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Monday, November 13, 2017

High Mountain - Canyon (1970 us, exciting swamp bluesy brass rock, 2016 koream remaster)

Maybe you've never heard of Jerry Lynn Williams, but if you've been near a radio in the past twenty years, you've almost definitely heard his music. Eric Clapton's "Running on Faith"? Williams wrote it. He also penned Delbert McClinton's signature song, "Givin1 It Up for Your Love," and B. B. King's "Standing on the Edge of Love." Bonnie Raitt's "Real Man" was his too, as was "Wanna Make Love to You," by Johnny Hallyday, the French Elvis. And Williams co-wrote Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughan's "Tick lock," the song played at Stevie Ray's funeral. After more than two decades of writing tunes for and with some of the best-known musicians around, the 48-yearold has earned the nickname the Song Doctor, the man to call when you're working on an album and all that's missing is a catchy song.

The evidence of Williams' success lines the walls of his in-home studio near Tulsa: There are the gold arid platinum records that his work has appeared on, including Clapton's Unplugged, Behind the Sun, and Crossroads; Raitt's Nick of Time; the Vaughan brothers' Family Style; the soundtrack to the movie Wayne's World; Houstonian Clint Black's The Hard Way; and Robert Plant's Now and Zen. There are also snapshots of Jerry hanging out with some of the musical pals he has made over the years, including luminaries like Keith Richards and Ron Wood from the Rolling Stones, ex-Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison, B. B. King, and fellow Texan Roy Orbison (who, he says, "used to come to my place in Malibu to smoke cigarettes and write songs"). And this summer he flew to Toronto to help guitarist Jeff Healey finish an album.

In 1964 Williams and his band, the Epics, got local airplay with their first single, a Beatlesnfluenced original called "Tell Me What You See," on Fort Worth's Brownfield label. Soon after, the fifteen-year-old stumbled into a lifetime's worth of musical education when his band got to open for R&B stylist Ray Sharpe - famous for his song "Linda Lu" - at one of the great Texas roadhouses of all time, the Skyliner Ballroom on the Jacksboro Highway. 

Weeks after landing that gig, he got another break when the owner, Jimmy Levens, asked him to help book bands at the club, and he started tracking down artists like Jimmy Reed, Ike and Tina Turner, and Bobby "Blue" Bland. He also got to hang out with the entertainers he brought in; Reed, for instance, taught him rhythm-guitar chords. And a few months later, Williams got his biggest break yet: He booked R&B great Little Richard, who, after hearing Williams sing and play, hired him as the rhythm guitarist in his touring band. On the road Williams learned to play lead guitar from Little Richard's other axman, a young musician who went by the name Jimmy James and
later achieved fame as Jimi Hendrix.

His tenure with Little Richard lasted nine months, and shortly after, he returned to Fort Worth, where he made it through a semester at Arlington Heights High School before snagging regular gigs at the Bayou Club and the Silver Helmet Club in Dallas, which was owned by several Dallas Cowboys players. "I was doing Otis Redding stuff three nights a week," he remembered, "and within two weeks I had so many people in there that the fire marshal started showing up." Then, in the late sixties, Williams discovered orange sunshine, tie-dye shirts, and the hippie lifestyle, so he formed a threepiece psychedelic blues outfit called High Mountain and went to L.A. to score a record deal with the ATCO label. It became another learning experience. 

High Mountain landed a record deal with Columbia Records, releasing their debut album, Canyon, in 1970. Legal problems with the name High Mountain led to the album being reissued with the artist designation as the Jerry Williams Group and the LP retitled Down Home Boy. The album failed to do business under either name, and after High Mountain broke up, Williams landed a deal with the CBS-distributed Spindizzy Records.
CD Liner notes

1. Down Home Boy - 3:11
2. Illusion - 2:53
3. May The Circle Be Unbroken - 3:26
4. More To You - 3:20
5. Sailboat - 4:08
6. Don't Ever Leave Me Again - 3:16
7. I've Got A Lot Of Time (Jerry McDonald, Mike Rabon) - 2:33
8. I'll Get Back To You - 2:56
9. Cid - 3:16
10.Rachmaninoff Piano - 1:29
All songs by Jerry Lynn Williams except track #7

*Jerry Williams - Vocals, Guitar

1972  Jerry Williams - Jerry Williams (2010 korean remaster) 

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