Ethel Waters' stunning 'Supper Time' with Diana Ross
Posted by: DistantDrumming 11:55 pm EDT 05/21/23

Sometimes the YouTube algorithm gods send you something wonderful you wouldn't have found yourself. Tonight they did that when I logged in to aimlessly browse through a few musical selections while making dinner. And got instantly transfixed by this performance of Supper Time, by Ethel Waters on what appears to be be a variety special hosted by a young Diana Ross. I'm guessing this is from the mid 60s? It's certainly decades after Waters would have first performed the song. I've heard a beautiful recording or two of her performing the song when younger, but this performance is a stunner. It's also beautifully shot. That final image as the camera pulls back from her, the "hallway" seemingly extending into infinity and Waters left weeping into her towel as the lights dim? Gorgeous.

Anyone here see Ethel Waters perform in her later years? She seemed like such a fascinating woman, too -- from her difficult childhood (to say the least) to her work in the theatre, to being the first female Black lead of a TV sitcom, the second Black woman nominated for an Oscar.

Supper Time has always sounded very Arlen and Gershwin to me. In fact, I thought it was one their works the first time I heard it years ago. Regardless, this feels like the perfect marriage of song and performer.
Link Ethel Waters - Supper Time - Sometime in the 60s?

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