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Old 09-08-2017, 04:41 PM   #1
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Unhappy Country Music Legend Don Williams (1939-2017)


Don Williams, a singer of heartfelt country ballads who emerged as one of the biggest stars in country music during the late 1970s, died on Friday in Mobile, Ala. He was 78.

His publicist, Kirt Webster, said the cause was emphysema.

Never entirely comfortable in the limelight, Mr. Williams nonetheless found himself in it: 17 of his singles, including earnest declarations like “You’re My Best Friend” and “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good,” reached the top of the Billboard country chart from 1974 to 1984.

He found particularly enthusiastic fans in Britain, where his admirers included the rock stars Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton

Named male vocalist of the year by the Country Music Association in 1978, Mr. Williams released 52 Top 40 country singles in all, 45 of them rising as high as the Top 10, before the hits stopped coming in the 1990s.

Nicknamed the Gentle Giant (even though his height of 6 feet 1 inch may not have quite warranted it), Mr. Williams was adept at writing and recording plain-spoken material extolling the virtues of romantic commitment.

Singing in a warm, undulating baritone, he made marital fidelity not just appealing but sexy — as exciting, in its way, as the themes of cheating and running around that defined the classic honky-tonk music of the 1950s and ’60s.

“Till the Rivers All Run Dry,” a No. 1 country single in 1976, was typical of his understated persona and approach. Propelled by a lightly throbbing beat, he pledged his devotion to the love of his life, singing:

Till the rivers all run dry

Till the sun falls from the sky

Till life on earth is through

I’ll be needing you.

Written by Mr. Williams and Wayland Holyfield, the song was also on the album “Rough Mix,” recorded later that year by Mr. Townshend, of the Who, and his fellow British rocker Ronnie Lane, of the Faces.

“I Believe in You,” a gently cantering ballad in a similarly intimate vein written by Roger Cook and Sam Hogin, spent two weeks at the top of the country chart and crossed over to the pop Top 40 in 1980. In the song’s chorus, after cataloging a series of ephemera in which he professed little or no faith, Mr. Williams, with unabashed sincerity, sang:

But I believe in love

I believe in babies

I believe in Mom and Dad

And I believe in you.

His unfussy aesthetic — at once simple and, in its elemental way, profound — would go on to influence, among others, the country singer-songwriters Alan Jackson, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Brad Paisley and Kathy Mattea.

Mr. Williams’s success as an artist was likewise attributable to the accessibility and stylistic reach of his music.

“When I was growing up, I used to listen to Ray Price, Johnny Cash and Jim Reeves,” Mr. Williams recalled in a 1995 interview with the British magazine Country Music International. “At the same time, I’d also listen to Teresa Brewer, the Ink Spots and the Platters. Then, when Bill Haley, Little Richard and all that started happening, I think a lot of us made a transition then without realizing it.”

His recordings also benefited from the creative input of country-pop crossover producers like Allen Reynolds and Garth Fundis, who offered a seamless blend of country, pop, rock and R&B sensibilities.

“Tulsa Time,” a line-dancing favorite that hit No. 1 on the country chart in 1978, was evidence of Mr. Williams’s facility with more rhythmically propulsive material. Mr. Clapton’s version of the song reached the pop Top 40 in 1980.

Mr. Williams also had a Top 10 country hit in 1974 with a cover of “The Ties That Bind,” which had been a Top 40 pop hit for the soul singer Brook Benton in 1960.

He was born Don Williams on May 27, 1939, in the rural north Texas community of Floydada. His father was a mechanic who moved the family often in search of a better life. They eventually settled in Portland, Tex., near Corpus Christi on the Gulf Coast, where Mr. Williams graduated from high school in 1958.

He first sang in public at age 3 and performed in country, rock and folk bands as a teenager. His mother taught him to play guitar. In 1964, after serving in the Army, he formed the Pozo-Seco Singers, a folk-pop trio, with Susan Taylor and Lofton Cline, in Corpus Christi. The group recorded several albums for Columbia Records, and two of its singles reached the pop Top 40.

The trio split up in 1969, after which Mr. Williams held several jobs outside the music business before moving to Nashville in the early 1970s to sign a contract with Jack Music, the publishing company operated by the producer Cowboy Jack Clement.

Mr. Williams released more than 40 albums in his career, on MCA, Capitol, RCA and other labels. He also appeared in two movies, “W. W. and the Dixie Dancekings” (1975) and “Smokey and the Bandit II” (1980). He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

His survivors include his wife of 57 years, the former Joy Bucher; and their two sons, Gary and Timmy; three granddaughters; and one grandson.

Mr. Williams announced his retirement last year, saying in a statement that it was “time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home.” A tribute album, “Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams,” including performances by Lady Antebellum and Garth Brooks, was released this year.

Mr. Williams cultivated strong fan support in India and Latin America and was one of the few country stars to tour in Africa. In 1997 he released a DVD, “Into Africa,” recorded live in Harare, Zimbabwe.

His most robust following outside the United States, however, was always in England (although he was popular elsewhere in Europe as well). He was enthusiastically received at the 1976 Wembley Festival and performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London. In 1980 the readers of the London-based magazine Country Music People voted him the artist of the decade.

“I’ve found that the English pay a lot of respect to your music,” Mr. Williams told Country Music International. “They know who wrote the song, where you recorded it, and who the musicians were, and all of that stuff. There are a lot of English fans who can remember more about what I’ve done than I can.”
As long as people talk about you, you're not really dead. As long as they speak your name, you continue. A legend doesn't die just because the man does.

Last edited by Zoneboy : 09-08-2017 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 09-08-2017, 04:52 PM   #2
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Rest in peace.
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:03 PM   #3
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:33 PM   #4
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I love "Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good".

God bless you and his family always!!!

Go here to check out my most favorite singer, James Otto, when you can!
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:49 PM   #5
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RIP. I suspect that he may have been called "The Gentle Giant" because of his talent rather than physical size. Doesn't seem to have received the crossover attention that some other country stars have received, but that's indicative of a fault in the industry rather than in Williams's songs:
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:30 PM   #6
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Great singer. He's proof that many times simple is best. I first became aware of him in the early 80s. After hearing I Believe In You (probably still my personal favorite of his) or maybe it was Tulsa Time on the radio, and I'm Just A Country Boy is another excellent song of his too. But I enjoyed all of his music. Which was genuine country music. Not this pop/rock-country garbage they make nowadays. He seemed like he was very humble and also kind. He will be missed. May you rest in peace Mr. Williams. Godspeed.

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Old 09-10-2017, 06:10 AM   #7
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I love John Larroquette.

And Harry Anderson too.

Antenna TV, MeTV, Decades, Laff, and Cozi TV, please add Dave's World and The John Larroquette Show to your lineups. Thank you.

PLEASE release a complete series boxset of The John Larroquette Show (and the final season of Dave's World). Thanks.

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Old 09-10-2017, 12:12 PM   #8
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Don Williams
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Old 09-12-2017, 04:33 PM   #9
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He was one of my most favorite voices in any genre of music. There are so many amazing songs in his long career, that it's difficult to choose. But I think, “If Hollywood Don't Need You” is one of my most favorite of all.

When I was little, my mom had the album, “I Can Make It With You” by the Pozo-Seco Singers. I can still picture the album cover leaning against the record player while listening to the great singing and harmonies of that trio.

Many years ago my mom gave away all of her vinyl albums when she moved into a smaller apartment. Then just a few years ago, I was wracking my brain on what to get her for her birthday. I did a search and found a Pozo-Seco Singers CD collection, "Time"/"I Can Make It With You", which was their first two albums on one disc.

I gave it to my mom and she was so happy to be able to hear that great music again. I'm so grateful she was able to have it back in her collection and enjoy it the past few years of her life.

Shortly after she passed away, I started listening to that Pozo-Seco Singers CD a lot, and although it made me sad, I found comfort in that music that my mom loved for so many years.

She and I always sang together from as far back as I can remember. In 2008 we recorded our own CD and in the liner notes Don Williams was one of a few we put down as our influences. We'd perform his song , “You're My Best Friend” in our Power Point presentation as a tribute to what a great influence he was in our lives and music.

Thank you Don Williams for such great memories. You will be missed.

Here are a few of my most favorite tracks from that Pozo-Seco Singers CD...
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Last edited by Tumbleweed1980 : 09-12-2017 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 09-13-2017, 01:21 AM   #10
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My mom is also a Don Williams fan and she has a cd of his music and one of my mom's favorite Don Williams songs is Good Ole Boys Like Me and she also likes the songs Lord I Hope This Day Is Good which is also sung by Lee Ann Womack and I Believe In You which Bette Midler does a wonderful cover on her 1995 cd Bette Of Roses and I believe that Don Williams earned the nickname The Gentle Giant not because of his talent but because of his wonderful singing voice
Good Morning Chris Harrison "What Final Answers Do You Have For Your #1 Fan This Wonderful Morning?"
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Old 09-13-2017, 03:35 AM   #11
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Thank you Zoneboy,this is quite sad
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