Williams (June 24, 1920 – November 13, 1990) was an American Texas
blues and electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is best known
for his songs, 'Winter Time Blues' and 'I Can't Lose with the Stuff I Use'.
His main influence was T-Bone Walker.
Williams released several singles in the 1950s, but remained a stalwart of
the Houston blues circuit for decades. His recording career lasted from 1949
Life and career
Williams was born in Groveton, Texas, United States, although when he was a
young boy his family relocated to Houston. After serving in World War II,
Williams sang at Houston's Eldorado Ballroom, but quit and enrolled at the
New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, to study piano and voice.
He did not graduate, and returned to Houston where he taught himself to play
guitar and started to write songs. Walker's influence inspired Williams, who
said to himself 'I could learn to play guitar and pull in some of that money
that T-Bone made'. Having formed his own group in 1949, he wrote 'Winter
Time Blues', which came from his own life experience of his wife and
daughter travelling to Los Angeles for the summer, and leaving Williams to
contemplate the winter alone. The song's lyrics included the lines 'Winter
without your baby, you might as well be dead'.
He signed a recording contract with Macy's Records, and Steve Poncio
produced 'Winter Time Blues' which was a regional hit. His next few releases
did not fare well commercially and, by 1951, Williams had moved to Specialty
Records. His first disc for them was his biggest success, 'I Can't Lose with
the Stuff I Use' (1952). His notability rose to the extent that he appeared
in February 1953 on a Carnegie Hall, New York bill, which also included
Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine and Nat King Cole. The song 'I Can't Lose
with the Stuff I Use' was covered a decade later by
His success was short-lived as subsequent releases did not sell but, by
1954, Williams started to perform on a regular basis on Houston's radio
station, KLVL, and began a constant touring regime across the South. Further
single releases appeared on both Duke and Imperial, the latter in 1956.
For the ensuing decades, Williams continued to perform around Houston and
beyond, and he undertook a tour of Europe in 1986.
Williams died in November 1990, in Houston, at the age of 70.