Country music fans around the world mourned the loss of one of its’ most distinctive song stylists with the passing of Don Williams in September after a short illness. He was 78.
Rodney Crowell recently wrote with his customary eloquence and graceful example,
I have my own peculiar Don Williams story. In 1993 I arrived with a group of friends in Branson Missouri, the day that Conway Twitty passed away. We had our schedule all mapped out with the aid of the Branson program and as we drove into town, outside Loretta Lynn’s theatre was a sign announcing Don Williams at 1pm. Not knowing the circumstances and why this was omitted from all published programs, a few of us bought tickets despite the scepticism and disbelief of others and returned for the show.
There would have been no more than fifty or sixty people in the theatre and we were in the front row. Don suggested the band unplug and sit on the front of the stage with him and they did the show acoustically. It was so special and his voice was exactly as we knew it on records, like pure molten honey, and he was absolutely charming and played way longer than he should have and stayed as long as anyone wanted to chat afterward. An indelible memory, and one of the all-time best concert experiences for me.
A native of Floydada, Texas, Williams was born May 27, 1939. He grew up in Portland, TX, graduating there in 1958. Music had always been a part of his upbringing, entering – and winning – a talent contest when he was just three years old. For his efforts, Williams received an alarm clock. He began playing guitar during his teen-age years, learning songs that he heard on the radio. He and his friends played in local bands around the area, and he wed wife Joy Bucher on April 10, 1960.
To support his family – which included two sons, Gary and Timmy – Williams worked at a number of odd jobs, including oil field work, and also as a bill collector. While living in Corpus Christi in 1964, he formed the folk-styled trio The Pozo Seco Singers with Lofton Cline and Susan Taylor. They stayed together for seven years, with their biggest hit being ‘Time.’
…read the entire story in Issue 87