Toledo, mid 1960s - present
Ramona Collins has been performing as a vocalist for 45+ years and counting. For most of her career, she has been singing jazz standards and performing all over the NW Ohio and Michigan area, with occasional trips to jazz festivals in other US cities. She has spent many hours as a promoter and ambassador of jazz in the Toledo area.
For those of us in the Buckeye Beat world, her one 45 as a young soul singer - recorded by the Clark brothers at their record store in Toledo - will be the focus of this entry. Ramona was born into a musical family and started singing as a young teen. Eventually she started peforming in local clubs and became part of the Glass City Review, a network of many of Toledo's soul acts. The Glass City Review was sponsored by the Clarks and eventually they decided to start their own record label.
Otis Clark collaborated with session leader Gus Walker and as
it often happens to our great benefit, 2 minutes and 35 seconds of
magic happened in the super uptempo soul song "You've Been Cheating".
The 45 was released on the Clark's label (the label was later changed
to Glass City). The songs were recorded in the rehearsal/recording room
in the back of the Clark's store on Dorr Ave. The recording is pretty
raw, with a band (guitar, organ, bass, drums) backing her, Motown-y
backing vocals, a sax and trumpet buried in the mix, and a lot of
echo.....but that's all part of the magic.
The record came out in mid-late 1969 and got a little exposure, not helped by her name being mispelled as "Romona" on the record. There are two pressings, one has part of the introduction on both sides of the record cut off. Many years since, "You've Been Cheating" has become famous in the UK rare soul scene and all over the world.
After the record, and during the 1970s, Ramona spent time performing in nightclub groups before tiring of the grind and turning to vocal jazz.
Now That You're Gone / You've Been Cheating - Clark's 346
Long versions - TM 4320/4321 in the dead wax. Short versions - TM 4283/4284 in the dead wax. All labels read TM 4283/4. TM means the record was pressed by Chess Record's custom pressing (TM stands for Ter-Mar)