Curley Williams, when remembered at all, is known as the composer of the immensely popular and enduring song "Half as Much," which is often erroneously attributed to Hank Williams. Hank Williams enjoyed a big country hit with the song in 1952 before it entered the pop field via renditions by Rosemary Clooney and Guy Lombardo. Curley Williams never recorded a national hit of his own, but enjoyed regional success and a Columbia Records recording contract on the strength of his popularity in the southeastern United States. His Georgia Peach Pickers were a hot dance band that played hillbilly swing, boogies, and polkas for dancing -- in effect, Western swing minus the "Western" component. Just A-Pickin' and A-Singin' is the first of two volumes that compile Williams' complete recordings, with the exception of sides on which his band backed other performers. This first volume contains Williams' recordings from 1942-1947 as well as a rough-and-rare demo Curley and Hank Williams made together circa 1948. Curley Williams' original recording of "Half as Much" is included on the second volume, titled Half as Much. On this volume, Williams' regional sensibility is reflected in the many songs about Georgia -- "Georgia Steel Guitar," "Georgia Boogie," "Georgia Polka," etc. The Georgia Peach Pickers, being a string dance band, featured many songs that provided showcases for each of the instruments in the ensemble. Just A-Pickin' and A-Singin', with its thick booklet, detailed discography, previously unreleased recordings, and rare photos, rises to Bear Family's usual high watermark for quality.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Greg Adams