Sunday, February 10, 2013
Bill Williams - Blues, Rags And Ballads
Like so many folk artists the late Bill Williams from Greenup, Kentucky was best appreciated in person. Deprived of that opportunity forever, you can hear him to good advantage on The Late Bill Williams: Blues, Rags and Baflads (Blue Goose 2013). Williams' repertoire spanned blues, ragtime instrumentals, hymns and "patriotics" (a term he used for almost any white or pop standard), Bill played in an intricate guitar style with lots of syncopation and double-timing, although it lacked the harmonic diversity or "contrapuntal" ideas of many blues musicians. Williams' voice had the edge and brilliance of the Memphis songbird, Frank Stokes, but with a richness all its own. This album captures the very best in his playing from the quick fingered treatment of "Salty Dog" and the lively instrumental "That's the Human Thing To Do" to the bluesy "Bubblegum" ("my tongue feels like Bubblegum!"). He even pulls off the sentimental country spoof "When the Rows Bloom for the Bootlegger." An added bonus is the fine cover art. A fine memorial album.