Don Williams

The Best of Don Williams, Vol. 2

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Most performers warrant a single-volume greatest-hits package. Legends sometimes get two depending on whether or not there was a major division in their career or they switched labels. Don Williams has three and he needs it. Here's the kicker: Volume 2 is a better collection than Volume 1 was. There are 11 tracks here, and they capture Williams at the absolute peak of his powers, the mid- to late '70s. While it's easy to complain that a track or two were left off or one was included that shouldn't have been, Williams satisfies all the arguments here by issuing the cuts that sold the best as singles, from "Love Me Tonight" and the Williams Halyfied classic "'Till the Rivers All Run Dry" to "Some Broken Hearts Never Mend," "Rake and Ramblin' Man," "Falling in Love," "I've Got a Winner in You," "Say It Again," "Tulsa Time," "She Never Knew Me," and others, all but one produced by Williams ("Tulsa Time" is Williams and Garth Fundis). In sum, this is the sound Williams would patent and others would work so hard to copy in the 1980s. Cats like Johnny Lee, David Frizzell, Ronnie McDowell, and countless others ended up sounding like crummy pop singers while Williams never sounded like anything but a country singer. In the CD era it's possible to get all three best-ofs on a single two-disc collection, but whatever way they're available, find them. You won't be sorry.

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