Known largely as a stage performer and vaudeville pioneer, Bert Williams left
an amazing legacy of sound. During the last three years of his life, 24 sides
recorded by Williams were released. With Bert Williams: His Final Releases,
1919-1922, these sides are finally available in chrononological order on
a commercial reissue. Starting with “Oh! Lawdy,” from Williams’ earliest
sessions in 1919 and ending with “Not Lately”recorded a mere
three days before the star’s collapse on a Detroit stageno other
CD gives you all 24 of Bert’s final releases, sequenced in the order
they were recorded. The package includes a 16-page booklet that gives discographical
information, biographical notes focusing on Williams’ life and career
during these years, and dicussion about some of the major themes in his recordings.
The genius of his voice
Interest in Bert Williams has grown over the last few years, as television
documentaries and college classrooms explore the importance of early African-American
performers. Despite the interest, few documentaries feature Williams’ recordings,
and many who study him have never heard his voice. This collection is an
attempt to let modern audiences hear Williams’ unique performing style
The Elder has spoken
Bert Williams: His Final Releases includes some of Williams’ most
famous songs and routines, including both of his “Elder Eatmore” sermons.
These two recordings“Elder Eatmore’s Sermon on Generosity” and “Elder
Eatmore’s Sermon on Throwing Stones”capture Williams’ ability
to portray hypocritical religious figures. His latest spoken word recordings,
the Elder Eatmore records give us a taste of his stage presence.
The Prohibition blues
Many of Bert’s final sides centered on one of the biggest news items
of the day: national Prohibition. With songs like “Ten Little Bottles,” “Save
a Little Dram for Me,” “Everybody
Wants a Key to My Cellar” and “The Moon Shines on the Moonshine,” Bert
sings the blues of a land gone dry.
A pioneer of unparalleled talent
Booker T. Washington claimed that Bert Williams did more for his race by singing
and acting his way into people’s hearts than Washington ever did in
his books. Hear for yourself firsthand why Williams continues to be so influental.