Aida Overton Walker


Aida Overton Walker
Born February 14, 1880
Richmond, Virginia
Died October 11, 1914 (aged 34)
New York, NY
Occupation Vaudeville
Known for Dancing and Choreographing (Performing)

Aida Overton Walker (14 February 1880 – 11 October 1914), also billed as Ada Overton Walker and as "The Queen of the Cakewalk", was an African-American vaudeville performer and wife of vaudevillian George Walker. She appeared with her husband and his performing partner Bert Williams, and in groups such as Black Patti's Troubadours. She was also a solo dancer and choreographer for vaudeville shows such as Bob Cole, Joe Jordan, and J. Rosamond Johnson's The Red Moon (1908) and S. H. Dudley's His Honor the Barber (1911).

Early career
Overton grew up in New York City, where her family moved when she was young and where she gained an education and considerable musical training. She started her career at an early age in the late 1880’s as a chorus member in “Black Patti’s Troubadours” where she met her husband who she would begin her career with. Her early career was defined by her collaborations with Bert Williams and her husband George Walker, the major black vaudeville and musical comedy powerhouses of the era. She first gained national attention in 1900, with her performance of “Miss Hannah from Savannah” in the show Sons of Ham. For the next ten years, Aida would be known primarily for her work in musical theater. Her song and dance made her an instant hit with audiences at the time. She, George, and Bert continued to produce even more successful shows such as In Dahomey (1902), Abyssinia (1906), and Bandana Land (1908). Working alongside her husband, Walker’s career and performances were praised by critics and her successes well known. She was both financially successful and respected by the industry. Although Aida Walker originally became famous through her partnership with her husband and Bert Williams, her popularity only grew in the years following her death and the end of the Williams and Walker troupe. Shortly after she joined the Smart set company and became a leader of her own vaudeville company. Both were extremely well received.

Fame and popularity
Aida Overton Walker is also well known for her 1912 performance of the “Salamone” dance at Hammerstein’s Victoria Theatre. This was Aida’s response to the national “Salamonia” craze of 1907 that spread through the white vaudeville circuit. Her portrayal of the Salamone character was very different from that of the white actresses of her time, and it had to be. She was very in tune with how the roles she played had and impact on race relations of the time. Within her roles she worked hard to break the stereotypes of black women being both immoral and oversexed. She coordinated her movements and expressions in order to express the emotions and thoughts of the characters she was portraying. Her success at Hamerstein’s theatre led to her next role in “Bon Bon Buddy” the following year when she was asked back to perform. George Walker first popularized “Bon Bon Buddy” in Bandana land years before and Aida’s performance was almost like an ode to her late husband. Her performance was so successful she was asked to perform 2 extra weeks.

Aida Overton Walker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Vaudeville Actress Who Refused To Be A Stereotype

Perry "Mule" Bradford
b. Montgomery, AL, USA
d. April 20, 1970, New York, NY, USA.
Although he lived until 1970, Perry Bradford's
main importance to music was during the first
half of the 1920s. He grew up in Atlanta
(where his family moved when he was six)
and in 1906 started working with minstrel
He played in Chicago as a solo pianist as early as 1909 and visited New York the following year. As a pianist, singer, and composer, Bradford worked in theater circuits for the next decade. After settling in New York, he became Mamie Smith's musical director and was responsible for her being the first blues singer to appear on record (singing his "Crazy Blues" in 1920).
Bradford toured and recorded with Smith, worked with Alberta Hunter, and also headed seven recording sessions of his own during 1923-1927; among his sidemen were Johnny Dunn, Bubber Miley, Garvin Bushell, Louis Armstrong (on two numbers in 1925), Buster Bailey, and James P. Johnson. With the rise of the Depression, Bradford (who was a spirited if limited singer) slipped away into obscurity.
In later years, he appeared to some to be a bit of a braggart although that was probably a reaction to him being completely forgotten. In 1965 Perry Bradford's autobiography Alone with the Blues was published. His best-known songs were "Crazy Blues," "That Thing Called Love," and "You Can't Keep A Good Man Down."
~ Scott Yanow
Lonesome Blues
~Words & Music by Perry Bradford

Want someone to love me, want someone to hug me now,
Want someone to squeeze me, want someone to teach me how,
I don't want your money, all I want my honey's you.
Woke up this morning feeling awfully blue,
Ain't got no one to tell my troubles to
The fortune teller has told me little fellow,
That I am lonely, lonely. And I've got those lonesome blues.
Look here little daddy how I wish you had me dear,
When you're way I'm lonely that is I want you near,
Honey please don't leave me you will surely grieve me dear.
Perry Bradford on Red Hot Jazz

Irving Gordon, songwriter
b. New York (Brooklyn), NY, USA
d. Dec. 1, 1996, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Lyricist and composer Irving Gordon wrote many popular tunes recorded by Perry Como, Patti Page, Eddy Arnold, Bing Crosby, and Billie Holiday, but is perhaps best-known as the author of "Unforgettable," originally recorded in 1931 by Nat "King" Cole. Born in Brooklyn in 1915, Gordon studied violin as a child and started songwriting several years later while working at a Catskills resort.
By the early '30s, Gordon was writing lyrics for talent agency run by Irving Mills, with whom he co-wrote the lyrics to two 1930s Duke Ellington compositions: "Please Forgive Me" and "Prelude to a Kiss." Other songs by Gordon include "Delaware" "Rollin' Stone," "There's No Boat Like a Rowboat," "Mama From the Train" "What Will I Tell My Heart?," and "Me, Myself and I." In the mid-'40s, Gordon moved to L.A., where he spent the rest of his life. Irving Gordon got to see a Grammy winning revival of his song "Unforgettable" by Nat "King" Cole's daughter Natalie just a few years before his death in December 1996.
~ Joslyn Layne

Lonnie Glosson
C&W singer-songwriter/guitar/harmonica
b. Judsonia, AR, USA.
d. March 2, 2001, Searcy (White County), AR, USA.

Werner Richard Heymann, composer
b. Königsberg, East Prussia, Germany
(now Kaliningrad, Russia)
d. May 30, 1961, Munich, Germany.
German composer Werner Richard Heymann scored many Hollywood films during the '30s and '40s. He got his start working in the Vienna and Berlin philharmonic symphonies and in the Max Reinhardt theater before becoming the assistant to the musical director of the German film production company UFA. Before coming to the U.S. in 1933, Heymann had been appointed musical director of the company. He remained in Hollywood through the early 1950s. He then returned to work on German films.
~ Sandra Brennan

Jack Lesberg, Bass/violin
b. Boston, MA, USA
d. Sept. 17, 2005, Englewood, NJ, USA.
A premier bassist of the postwar era, Jack Lesberg's rock-solid and versatile playing supported a who's-who of jazz giants including Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, and Billie Holiday. In addition, he served a lengthy tenure with the New York City Symphony Orchestra under conductor Leonard Bernstein. Born in Boston on Valentine's Day, 1920, Lesberg first studied violin and earned notoriety on the Beantown club scene. He moved permanently to double bass in the late 1930s and landed with Muggsy Spanier's band in 1940. After surviving the November 28, 1942 nightclub fire that killed 492 patrons at Boston's Coconut Grove, Lesberg relocated to New York in 1943 and hired on with Eddie Condon the following year. In 1945, he began a three-year stint under Bernstein, concurrently studying under double bass master Fred Zimmerman and playing on record with everyone from Coleman Hawkins to Sarah Vaughan (her first studio date, no less). During this busy time, Lesberg also began playing with Louis Armstrong, a collaboration inaugurated in 1947 and resumed often in the years to follow.
After parting ways with Bernstein, Lesberg backed Sidney Bechet, Tommy Dorsey, Kai Winding and Jimmy McPartland. In 1956, he toured Australia, England and Africa behind Armstrong and the following year he supported Jack Teagarden and Earl Hines during their trek across Europe. After spending the late 1950s backing Billy Butterfield, Lesberg spent much of the early 1960s overseas, touring Europe with Georgie Auld and Doc Severinsen in 1962. A Pacific jaunt with Condon followed in 1964 as did a 1965 Icelandic tour with Armstrong. Gigs with Urbie Green, Bobby Hackett and Joe Venuti preceded Lesberg's 1970 decision to relocate to Australia, where he spent four years with the Sydney Symphony.
Upon returning stateside, Lesberg recorded for Famous Door in 1977. He toured Europe several more times during the 1980s with the Tribute to Louis Armstrong group and served in 1986 with Goodman's last band, but his pace slowed in the years to follow. After a long bout with Alzheimer's disease, Lesberg died at a convalescent home in Englewood, New Jersey on September 17, 2005.
~ Jason Ankeny
William J. Scanlan, composer
b. Springfield, MA, USA.
d. Feb. 19, 1898, New York, NY, USA.
William J. Scanlan (February 14, 1856 - February 18, 1898) was a composer and actor of musical theater. He was born to parents of Irish ancestry in Springfield, Massachusetts. While performing in his show Mavourneen, he completed the final performance on Christmas Day. He became so violently ill that was he was taken to Bloomingdale Asylum for the Insane in White Plains, New York, on January 7, 1892. He died there on February 18, 1898.
William J. Scanlan - Wikipedia

"Skeets" Tolbert
b. Calhoun Falls, SC, USA
d. Nov. 30, 2000, Houston, TX, USA.
né: Campbell Arelus Tolbert.
As a boy in Charlotte, NC, Campbell A. Tolbert acquired the nickname "Skeets," which was short for "Mosquito." Proficient on the alto saxophone -- his sound has been compared to that of Johnny Hodges, Louis Jordan, and Pete Brown -- Tolbert made his first recordings with Taylor's Dixie Orchestra, and listeners are fortunate to have two recordings from 1931 as examples of his tenure with this grand old "territory band." Harry Prather blows fine tuba and the vocalists are excellent.
Tolbert made his way to New York shortly thereafter and gigged with Fats Waller. He soon formed his own Gentlemen of Swing, a tight little group that performed in Greenwich Village and on 52nd Street rather than uptown in Harlem. In addition to Tolbert's homie Harry Prather -- now playing the upright string bass -- this band had trumpeter Carl "Tatti" Smith, famous for having participated in the very first recordings ever made by Lester Young. That historical 1936 "Smith-Jones, Inc." session was also Count Basie's first date as a leader. Another strong player is tenor saxophonist Lem Johnson, who struts his stuff nicely on "Bouncing Rhythm" and sings bawdy lyrics during "The Stuff's Out."
Johnson's vocal on "Railroad Blues" is relatively sobering, as is Clarence Easter's delivery on "Harlem Ain't What It Used to Be," a slow, serious evocation of economic hardship, strained living conditions, and an apparent need for rent control. Yet most of the material heard here was meant to entertain and amuse. "Papa's in Bed with His Britches On" is possibly even better than Una Mae Carlisle's version, recorded six months later. "W.P.A.," a send-up of the Works Progress Administration programs of the late '30s, makes fun of the entire concept with references to being lazy and the refrain "I'm so tired...but I can't get fired." Still and all, the most useful tunes here are the solid instrumentals like "Swing Out" and "Jumpin' Jack." This disc also contains a handful of sides which represent the recording debut of pianist and vocalist Charles "Red" Richards
~ arwulf arwulf

Anson Weeks
b. Oakland, CA, USA
d. Feb. 7, 1969, Sacramento, CA, USA.

Anson Weeks (1896-1969) was leader of a popular West Coast dance band in the late 1920s through the 1960s, primarily in San Francisco (he made his first recording in Oakland on February 7, 1925, but it was rejected). He pioneered the "hotel" band sound and spent years at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco, using the slogan "Dancin' With Anson".
He formed his first band in 1924 and had key hotel jobs in Oakland and Sacramento. By the late 1920s he was a popular regional orchestra and started recording for Columbia in 1928. In 1932, he signed with Brunswick and recorded for them through 1935, during this time, his was one of their premier and most popular bands. He later did a session for Decca in 1937.

He gained nationwise attention in late 1931 on the 'Lucky Strike Magic Carpet" radio program. Among his key vocalists were Art Wilson, Harriet Lee, Donald Novis, Bob Crosby, Carl Ravazza, Kay St. Germaine, and Bob Gage. His Brunswick records were quite popular. Weeks was involved in an auto accident in 1941 and was out of the band business for several years, starting up again in the late 1940s. He signed to the local Fantasy label in the early 1950s and did a series of dance albums, which were quite regionally popular. Weeks also composed songs including "I'm Writing You This Little Melody" (theme song), "I'm Sorry Dear", "Senorita", "That Same Old Dream", and "We'll Get A Bang Out Of Life".
Notable Events Occurring 
On This Date Include:


John Roseby is born in Lexington, Mississippi, USA. He will make his mark as jazz saxophonist Brick Roseby, working with the Southland Troubadours (led by Little Brother Montgomery) before moving to Chicago, Illinois, where he will continue gigging until the late 1960s.

The musical comedy Sinbad, starring Al Jolson, opens at the Winter Garden Theatre, Broadway, New York City, USA, where it will run for 164 performances. During the run of the show Jolson will introduce the song Swanee, written by George Gershwin and Irving Caesar, which will go on to become one his greatest successes.

Ma Rainey And Her Paramount Flappers are booked by the Chattanooga office of the Theatre Owners Booking Association to play three nights in early March at the Douglass Theatre, Macon, Georgia, USA. 

Baby Dodds, drums
died in Chicago, IL, USA.
Age: 60.
Baby Dodds

Frederick Loewe
died in Palm Springs, CA, USA.
Songs Recorded/Released
On This Date Include:


Art Hickman and his Orchestra
  • Day Dreams
  • I Call You Sunshine
  • I Spoiled You
  • Near Me (Introducing: "Broadway Rose")


Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds - Carolina Blues

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
  • After the Rain
  • Bygones


Johnny Dunn's Original Jazz Hounds - Hallelujah Blues
Johnny Dunn's Original Jazz Hounds - Spanish Dreams - Espanola Blues


Lena Wilson with Conaway's Rag-Pickers - Hula Blues
  • Four Flushin' Papa (You've Gotta Play Straight With Me)


Charleston Chasers - One Sweet Letter From You


Ambrose And his Orchestra - Without You Sweetheart
  • When The Moon Comes Peeping Through

Dorsey Brothers Orchestra - Persian Rug
Dorsey Brothers Orchestra - Mary Ann

Waring's Pennsylvanians - Glorianna - Vocal refrain by Clare Hanlon

Waring's Pennsylvanians - Who's Blue Now?


Earl Hines and his Orchestra - Good Little, Bad Little You
  • Have You Ever Felt That Way?

Jack Hylton and his Orchestra
  • Glad Feet
  • Sally Of My Dreams

Jack Padbury's Cosmo Club Six - Today's A Sunny Day For Me

  • Two Weeks' Notice

Ray Miller and His Orchestra
  • The Waltz I Can't Forget
  • He, She And Me

Clarence Williams' Washboard Band - Mississsippi Blues (Home Town Toddle)

Harry Reser and his Orchestra - (When I'm Walkin' With My Sweetness) Down Among The Sugar Cane


Red Nichols' Five Pennies - Tea For Two


Adrian Rollini and his Orchestra - You've Got Me Cryin' Again - Vocal Chorus by Joey Nash
  • Have You Ever Been Lonely? - Vocal Chorus by Joey Nash
  • Hustlin' And Bustlin' For Baby - Vocal Chorus by Joey Nash

Isham Jones and his Orchestra - You've Got Me Crying Again


Have You Ever Been Lonely?
(Have You Ever Been Blue)

Have you ever been lonely?
Have you ever been blue?
Have you ever loved someone,
Just as I love you?

Can't you see that I'm sorry,
For each mistake I've made?
Can't you see I've changed dear?
Can't you see that I've paid?

Oh, be a little forgiving.
Take me back in your heart.
How can I go on living,
Now that we're apart?

If you knew what I'd been through,
You'd know why I ask you:
Have you ever been lonely?
Have you ever been blue?

Be a little forgiving.
Take me back in your heart.
How can I go on living,
Now that we're apart?

If you knew what I'd been through,
You'd know why I ask you:
Have you ever been lonely?
Have you ever been blue?

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Special Thanks To:
The Red Hot Jazz Archives,
The Big Band Database, Scott Yanow, 

and all those who have provided content,
images and sound files for this site.

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