Who was/is Mimi Roman ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Owen Bradley, resident producer at Decca Records in Nashville, would jokingly lament that he was charged with "a country singer who wanted to go pop, and a pop singer who wanted to sing country." The country singer was Patsy Cline. The pop singer was Mimi Roman.
Mimi's name never appeared on the 'Billboard' country chart. Yet she made several records for a major country label in her day – Decca was the home of Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells and Ernest Tubb – and she worked constantly until her voluntary retirement from the road, still in her twenties. Wanda Jackson, who was establishing herself during those days, recalls her from some shows they worked together: "Our careers ran parallel for a while.
I can't say I knew her very well, but I liked her very much. I loved her singing, and she was a beautiful girl – black hair, a good figure and a great voice. But radio didn't play her records; she got no breaks at all."
While Paul Cohen, the New York-based head of country A&R for Decca Records, "thought it was very funny to have a Jewish girl from New York" recording for him in Nashville, Mimi says that the record label fudged on her official bio to make her a little more palatable to potential fans. Contemporary press accounts have her from Salinas, California; growing up near the local rodeo before her family moved to New York when she was fourteen years old.
The truth is, Mimi was born in New York (April 20, 1934) , and grew up in the Bronx. Her mother was a dancer in the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes; her birth father was something of a Damon Runyon involved in the sporting trade. When she was ten, her mother remarried and Miriam Lapolito became Mimi ("my brother couldn't pronounce 'Miriam'") Rothman.
The family, she says, was relatively well-to-do. "My stepfather made pickles, a fine product that he'd sell to restaurants like 21 and Grossinger's. He always liked horses, but he didn't ride. My brother and I both had horses, which we kept stabled in Brooklyn."
She attended Erasmus Hall High School, preceding Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond, and Hofstra University "Nobody'd remember me – I spent all my time at the stable or with a gun in my hand, shooting. I wanted to be on the rifle team, but they wouldn't accept girls.
"I became National Rodeo Queen – judged on looks, personality and riding ability – at Madison Square Garden."
The title led to a month's employment at the Garden, where in addition to performing in the rodeo, she took care of 'Little Champ,' son of headliner Gene Autry's horse, 'Champion.'
A family friend was a cameraman on Arthur Godfrey's television show, which led to appearances on 'Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club' and then Godfrey's own 'Talent Scouts' program; alma mater of such stars-to-be as Frank Sinatra, Pat Boone, and some time after Mimi's appearance, Patsy Cline. Mimi, who had listened to the 'Opry' and 'Jubilee U.S.A.' "On my radio, under the blanket, in the middle of the night in Brooklyn," wore her cowgirl outfit and sang Hank Williams' Weary Blues From Waitin'.
Mimi Roman I'm Ready If You Are Willing-Juke Box Pearls
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