I had all of Don's original albums from the seventies on vinyl, together with most of his eighties albums. I am surprised that it has taken so long for these albums to appear on CD and look forward to the release of his early eighties albums.
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.
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