Thursday, 21 September 2017

Don Williams: The contradiction of talent By Louis Odion FNGE


By on 14:41
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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"

Gbenga Dan Asabe

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