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Spencer Williams (1889 - 1965)

Composer, Pianist

Spencer Williams was born and educated in New Orleans, Louisiana. He moved to Chicago in 1907 and began his career as a piano player in saloons, eventually graduating to more sophisticated venues. In 1925 Williams moved to Paris where he accompanied and composed songs for Josephine Baker in the Folies Bergere.

Often collaborating with Clarence Williams, “Fats” Waller, and Andy Razaf, Williams wrote or co-wrote over 100 songs, including “I Ain’t Got Nobody (and Nobody Cares for Me)” (1915), “Royal Garden Blues” (1919), “Everybody Loves My Baby” (1924), “I’ve Found a New Baby” (1926), “Basin Street Blues” (1928), and “Tishomingo Blues” (1917), the music which serves as Garrison Keillor’s theme for Prairie Home Companion.

-- Jeremy Wilson

Courtesy of


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