Don Williams: 10 Essential Songs

From "Tulsa Time" to "Good Ole Boys Like Me," the key tracks of the country vocalist, who died September 8th at 78

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"Tulsa Time"

The "Gentle Giant" toughened up on "Tulsa Time," the closing track from the opening side of 1978's Expression LP. Driven by a gritty, funky rock & roll beat that sounded more like it was out of Waylon Jennings' playbook than his own, Williams reveled in songwriter Danny Flowers' hard-luck tale of trying and failing to make it in the big city. Pushing his baritone to a higher-than-normal register, his voice felt like it might just flutter away on the joyous, hand-clapping chorus. This was Williams at his most versatile, a fact that didn't go overlooked by the country music establishment: "Tulsa Time," his eighth Number One single and soon-to-be favorite of Eric Clapton's, was named ACM Song of the Year, while the CMA gave Williams the Male Vocalist award —the only time he would earn either honor. J.G.

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