CANDY GIVENS

by David Givens

Candy was unique. We are all unique. Candy was more unique than most of us. She was the granddaughter of train robbers and gamblers. Her father, Richard Ramey was a small time Colorado outlaw during the fifties and sixties. Wanda Denton, her mother was orphaned when she was a small child living in the hills of West Virginia and was taken in by her older sister who was married to Candy’s father’s father. Are you with me? Candy’s parents knew each other from the ages of four and five. They grew up on the same Iowa farm where Candy was born many years later, on December 9, 1946, after being conceived on her father’s bed in a military hospital in San Francisco.

The Rameys packed up their two small daughters and moved to Colorado in 1950. They lived in an assortment of places around Denver, including a made over chicken coup, before settling in a cabin on the hill above the turn leading into Evergreen. This was in 1952 or thereabouts. According to Candy, they were still parking horses at the hitching posts outside the bars at the time. Evergreen was a long way from Denver in those days before I-70. It took five or six hours to make the trip on a good day.

Candy had a big pink clock radio that she used to tune to KOMA, a 50,000 watt AM station out of Oklahoma City, as she lay in bed at night. She must have listened real well because she knew all the words to all the good rock and roll songs. She didn’t hear much Rx or Motown, but she knew Elvis, Patsy Cline, the Platters, lots of the do-wop stuff, Bill Doggett, Roy Orbison and she knew them well. Her imitation of Elvis was unbelievable. Among her favorites songs were I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos, Heartbreak Hotel, Since I Don’t Have You, It’s Only Make Believe and a lot more I’m not going to list. She liked dramatic stuff with a good beat and killer singing with lots of good backups.

The family moved to Applewood, near Golden when Candy was in the seventh grade. She had a hard time at first, because she felt that the suburban kids she went to school with saw her as a hick. She didn’t see herself as a country girl at all, ever. She was a smart kid and she wasted no time fitting in. By the time she graduated from Golden High, in 1965, she was very well liked. The yearbook picked her to become a famous singer. When she died, they wrote about it in the New York Times.

Zephyr was loud. Candy was charismatic and sometimes pretty loud and some people liked that. I liked hearing her really sing. Around the house, she sang all the time and it was truly wonderful. She was blessed with a beautiful voice and a dead on sense of melody. The original Zephyr demo tape shows her at her best at the beginning of Zephyr. This recording, even though her voice is mixed pretty deep down in the tracks, shows what she learned in three years of touring and recording. By this time, she wasn’t so concerned with charisma as she was with musicianship. Despite her problems, she continued to improve until the last time I heard her sing, in 1983. She was so good by then, that she held a drunken, rowdy party of international rugby players spellbound for the entire time she was on stage. That’s hard.

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