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Edith Wilson (1896-1981)
Edith WilsonEdith Wilson (September 2, 1896 – March 31, 1981) was one of the stars of early African-American musical theatre. After working in vaudeville with her pianist brother Danny Wilson, Edith rose to prominence in 1921 when she replaced Mamie Smith in Perry Bradford’s musical revue Put And Take.

Bradford arranged for her to begin recording with Columbia in 1921. She then moved on to the Plantation Revue which was renamed From Dover Street To Dixie when the show moved to London, England in 1923. Returning to New York she appeared with Florence Mills in the musical revue Dixie To Broadway.

She continued to do theater and cabaret work in the New York area until 1926 when joined the Sam Wooding Orchestra and toured with the show “Chocolate Kiddies”. Wilson traveled the world with this show visiting England, Germany, Sweden, Spain, France, Switzerland, Istanbul, Turkey, Romania, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Belgium, Russia and Argentina off and on until 1929.

Edith Wilson (1896-1981)
Wilson performing the Black Bottom Dance in the London stage production of Lew Leslie’s “Blackbirds”(1926)

Throughout the 1930s she continued to be very busy appearing in dozens of musical revues and appearing with leading groups of the day such as the orchestras of Fess Williams, Cab Calloway, Jimmie Lunceford, Noble Sissle, Lucky Millinder and others.

During World War she frequently toured with various USO shows entertaining the troops and had small roles in a couple of films. Wilson had a regular role on the Amos N’ Andy radio show in the early 1940s playing Kingfish’s mother-in-law and she continued to do theater work. She sang on the radio and toured promotionally as Aunt Jemima for the Quaker Oats company up until the 1950s. She continued to be very activate in show business up until 1963 when she retired to work for the Negro Actors Guild. In the 1970s she began working in music again and recorded with Eubie Blake in 1972. Wilson died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1981. Edith was the sister in law of Blues singer Lena Wilson.band or session leader

Edith Wilson and Johnny Dunn’s Original Jazz Hounds
Edith Wilson and her Jazz Band

Edith Wilson (1896-1981)

Title Recording Date Recording Location Company
How Come You Do Me Like You Do?
Accompaniment by “Alabama Joe”
6-18-1924 New York, New York Columbia
14027-D
I’ll Get Even With You 10-6-1930 New York, New York Victor
V-38624
It’s Gonna Be A Cold Cold Winter
(Porter Grainger / Jo Trent)
3-6-1925 New York, New York Columbia
14066-D
Muscle Shoals Blues
Accompaniment by “Alabama Joe”

(George W. Thomas)
6-18-1924 New York, New York Columbia
14027-D
My Handyman Ain’t Handy No More 10-6-1930 New York, New York Victor
V-38624

63371-3
My Handyman Ain’t Handy No More 10-28-1930 New York, New York Victor
V-38624

63371-5
My Man Is Good For Nothing But Love 11-19-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
4685

E-31586
My Man Is Good For Nothing But Love 11-22-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
4685
There’ll Be Some Changes Made
(Higgins / Overstreet)
3-6-1925 New York, New York Columbia
14066-D
(What Did I Do To Be So)
Black And Blue

(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
11-19-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
4685

31586
(What Did I Do To Be So)
Black And Blue

(Andy Razaf / Fats Waller)
11-22-1929 New York, New York Brunswick
4685

accompanied by

Artist Instrument
Alabama Joe (Roy Smeck) Guitar
Harvey Brooks Piano
Wilber de Paris Trombone
Charlie Gaines Trumpet
Emerson Harper Clarinet
Earres Prince Piano
Sam Speed Banjo
Doc Straine Vocals

 

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