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Martha Davis

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The promise shown by pianist Martha Davis when she recorded three Top Ten hits in 1948 failed to carry over into the 1950s. Performing in a duo, Martha Davis & Spouse, which she shared with her bass player and husband, Calvin Ponder, she continued to tour through the 1950s. By then, however, her days as a hitmaking musician were long gone. A native of Wichita, KS, Davis grew up in Chicago. Initially recording for the small Urban label, she had a surprise hit, "Little White Lies," in 1948. The tune, which featured the accompaniment of Ponder, guitarist Ralph Williams, and drummer Lee Young, reached the top position on Billboard's R&B charts. Signing with the much larger Decca label, which reissued "Little White Lies" on its Jewel subsidiary, she continued to find success with her next two recordings. "Don't Burn the Candle at Both Ends" reached number six on the R&B charts, while "Daddy-O," recorded with Louis Jordan, peaked at number nine. Failing to record again until 1951, when she signed with Coral, Davis was unable to attain the heights of her early recordings. None of the tunes she recorded for Coral became hits. ~ Craig Harris

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15 January 1951 in Berkeley, CA

Years Active:

'80s, '90s