You're My Best Friend / Harmony / Country Boy Double CD
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All albums were originally on the ABC/Dot record label and released in 1975, 76 and 77 respectively. 'Harmony' was a US Country No.1 album, whilst in the UK both 'Country Boy' and 'You're My Best Friend' made the Top 60 Albums chart Don continues to record and tour Digitally remastered and slipcased New notes
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These albums were from the best of his time and talent, being masterful in their simplicity of his backing groups. Only Don Williams could provide a tearjerker of a song that would still get your foot tapping!
Those first ten albums or so, will always have pride of place in my CD collection. They were before the time when his songs/albums were then mixed and remixed, putting string orchestras etc into the background which totally spoiled them for me! From about the time of the "Yellow Moon" perhaps?
So, like Elvis, who some like the Sun recording days as opposed to his Las Vegas days, it is with Don Williams. Fortunately, these earlier albums were full of heart wrenching ballads unspoiled by large string orchestras and, as such, remain a unique and wonderful piece of country music history!
So, another 3 great albums on a 2 CD set, which are well worth the money if you like your country hard hitting and heart moving! Buy them, you won't be disappointed if you are a real country music lover!
P.S. I have read criticism that the instrumental track "Ramblin'" is pointless and don't belong! My answer is, if you were a guitarist and wrote your own guitar instrumental, wouldn't YOU want is released on one of your CD's?
Having started well as a member of the Pozo Seco Singers (I have some of their music too), Don maintained a consistently high standard throughout the seventies and eighties as a solo singer. Although I loved them all, there were four that I particularly liked above the others of which one is featured here, that being the first, You're my best friend.
The two singles released to American country radio from You're my best friend were the title track and (Turn out the light and) love me tonight, both becoming #1 hits. The title track also becoming a belated UK pop hit as a follow-up to I recall a gypsy woman, an older track not featured here that came close to being a UK top 10 pop hit for Don in 1976, peaking at 13.
While repeat plays suggest that the two tracks selected as singles are the best songs here, the rest are not far behind. I particularly like Help yourselves to each other (later covered by Crystal Gayle, whose version is also superb), Tempted and You're the only one.
The second album here is Harmony, which also yielded two #1 country hits (Till the rivers all run dry, Say it again), but this time a third single was released, She never knew me, which made #2. Of the other tracks , I particularly like Where the Arkansas river leaves Oklahoma (which is longer than the other tracks but very nice) and Don't you think it's time. I don't really see the point in the instrumental track (Ramblin'), but there are still ten excellent vocal tracks here as on the other albums.
The next album chronologically was Visions, so one might have expected it to be included here, but it can be found in the follow-up compilation Visions / Expressions / Portrait.
The final album here is Country boy, which might just be my favorite among Don's albums that didn't make my top four. Three singles were released, yielding a #1 country hit (I'm just a country boy) and two top ten country hits (I've got a winner in you, Rake and rambling man), Good as these songs are, I always thought that the best song here was Louisiana Saturday night. Four years later, Mel McDaniel had a top ten hit with his cover of the song.
Anybody who likes the music of Don Williams and who is interested in more than just the hits will surely enjoy this, even if the booklet notes are a bit rambling.
So to find You're My Best Friend, Harmony and Country Boy in one package is very good news, especially as the first 2 albums are on CD1 and Country Boy alone is on CD 2.
Don sings in a personal, almost confidential manner, but I don't mind listening in!
The Digital Re-Mastering has got to be one of the best ever, so if you like Don's mid 1970s output this is unbeatable.
Thanks Don and BGO Records.
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