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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 76-100 of 141 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 3557 10-in. ca. Nov. 1906 The Mississippi stoker Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 3574 10-in. ca. Jan.-Sept. 1906 I've such a funny feeling when I look at you Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 3593 10-in. ca. Jan.-Mar. 1907 Fare thee! On ma way! Jes' gone! Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 4136 10-in. ca. Jan.-Aug. 1909 That's a plenty Arthur Collins Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Columbia 4682 10-in. ca. June-July 1910 I'll lend you anything Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 4683 10-in. ca. June-July 1910 Something you don't expect Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer, vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 4684 10-in. ca. June-July 1910 Constantly Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer, vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 4849 10-in. ca. Aug. 1910 Play that barber-shop chord Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 38525 10-in. 1/3/1913 My landlady Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 38539 10-in. 1/7/1913 Woodman, spare that tree Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 38540 10-in. 1/7/1913 Nobody Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 38553 10-in. 1/13/1913 Borrow from me Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 38554 10-in. 1/14/1913 On the right road Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 38576 10-in. 1/21/1913 I certainly was going some Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 39204 10-in. 2/4/1914 You can't get away from it Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 39205 10-in. 2/4/1914 The Darktown Poker Club Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer, vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 45906 10-in. 8/2/1915 I'm neutral Bert Williams Male vocal solo and monologue, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 45907 10-in. 8/2/1915 Everybody Bert Williams Male vocal solo and monologue, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, author, speaker  
Columbia 45911 10-in. 8/4/1915 Indoor sports Bert Williams Male vocal solo and monologue, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 45925 10-in. 8/7/1915 Samuel Bert Williams Male vocal solo and monologue, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 45986 10-in. 9/7/1915 Hard times Bert Williams Male vocal solo and monologue, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 46004 10-in. 9/9/1915 Purpostus Bert Williams Male vocal solo and monologue, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, composer  
Columbia 46005 10-in. 9/9/1915 Never mo' Bert Williams Male vocal solo and monologue, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal, songwriter  
Columbia 46006 10-in. 9/9/1915 Eph calls up the boss Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 46944 10-in. 7/22/1916 The Lee family Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
(Results 76-100 of 141 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Williams, Bert," accessed March 7, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103803.

Williams, Bert. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 7, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103803.

"Williams, Bert." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 7 March 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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