I May Be Crazy, But I Ain't No Fool

sheet music / Bert Williams / 1904



(from http://www.si.umich.edu/CHICO/Harlem/timex/1903.html):

"George Walker and Egbert Austin Williams were a vaudeville comedy team and had one of the most renowned and successful stage partnerships in American theatrical history. They decided to team up when they met in San Francisco in the early 1890's. Williams and Walker pioneered a new kind of 'Black' humor and eventually developed their own company. With musical shows such as Clorindy, the Origin of the Cakewalk, Sons of Ham, and In Dahomey, they opened the door for other African-American actors, singers, dancers, and musicians, and redefined the boundaries of legitimate Negro Theater.

In Dahomey was the idea of George Walker. He wanted to use the African elements of the American Negro background as the theme of the show. Although he and Williams didn't know much about Africa, they wanted to try something new. Will Marion Cook composed the music and Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Alex Roger wrote the lyrics. On February 18, 1903, it was the first full-length black musical comedy that played on Broadway at the New York Theater. The show later traveled to England and the cast performed at the Shaftesbury Theater in London and later at Buckingham Palace in a royal command performance for the birthday party of the Prince of Wales. Some of the songs Williams and Walker made famous are: 'I'm a Jonah Man,' 'I May Be Crazy but I Ain't No Fool,' 'I Wants to be a Actor Lady,' 'Miss Hannah from Savannah,' 'Bon Bon Buddy,' and 'Nobody."

In Dahomey