Sunday, December 15, 2013

Papa Ain't No Santa Claus (Mama Ain't No Christmas Tree)

Performed by Butterbeans and Susie, recorded in August, 1930.

Let's keep rollin' in the holiday spirit!  

This duo was known as "Butterbeans and Susie" and was an extremely popular act in the 1920's through the mid-1960's on the Black vaudeville circuit.  

In 1917 Jodie Edwards and Susie Hawthorne were teenage vaudeville dancers.  When another act,  "Stringbeans and Susie May" folded, an agent offered Edwards and Hawthorne fifty dollars to get married and take over the act.   They became "Butterbeans and Susie" and what started as a publicity stunt ended up being a life-long partnership both personally and professionally.  

They had fine voices as well as impeccable comic timing.  Susie portrayed the no-nonsense wife who has to put up with a fool of a husband, Butterbeans,  who can't do anything right especially in the bedroom.  They specialized in racy, suggestive songs with titles like, "I Wanna Hot Dog for my Roll", "My Daddy's Got the Mojo, But I Got the Say So", "Mama Stayed Out the Whole Night Long", and "How Do You Expect Me to Get My Lovin'?"

The act was a little too raunchy for most white audiences but killed on the circuit known as T.O.B.A. -(officially The Theater Owner's Booking Association, but known unofficially as Tough On Black Asses).  T.O.B.A. was a booking agency for Black talent with a reputation for low pay and rough conditions.  

Butterbeans and Susie were still working in the 1960's in venues such as the Apollo in New York.  In true show biz style, Butterbeans died in 1967 as he walked on stage to perform.  

This song is one of their best.  Enjoy!!  

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