Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Country Music Month: The Texas Connection - The Gentle Giant of Country Music

One of the interesting facts about Country Music to me is that so many of its stars come from very small towns and meager backgrounds. Some of Country Music's legends hail from towns called Butcher Holler (Loretta Lynn), Abbott (Willie) and Floydada, Texas, Don Williams. Known as the Gentle Giant of Country Music, Williams was one of the genre's biggest stars in the '70s and '80s with hits like Amanda and You're My Best Friend. Along with those two hits, Williams released a total of 46 singles and only four of them failed to make the Top 10. That's what you call consistency. I was honored to have emceed four Don Williams concerts and I gotta tell ya, the guy you saw on TV is the exact same guy in person - a quiet, unassuming Gentle Giant. I remember one show of his that I emceed in Wichita Falls. I did the intro, the curtains opened and Williams started singing and sang two or three songs. The crowd applauded generously and Williams said three words with that smooth as silk baritone voice of his, "Well, thank ya". The crowd went nuts! It was the weirdest thing. I think the audience liked Don Williams so much because he was one of them - dressed in blue jeans, a faded as hell denim jacket, boots and a well-worn cowboy hat. He looked like a guy you might run into at the Floydada hardware/pharmacy/general store instead of a star musician who had racked up 17 Number 1 hits.

Some my personal favorite Don Williams tunes include:
  • I Believe in You - One of his biggest, if not the, biggest hits. It was a monster smash.
  • Good Old Boys Like Me - Good song with excellent imagery.
  • You're My Best Friend - I listed this one above also, but this probably the most-requested Don Williams song over the 15 years I was a DJ-type guy. During his show, the crowd joins in on the chorus and it was like being at Church. Pretty neat stuff.
  • Tulsa Time - This one was written by Danny Flowers, Williams' lead guitarist. In the video at the link, Flowers is easy to spot, he's the very young man wearing all red. He's a good guitar picker, too.
As I was looking up some of Don Williams hits for this post, I got thinking that I can't recall a single song of his that I didn't like. Jump on this link to a YouTube page jam packed with the musical velvet that is the Gentle Giant of Country Music, Don Williams.

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All Original Material © Toby Shoemaker