First up, an admission. I do not own a copy of this record (although I wish to God I did); I originally found it when scuffing around eBay recently looking for oddities to purchase on your behalf (it went for $86…well out of my price range!)
Issued in 1972 on the obscure Pennsylvania-based Country Boy Records (as CB-102) by Donna Kramer, the Velvet Underground-esque Bowl of Cherries was backed with the country ballad My Memories of You. The backing band is woefully out of tune on the B-side but it’s just a dull slice of standard-fare country: it doesn’t have the wonderfully inept, garage band joie de vivre of the lead track.
Country Boy Records was owned by one Howard Vokes; the company appears to have issued a handful of 45s (the only other ones I’ve found listed are CB-103 by Bill Beere and CB-106 by Mel Anderson). Vokes had been a recording artist himself, his first 45s were issued in 1960 credited to Cowboy Howard Vokes and the Country Boys, and the Vokes’ canon includes the brilliantly-titled It Takes Six Men To Carry A Man To His Grave (But Only One Woman To Put Him There), issued on his own Vokes Records in 1970. That same year he launched his second imprint, the short-lived Country Boy label, named after his own backing band.
Little is known about Donna Kramer. I can tell you that she hailed from Hyde, Pennsylvania, and that she performed live on at least one occasion with Vokes and his band: Vokes held a residency at the Griltz Hotel, Verona (PA, not Italy) and three years after her debut 45 she sang as part of his regular Sing, Neighbor, Sing review. Kramer told the Clearfield Progress newspaper that she hoped to sign with Vokes’ other label, the previously mentioned (and nationally-distributed) Vokes records, but it appears she would never record again. That’s all I’ve got. There are a number of Donna Kramers still living in Pennsylvania, but I’ve no idea if any of them is the same Donna Kramer who wrote and performed this brilliant little disc.