High Mountain Hoedown

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1970-71)

- Rex Ludwick -- drums, percussion

- Jerry McDonald -- bass

- Jerry Lynn Williams (RIP 2005) -- vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, 





Jerry Lynn Williams (solo efforts)

- Jerry Williams and the Epics





Genre: country-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  High Mountain Hoedown

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 33 320

Country/State: Texas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID:  2524

Price: $35.00


Having stumbled across an interesting Jerry Lynn Williams solo album, I poked around and discovered his High Mountain Hoedown catalog.   Wish I knew more about the outfit.   What little biographical information I can find comes from a December 2006 article Nick Joe Patoski wrote for the Texas Monthly.   


"[Williams] tenure with Little Richard lasted nine months, and shortly after, he returned to Fort Worth, where he made it through a semester at Arlington Heights High School before snagging regular gigs at the Bayou Club and the Silver Helmet Club in Dallas, which was owned by several Dallas Cowboys players. “I was doing Otis Redding stuff three nights a week,” he remembered, “and within two weeks I had so many people in there that the fire marshal started showing up.” Then, in the late sixties, Williams discovered orange sunshine, tie-dye shirts, and the hippie lifestyle, so he formed a three-piece psychedelic blues outfit called High Mountain and went to L.A. to score a record deal with the ATCO label. It became another learning experience. The resulting album, High Mountain Hoedown, went nowhere, and the musicians got to split a paltry $10,000."


You can read the full article at: http://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/he-writes-the-songs/ 


Produced by Charles Greene (best known for his work with The Buffalo Springfield), 1970's "High Mountain Hoedown" was one of those albums that deserved a fate better than the total obscurity it has fallen into.  While there's little biographical information on the the band, the line-up apparently featured Williams with support from drummer Rex Ludwick (who went on to support Willie Nelson) and bassist Jerry McDonald.  Williams was credited with most of the seven original tunes.  McDoandl wrote the county-ish 'I'll finish My Song'.  Musically the set was quite varied, which might be one of the reasons the album didn't do very well.  The collection found the trio taking stabs at country ('I'll Finish My Song '), Poco-styled country rock ('Nellie'), and conventional hard rock ('Voodoo Woman'), Round it out with a pair of Chuck Berry tunes ('Nadine' and 'Brown Eyed Handsome Man').  Mind you, it wasn't a lost classic, but it's still a fun set to spin.  Shame Williams didn't turn in a couple of additional rock-oriented performances.  


"High Mountain Hoedown" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) My Thoughts  (Jerry Williams) - 3:21    rating: **** stars

Songs opening with barrelhouse piano seldom do much for me and I would have bet that was going to be the case for 'My Thoughts'.  Naturally I was way off target.  The opener turned out to be a sweet, country-rock ballad showcasing a wonderful, wistful melody and some fantastic backing vocals. 

2.) Pickin' Berries  (Jerry Williams) -     rating: **** stars

I remember hearing this the first time and wondering who the female lead singer was - the voice reminded me a bit of Bonnie Raitt.  So much for my keen ear.  LOL   Today I'm pretty sure this was Williams on lead vocals ...  Regardless, 'Pickin' berries' was a sweet country-rock tune with one of those melodies that stuck in your head long after the song was over.  Easy to see why Williams was briefly a sought after songwriter during the mid-'80s.  Not sure who played it, but the tune featured a sizzlign Telecaster solo.  The song was tapped as an instantly obscure single by the ATCO affiliated subsidiary et cet'er a label:






- 1970's 'Pickin' Berries' b/w 'My Thoughts' (Et Cetera catalog number E 200)






3.) Nellie  (Jerry Williams) -    rating: **** stars

As good as the first two tunes were, 'Nellie' was even better.  The kind of country-rock tune that nobody seems to write anymore, this one had everything you'd expect from a major hit - killer melody; sweet vocals; killer drumming; and a refrain that simply wouldn't leave your head.   This one would have sounded dandy on a Poco album.

4.) Song #8  (Jerry Williams) -     rating: **** stars

And just when you'd pegged these guys as a talented country-rock outfit, along comes the chuggin', bluesy 'Song #8'.   Geez, normally a tune like this simply wouldn't make much of an impact on me, but their enthusiasm was infectious.

5.) I'll Finish My Song   (Jerry McDonald) -   rating: ** stars

The first disappointment, 'I'll Finish My Song' was simply too country-tinged for my tastes.  Not bad, but just not my cup of tea.  Kind of a Micke Nesmith vibe on this one.


(side 2)
1.) Good Night Irene   (Huddie Ledbetter - John Lomax) -    rating: *** stars

Williams turned in one of the more interesting remakes of this classic blues number I've heard.  Goodbye blues component; hello rock version.   

2.) The Weight   (Robbie Robertson) - 4:31   rating: *** stars

The Band version remains the classic tune, but you had to give Williams credit for turning in a decent enough cover.  His arrangement didn't stray too far from the original and I've certainly heard versions far worse than this one.

3.) My Lady  (Jerry Williams) - 

4.) Nadine  (Chuck Berry) -    rating: *** stars

Their cover of 'Nadine' wasn't going to make you forget the original, but the horn charts were surprisingly nice.   Delbert McClinton made a career out of this kind of stuff.

5.) Voodoo Woman  (Jerry Williams) - 4:51  rating: **** stars

Unlike anything else on the album ...   Maybe it's just my imagination running wild, but my ears have always detected a touch of Hendrix influences in the closing rocker 'Voodoo Woman'.   Given Williams had played with Hendrix when the pair supported Little Richard in the mid-'60s, maybe that wasn't a stretch.  Regardless, this was a killer rocker.   The Dr. John call-outs always make me smile.

6.) Brown Eyed Handsome Man  (Chuck Berry) - 2:42   rating: *** stars

One of two Chuck Berry tunes - I suspect Berry would have been okay with this one.  Again, Williams didn't stray too far from the original arrangement.



For anyone interested, Joe Nick Patoski also has a nice Facebook page dedicated to Williams at: 







The High Mountain Hoedown LP was recorded for Atco in 1969, issued in early 1970, by which time the trio (Jerry x 2 and Rex) had singed to a CBS affiliated publishing company by breaking up High Mountain Hoedown. 

They then signed to Columbia and cut an album as Canyon, and I don't care how many people say the group was called High Mountain, thet's just bunk. The LP label is quite clear, the Canyon name is larger and over the title "High Mountain." 
Anyway, the Canyon group issued their debut in mid'70 by which time everyone was being sued by High Mountain Hoedown's managed Charlie Greene (yes the former Buffalo Springfield manager as others have noted), he won a $1.52 million judgment in 1974. 

Anyway, perhaps due to the legal issued in 1970, the Canyon LP was withdrawn and the bulk of it was recycled as the first Jerry Williams' Group LP Down Home Boy (Columbia Records ‎– C-30279) issued in December of 1970. 

By 1971 Jerry was shopping around, there is mention of a deal with Capitol by Jerry McDonald's uncle, well Texan bassist Randy Cates joined Jerry's solo band circa 1971 to do some shows for Capitol and other labels when Jerry needed a group. This was when Randy was in Los Angeles working with Blue Rose and waiting for a gig with another band Gypsy. 

Anyway, Jerry Williams as many have mentioned ended up signing with David Briggs Spindizzy imprint, which had a thing going with Columbia - CBS, same as the band Grin, which is probably why Nils Lofgren from Grin is on Jerry Williams 1972 album. 

Trust In Odd. 

Stumbled across this site while looking for information on High Mountain's "Canyon" album - Columbia CS 1010. Just bought a promo copy the other day for $0.50 - jacket is worn and has college radio station writing on cover - record is near mint. For interest:

Side 1
1. Down Home Boy
2. Illusion
3. May the Circle be Unbroken
4. More to You
5. Sailboat

Side 2.
1. Don't ever Leave Me Again
2. I've got a Lot of Time
3. I'll get Back to You
4. Cid
5. Rachmaninoff Piano

Total record time is just under 30 minutes. All songs credited to J. Williams except Rachmaninoff Piano (trad.) and I've got a Lot of time (J. McDonald, M. Rabon) - which gives further creedance to the Jerry McDonald identified in a previous post. Could M. Rabon be Mike Rabon of the 5 Americans who had operated out of Dallas in the late 60's? 

Listened to the record as I typed this and while credited to J. Williams "May the Circle be Unbroken" is a version of the traditional tune. Enjoyable music.

Long time collector here - 25,000 + albums.


As a hobby and in an effort to help his first wife Linda,children and grand children locate copies of his music, I have the following records...
1. His 1st recording in Ft Worth, a 45 Jerry Williams and the Epics. A-Side "Whatever You Do " and B-Side a Beatles copy "Tell Me What You See"
2.High Mountain "Hoedown" w/ Rex Ludwick and Jerry McDonald on ATCO 1970
3.High Mountain "Canyon" on ATCO 1971
4.Jerry Williams "self titled" on Spindizzy 1972
5.The Jerry Williams Group - "Down Home Country Boy" on Columbia 1973
6.Jerry Williams "Gone" on Warner Bros 1979
7.Jerry Lynn Williams "Peacemaker" on Urge 1996
8.Jerry Willlimas "Foreverman" on Urge 2001
9.239 songs he has written recorded by other artists
10.Several demos tapes of unreleased material

Note: There is a FULL page ad on page 7 in the October 26th, 1972 copy of Rolling Stone for the self titled Green albun on Spindizzy 

For additional information, suggest you check out Dec 1996 Texas Montly,Austin Chronicle article by Bill Bentley, Texas Musicians Museum newsletter and Allmusic web sight.
Good Hunting, Dr. Wu'