Jerry Williams


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1  

- Jerry Williams (aka Jerry Lynn Williams) (RIP 2005) -- vocals,

   guitar, bass, keyboards,  percussion

 

  supporting musicians:

- Mayunto  Correa -- percussion

- Steve Cropper -- guitar

- Donald Duck Dunn -- bass

- Rick Jaeger -- drums, percussion

- James Jamerson. -- bass

- Jeff Porcaro -- drums, percussion

- Lee Price -- sax, flute, horns

- Robert the Root -- harmonica

- Denny Seiwell -- drums, percussion

- Grey Smith -- sax, flute

- Julia Tillman -- backing vocals

- Lee Thornberg -- trumpet, flugelhorn

- Luther Waters -- backing vocals

- Oren Waters -- backing vocals

- Ed Watkins -- bass

- Maxine Willard -- backing vocals

- Red Young -- keyboards

 

 

 

- High Mountain

- High Mountain Howdown

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Gone

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: BSK 3291
Year:
 1979

Country/State: Oklahoma

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: promo copy; custom inner sleeve; $3.98 written in black magic marker on cover (not shown in photo)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2285

Price: $30.00

 

Having listened to "Gone" dozens of times over the years, you have to wonder how a talented guy like Jerry Williams never managed to make it out of the rock and roll shadows.

 

Signed by Warner Brothers, 1979's "Gone" should have been Williams shot at the big time.  Produced by Chris Kemsey (hot on the heels of his work on The Stones' "Some Girls"), the album featured a stellar cast of friends and associates ranging from Stax heroes like Steve Cropper and Donald Dunn, to Jeff Porcaro and the cream of L.A. sessions players.  Featuring a largely original collection of material, the album aptly demonstrated Williams knack for writing material that covered the area between country-blues, soul, and swamp rock genres.   Interesting in hindsight there's a good chance tracks like 'Getting Stronger' and 'Philosophizer'  would have sounded a little dated in 1979.  On the other hand the title track, 'Easy On Yourself' and 'Call To Arms' upped the AOR content and would have sounded at home on late-'70s FM radio.  Williams was also blessed with a nice rugged voice that was well suited to those genres.   I've struggled to come up with a comparison - maybe a more commercial version of Delbert McClinton, Don Nix, or maybe Tony Joe White ...  Certainly not the most original album of the year, but it was consistently enjoyable and deserved a far better fate.

 

Speaking of fate, I've never been able to figure out the details, but just as the album was being released Williams and Warner Brothers had a major falling out.  The relationship became so tense Warner Brothers management slapped Williams with a restraining order that barred him from stepping foot on company property.   The label followed that up by effectively pulling the album from circulation after a handful of promo copies had been distributed.   The Williams designed cover art certainly wouldn't have helped sales ...

 

"Gone" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Gone   (Jerry Williams) - 4:50   rating: **** stars

The title track offered up a surprisingly enjoyable slice of blue-eyed soul.  Williams had a slinky voice that was well suited to the genre and the song had a 24 carot hook in terms of the title chorus.  It would have made a dandy single had Warner Brothers been paying any attention.

2.) Easy On Yourself   (Jerry Williams) - 4:21   rating: **** stars

Built on Ed Watkins' reggae-tinged bass line, the breezy, yet funky 'Easy On Yourself' was one of those tracks that just seem ready made for top-40 airplay.   Williams turned in one of his most engaging vocals on this one.   Should have been another single.  Easy to picture Eric Clapton covering this one.

3.) I've Got Dreams To Remember   (Otis Redding - Zelma Redding - Joe Rock) - 3:42   rating: *** stars

There wasn't anything wrong with his cover of this soul classic.  In fact, with support from Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn,  he turned in a more than decent take, but the fact of the matter is there simply wasn't any way to compete with the Redding original.

4.) Call To Arms   (Jerry Williams) - 3:44   rating: *** stars

'Call To Arms' was apparently intended to show Williams could work in a more commercial AOR environment.  It may not have been the most original tune you've ever heard, but was certainly better than anything coming out of the Whitesnake catalog.

5.) Talk To Me   (Jerry Williams) - 3:16   rating: **** stars

Toughening up his sound, 'Talk You Me' sounded like Delbert McClinton taking a stab at a full-out rock and roll tune.  Awesome track and nice example of Williams guitar prowess.

 

(side 2)
1.) Song for My Father   (Horace Silver) - 4:40
   rating: *** stars

The album's second cover, Williams version of 'Song for My Father' all but abandoned the original's instantly recognizable melody for an unexpected bossa nova flavored arrangement.   Give it an extra star for the unique interpretation, but I'd still go with the original.

2.) Givin' It Up for Your Love   (Jerry Williams - Michael Braunstein) - 3:20   rating: **** stars

Yeah, most folks know this one via Delbert McClinton's top-40 cover.  Shame since Williams version was even better.  To be honest, McClinton basically copped Williams arrangement.  This is the one that should have been the hit.

3.) Gettin' Stronger   (Jerry Williams) - 3:16   rating: **** stars

Powered by some tasty fuzz guitar and some pounding horn charts, the rock-meets-funk 'Gettin' Stronger' was another tune that would have suited McClinton well.   Hard to sit still through this one.

4.) Philosophizer   (Jerry Williams) - 5:05    rating: **** stars

My favorite performance on the album, the breezy, soulful  'Philosophizer' had everything going for it - great melody, killer vocals (Delbert should have covered this one), James Jamerson's thundering bass, and a fantastic harmonica throughout.   

5.) This Song   (Jerry Williams) - 4:00    rating: **** stars

A dark, brooding ballad built on a series of extended synthesizer washes, 'This Song' was the album's oddest performance and was the one tune where comparison's to Stevie Wonder made sense to me.   Like some of Wonder's best material, 'This Song' shared the same blend of beautiful melody and experimental touches.  The combination of Williams lead vocal and the haunting backing voices only underscored the comparison.   Probably the album's least commercial offering, but also one of the highlights.

 

 

Ironically for a brief a period of time in the  mid-'80s Williams became one of the go-to songwriters for rock artists.   He enjoyed massive sales via covers of his work by the likes of Eric Clapton ('Forever Man', 'See What Love Can Do', and 'Pretending'), B.B. King (Standing on the Edge of Love'), Delbert McClinton ('Givin' It Up For Your Love'),  Bonnie Raitt ('I Will Not Be Denied' and 'Real Man'), and Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan ('Tick Tock').

 

Those successes didn't last forever and by the early 2000s Williams embroiled in a nasty divorce that left him broke and largely out of music.   Only 57, broke and living in isolation on his sailboat in St. Maarten, Williams died of kidney and liver failure in December 2005.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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