Don Williams: The contradiction of talent By Louis Odion FNGE

Don Williams….Soul of Country Music?

The global community was perhaps too
fixated all of last week on Hurricane
Irma
pounding the Caribbean down
to Florida to have taken notice of
the exit last Friday of country music icon, Don
William
. Coming when his native Texas
was still lying disfigured after no less catastrophic Hurricane Harvey, it is obviously doubly tragic indeed, even though
the “Gentle Giant” lived up to 78.

In a way, poetry could be read to
the circumstances of his passing after “a brief illness”. Maybe, the
unsuspecting “Good Ole Boy…”
started by saying, “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good”. But too
bad, Hurricane Harvey soon forced him
to be “Standing Knee Deep In A
River”,
“Desperately”,
despite having confessed “I’m Just A
Country Boy”.
Then, with “Crying
Eyes”,
“Back On The Street
Again”,
thinking of “The
Ties That Bind”,
only for approaching Hurricane Irma to make him “Listen
To The Radio”.
Alas, he cried, “Lord
Have Mercy on A Country Boy”,
but soon realized sadly he could not
wait “Till The River Run Dry”.
Then, he became aware that “Some
Broken Hearts Never Mend”…

Don Williams on Stage

With a deep baritone voice that
enchanted and lulled, DW surely lured the rest of the
world into the rich groove of country music native to white America, offering the curious a peep
into the cowboy tradition of bowler hat, sideburns, wild beard, jeans, boot and
the horse. 
The millennials in Nigeria are unlikely to recognize or
remember DW in his full artistic
regalia. But not anyone with an ear for the world music cultures of
the 70s and 80s. If Bob Marley took
reggae from Jamaican ghetto abroad,
it can be said that DW pioneered the
exportation of country music from the south of the United States to the
outside world.

Bob Marley….Brought Reggae from Jamaican

 

I grew up hypnotized not just by the
sheer honey of his rendition but also the themes of contentment, romance,
forbearance and simplicity that permeated his huge oeuvre consisting of 35
studio albums in a career spanning almost half a century.

Don Williams….Died a racist?

But like most creative geniuses, the
Gentle Giant was not without a dark
part, a grave contradiction. How ironic that the man whose songs preached love
had his own heart soiled by racism. Without apology, he would declare that his
music was not for Negroes and would refuse to play in the ball-room
if any black was present. 
Certainly, “Goodbye Isn’t Really Good At All”

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