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|
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
Send the Editors a message about this record.