Al Bernard was a great historic recording artist from the vaudeville era. He was also one of the most famous blackface performers from the days of the minstrel shows, so he's become something of a pariah. Yet his work has also been reappraised by music historians who feel links exist between the much-maligned minstrel show styles and much-adored western swing music. Known as "the boy from Dixie" in much of his promotion, Bernard's biggest hit was the clutchy "I Want to Hold You in My Arms," one of many duets with Ernest Hare that were released on Edison as so-called "diamond discs." His collaborations with Hare included what passed for male and female duets, except it was Bernard doing the woman's voice. Having come up on the vaudeville boards, he'd learned to do just about anything for a laugh. The 1922 "My Little Bimbo Down on the Bamboo Isle," for example, is a typical Bernard song title.