Gene Watson Remembers Lawton Williams: Saturday 24 July 2021

Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 - Thursday 26 July 2007)

On Saturday 24 July 2021Gene Watson remembered Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 – Thursday 26 July 2007), on what would have been Lawton’s 99th birthday.

‘A songwriter who changed my life was Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 – Thursday 26 July 2007).

He was born on this day (24 July) in 1922 (and passed in 2007).


Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 – Thursday 26 July 2007) wrote ‘Fraulein’, which was a monster hit for Bobby Helms (Tuesday 15 August 1933 – Thursday 19 June 1997) (No.1, 1957), and he had hits with Hank Locklin (Friday 15 February 1918 – Sunday 8 March 2009) (‘Geisha Girl’, No.4, 1958), George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013) (‘Colour of The Blues’ in 1964, which was co-written with George Jones) and more.

Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 – Thursday 26 July 2007) himself originally released ‘Farewell Party’, then it was covered by Little Jimmy Dickens (Sunday 19 December 1920 – Friday 2 January 2015) for Columbia Records in May 1961, Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 – Wednesday 13 February 2002) for RCA Victor Records in 1969, and others.

Gene Watson: 'Reflections' (Capitol Records, 1978)

I sang ‘Farewell Party’ in the clubs around Texas, so when I finally had the chance to record it, I knew exactly how I wanted it done.

I’ll always appreciate the session players and background vocalists who laid it down in the studio in just fifteen minutes.

We did it in one take and thanks to all of you for making it my most requested song.

Remember most everyone in the studio had never heard this song before and just learned it on the fly.  Listen to that pedal steel from Lloyd Green

In 1978, Gene Watson recorded Lawton Williams‘ ‘Farewell Party’ and included the track on ‘Reflections‘ (Capitol Records, 1978); when released as a single (Capitol 4680), the track reached No.5 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1979, and No.9 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks Chart in 1979.

Lawton Williams‘ ‘Farewell Party’ would go on to become Gene Watson‘s signature tune and the name of his highly acclaimed touring band.

Gene Watson‘s version of Lawton Williams‘ ‘Farewell Party’ is considered by many to be the definitive version of the song, with Lloyd Green playing the legendary steel guitar part – ‘Farewell Party’ was the last Gene Watson track, which Lloyd Green played steel guitar on, having played on a number of Gene’s Capitol Records recordings.

Lawton Williams‘ ‘Farewell Party’ should have been the foundation on which the Gene Watson recording session was based, but the track was apparently a last minute addition to the recording session.  Gene Watson also recorded ‘Farewell Party’ in one take.

On Tuesday 27 January 2009, England’s Hux Records released Gene Watson‘s ‘Reflections‘ (Capitol Records, 1978), along with Gene Watson‘s ‘Should I Come Home‘ (Capitol Records, 1979), as a special ‘2-for-1‘ CD.

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