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Bert Williams

Bert Williams (November 12, 1874 – March 4, 1922) was a Bahamian-American entertainer, one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. In 1918, the New York Dramatic Mirror called Williams "one of the great comedians of the world."

Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his three-decade-long career. Fellow vaudevillian W. C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as "the funniest man I ever saw—and the saddest man I ever knew."

Birth and Death Data: Born November 12th, 1874 (Nassau), Died New York City

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1896 - 1933

Roles Represented in DAHR: baritone vocal, composer, songwriter, piano, speaker, lyricist, author

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 141 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Berliner 1611 7-in. 11/16/1896 I thought I was a winner George J. Gaskin Male vocal solo composer, lyricist  
Berliner 1730 7-in. 5/19/1897 Miss Maria Johnson Dan W. Quinn Male vocal solo songwriter  
Berliner 1964 7-in. Before Apr. 1899 Why don’t you get a lady of your own John Terrell Male vocal solo songwriter  
Berliner 011 7-in. 4/8/1899 I don’t like no cheap man Len Spencer Male vocal solo songwriter  
Berliner 0143 7-in. Before June 1899 He’s up against the real thing now Len Spencer Male vocal solo composer  
Berliner 0989 7-in. 2/17/1900 The medicine man Arthur Collins Male vocal solo songwriter  
Berliner 01002 7-in. 2/19/1900 Why don't you get a lady of your own Arthur Collins Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]647 7-in. 2/2/1901 If you love your baby, make dem goo-goo eyes Arthur Collins Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]647 10-in. 9/19/1902 If you love your baby, make dem goo-goo eyes Arthur Collins Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]741 7-in. 4/26/1901 She's getting more like the white folks every day Dan W. Quinn Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]741 10-in. 4/26/1901 She's getting more like the white folks every day Dan W. Quinn Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]742 7-in. 4/26/1901 My fortune-telling man Dan W. Quinn Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]742 10-in. 4/26/1901 My fortune-telling man Dan W. Quinn Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]987 7-in. 10/11/1901 I don't like that face you wear Williams and Walker Male vocal duet, with piano instrumentalist, piano, vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]987 10-in. 10/11/1901 I don't like that face you wear Williams and Walker Male vocal duet, with piano instrumentalist, piano, vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]991 7-in. 10/11/1901 In my castle on the River Nile Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]991 10-in. 10/11/1901 In my castle on the River Nile Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]992 7-in. 10/11/1901 The phrenologist coon Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]992 10-in. 10/11/1901 The phrenologist coon Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]993 7-in. 10/11/1901 Where was Moses when the lights went out? Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]993 10-in. 10/11/1901 Where was Moses when the light went out? Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]994 7-in. 10/11/1901 When it's all going out and nothing coming in Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]994 10-in. 10/11/1901 All going out and nothing coming in Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano, composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]995 7-in. 10/11/1901 Junie George Walker Male vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]995 10-in. 10/11/1901 Junie George Walker Male vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  
(Results 1-25 of 141 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Williams, Bert," accessed October 28, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103803.

Williams, Bert. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 28, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103803.

"Williams, Bert." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 28 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103803

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