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Butterbeans & Susie

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Jodie "Butterbeans" Edwards and Susie Hawthorne were never household names -- at least not in many white households -- but from the early '20s through the '50s, they were one of the top comedic music acts on the black vaudeville circuit, from New York to Chicago to Detroit. Working as Butterbeans & Susie, they were masters of comic timing and the double-entendre in their interaction. In her stage and recorded persona, Hawthorne was the model for dozens of other dominant but frustrated wives throughout the history of stage and recorded entertainment in the 20th century, while Jodie Edwards made the role of the inadequate husband sing with laughter. The comic setup was a common one in entertainment, in the white as well as the black community, but they were considered too raunchy for white audiences. Despite this, they recorded extensively during the '20s, principally for the OKeh label. With the onset of the Great Depression, which crippled the recording industry, they kept busy mainly on the stage and made one last record at the end of the '50s. ~ Bruce Eder

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