Ethel Waters


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Ethel Waters recorded steadily between 1921-1940. By the early '40s she was so involved in acting that she was largely off records for several years. The titles included on 1946-1947 are, with the exception of a set from the late '50s, and a couple of religious-oriented albums in the '60s, Waters' last recordings. At the age of 50, Waters' voice was still in prime form as she shows on these three sessions. She is featured in a septet with trumpeter George Treadwell, guitarist Mary Osborne, and her longtime pianist Reginald Beane. In addition, there are two songs with Herman Chittison, and a dozen in which she is just accompanied by Beane. Among the many highlights are "Cabin in the Sky," "Am I Blue," "Careless Love," "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe," "It's Only a Paper Moon," and "St. Louis Blues." Not everything works, since the version of "Taking a Chance on Love" here is a bit erratic, and "Suppertime" is not too subtle, but overall this is a very rewarding set of the last known recordings of Ethel Waters during her most significant years.

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