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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 101-125 of 141 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 46945 10-in. 7/22/1916 I'm gone before I go Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 77341 10-in. 9/14/1917 No place like home Bert Williams Comic monologue, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 77344 10-in. 9/14/1917 Twenty years Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78025 10-in. 8/26/1918 O death where is thy sting Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78030 10-in. 8/29/1918 You'll find old Dixieland in France Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78031 10-in. 8/29/1918 When I return Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78298 10-in. 2/13/1919 Oh! Lawdy (Something's done got between Ebecaneezer and me) Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78299 10-in. 2/13/1919 Bring back those wonderful days Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78380 10-in. 4/4/1919 Everybody wants a key to my cellar Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78394 10-in. 4/16/1919 It's nobody's business but my own Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78411 10-in. 4/29/1919 Elder Eatmore's sermon on generosity Bert Williams Comic monologue speaker  
Columbia 78828 10-in. 11/24/1919 I'm sorry I ain't got it you could have it if I had it blues Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78833 10-in. 12/1/1919 The moon shines on the moonshine Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78834 10-in. 12/2/1919 Checkers (It's your move now) Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 78835 10-in. 12/2/1919 Somebody Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79126 10-in. 4/18/1920 Ten little bottles Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79127 10-in. 4/18/1920 Unlucky blues Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79163 10-in. 5/6/1920 Lonesome alimony blues Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79164 10-in. 5/6/1920 Get up Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79318 10-in. 6/28/1920 Save a little dram for me Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79402 10-in. 9/7/1920 I want to know where Tosti went (when he said goodbye) Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79484 10-in. 10/25/1920 You can't trust nobody Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79515 10-in. 11/12/1920 Eve cost Adam just one bone Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79516 10-in. 11/12/1920 You'll never need a doctor no more Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79566 10-in. 12/10/1920 My last dollar Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
(Results 101-125 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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