“I’m Just A Country Boy” represents the compassion of living a humble life with its simple yet direct lyrics. It becomes more appealing with a patch of suave harmony and a touch of smooth vocals of the “Gentle Giant.” With this, let’s all remember the imposing height and warm, smooth bass-baritone voice, soft tones Don Williams through his seventh No.1 hit that struck country music enthusiasts.
Fred Hellerman and Marshall Baker pooled resources to write the song in 1954 and was first documented by Harry Belafonte with the assistance of Hugo Winterhalter and his orchestra. Furthermore, the print on the record informs us that Fred Brooks and Marshall Baker wrote the song. This is because “Fred Brooks” was a pseudonym for Fred Hellerman who was blacklisted in the McCarthy era for his socialist ideals.
The most successful and most notable version was Don Williams’ which was released in 1977. “I’m Just A Country Boy” was part of his album “Country Boy.” He placed the song on top and became his seventh No.1 on the country charts. In fact, the single stayed at No.1 for a week and spent a total of eleven weeks on the country charts.
I ain’t gonna marry in the fall, Ain’t gonna marry in the spring
‘Cause I’m in love with a pretty little girl
Who wears a diamond ring.
And I’m just a country boy; money have I none
But I’ve got silver in the stars, gold in the mornin’ sun
Never gonna kiss the ruby red lips
Of the prettiest girl in town
Never gonna ask her if she’d marry me
I know she’d turn me down.
‘Cause I’m just a country boy, money have I none
But I’ve got silver in the stars, and gold in the mornin’ sun
I never could afford a store bought ring
With a sparkling diamond stone
All I could afford is a loving heart
The only one I own.
Don Ray Williams was born on May 27, 1939, in Floydada, Texas. Williams grew up in Portland, Texas and graduated from Gregory-Portland High School in 1958.
His mother taught him to play the guitar at the age of twelve. He performed and played in a variety of country, rockabilly, folk, and rock & roll bands as a teenager. Before joining “The Pozo Seco Singers” which had six pop chart hits in 1966 to 1967 he was first a member of the “Strangers Two” with Lofton Kline. All the groups he joined had successful hits. After the group disbanded, Williams went back to Texas to sell furniture at his father’s store.
Back in 1971, Williams went back to music and signed a contract as a songwriter for Jack Clement to Jack Music Publishing Company. He recorded demos for songwriter-producer Allen Reynolds, who later went to help projects for Crystal Gayle, Garth Brooks, and many more.
However, other artists were reluctant to record some of Williams’ song. With this, Jack Clement decided to sign him up as an artist to his JMI Records. He then recorded his very first track “Don’t you Believe.” In 1974, Williams released his song “We Should Be Together” which peaked No.5. Later that year, his song “I Wouldn’t Want to Live If You Didn’t Love Me” became his No.1 hit.
In the course of his career, he had a total of 17 hits that became No.1. Unfortunately, only 4 of his songs didn’t make it to top 10.
Don Williams died on September 8, 2017, at the age of 78 due to emphysema.
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