Patti (nee Chapman) Woods was a native of West Virginia, born on her
grandfather's farm near Fairmont. Interestingly, they say her
grandfather was Curt Rogers who was a breeder of Charles Town race horses.
Pattis started out singing in the church choir when she was nine years old.
It was then she began to feel she could be a singer. As she grew up,
she thought singing would only be a hobby for her and trained herself
to be a hair dresser. But they kept offering her jobs every time she sang.
When she was in Miami Beach, Florida, she started out at $35 a week and
in a couple years was making over $500 a week singing. Later on, she
worked with Clyde McCoy at the Lee and Eddie Supper Club. In 1948,
she went out to California and began to get jobs on the famed "Sunset
Strip". Interestingly, she was in the pop music arena and in New York
when she was 18 and won a talent contest imitating Clyde McCoy on
the trumpet - playing "Sugar Blues" but doing it only with her hands
and mouth. That imitation gaine her applause even later on in her career
whenever she did it.
Patti credits her voice coach of many years, Max Rich (who wrote
"Smile, Darn You, Smile") for the success she had as a singer.
Soon, she became a star on Eddie Kirk's "Town Hall Party" show
in Compton, California. She had always liked hillbilly (or as they
called it sometimes "folk" music) and contacted the show's promoter,
Billy Wagner, when she heard their was an opening for a female singer.
She got hired just about immediately and everyone came to like her.
She could be heard over NBC every Friday and Saturday night from the
Town Hall Ballroom and was on the Monday night television broadcasts
of the show over KTTV.
Credits & Sources
- Cowboy Songs No. 27 (July 1953); American Folk Publications,
Inc.; Derby, CT.