12 July 2008

Bonnie Prater, Miami rocker

The track "Pass Around The Apples" was selected for a Various Artists CD Honey Doll. A fantastic CD with a bunch of great rocking unknown girl pop rock and roll.
"Pass Around The Apples" is one of the highlights. Very catchy, up tempo song, a haunting voice, wild, rocking guitars. Click to listen to Bonnie Prater's song.

Singer Bonnie Prater is one of these Rock and Roll mysteries. It seems to be impossible to find any information about her.
But I was lucky to get a mail from Kathleen, who happened quite accidentally upon an internet page of me where the track was listed. It was the song by her husbands Aunt Bonnie, who had passed away. She liked to have the song as it meant a lot to her husband, for Aunt Bonnie was a great influence in his life.
I sent the song to them and asked what more information there was about Bonnie Prater.
Here's the story of Bonnie Prater.

Bonnie Morris Prater was born with the given name of Bertha Louise Morris and called Bonnie all her life. She was born on November 28, 1941. She passed away from cancer on March 26, 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Her singing debut was at age 11 on a local television show in Miami Florida called The Uncle Martin Show. She appeared on the Uncle Harv and Happy Harold shows with her older sister as The Morris Sisters. But when the promoter misunderstood the groups name and announced them as The Massey Sisters and they were a success, they kept that name.
As the Massey Sisters they had a successful career in the local area. Individually Bonnie went on to open shows for Faron Young, Buck Owens, Webb Pierce and other big names that came to the Miami area to perform. At Criteria Studios in Florida, Bonnie sang with individual stars and groups as a back up singer.

In the mid 60's she and her husband, Bill Prater (a studio musician and lead guitarist) started their own band called 'The Cruisers' and played venues in the south Florida area.
In 1968 Bonnie went to Nashville with King Houston to cut her single 'Pass Around the Apples' and back up on the flip side for Houston on 'I Struck the Match'. After hearing her performance Decca Studios offered Bonnie a contract, but she was already signed with Houston, who refused to release her from his contract.
Later Bonnie and Bill went on to do show work with Lee Irvin and the Kentuckians performing in and around the southern United States for several years.

Bonnie and Bill decided to start a family in the 70's and she devoted her time to her two children and husband, eventually leaving Florida and moving to Atlanta, Georgia where she became very successful in the banking business, but continued to entertain family and friends with her beautiful voice.
She is dearly missed by all.

Thank you Kathleen and Bonnie's family for all the information!