Sunday, November 25, 2012

MARTHA DAVIS - We Just Couldn't Say Goodbye



MEMPHIS TN (IFS) -- Martha Davis (December 14, 1917 – April 6, 1960) was an African-American singer and pianist whose musical comedy act, "Martha Davis & Spouse", was popular in the late 1940s and 1950s. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/27275813




Martha died from cancer on 6th April 1960 in Mount Vernon, New York.
Born in Wichita, Kansas on December 14, 1917, and raised in Chicago, Illinois Martha Davis attended the famous Du Sable High School. She counted Dorothy Donegan and Nat Cole among her classmates. By the mid 1930s, she had met and been influenced by Fats Waller, who allegedly taught her some of his piano skills. At that time she performed regularly as a singer and pianist in Chicago clubs.
At one such in 1939 Martha Davis met and subsequently married bass player named Calvin Ponder. He enjoyed a lucrative career with Earl Hines' big band. Therefore the couple didn't work together regularly until 1948. In this year Martha and Calvin had moved to California where Martha made her impressive recording debut on the Westcoast for the small Urban label with the surprise hit Little White Lies





She signed with the much larger Decca label, which reissued Little White Lieswith Calvin Ponder (b), Ralph Williams (g) and Lee Young (dr) on its Jewel subsidiary. Around this time, too, Martha worked with her jazz pal Louis Jordan with several cuts recorded again for Decca. It was Martha's most successful year (3 Top Ten hits: Little White Lies, Don't Burn the Candle At Both EndsDaddy-O).
But in that year Martha and her husband put together their own two-person nightclub act developing a musical and comedy routine as "Martha Davis & Spouse" in which she was decidedly the star of the two.
The act became hugely popular, touring and having a residency at the Blue Angel in New York. They appeared together in movies including "Smart Politics" withGene Krupa, and in the mid 1950s, variety films "Rhythm & Blues Revue", "Rock 'n' Roll Revue" and "Basin Street Revue". Several of their performances (Martha's BoogieWe Just Couldn't Say GoodbyeVipity Vop), were filmed for video jukeboxes, and they also appeared on early television variety shows.
Even though they were at the height of their popularity, they strangely did not record during this era (1951-57) and would not again until the brand new ABC Paramount label had them cut two LPs, one being a tribute to Martha's mentor, Fats Waller. These would be the final recording of the pair.
Among boogie-woogie enthusiasts, Martha Davis has remained well enough known, but to the general music loving public she has been long forgotten. Her fame was with her contemporary black audience, who well knew her from jazz clubs days. She played stride piano unique, which took a bit from Fats Waller, with whom she was chums in the 1930s.
Career
Davis was born in Wichita, Kansas, and raised in Chicago, Illinois. By the mid 1930s, she had met and been influenced by Fats Waller, and performed regularly as a singer and pianist in Chicago clubs. In 1939, she met, and later married, bass player Calvin Ponder (October 17, 1917 - December 26, 1970), who went on to play in Earl Hines' band.

In 1948, Davis and Ponder moved to California, and Davis developed her recording career on Jewel Records in Hollywood with a trio including Ponder, Ralph Williams (guitar) and Lee Young (drums). Their cover of Dick Haymes' pop hit "Little White Lies" reached # 11 on the Billboard R&B chart, followed by a duet with Louis Jordan, "Daddy-O", from the movie A Song Is Born, which reached the R&B top ten later that year.

Davis and Ponder also began performing together on stage, developing a musical and comedy routine as "Martha Davis & Spouse" which played on their physical characteristics (she was large, he was smaller). The act became hugely popular, touring and having a residency at the Blue Angel in New York. They appeared together in movies including Smart Politics (with Gene Krupa), and in the mid 1950s, variety films Rhythm & Blues Revue, Rock 'n' Roll Revue and Basin Street Revue. Several of their performances were filmed by Snader Telescriptions for video jukeboxes, and they also broadcast on network TV, particularly Garry Moore's CBS show.

In 1957, after a break of several years, they resumed recording for the ABC Paramount label, with whom they cut two LPs. Davis died from cancer in New York in 1960, aged only 42, and Ponder died ten years later, aged only 53.

This set contains essentially all of pianist and singer Martha Davis' recorded output, although it doesn't include a mostly inconsequential late-'50s LP and curiously also lacks her best and biggest hit, a definitive cover of Dick Haymes' "Little White Lies" that topped the charts in 1948. What's here is fun jump blues-oriented material that shows Davis to be a fine singer and a quite striking pianist (she is said to have learned more than a few tricks from the great Fats Waller) on sides like "Martha Boogie" and the unique "Player Piano Boogie." The omission of "Little White Lies" is a problem, though.
Sample

Title/Composer
Performer
Time
Stream
1
2:56

2
2:55

3
2:50

4
2:58

5
2:49

6
2:48

7
2:38

8
2:38

9
3:07

10
2:39

11
2:23

12
2:47
13
3:08

14
3:15

15
3:04

16
3:15

17
2:54

18
2:39

19
2:12

20
2:20

21
3:04

22
2:34

23
2:42

24
2:42

25
2:38

26
2:44

27
2:05

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