Don Williams

One Good Well

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Nine years after his biggest-selling album, I Believe in You, Don Williams was still racking up the hits, and would for a few more years yet. One Good Well was Williams' first album for RCA, and sold reasonably well, in part because the formula he and Garth Fundis had been using for the past 15 years worked with listeners, and in part because Williams' laid-back country sound is timeless. The years and cigarettes had taken some of the silk off of his voice, but he could still deliver a love song better than anybody on the block, younger or older. While "I've Been Loved By the Best" and "Just as Long as I Have You" were the biggest singles off the album, they aren't necessarily the album's finest cuts. The title track, written by the team of Kent Robbins and Mike Reid, is nearly a country gospel song sung as a rousing love anthem. Uncharacteristically, Williams himself contributed a song to the set, and "Cryin' Eyes" is one of the best things here, tempered with beautiful slow and elegant guitar solos and strings arranged by Charles Cochran. Another standout is Beth Nielsen Chapman's "Maybe That's All It Takes," with its nearly classical intro that seemingly floats into a stunning pop song arranged as such and colored texturally by pedal steel and strings. Williams is at his most restrained and precise here, but it feels like an intimate conversation, exactly the way Chapman herself writes and performs. One Good Well contains only nine tracks, and it leaves the listener wanting more; it also proves that, although slightly more scuffed, Williams' gift had retained its quiet power and majesty.

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