Jimmy Williams

Biography by

b. c. 1930, USA. Chiefly playing mandolin, in the 50s Williams worked with the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, Mac Wiseman’s Country Boys and the Stanley Brothers. Unable to make an adequate living from music,…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

b. c. 1930, USA. Chiefly playing mandolin, in the 50s Williams worked with the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, Mac Wiseman’s Country Boys and the Stanley Brothers. Unable to make an adequate living from music, he worked in an automobile plant in Detroit, Michigan, then in 1958 teamed up with singer and multi-instrumentalist Red Ellis to play engagements and make records. The group’s music was a bluegrass and gospel mix that had a broad appeal. With Cranford Nix (banjo) and Bobby Stiltner (bass), they recorded ‘You Can’t Hide From God’, ‘Going To A Home’, ‘Future In His Hands’ and ‘Without Me’, these four titles being released by Starday Records as an EP. With the band members often holding down day jobs, the personnel shifted and among others who recorded with Williams and Ellis are George Woody (banjo), Ed Bryant (fiddle), and Virgil Shouse (bass). They made more EPs, for Starday and other labels, including Happy Hearts and Pathway, the latter a label begun by Ellis. An album release of the period includes items by their groups, sometimes without Williams, and with some tracks by other groups.

Williams and Ellis disbanded in 1961 and Williams became a full-time evangelical preacher. The pair was reunited for two recording session in the early 70s. Also during this period Ellis, now a television studio technician, was involved with Cal Dring’s country music show and was sometimes seen on-air singing songs. On a few occasions, Williams joined his former partner on this show. Both Ellis and Williams continued to actively present music in a religious context through the 90s, with Williams carrying out his religious work in Florida.