Soon after I met my best friend for life, Tracey Elson, (now Cook), this song came on the radio called ‘You’re My Best Friend’. Of course, the song wasn’t about two 11 year old school pals, but the sentiment was the same. I have two anchors in life’s ocean, Tracey is one, Cathy, my cousin, is the other. I even bought them little anchors on chains for their 21st Birthdays. The point being, that song is very important to me. The singer was Don Williams. Now for someone who was raised in Tamworth and Central Coast, country music was part of my DNA. It was not an obvious song though, as I was more a folkie and a rocker in those days.
Don Williams was like many country artists in those days, he appeared on the popular charts quite regularly. It doesn’t happen so much in Australia these days. Don had a string of hits and his songs, to this day, 40 odd years later, are as relevant, soothing and meaningful as they were back then.
On Friday night, I was packing my cds, as I am moving. I have some on stands – my favourite ones, that I play regularly, in alphabetical order. While I was packing, I thought, I’ll play the W’s, til I get there. The first one was Don Williams. I had a good singalong while I packed. I woke up Saturday morning to the news that he had passed away.
Don was known as the Gentle Giant for a reason. It really summed up his impact, his personality and his music. His songs were simply beautiful. I was actually a bit emotional when I played the cd on Friday night, that’s what Don Williams’ music does to you. When I hear it now, it is going to make me even more emotional.
Your My Best Friend is my favourite Don Williams’ song, but there are so many other wonderful songs. Till the Rivers All Run Dry, Lay Down Beside Me, Love Me All Over Again, Some Broken Hearts Never Mend, I Recall A Gypsy Woman, I Believe In You, Amanda and many others.
It was a sad day for country music yesterday. We also lost Troy Gentry and we found out that Jo Dee Messina had cancer. We also lost one of our country music family in Australia with the passing of Col Finley’s sister, Karen. The beautiful songs that Don gave us make the soundtrack for the day even sadder.
Thank you Don for all of those beautiful songs and the quiet, gentlemanly way that you conducted your life and career.