With his honey-sweet vocals, soul singer/songwriter JOHN GARY WILLIAMS rose to fame as the lead voice of inimitable Stax group, The Mad Lads (“Don’t Have to Shop Around,” “I Want Someone”). At the height of the band’s success, however, Williams was drafted into the military to serve in the Vietnam War and when he returned home his newly discovered political consciousness led him down a different path altogether. His powerful 1973 solo effort, John Gary Williams, which would also be his last recording for the Stax label, presents both sides of a man who proved to be much more than just another soul singer, one who delivered a message that still resonates today.
This oft-overlooked gem from the waning days of the Stax Empire is being reissued Friday, April 28 by Stax Records, marking the first time the record will be in print on vinyl since its original 1973 release. The 180-gram LP--cut at Ardent Studios on the original Stax lathe and pressed in Williams’ hometown at Memphis Record Pressing--features brand new liner notes by author, journalist and filmmaker John Hubbell and comes housed in a faithfully reproduced replica old-school style tip-on jacket.
This first and only solo recording was produced almost entirely by the artist with help from notable members of Isaac Hayes’ Movement and features several original titles by Williams, including the under-the-radar smash political-groover, “The Whole Damn World is Going Crazy.”
The album is rounded out with tried and true covers of the likes of the Four Tops and The Spinners, and retains a world-weary, but ultimately hopeful spirit.
Tracklist for John Gary Williams:
A1. I See Hope
A2. I'm So Glad Fools Can Fall In Love
A4. Loving You (It Ain't Easy)
B1. Ask The Lonely
B2. How Could I Let You Get Away
B3. Open Your Heart (And Let Love Come In
B4.The Whole Damn World Is Going Crazy