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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 March 4th, 1922 (New York City)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1896 - 1933

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

Recordings (Results 26-50 of 141 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]996 7-in. 10/11/1901 Good afternoon, Mr. Jenkins George Walker Male vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]996 10-in. 10/11/1901 Good afternoon, Mr. Jenkins George Walker Male vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]997 10-in. 10/11/1901 Good morning, Carrie Williams and Walker Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]997 7-in. 10/11/1901 Good morning, Carrie Williams and Walker Male vocal duet, with piano instrumentalist, piano, vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]998 7-in. 10/11/1901 The ghost of a coon Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano, songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]998[a] 7-in. 10/11/1901 If you love your baby, make dem goo-goo eyes Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano, songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]998 10-in. 11/8/1901 The ghost of a coon Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano, songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]998[a] 10-in. 10/11/1901 If you love your baby, make dem goo-goo eyes Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano, songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]999 7-in. 10/11/1901 Her name's Miss Dinah Fair George Walker Male vocal solo, with piano instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]999 10-in. 10/11/1901 Her name's Miss Dinah Fair Williams and Walker Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1083 7-in. 11/8/1901 The fortune-telling man Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1083 10-in. 11/8/1901 The fortune-telling man Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1084 10-in. 11/8/1901 My little Zulu babe Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1085 7-in. 11/8/1901 She's getting more like the white folks every day Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1085 10-in. 11/8/1901 She's getting more like the white folks every day Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1086 7-in. 10/11/1901 My little Zulu babe Williams and Walker Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1086 10-in. 10/11/1901 My little Zulu babe Williams and Walker Male vocal duet, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1126 7-in. 12/4/1901 The fortune-telling man Silas Leachman Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1126 10-in. 12/4/1901 The fortune-telling man Silas Leachman Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]1894 7-in. 1/14/1903 When it's all goin' out and nothin' comin' in Silas Leachman Male vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]1894 10-in. 1/14/1903 All goin' out and nothin' comin' in Silas Leachman Male vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3069 10-in. 2/2/1901 If you love your baby, make dem goo-goo eyes Arthur Collins Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3283 10-in. 4/26/1901 She is getting more like the white folks every day Dan W. Quinn Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3284 10-in. 4/26/1901 The fortune-telling man Dan W. Quinn Male vocal solo songwriter  
Victor [Pre-matrix B-]3609 10-in. 10/11/1901 In my castle on the River Nile Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with piano vocalist, baritone vocal, instrumentalist, piano  
(Results 26-50 of 141 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Williams, Bert," accessed March 3, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103803.

Williams, Bert. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 3, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103803.

"Williams, Bert." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 3 March 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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