Uploaded on Jan 19, 2009
"WEST END BLUES"
Sung by Ethel Waters
Piano Accompaniment, Clarence Williams
Recorded August 23, 1928
Words - Clarence Williams
Music - Joe Oliver
Ethel Waters was an early blues singer and later a blues-style pop singer. She was noted for her smooth style, warm voice with distinctive tone and vibrato. She sang in church choirs as a child and won a talent contest at a local theater. Played theaters in Philadelphia and Baltimore and gained the nickname "Sweet Mama Stringbean" because she was tall and thin. In New York City, in the early 1920s, she was a top-billed singer/dancer act in vaudeville, then made several big-selling records for Black Swan, Paramount and Columbia. She also performed in Broadway Musicals "Africana" (1927), "Blackbirds of 1930", and "Rhapsody in Black" (1931). She has recorded with Clarence Williams, Duke Ellington, the Dorsey Brothers and Benny Goodman. Between 1935 and 1939 she headed her own touring show. She was also active as a film actress/singer. 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.
"West End Blues" is usually thought of as one of the all-time great Jazz instumentals, in particular, the Louis Armstrong classic recorded two months earlier. Ethel Waters is probably the first vocalist to record the lyrics of Clarence Williams, who also accompanies her on the piano.
"WEST END BLUES"
Blues from my head to my shoes I'm blue today
I've got a mean evil feelin', And I'm full of gin
On my way to the West End and there's where troubles will begin
My man, my Dan, low-down mean hound
In town with my best friend running around
Soon the undertaker man gonna knock upon his door
Folks in West End, folks in West End, gonna see some shootin'
Like they've never seen before
I mean my man and my best friend will never cheat in West End no more
Blues from my head to my shoes, so blue today
I still got that mean low-down feeling, I'm gonna hear bad news
I'm on my way to the West End to lose those old ugly West End Blues
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