Walter “Dootsie” Williams: The Man Behind the National Success of Comedian Redd Foxx


Walter “Dootsie” Williams was born in Alabama on June 17, 1911. He was a record producer and a record label owner who released early records by Redd Foxx and The Penguins.

Williams was a leader of the Harlem Dukes band in the 1940s. While performing gigs, he came up with the idea of recording other musical talented artists. He founded the Blue Records label in 1949, and two years later decided to change the name to “Dootone Records.” One of the first artists he recorded under the “Dootone” label was a violinist named Johnny Creach, who years later would become popular at Woodstock as “Papa John Creach.” One of the recording groups to become a well-known sensation under Williams was “The Penguins,” who went on to have a huge hit with “Earth Angel.”

Redd Foxx was of the biggest names and talent for Dootone.  Williams saw the comedian perform at a local Los Angeles nightclub and offered Foxx a recording contract. Laff of the Party was the first of many albums that Foxx recorded for Williams and helped establish Foxx as a national star. Success for the label came with the odd combination of risque “party” records by Redd Foxx and the Fremont High based vocal groups, such as The Penguins, Medallions, Calvanes, and Dootones.



Dootsie Williams


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