Jerry Williams, (1948-2005), or Jerry Lynn Williams, was an artist who never quite made it. Despite releasing several well-crafted and lyrical albums, he found virtually no commercial success. Today he is best remembered as a songwriter who contributed material for some of the blues elite including Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Bonnie Raitt. It was Clapton who brought him the most fame by recording nearly a dozen of his compositions including three for his Behind The Sun album and five for Pretending.
Back in 1979, when his hopes were high, he recorded the album Gone for the Warner Brothers label. Events transpired and due to animosity between him and the label, it was pulled from distribution. It eventually received a quick death and his commercial viability never recovered.
Gone has now resurfaced as one of the latest reissues by Real Gone Music. The sound has been remastered and is a huge upgrade over the old vinyl version. The liner notes by Bill Bentley give a complete history of Williams and the album.
While many people have heard his songs, it’s probably safe to say that very few have actually heard his voice. His sound is different from that of many of the artists who have covered his compositions. The title track would have fit the funky approach of the Motown label. He has a soulful voice and the funky rhythm section, plus the blasts of a brass section give it a very different feel.
Songs such as “Easy On Yourself,” “Call To Arms,” “Givin’ It For Your Love,” and “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” continue his fusion of blues and soul. While the compositions themselves are fairly simple, he fills in the sound with a number of layers and creates a full and sophisticated sound.
Gone is one of those forgotten gems that seem to re-surface every so often. Jerry Williams may be gone but it’s good to see some of his music has survived.