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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 126-141 of 141 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Columbia 79567 10-in. 12/10/1920 I'm gonna quit Saturday Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79934 10-in. 7/12/1921 'Tain't no disgrace to run when you're skeered Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 79940 10-in. 7/13/1921 I ain't afraid of nuthin' dat's alive Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 80038 10-in. 10/24/1921 Brother low down Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 80040 10-in. 10/28/1921 Unexpectedly Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 80191 10-in. 2/24/1922 Not lately Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 30039 12-in. 9/26/1906 All in, out and down Bert Williams Male vocal solo, with orchestra vocalist, baritone vocal  
Columbia 36538 12-in. 1/3/1913 You can't do nothing till Martin gets here Bert Williams Comic monologue speaker  
Columbia 36539 12-in. 1/3/1913 How? Fried Bert Williams Comic monologue speaker  
Columbia 49643 12-in. 6/27/1919 Elder Eatmore's sermon on "Generosity" Bert Williams Comic monologue, with mixed vocal trio and organ speaker  
Columbia 49644 12-in. 6/27/1919 Elder Eatmore's sermon on throwing stones Bert Williams Sermon, with male vocal solo and organ speaker  
Columbia W142420 10-in. 7/12/1926 Let it alone J. L. Bischof Male vocal solo, with piano composer  
Columbia W143772 10-in. 3/26/1927 Let it alone Chris Bouchillon Male vocal solo, with guitar composer  
OKeh W404628 10-in. 12/9/1930 You gonna get something you don’t expect Fiddlin' John Carson ; Virginia Reelers Instrumental ensemble, with vocal songwriter  
Edison 8957 10-in. 5/3/1923 Constantly Kaplan's Melodists Jazz/dance band composer  
Edison 9836 10-in. 11/7/1924 You're gwine to get somethin' what you don't expect Guy Hunter Male vocal solo, with orchestra songwriter  
(Results 126-141 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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