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

"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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