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 for 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.

Here is a bonus recording of Ethel Waters performing "Am I Blue?" from the 1929 Vitaphone short "On With The Show".

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
Ethel Waters with The Herman Chittison Trio
Ethel Waters with Ed Mallory and his Orchestra
Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
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"

(Harry Akst / Grant Clarke)
5-14-1929 New York, New York Columbia
1837-D
Back Bitin' Mamma
(Fats Waller)
8-1-1924 New York, New York Vocalion
A 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"

(Harry Akst / Grant 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
Come Up And See Me Sometime
"Take A Chance"

(Swanstrom / Alter)
3-16-1934 New York, New York Brunswick
6885
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
Piano Accompaniment by James P. Johnson


(Andy Razaf / J.C. Johnson)
8-21-1928 New York, New York Columbia
14380-D
Ethel Sings 'Em
(Ethel Waters)
6-1923 Long Island City, New York Black Swan
14154-B
Georgia Blues 7-8-1929 New York, New York Columbia
14565-D
Get Up Off Your Knees
Piano Accompaniment by James P. Johnson

(Clarence Williams)
8-21-1928 New York, New York Columbia
14380-D
Guess Who's In Town
Piano Accompaniment by James P. Johnson

(Andy Razaf / J.C. Johnson)
8-21-1928 New York, New York Columbia
14353-D
Harlem On My Mind
From "As Thousands Cheer"

(Irving Berlin)
10-10-1933 New York, New York Columbia
2826-D
Heat Wave
(Irving Berlin)
10-10-1933 New York, New York Columbia
2826-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-B
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
Jeepers Creepers New York, New York Bluebird
B-10025-B
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
Miss Otis Regrets
(She's Unable To Lunch Today)

(Porter)
8-20-1934 New York, New York Decca
140 A
Moonglow
(Hudson / DeLange / Mills)
8-20-1934 New York, New York Decca
140 B
My Baby Sure Knows How To Love
(Crawford / Rafe)
8-21-1928 New York, New York Columbia
14411-D
My Handy Man
Piano Accompaniment by James P. Johnson

(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
(Sidney Clare / Sam H. Stept / Bee Palmer)
2-10-1931 New York, New York Columbia
2409-D
Pleasure Mad
(Sidney Bechet)
8-1-1924 New York, New York Vocalion
B 14860
Porgy
(Dorothy Fields / Jimmy McHugh)
4-1-1930 New York, New York Columbia
2184-D
Refrigeratin' Papa
(Mama's Gonna Warm You Up)

(Wasserman)
2-19-1926 New York, New York Columbia
14132-D
River Stay 'Way From My Door
(Dixon / Woods)
8-10-1931 New York, New York Columbia
2511-D
Second-Handed Man
(Easton / Ethel Waters)
6-6-1929 New York, New York Columbia
1871-D
Shine On, Harvest Moon
(Nora Bayes / Norworth)
8-10-1931 New York, New York Columbia
2511-D
Shoo Shoo Boogie Boo
(From Moran and Mack's Talking Picture "Why Bring That Up")

(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, Sweetheart
(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 Man Blues
(J.C. Johnson)
6-1923 Long Island City, New York Black Swan
14154-A
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)
(Sidney Easton)
3-25-1924 Chicago, Illinois Paramount
12214-A
Throw Dirt In Your Face New York, New York Columbia
14132-D
They Say New York, New York Bluebird
B-10025-A
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
(James P. Johnson)
6-1923 Long Island City, New York Black Swan
14151-A
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-B
You're Lucky To Me
(from "Lew Leslie's" Blackbirds of 1930")

(Andy Razaf / Eubie Blake)
8-19-1930 New York, New York Columbia
2288-D
You've Seen Harlem At It's Best 3-16-1934 New York, New York Brunswick
6885
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