Grand Old Opry Star Ramona Reed From Talihina Looks Back On Career

Friday, October 18th 2013, 10:24 am
By: News On 6

She has shared the stage with Bob Willis, Hank Williams, Roy Acuff and many more country legends and she is still singing today. Ramona Reed from Talihina was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

"I can't remember when I didn't sing because my parents said they had a Victoria and Jimmy Rogers singing and I was yodeling before I was talking," said Ramona Reed.

I recently took a stroll down memory lane with Ramona Reed at Cain's Ballroom, the home of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.

I asked Reed about meeting Wills and how he changed her life.

"He was about 30 feet away from the stage, smoking that cigar and I sang every song I knew, and finally kicked off my high heels and finished singing barefoot. I think he kind of like that," said Ramona Reed.

Wills must have, because he hired her on the spot and the 19-year-old from Talihina spent the next two years touring with the King of Texas Swing.

"Very nice, very nice, very strict," said Ramona Reed.

As Ramona's son, Jim Paul Blair, a fine musician in his own right, found out at the age of five.

"I remember San Antonio. I wanted to show Bob all of the frogs I caught and I scared him to death, he screamed at me. I don't think he cared much for me after that," said Jim Paul Blair.

Let's hop back a few years before that to the mid-1940s, where the voice of a girl still in high school was starting to get noticed.

"I made a couple of little records and the man told my mother, this kid can sing, you need to get her some auditions," said Ramona Reed.

So off they went to Nashville, Tennessee where in two hours' time, she was hired to appear on the Grand Old Opry and Roy Acuff's Noontime Neighbor's show.

I asked if she had any Hank Williams stories.

"I saw him every Saturday night at the Opry," said Ramona Reed.

Rich Lenz: What did you think of him?

"Oh, who didn't love to hear him sing?" said Ramona Reed.

With her career on the rise, it was only fitting she was next hired by a flour company.

"I was offered the job to become Martha White. It was not Ramona Reed, but Martha White, sponsored by Martha White Flour," said Ramona Reed.

And that is how she appeared on the Grand Old Opry program.

It was a career highlight and one of many. Ramona says it's hard for her to choose just one, but a comeback gig at the Opry would rank right up there at the top.

"I hadn't done much in about twelve years, Bob asked me to go with them and sing for the CMA Awards in Nashville, it wasn't televised at that time, but I did and that's one of the high spots, to once again be on the stage with Bob Wills and to be in Nashville, and look down and everyone was famous in front of me and it was just something that was really special," said Ramona Reed.

The night before I visited with her, Ramona had sung a half a dozen songs at an impromptu concert with her son.

It's what keeps this octogenarian feeling young and frisky. "Well, when I'm on that stage, I feel twenty again," said Ramona Reed.

Her son, Jim Paul Blair, helps keep the legend of Hank Williams Sr. alive, dressing up as Hank and performing a tribute show with all of his hits.