Wednesday, October 27, 2021

I'm Fat, That's That !

with the Olympia Brass Band

I'm Fat, That's That!
V.J. Boulet, Flat Town Music, BMI

Arranged by Milton Batiste

Maison De Soul 45-1028

This is Sylvia "Kuumba" Williams on Maison De Soul (House Of Soul), a Ville Plate, Louisiana label owned by veteran music man Floyd Soileau. Composer of "I'm Fat" is Valery Junior Boulet, pianist and songwriter, who was once a member of The Riff-Raffs, the Bobby Page's band.

Sylvia "Kuumba" Williams (1941-2001).

A native of New Orleans, graduated from Grambling State College. She travelled throughout the South with the Free Southern Theatre, assisting New York directors Gilbert Moses and Bob Costley.  Her profesional debut was with The New Orlans Repertory Theatre then run by June Havoc.  Havoc reportedly gave her the nickname “Kuumba,” a Swahili word for creativity.

Sylvia Williams, who starred as “Big Bertha” Williams in Vernel Bagneris’ musical One Mo’ Time. She stayed with the show during its three-year Off-Broadway run, which began in 1979, and then toured with it in London, Germany, Greece, Italy, France, Australia, Sweden and the Bahamas. In London, she met Queen Elizabeth II.

The show brought her other honors, including a portrait by Andy Warhol. Her image also graced the poster for the musical (see above the cover of One Mo'Time' Showbill cover). "Her face became our logo," Bagneris said.

Ms. Williams traded on her success in One Mo’ Time overseas by singing on the European jazz circuit. Like many jazz musicians before her, she settled in Sweden, living there ten years, learning how to speak Swedish and acting in classical plays with the likes of Max Van Sydow, the renowned Ingmar Bergman actor.  Eventually, though, she returned to New Orleans, where she spent most of her life

Big Bertha : You've Got The Right Key But The Wrong Keyhole

(From the original cast album "One Mo' Time" issued
by Warner-Bros; artists on that album are not individually credited)

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