|Walter D. Williams Jr.|
June 17, 1911|
Mobile, Alabama, United States
|Died||August 21, 1991
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Genres||Comedy, doo-wop, gospel|
|Record executive, record producer, band leader|
Papa John Creach
Williams was born in Mobile, Alabama, in 1911, and by 1918 had moved with his family to Los Angeles. He was a leader of the Harlem Dukes band in the 1940s. While performing at gigs, he came up with the idea of recording other artists.
In 1949, Williams founded the Blue Records label. Two years later he changed the name to Dootone. One of the first artists he recorded on Dootone was a violinist named Johnny Creach, who years later would become popular as Papa John Creach. In 1954, he recorded a local group called The Penguins, who would have a huge hit with "Earth Angel."
While the label would record a wide variety of music, it would be best known for a series of comedy recordings by Redd Foxx. Williams saw the comedian perform at the Brass Rail, a local Los Angeles nightclub, and signed Foxx to a recording contract. Laff of the Party, the first of many albums that Foxx recorded for Williams, became a cult favorite and helped establish him as a national star.
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