Ethel Waters was one of the most popular African American singers and actresses of the 1920s. She moved to New York in 1919 after touring in vaudeville shows as a singer and a dancer. She made her recording debut in 1921 on Cardinal records with "The New York Glide" and "At the New Jump Steady Ball", but switched over to African American owned Black Swan label, and recorded "Down Home Blues" and "Oh Daddy" the first Blues numbers for that company. She frequently sang with Fletcher Henderson during the early 1920s, but by the mid-1920s Waters had became more of a pop singer. She performed in a number of musical revues throughout the rest of the decade and appeared a couple of films, including "Check and Double Check" with Amos 'n' Andy and Duke Ellington. By the end of the 1930s she was a big star on Broadway. In 1949, she was nominated for an Oscar best supporting actress in the film "Pinky", and the next year she won the New York Drama Critics Award for best actress. Waters got religion in the late fifties and performed and toured with evangelist Billy Graham until her death in 1977.

Ethel Waters accompanied by Albury's Blue and Jazz Seven

Ethel Waters' Jazz Masters

Ethel Waters accompanied by her Ebony Four

Ethel Waters accompanied by Lovie Austin's Blues Serenaders

Ethel Waters accompanied by Will Marion Cook's Singing Orchestra

Title

Recording Date

Recording Location

Company

Ain't Goin' Marry (Ain't Goin' Settle Down)
(Delaney / Easton)

3-1923

Long Island City, New York

Black Swan 14145

All The Time
(Horley)

6-1923

Long Island City, New York

Black Swan 14155

Am I Blue?
From Warner Brothers Talking Picture "On With The Show"

(Akst / Clarke)

5-14-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 1837-D

Back Bitin' Mamma
(Fats Waller)

8-1-1924

New York, New York

Vocalion 14860

Better Keep Your Eye On Your Man

7-11-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 14458-D

Birmingham Bertha
From Warner Brothers Talking Picture "On With The Show"

(Akst / Clarke)

5-14-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 1837-D

Brother, You Got Me Wrong
(Hall / Geise)

5-13-1925

New York, New York

Columbia 433-D

Do I Know What I'm Doing?
(Robin / Coslow / Whiting)

6-7-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 1905-D

Do What You Did Last Night
(Andy Razaf / J.C. Johnson)

8-21-1928

New York, New York

Columbia 14380-D

Down Home Blues
(Delaney)

7-28-1925

New York, New York

Columbia 14093-D

Ethel Sings 'Em
(Ethel Waters)

6-1923

Long Island City, New York

Black Swan 14154

Georgia Blues

7-8-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 14565-D

Get Up Off Your Knees
(Clarence Williams)

8-21-1928

New York, New York

Columbia 14380-D

Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night
(Easton / Ethel Waters)

7-28-1925

New York, New York

Columbia 14093-D

Guess Who's In Town
(Andy Razaf / J.C. Johnson)

8-21-1928

New York, New York

Columbia 14353-D

Home (Cradle Of Happiness)
(Johnson)

5-6-1927

New York, New York

Columbia 14297-D

If You Don't Think I'll Do Sweet Pops (Just Try Me)
(Louis Armstrong / Lil Hardin-Armstrong)

3-1923

Long Island City, New York

Black Swan 14148

I Got Rhythm
(George Gershwin)

11-18-1930

New York, New York

Columbia 2346-D

I Like The Way He Does It
(Dallavon)

7-8-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 14565-D

I Want My Sweet Daddy Now
(Heywood)

6-28-1927

New York, New York

Columbia 14229-D

Jersey Walk
(Creamer / Dowling / Hanley)

9-29-1926

New York, New York

Columbia 14182-D

Lonesome Swallow
(Andy Razaf / J.C. Johnson)

8-21-1928

New York, New York

Columbia 14411-D

Long Lean Lanky Moma
(Rich)

7-11-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 14458-D

Memories Of You
(Andy Razaf / Eubie Blake)

8-19-1930

New York, New York

Columbia 2288-D

My Baby Sure Knows How To Love
(Crawford / Rafe)

8-21-1928

New York, New York

Columbia 14411-D

My Handy Man
(Andy Razaf)

8-21-1928

New York, New York

Columbia 14353-D

My Kind Of Man
(Strothart / Grey / Rice)

6-3-1930

New York, New York

Columbia 2222-D

One Sweet Letter From You
(Warren / Clare / Brown)

10-14-1927

New York, New York

Columbia test

Organ Grinder Blues
(Clarence Williams)

8-21-1928

New York, New York

Columbia 14365-D

Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
(Stept / Clare)

2-10-1931

New York, New York

Columbia 2409-D

Pleasure Mad
(Sidney Bechet)

8-1-1924

New York, New York

Vocalion 14860

Porgy
(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)

4-1-1930

New York, New York

Columbia 2184-D

Second-Handed Man
(Easton / Ethel Waters)

6-6-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 1871-D

Shoo Shoo Boogie Boo
(Robin / Coslow / Whiting)

6-7-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 1905-D

Smile!
(Heywood / Dancer / Whiteman)

5-6-1927

New York, New York

Columbia 14229-D

Someday, Sweetheat
(Warren / Clare / Brown)

10-14-1927

New York, New York

Columbia 14264-D

Some Of These Days
(Shelton Brooks)

10-14-1927

New York, New York

Columbia 14264-D

Sweet Georgia Brown
(Bernie / Pinkard / Casey)

5-13-1925

New York, New York

Columbia 433-D

Sweet Man Blues
(J.C. Johnson)

6-1923

Long Island City, New York

Black Swan 14154

Sympathetic Dan
(Flatow / Creamer)

7-28-1925

New York, New York

Columbia 433-D

Take Your Black Bottom Outside
(Williams)

5-6-1927

New York, New York

Columbia 14214-D

Tell 'Em Bout Me (When You Reach Tennessee)
(Easton)

3-25-1924

Chicago, Illinois

Paramount 12214

Trav'lin' All Alone
(Johnson)

7-11-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 1933-D

Three Little Words
(Kalmar / Ruby)

11-28-1930

New York, New York

Columbia 2346-D

True Blue Lou
(Robin / Coslow / Whiting)

6-7-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 1871-D

Waiting At The End Of The Road
(Irving Berlin)

7-11-1929

New York, New York

Columbia 1933-D

Weary Feet

5-6-1927

New York, New York

Columbia 14214-D

West End Blues
(King Oliver / Clarence Williams)

8-21-1928

New York, New York

Columbia 14365-D

(What Did I Do To Be So) Black And Blue
(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller / Ernie Brooks)

4-1-1930

New York, New York

Columbia 2184-D

When Your Lover Has Gone
(Swan)

2-10-1931

New York, New York

Columbia 2409-D

Who'll Get It When I'm Gone?
(Horley)

6-1923

Long Island City, New York

Black Swan 14155

Without That Gal!
(Donaldson)

6-16-1931

New York, New York

Columbia 2481-D

You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me
(Fain / Kahal / Norman)

6-3-1930

New York, New York

Columbia 2222-D

You Can't Do What My Last Man Did
(Johnson)

6-1923

Long Island City, New York

Black Swan 14151

You Can't Stop Me From Loving You
(Holiner / Nichols)

6-16-1931

New York, New York

Columbia 2481-D

You'll Need Me When I'm Long Gone
(Carpenter)

3-25-1924

Chicago, Illinois

Paramount 12214

You're Lucky To Me
(Andy Razaf / Eubie Blake)

8-19-1930

New York, New York

Columbia 2288-D

Artist

Instrument

Bill Benford

Bass Brass

Rube Bloom

Piano

Tony Colucci

Guitar

Jimmy Dorsey

Clarinet

Tommy Dorsey

Trombone

Bob Effors

Trumpet

Benny Goodman

Clarinet

Fletcher Henderson

Piano

Horace Holmes

Cornet

Alex Jackson

Alto Saxophone

H. Leonard Jeter

Vocals

James C. Johnson

Piano

James P. Johnson

Piano

Manny Klein

Trumpet

Stan King

Drums

Eddie Lang

Guitar

Adrian Rollini

Bass Saxophone

Ben Selvin

Violin, Piano, Guitar

Frank Signorelli

Piano

Joe Smith

Cornet

Muggsy Spanier

Trumpet

Joe Tarto

Bass

William A. Tyler

Violin

Joe Venuti

Violin

Fats Waller

Piano

Clarence Williams

Piano

Pearl Wright

Piano

Title

Director

Year

On With The Show

Alan Crosland

1929

Rufus Jones For President

Roy Mack

1934

Gift of Gab

Karl Freund

1934

Bubbling Over

 

1934

Cairo

W.S. Van Dyke

1942

Tales of Manhattan

Julien Duvivier

1942

Stage Door Canteen

Frank Borzage

1942

Cabin in the Sky

Vincente Minnelli

1943

Pinky

John Ford and Elia Kazan

1943

The Member of the Wedding

Fred Zinnemann

1952

The Sound and the Fury

Martin Ritt

1959

His Eye Is On The Sparrow by Ethel Waters with Charles Samuels, Doubleday and Company, 1950

To Me It's Wonderful by Ethel Waters, Harper and Row, 1972