Listener Supported Public Media from Fordham University

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Ethel Waters

Mintun at the Keys

by Rich Conaty
Photo by Mark Alan Vieira

Some Sundays there are ten birthdays, and some, like tonight, there are three. But they're solid: Fanny Brice, Denny Dennis and Ethel Waters, all singers. Curiously, no band leaders, songwriters or instrumentalists. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough. At times like these, I think, "Guest!" There aren't many people who "work" for "The Big Broadcast." In the early years of the show, there were still people around I play: Connie and Vet Boswell, Edward Eliscu, Cab Calloway, Ben Selvin, and I was fortunate to have them on the air.

A "New" Stormy Weather

by Rich Conaty

Ethel Waters introduced "Stormy Weather," written by Ted Koehler & Harold Arlen, in the 1933 "Cotton Club Parade." She was accompanied by Duke Ellington's Orchestra.  The song was a hit, and it was recorded by Waters (for Columbia), Ellington (Brunswick) and even composer Arlen for Victor Records.  All were issued contemporaneously, along with at least a dozen more versions in the USA and UK.  They weren't covers in the sense we think of them today; the song was the thing.