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On the Front Row with Jack Williams

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Acclaimed folk-troubadour Jack Williams performed before an enthusiastic audience for AETN’s premier live music production, “AETN Presents: Front Row,” Thursday, April 26, 2007. Williams, a guitarist/singer/songwriter/storyteller from South Carolina, has become near-legendary among folk guitarists in his 45-year career. He has accompanied Tom Paxton, Peter Yarrow, Mickey Newbury and Harry Nilsson.

His career has been nothing if not eclectic. Williams played trumpet in a jazz quartet in a beatnik coffeehouse in Seattle in 1959 – reading poetry to the audience during breaks. He learned banjo and mandolin to spice up folk groups in the ’60s in Georgia. He played pedal-steel guitar in a country-rock band, and classical guitar/lute in a Renaissance ensemble. His skill with instrumental composition won him a national arts grant in 1967. This led to his later arrangements for other artists’ recordings.

From 1958 through 1987, Williams was best-known as an electric guitarist in a series of original rock bands and smaller acoustic ensembles. During the ’60s, he worked shows with John Lee Hooker, Big Joe Turner, Jerry Butler, Z.Z. Hill, Hank Ballard and many others. His bands also backed up artists such as the Shirelles, the Del-Vikings, the Coasters, the Drifters and the Platters.

We encourage you to visit Jack's Web site at: jackwilliamsmusic.com

Transcript

[APPLAUSE] ♪ 

HELLO.
GUESS WHAT?
I LIVE IN ARKANSAS NOW.
SOUTH CAROLINA IS MY HOME STATE
AND EVERYBODY SEES ME ON TV
THERE.
I COME TO ARKANSAS AND WHAT DO
THEY DO, FIRST THING?
PLEASURE TO BE HERE TONIGHT.



I'M GONNA TOE THAT LINE, I'M
GONNA PAY MY DUES, I'M GOING TO
BIDE MY TIME, I GOT KNOTTEN TO
LOOSE.
ONE OF THESE DAYS I'M GOING OPEN
EVERY DOOR I'LL COME TO, GET
RIGHT UP AND SING IT TO THE
MORNIN' SUN.
I GOT A ROE TO HOE, IT KIND OF
SLOWS ME DOWN.
BUT THIS GIRL I KNOW, SHE WEARS
A DAISY CROWN.
AND ONE OF THESE I'M GONNA
TOPPLE EVER WALL I COME TO, OH,
AND I I'LL GET RIGHT UP AND SING
IT TO THE MORNIN' SUN.
COME THE MORNIN' SUN, COME THE
MORNIN' SUN.
ALL MY WORRIES WILL BE GONE.
I'VE GOT A PLACE IN TOWN.
NEAR THE CITY PARK, MY FRIENDS
COME AROUND, BUT MY DOG DON'T
BARK.
ONE OF THESE DAYS I'LL CONQUER
EVER HILL I COME TO, YEAH, AND
I'LL GET RIGHT UP AND SING IT TO
THE MORNIN' SUN.
THE MORNIN' SUN ... THE MORNIN'
SUN ...
ALL MY WORRIES WILL BE GONE. ♪


♪ I'M GONNA SHINE MY SHOES,
I'M GONNA COMB MY HAIR, I MIGHT
PRESS MY SUIT, I'M GONNA SNIFF
THAT AIR.
AND ONE OF THESE DAYS I'LL ROLL
EVER STONE I COME TO, YEAH, I'LL
GET RIGHT UP AND AND SING IT TO
THE MORNIN' SUN.
AND I'M GONNA TO CROSS THAT
BRIDGE, I'M GONNA BREAK THAT
SPELL, I'M GONNA SCRATCH THAT
ITCH, I'M GONNA TO LAUGH LIKE
HELL.
ONE OF THESE DAYS I'LL BRIGHTEN
EVER NIGHT I WALK THROUGH.
YEAH, I'LL GET RIGHT UP AND SING
IT TO THE MORNIN' SUN.
COME THE MORNIN' SUN.
COME THE MORNIN' SUN.
ALL MY WORRIES WILL BE GONE,
GONE.
OOOH.


♪ [APPLAUSE]

Jack Williams: THANK YOU.
I SUPPOSE THE TEMPERATURE AND
WEATHER IS NOT MUCH DIFFERENT
HERE THAN IT IS IN NORTHERN
SOUTH CAROLINA.
BUT I KNOW THAT SUMMER TIME WE
USED TO PUSH TO 105, 106
OCCASIONALLY, 1% -- 100%
HUMIDITY.
WHAT DID WE DO IN THE FORT TIS
GROWING UP -- FORTIES GROWING UP
WITHOUT AIR-CONDITIONING.
WE WOULD GO TO MS. MANYNY
DUNCAN'S HOUSE.
SHE WAS THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
WITH A HOME WITH GREAT COLUMNS
AND MAGNOLIA TREE WITH A PORCH
THAT WRAPPED AROUND ABOUT SIX
TIMES.
SHE HAD A POLYWOG POOL AT THE
FOOT OF HER STEPS AND WE KIDS
WOULD SIT ALONG THE EDGE OF THAT
POOL, OR MEANT SOME OF THE
CREECH  YEARS -- -- CEO CHIEWRS
THAT LIVE THERE.
THAT WAS IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE.
I WAS ATTRACTED TO A LITTLE BUG
THAT LIVED IN THERE AND JUST
STOOD ON THE WATER.
JUST STOOD ON THE WATER.
I THOUGHT THAT WAS NEAT.
WATER BUG I THOUGHT NEEDED A
SONG.
(LAUGHTER).
ANY NUMBER OF MY FRIENDS WHO
WOULD EXPLAIN TO ME THE
PRINCIPLE OF SURFACE TENSION.
I SAID I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT
AND KNOW I WANT TO KNOW THE
THING STANDS THERE AND IS MAGIC
AND BESIDES, I HAVE EASTER BUNNY
AND SANTA CLAUS ISSUES.
I DON'T NEED TO KNOW HOW
EVERYTHING WORKS, I NEED TO KNOW
IT DOES.
♪ THERE'S A BIG OLD FROG BELOW
MY FEET, HE'S LOOKIN' FOR
SOMETHING SMALL TO EAT.
I NEVER PAID HIM NO MIND TILL
WHEN, HE ATE ME WHOLE AND I'M
GONE AGAIN.
♪ I NEVER PAID NO MIND TILL WHEN
HE ATE ME WHOLE AND I'M GONE
AGAIN, GONE AGAIN.
BUT THINGS BEEN GOING BAD TO
WORSE.
FOR THE CENTER OF MY UNIVERSE.
I DON'T CARE IF THE TRUTH BY
SAID, I'M JUST LIVIN' ALONE HERE
INSIDE MY HEAD.
HEY, I DON'T CARE IF THE TRUTH
BY SAID I'M LIVIN' ALONE INSIDE
MY HEAD.
♪ I'M THE WATER BUG, I'M A
SHALLOW MAN.
AND THE WATER BUG DON'T WANT TO
KNOW 'BOUT TROUBLE IN THE WATER
DOWN BELOW.
♪ YOU'VE GOT A LIFE I NEVER
KNEW.
I NEVER LOOKED INSIDE OF YOU.
I CONFESS THAT ALL THESE YEARS,
ALL THESE YEARS, I NEVER LIKED
TO SEE YOUR TEARS.
HEY, BABY, I CONFESS THAT ALL
THESE YEARS I NEVER LIKED TO SEE
NO TEARS, NO TEARS.
♪ WELL IT'S A BIG OLD FOUNTAIN
NOW I SEE.
THE DAFFODIL AND THE BUMBLEBEE,
I WONDER WHO COULD HAVE MADE
THIS BONE, WHO MADE THIS BONE,
AND THE DNA AND THE PHEROMONE.
I WONDER WHO COULD HAVE MADE
THIS BONE THE DNA AND THE
PHEROMONE.
♪ I'M THE WATER BUG, I'M A
SHALLOW MAN.
AND THE WATER BUG DON'T WANT TO
KNOW 'BOUT TROUBLE IN THE WATER
DOWN BELOW.

  I GOT A LINE, I GOT A POLE.
ONE'S A BIG LIE AND IT BURNS MY
SOUL.
THAT POLE IS HOOKED INSIDE MY
BRAIN.
IN A SHALLOW POOL I SHALL
REMAIN.
♪ THAT POLE IS HOOKED INSIDE MY
BRAIN.
IN A SHALLOW POOL I SHALL
REMAIN.
♪ I'M THE WATER BUG, I'M A
SHALLOW MAN.
SKIMMING ALONG ALL OVER THIS
LAND.
I'M THE WATER BUG.
I'M A SHALLOW MAN.
AND THE WATER BUG DON'T WANT TO
KNOW 'BOUT TROUBLE IN THE WATER
DOWN BELOW.
♪ [APPLAUSE]

Jack Williams: THANK YOU.
[APPLAUSE].

Jack Williams: DRIVING BACK
FROM A BIG, ROCK AND ROLL GIG A
LONG TIME AGO.
SAVANNAH GEORGIA, IN COLUMBIA
SOUTH CAROLINA.
I PASSED BY ORANGEBERG SOUTH
CAROLINA.
IT WAS SUNDAY MORNING, GIG ON
SATURDAY.
ONLY THING ON THE RADIO, GOSPEL
MUSIC, PREACHER.
THAT WAS FINE AS LONG AS I
DIDN'T HAVE TO LISTEN TO SOME OF
THE STATIONS WHERE THEY GOT DOWN
RIGHT MILITARY WITH THEIR MUSIC.
THERE WAS SOME OF THE WHITE
CHURCHES DID SORT OF A ♪  ONE,
TWO, THREE, FOUR, KIND OF HYMNS
I THOUGHT, THAT DOESN'T SOUND
RIGHT.
I WANT SOME PASSION, THE PASSION
OF JOY, THE JOY OF LIFE.
I WANT THAT IN MY MUSIC.
I COULD FIND THAT AT SOME OF THE
OTHER CHURCHES.
SO I HEARD THIS BEAUTIFUL THREE,
FOUR-TIME THING COME ON THE
ROOVMENT --
RADIO.
POSITIVE, UPLIFTING TELLING ME
DON'T FATHER -- DON'T FEAR.
IT WAS SO GOODT PREACHER CAME ON
AND SAID BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
WE ARE GRATEFUL THIS MORNING TO
HAVE MS. ARETHA FRANKLIN AND HER
FRIENDS SINGING FOR US.
WHERE IS THAT CHURCH, MAN?
I WENT DRIVING AROUND ORANGE
BURG TRYING TO FIND THAT CHURCH
AND I DID DID.
I HEARD THE REST OF THE SHOW AND
KNEW ONE DAY I WOULD WRITE MY
OWN GOSPEL TUNE OF SORTS.
HERE IT IS.
♪ WHAT'S GOING ON?
WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?
♪ WHY DO THEY STARE INTO THE
NIGHT?
♪ FRIETENNED -- FRIGHTENED LIKE
CHILDREN, WAITING FOR SUNRISE,
TO LIGHT UP THEIR FACES AND OPEN
THEIR EYES.
♪ WHAT'S GOING ON?
THIS IS NO PRISON.
♪ THERE ARE NO WALLS, NO WALLS
TO KEEP YOU INSIDE.
♪ GO YOUR OWN WAY, TAKE LOVE AS
YOUR COUNSEL.
♪ AND LOOK TO YOUR HEART, TO
YOUR HEART, HEAVEN'S INSIDE.
♪ LIFE IS SWEET, SWEET AS THE
MORNING.
♪ AND COOL AS THE RAIN, AND
QUIET AS DEW.
♪ LIFE IS SWEET, SWEET AS THE
MUSIC.
AND CLEAR AS THE SUN SHINING ON
YOU.
♪ I'VE BEEN TO THE TOP, AND
BACK DOWN TO THE BOTTOM.
♪ AND I HAVE SEEN ALL, I'VE SEEN
ALL OF MY WISHES DENIED.
♪ GO YOUR OWN WAY, TAKE LOVE AS
YOUR COUNSEL.
♪ AND LOOK TO YOUR HEART, TO
YOUR HEART, HEAVEN'S INSIDE.
♪ LIFE IS SWEET, SWEET AS THE
MORNING.
AND COOL AS THE RAIN, AND QUIET
AS DEW.
♪ LIFE IS SWEET AS THE MUSIC.
♪ CLEAR AS THE SUN, SHINING ON
YOU.
CLEAR AS THE SUN SHINING ON YOU
♪ [APPLAUSE].

Jack Williams: THANK YOU VERY
MUCH.
[APPLAUSE]

Jack Williams: THANK YOU.
TIME FOR ONE MORE SONG HERE.
I'M GRATEFUL TO AETN TO HAVE ME
HERE.
I'M SURPRISED TO BE ASKED AND
HONORED TO BE HERE AND PLAY FOR
YOU FOLKS.
I HOPE TO SEE YOU AROUND THE
STATE.
IT'S NICE TO LIVE IN ARKANSAS.
I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO MY
GUITAR.
♪.

Jack Williams: I DON'T DO
THIS VERY OFTEN.
SOME FOOL BORROWED MY GUITAR ON
STAGE DURING A PERFORMANCE IN
PHILADELPHIA.
MY BUDDY WAS GOING TO PLAY HIS
HARP, HIS NAME THE BRIAN BOWERS.
HE SAID, JACK, CAN I USE YOUR
GUITAR?
YEAH.
AND THEN HE TUNED IT DOWN
SEVENTH CIRCLE OF TUNING HELL.
I DON'T KNOW THE NAME OF THE
TUNING.
PLEASE DON'T ASK ME WHAT IT IS.
PEOPLE START BUGGING ME AND
SAYING WHAT TUNING IS THAT?
I SAID BAD DEBT.
THAT'S BECAUSE GUITAR PLAYERS
HAVE TUNEING -- HAVE NAMES FOR
TUNING.
I THOUGHT THEY DID THIS BECAUSE
GUITAR WAS NO LONGER SUFFICIENT
TO BRING OUT CREATIVITY.
YOUNG PEOPLE CAME TO ME AND SAY
I NEED ALTERNATIVE TUNING.
CHECK WITH MOZART AND SEE WHAT
HE DID WHEN HE RAN OUT OF IDEAS?
HE RETUNED IT.
ANYWAY, THANKS AGAIN FOR BEING
HERE.
HERE'S A SONG, SACRIFICE.
RUN AWAY SLAVE ARE A CHAIN IN
HIS HAND, ♪ EATING BLACK BERRIES
RUNNING THROUGH A COTTON WOOD
STAND.
NO DOG OR MAN WILL EVER JUMP HIS
TRAIL.
♪ HE'LL DOUBLE BACK THROUGH THE
CREEK, HE'LL RUN ALONG THE RAIL
♪ HIS BONES ARE BROKEN AND HIS
HEART'S IN PAIN.
HE LEFT A GOOD WOMAN, COULDN'T
BUST THE CHAIN.
♪ HE SLIPPED BY MEMPHIS ACROSS
THE PIKE.
SINGING GOD HELP ME MAKE IT TO
THE RIVER TONIGHT.
♪ OH, HE WATCHED THE STARS AND
HE SAW A SIGN, HE SAID GOODBYE
CRACKER, THIS MOMENT IS MINE.
♪ THIS MOMENT IS MINE.
♪ SHE HOPPED A FRAIT OUT OF
SANTA FE.
SHE CAUGHT A SIDE DOOR PULLMAN
WITH A BALE OF HEY -- HAY.
SHE COULD HEAR THE WIND AND SEE
THE SKY, BUT SHE THOUGHT ABOUT
HER KIDS AND SHE STARTED TO CRY.
♪ ANOTHER HOME IS BROKEN AND A
HEART'S IN PAIN, THE KIEST BOUND
RATTLER ROLLS ACROSS THE PLAIN.
SHE LEFT A MAN IN A COCAINE
DREAM.
♪ SHE TOOK HER KIDS TO HER
MAMA'S AND GOT AWAY CLEAN.
♪ SHE WATCHED THEIR EYES AND SHE
SAW A SIGN, SHE SAID, GOODBYE
CRACKER, THIS MOMENT IS MINE.
♪ THIS MOMENT IS MINE.
♪ I'M JUST A CITER LIKE A BEE
AND A BIRD.
OH, I'M PUZZLED BY THINKING AND
THE SPOKEN WORD.
♪ I WOULD RATHER BE A RAZOR BACK
FEEDEN IN A TEXAS WOOD, ROOTING
THROUGH THE GULLY BECAUSE IT
FEELS SO GOOD.
♪ WISH I WAS WAS A RED TAIL
CIRCLING IN SOY BEAN FIELDS
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING I CAN ONLY
FEEL.
♪ I'M JUST A CRITTER LIKE THE
WHILE BLUE JAY, SINGING GOD HELP
ME MAKE IT TO THE RIVER ONE DAY
♪ I WATCHED THE STARS, I SAW THE
SIGN, I SAID LORD IN HEAVEN,
THIS MOMENT IS MINE.
THIS MOMENT IS MINE.
THIS MOMENT IS MINE.
♪ THIS MOMENT -- LORD, HELP ME
MAKE  IT TO THE RIVER ONE DAY.
THIS MOMENT IS MINE.
♪ LORD, HELP ME MAKE IT TO THE
RIVER ONE DAY.
♪ THIS MOMENT IS MINE.
[APPLAUSE].
[APPLAUSE].

Jack Williams: THANK YOU.
I DIDN'T KNOW WHETHER AN ENCORE
WAS PERMITTED.

WHY DID YOU MOVE HERE?

Jack Williams: WHY DID I MOVE
TO ARKANSAS?
I COULD PLAY FOR FOLKS LIKE YOU,
FOR ONE REASON.
[APPLAUSE].
CAPTAIN, WILLIAMS, MY DADDY,
MADE IT TO 85.
WE SENT HIM ON HIS WAY A COUPLE
YEARS AGO.
AND IT TURNED OUT I WAS IN THE
MIDDLE OF PUTTING THIS NEXT CD
THAT I HAD, THE NEWEST ONE I HAD
OUT HERE, PUTTING IT TOGETHER.
AND I DIDN'T PLAN IT THIS WAY,
BUT HIS WHOLE SPIRIT ENDED UP
BEING INFUSED IN THIS WHOLE
ALBUM EFFORT.
THE SONG I PICKED AND THE SONGS
I WAS WRITING.
I ENDED UP CHOOSING THINGS I
DIDN'T EXPECT.
THIS NEXT SONG, I DIDN'T WRITE
ONE.
IT FIT THE SPIRIT OF THIS ALBUM.
MY DADDY WAS A MAN THAT COULD
MAKE A SILK PURSE OUT OF A SOW'S
EAR.
HE CAN TEACH YOU HOW TO TAKE A
BAD SITUATION AND MAKE ICE
CREAM.
HERE'S ONE BOB DYLAN WROTE.
I PICKED IT BECAUSE I'VE BEEN
PLAYING IT FOR YEARS AND HE HAS
A LOT OF SONGS LYING AROUND AND
WON'T MISS THIS ONE.
SO THANKS AGAIN.
THE WONDERFUL BOB DYLAN.
♪ BUCKETS OF RAIN, BUCKETS OF
TEARS, GOT ALL THEM BUCKETS
COMING OUT OF MY EARS.
I'VE GOT BUCKETS OF MOON BEAMS
IN MY HAND.
YOU'VE GOT ALL THE LOVE, HONEY,
BABY, I CAN STAND.
IT AIN'T TO RIDDLE, AIN'T NO
JOKE.
I'VE SEEN PRETTY PEOPLE
DISAPPEAR LIKE SMOKE, FRIENDS
WILL ARISE AND THEY'LL
DISAPPEAR.
WELL, IF YOU WANT ME, HONEY
BABY, I'LL BE HERE.
♪ I LIKE THE SMILE FROM YOUR
FRINGE TIPS, I LIKE THE WAY THAT
YOU WIGGLE YOUR HIPS.
I LIKE THE COOL WAY YOU LOOK AT
ME.
♪ OH, EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU IS
BRINGING ME MISERY.
♪ YEAH, LITTLE RED WAGON, LITTLE
RED BIKE, I AIN'T NO MONKEY AND
I KNOW WHAT I LIKE.
I LIKE THE WAY YOU LOVE ME,
STRONG AND SLOW.
I'M TAKING YOU WITH ME, HONEY
BABY, WHEN I GO.
♪.
THEY SAY LIFE IS SAD, LIFE IS A
BUST, AND ALL YOU CAN DO IS DO
WHAT YOU MUST.
WELL, YOU DO WHAT YOU MUST DO
BUT YOU DO IT WELL.
♪ I'LL DO IT FOR YOU, HONEY
BABY, CAN'T YOU TELL.
AND NOW BUCKETS OF RAIN, BUCKETS
OF TEARS, GOT ALL OF THEM
BUCKETS COMING OUT OF MY EARS.
GOT BUCKETS OF MOON BEAMS IN MY
HAND.
♪ WELL, YOU'VE GOT ALL THE LOVE,
HONEY BABY, I CAN STAND.
YOU'VE GOT ALL THE LOVE, HONEY
BABY, I CAN STAND.
♪ [APPLAUSE]

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