Joe Williams' debut as the featured vocalist in Count Basie's band was one of those landmark moments that even savvy observers don't fully appreciate when it occurs, then realize years later how momentous an event they witnessed. Williams brought a different presence to the great Basie orchestra than the one Jimmy Rushing provided; he couldn't shout like Rushing, but he was more effective on romantic and sentimental material, while he was almost as spectacular on surging blues, up-tempo wailers, and stomping standards. Basie's band maintained an incredible groove behind Williams, who moved from authoritative statements on "Every Day I Have the Blues" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love" to brisk workouts on "Roll 'Em Pete" and his definitive hit, "All Right, OK, You Win".
This 16-track, 72-and-a-half-minute compilation contains Deniece Williams' two number one pop/R&B hits, "Let's Hear It for the Boy" and "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late" (a duet with Johnny Mathis), as well as her remake of "It's Gonna Take a Miracle," an R&B number one and Top Ten pop hit, and "Free," which just missed the top of the R&B chart and made the pop Top 40. Otherwise, the collection is somewhat idiosyncratic, compilation producer Leo Sacks' idea of Williams' best, rather than her greatest hits. Her success on the R&B singles chart, where she scored 18 Top 40 hits, is shortchanged, as the set fails to contain such major R&B hits as "Never Say Never" and "You're All I Need to Get By…"
This tribute to actor and comedian Robin Williams features one of his last full-length interviews for the PIONEERS OF TELEVISION series, including never-before-seen comments on his life and comedic and dramatic work, as well as tributes to Williams by those who knew and worked with him, and clips from his career.
Honky Tonk Blues is an expanded director's cut of an American Masters television special about Hank Williams, and every minute of it illuminates Williams's importance as a seminal artist and American archetype. Produced with an understated fascination for the country legend's gifts and demons that shortened his career, played havoc with his marriages, and led to a haunting death at 29, Honky Tonk Blues builds a seamless profile from rare footage and rich interviews with (among others) Rick Bragg, Big Bill Lister (Williams's longtime opening act), Hank Williams Jr., and members of Williams's backup band, the Drifting Cowboys. Williams's story, including his mentorship in the blues by Rufus "Tee Tot" Payne, childhood loneliness, and emergence as a whole-cloth singer-songwriter "who taught people it's okay to bear your soul in everyday language," is thoroughly compelling and resonates with many American originals (e.g., Kurt Cobain) who followed him. An outstanding documentary.
"Merry Christmas" is a Christmas album by American pop singer Andy Williams that was released by Columbia Records in 1965. This, his second holiday LP, is focused exclusively on 20th century compositions, unlike 1963's The Andy Williams Christmas Album, which, of its 12 tracks, had six with origins predating the turn of the century. For the six consecutive holiday seasons from 1965 through 1970, Merry Christmas charted on Billboard magazine's special year-end weekly Christmas Albums sales chart. The album spent two weeks as the number one selling Christmas album during the holiday season of 1966 and one week atop that same chart in 1969.