Don Williams

Country Boy

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In retrospect, it's easy to see what a creative tear Don Williams was on when he was with ABC. It wasn't so much that he was able to draw great material from songwriters, but that he knew his strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else, he could produce his own records, and he drew on both of those things to make one fine album after another. With his partner, Garth Fundis, as engineer and in backing vocals, there was virtually nothing he couldn't accomplish. And while Williams is best known for his love songs, pro and con and broken, his reach extends to other themes as well. Country Boy is one of those extended reaches. The title track, a love song fantasy, is quickly followed up by the Bob McDill classic "Louisiana Saturday Night," a hit for Mel McDaniel a few years later. And Williams keeps turning these themes around one another for the entire album with his own crack band and a nine-piece string section. "Overlookin' and Underthinkin''' is a fractured love song, and it's followed by the consequences of a rural fool who is "Sneakin' Around." It happens again on side two with the celebratory "I've Got a Woman in You," immediately followed by "Rake and Ramblin' Man," with a character who is turned inside out by the possibility that he's not just the redneck he thinks he is. Williams is in full control of his destiny, but he lets the listener discover that the characters in his songs are not and they often make it up as they go. He's a magician with a silver voice who is pure country soul, and on Country Boy that soul is bared for all to hear.

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