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Spencer Williams


Composer, Lyricist, Pianist

(1889 - 1965)

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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. He returned to the States for awhile but moved to England in 1936 and spent most of the ‘50s in Sweden, returning home again shortly before his death.

Williams wrote or co-wrote over 100 songs, including “I Ain’t Got Nobody (and Nobody Cares for Me)” with Roger Graham (1915) and “Royal Garden Blues” with his brother Clarence Williams (1919). “Careless Love” (1921) was penned with W.C. Handy and Martha Koehler. “Everybody Loves My Baby” (1924) and “I’ve Found a New Baby” (1926) are both hits written with Jack Palmer. Williams wrote both the words and music for “Basin Street Blues” (1928) and collaborated with Benny Carter on the beautiful ballad, “When Lights Are Low.” His “Tishomingo Blues” (1917) serves as Garrison Keillor’s theme for A Prairie Home Companion.

- Jeremy Wilson


Royal Garden Blues

Branford Marsalis



Careless Love

Madeleine Peyroux



Everybody Loves My Baby

Dorsey Brothers, Boswell Sisters



Two for the Road

Joe Pass and Herb Ellis Includes "I Found a New Baby"



Basin Street Blues

Louis Armstrong



When Lights are Low

Claire Martin, Richard Rodney Bennett



When Lights Are Low

Benny Carter
Reading and Viewing

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Garrison Keillor

A Prairie Home Companion (With Garrison Keillor - 30th Anniversary Season Celebration)

Rounder Records

DVD - William's "Tishomingo Blues" serves as the theme for A Prairie Home Companion

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