not For All The Rice In China, (Irving Berlin), October 20, 1933
  10. A Penny For Your Thoughts (E.Y Harburg & Vernon Duke), March 1, 1933
  11. Barrel-House Music, (Willard Robison) September 13, 1935
  12. Come Up And See Me Sometime, (Louis Alter & Arthur Swanstrom). August 8, 1933
  13. I'm No Angel, (Harvey Brooks, Gladys DuBois, Ben Ellison), October 20, 1933
  14. I Found A New Way To Go To Town, (Harvey Brooks, Gladys DuBois, Ben Ellison), October 20, 1933
  15. New O'leans, (Arthur Lange), July 9, 1935
  16. Ah, The Moon Is Here, (Sammy Fain & Irving Kahal), August 16, 1933
  17. Tony's Wife, (Burton Lane & Harold Adamson), March 7, 1933
  18. No Strings, (Irving Berlin), September 13, 1935
  19. Every Now And Then, (Abner Silver, Al Sherman, & Al Lewis), September 13, 1935
  20. We're Out Of The Red, (Lew Brown & Jay Gorney), March 27, 1934
  21. Never Had An Education, (Irving Caesar & Sigmund Romberg), March 7, 1933
  22. Raisin' The Rent, (Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler), April 20, 1933
  23. Anything Goes, (Cole Porter), October 26, 1934
  24. The Heart Is Quicker Than The Eye, (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rogers), April 28, 1936

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ramona and Her Grand Piano, CD, George Morrow, Echo Productions, Hayward, CA MB 116, liner notes, n/d
  2. ^ a b c Profile, imdb.com; accessed February 4, 2015.