Don't click or your IP will be banned


Hittin' The Web with the Allman Brothers Band Forum
You are not logged in

< Last Thread   Next Thread ><<  1    2  >>Ascending sortDescending sorting  
Author: Subject: Today is Lamar Williams Birthday.........

True Peach





Posts: 10984
(11120 all sites)
Registered: 5/24/2002
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 07:55 PM
He would have been 59.



The Words below come from this website, I found them much more interesting than the reference from Wiki and much better..great stuff.

LAMAR WILLIAMS - OUT OF THE SHADOWS

by John Lynskey

Sometimes, I guess it's just fate and circumstance that cause a talented individual to never get the recognition that they deserve. It happens in sports Lou Gehrig toiled behind Babe Ruth for years, and Robert Parrish was an afterthought to Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. It also happened to Lamar Williams of the Allman Brothers Band. An absolutely brilliant bass player, Lamar has fallen through the cracks of ABB history. In the mid-70s, he was trapped between the legacy of Berry Oakley and the off-stage headlines of Gregg and Dickey, and Lamar's playing never got the credit it deserved. After the sensationalized break-up of the Allman Brothers in 1976, Lamar went onto greater artistic creativity as the bass player for Sea Level, but to even less public acclaim. His untimely death in 1983 at the age of 34 came at a point in musical trends when the legacy of the Allman Brothers Band had been almost completely forgotten. The resurrection of the band in 1989 and its subsequent rise back to the top has been nothing short of a miracle, but it also means that there is an entire generation of fans who have only a faint idea of who Lamar was. How many of you have been to shows where Lamar's image is shown on the screen during "No One to Run With," and very few people in the crowd seems to recognize him? It's time to change that, and give Lamar a bit of the spotlight. Please enjoy this look at Lamar Williams, out of the shadows at last.

Lamar Williams was born on January 14, 1949, in the coastal town of Gulfport, Mississippi. He was the oldest of nine children born to Lemon and Betty Williams. His father was a professional gospel singer, and from the earliest age, both his parents instilled a love of music in their oldest son. As a child, Lamar would spent hours with his ear pressed up against a speaker, literally immersing himself in jazz, gospel, and r&b. He flirted with several different instruments, including the guitar and drums, but was eventually drawn to the bass. He had a natural talent for it, and by his early teens, Lamar was skilled enough to join his father's gospel group. When he was fifteen, Lamar met a drummer named Johnny Lee Johnson, and the most important friendship of his life was formed.

Jaimoe: "I met Lamar through my uncle, Thomas Kelley, Jr. He had a friend named Richard, and they were always over at the house, visiting my mother. One day Richard brought Lamar along, and that's how our friendship started." Jaimoe was four years older than Lamar, and was as much a big brother as he was a friend to the rather quiet bass player. "I practically raised Lamar, at least in a musical sense," says Jaimoe. "He had such natural talent, right from the very beginning. Lamar never really studied music - he just knew it. When I first met him, he'd come over and we'd hang out, and play records and stuff. I had this old upright bass, and Lamar would come over and jam on it - he played it with his thumb - while I played the drums. Eventually, he started playing bass in his father's spiritual group, and Lamar would be the person telling everyone what parts they should sing. It was just something he heard - he always knew what sounded right. I look at Lamar as being my student-teacher, in that I taught him a lot about being a musician, but there was so much I learned from him in return, sometimes without even knowing it. It was when I finally realized that I was learning from him that I really started opening my ears. He was such a phenomenal player, and he made me wake up and pay more attention to what he was showing me. It was like, ' **** man, something's happening here.' As a matter of fact, it was Lamar who taught me how to truly play a bass drum. When I was in bands with Otis Redding, Joe Tex, and Percy Sledge, I was always playing this bebop stuff on my bass drum, rather than playing a steady pattern that kind of floats along with what the bass player is doing. If you listen to jazz players, they don't necessarily play their bass drum along with the bass player. They just punctuate here and there, and do different things with it. The bass drum just has a different role than it does in a rock and roll band. So, when I started playing with Lamar, he would play this wonderful bottom that I just started locking onto. Without even really knowing it, I started playing my bass drum the way it was supposed to be played. People had been telling me to do this and that, and I didn't have any idea what they were talking about. By simply playing, Lamar taught me how to use a bass drum. I would listen to the patterns he was playing, and I would try to match those on my bass drum. Eventually, it just started to come naturally, but I owe it to Lamar."

By 1964, Jaimoe had filled the drummer's slot in a band called the Sounds of Soul, which was headed up by guitarist George Woods. "We had a real hot little band - I mean we cooked," remembers Jaimoe. "Then the bass player left to go into the navy, and Lamar got the gig. It was great to be playing with him, and it was a tremendous experience for both of us."
Another member of the Sounds of Soul was Ike Williams, an old friend of Jaimoe's from Biloxi, Mississippi. Ike relates how he came to know Lamar. "I joined the Sounds of Soul in 1966, and my first memory of Lamar was this quiet, laid back cat who could play like nobody else. He was a giant on the bass, I mean he was a PLAYER. Music was in his blood it was effortless for him. I used to love when we would just be hanging out, playing Top 40 stuff. You should have heard Lamar - he could play anything. He used to jam along with those big horn songs that Chicago was playing back then. You know, "Only the Beginning," songs like that - he would just wail on those. We'd be jamming and laughing, it was great. Lamar and I became very close, and as great a player as he was, he was an even better person. Because he was so quiet, it took me awhile to realize how funny he was. Lamar had a great sense of humor, and we used to party together on the road and just laugh. We were like family in that band."

In April 1968, Lamar was drafted into the army. He played in a Special Services band for awhile, but eventually, he was sent to Vietnam. Completely opposed to the war and the thought of killing someone, he went AWOL [Absent Without Leave], and would spent months wandering the jungles and bases of South Vietnam. He would say that he had been separated from his unit, and would stay with various outfits for a few weeks at a time before heading into the jungles again. He was finally given an honorable discharge in 1970, and returned to Mississippi.

While Lamar was in Vietnam, Jaimoe had moved on. He was playing with Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, and Joe Tex, some of the great acts of the 1960s, but he really missed his friend, both as a person and as a musician.
Jaimoe: "After playing with Lamar in the Sounds of Soul, I really had a lot of trouble playing with other bass players. When you've played with a cat like Lamar, it's really hard to play with someone else, because you soon find all these reasons not to play with them. They don't do this or they don't do that, and it really became a hang-up with me. I really created a problem for myself because of that, because Lamar was just such a solid bass player. And then I ran into Berry Oakley, and he was the first cat who allowed me to relax and enjoy his playing. He had so much ability, but he was completely different than Lamar. Berry essentially played lead bass, but it had such a beautiful melodic quality to it that I just loved. He was powerful, man."
After a pause, Jaimoe shared an interesting bit of information. "You know, Lamar might have been the first bass player in this band if he hadn't been in the army. When Duane and I got together in Alabama in early 1969, we discussed what we wanted in the band. He wanted two drummers, a bass player, a keyboard player, and two guitar players. Berry was his first choice, but Berry and Dickey had a band together [the Second Coming], and Duane wasn't certain if Berry was going to leave that and do what we were doing. I told him, 'Well man, the only cat I know who is good enough is Lamar Williams, and he's in the army.' But you know, if Lamar had been the first bass player, I don't think the band would have projected the direction it went in, and that has to do as much with personality as it does with playing style. Berry was a more outspoken person than Lamar. He was a leader, and Lamar was more of an arranger. Berry was as much the leader of this band as Duane was. Duane was a very outspoken person, and Berry was a lot easier to deal with. Because Duane was like this - 'I'm going to drink all this wine right now. I'm not going to save any for today, tomorrow, or the next day.' You couldn't talk Duane out of anything once he made his mind up. He was just so intense. When he decided to do something, he did it. He didn't let anyone tell him otherwise, and that is probably the thing I loved most about him. Berry was more the voice of reason, I guess, a bit more diplomatic. In fact, the brains behind the Allman Brothers Band was Berry Oakley. He knew enough about how to do business, and he knew how to deal with people.

Duane didn't have Berry's patience - he was determined to do things his way, and there was no stopping him, while Berry could find alternatives. Duane was an individualist, a rebel, while Berry was a people person, someone who knew how to deal with situations. Don't get me wrong Duane was a very smart and intelligent, but Berry was the brains of this band. Anyway, Duane was determined to get him as his bass player, no matter what, and not only did he get Berry, he got Dickey as well! [Laughing.] Duane was truly a man of action. One of his favorite sayings was - he used to say it to me all the time - 'Well, la Mojai, wish in one hand and **** in the other, and see which one fills up first!' So I think it was for the best that Berry ended up as our first bass player."

After his discharge from the army, Lamar went back to Mississippi, and joined a group with Ike Williams called the Kings of Soul. Also in the band was Rudolph "Juicy" Carter, an outstanding sax player who had been in Percy Sledge's band with Jaimoe. Juicy and Jaimoe were very close - as a matter of fact, it was Juicy who coined the name "Jaimoe" for Johnny Lee Johnson. Juicy, who would later sit-in numerous times with both the Allmans and Sea Level, relates how he first met Lamar.
"I got to know Lamar through Jaimoe. We used to hang out with him when we'd come through Gulfport or Biloxi. After he got out of the army, he joined up with the Kings of Soul. He was perfect for that band, because we played a lot of covers, and Lamar could play anything, and I mean anything. Jazz, funk, rock - you name it. He had such an excellent ear for things, and his playing was so distinct and clear. You should have heard him play Coltrane. We'd be jamming, and Lamar would start on some of Coltrane's stuff, and you had to hear it to believe it. He was amazing. Lamar just loved life as well. He loved his family and friends, and there was no malice in that man at all. He was gentle and kind, and we had some times in that band, I'll tell you!"

Ike Williams: "We did the Kings of Soul until early '71, and then Lamar and I went to New York for awhile, and then down to Macon, where we had some gigs and hung out with Jaimoe. Eventually, in mid-'72, we made our way up to Charlotte, where we joined up with Juicy in a band called the Fungus Blues Band. Lamar had been in Fungus Blues for a couple of months when he got the call from Jaimoe about the Allman Brothers gig."
Berry Oakley died young and tragically on November 11, 1972. Jaimoe recalls the last few months of Berry's life. "Berry started getting really, really screwed up. He was screwed up because he knew Phil Walden was screwing us over, and Duane was dead, and Berry was really having a rough time with himself, because he didn't know what to do with the whole situation. It just ate him up, man. We just didn't know what was happening with Berry. We didn't know if he was going to go nuts or what. He was drinking like two fifths of vodka a day - crazy **** like that. He was really disturbed about what was going on, and he missed Duane so much. I remember calling Lamar and telling him how worried I was about Berry and everything that was going on, and a couple of weeks later, the accident happened."

To their credit, the band decided to carry on after Berry's death. Auditions were set, and Jaimoe called Lamar. He was one of four players brought in. Jaimoe: "Lamar came down, and he was over at Bunky's house [Bunky Odom, a former ABB manager], getting ready for the audition. Lamar had this thing about making his picks from old Clorox bottles. Up near the spout, the plastic is real hard, but flexible, and he would cut that section out to make his picks with. That morning, he was making some new picks, and he almost cut his damn finger off. I went, 'Aw, man, why did you have to cut your finger now?' It was a *****, but in the end it really didn't matter."

Jaimoe continues: "Lamar was the third bassist to audition. We played about two or three songs, and everyone was like, 'Wow, man.' Somebody asked Lamar, 'Have you ever played these songs before?' Lamar said, 'No, I've never played 'em before. I've heard 'em, and I've had my bass in my hands and I've played along with the records, but that's about it.' Then Butch got up - it was one of the smartest moves I've ever seen Butch make - and he asked, 'Can we take a break?' So we broke, and Butch gathered the rest of us up, and said, 'Let's go back here. I want to have a meeting.' Butch told all of us - Gregg, Dickey, Chuck Leavell, and myself - 'As far as I'm concerned, Lamar's got the gig. It's over. I don't need to hear anyone else. We've found our bass player.' Everyone agreed, and that was the end of that. Lamar was in the band."

Chuck Leavell had joined the Allman Brothers in September, 1972, and his addition to the group marked a significant change in the band's sound. One of the most gifted keyboardists in the history of rock music, Chuck was just fitting into the ABB himself when Lamar auditioned. As Chuck remembers it, "We had a few guys in, and Jaimoe said, 'Listen man, there's this guy I really want to audition. His name is Lamar Williams.' Now, we had been thinking that we might want to go with a heavy, you know, a bassist with a reputation, but Jaimoe brought him in. Lamar came into the studio that day, and he didn't seem nervous or concerned about who the Allman Brothers were, he just played music. It was that air of confidence that helped him land the gig, and I'd like to think it also helped me to land the gig as well, because I had that same attitude. It was nice that we had been put in a situation to contribute to the band, because that's all a musician can ask for. He was presented with an opportunity, and he made the most of it. Believe me, it was a very quick audition."

When asked about the differences in style between Berry and Lamar, Jaimoe stated that "Lamar was a completely different kind of bass player than Berry. Berry was an experimentalist - many times he would be playing lead right along with Duane and Dickey. Lamar, on the other hand, would lay down this beautiful bass line, and stay there. He had a great bottom, and gave us a real foundation to play off of. My two favorite bass players of all time are still Berry and Lamar, even though their styles were so different."
Butch Trucks agrees with Jaimoe, adding that "Lamar changed everything, but it was great for me. Oakley wasn't a bass player, he was a guitar player with four strings. [Laughing.] In some ways, for me, that was limiting. With Oakley playing, I had to stay home. When Lamar showed up, he was always at home, and you could count on him to be there. That freed me up to go away for awhile, and play what I wanted. I think it gave both of us more freedom on the drums, and allowed us to create more."

Chuck Leavell: "Lamar had an incredible ear, and was very quick to understand what was needed in a particular song. I was so impressed by his ability to remember complex melodic lines in his head after hearing them once, and then be able to hum them back to you. If somebody played a note wrong, it was Lamar who was always able to pick out where you made your mistake. He just had an innate gift for music. I've always felt that he was a much more melodic player that most people realize - in some ways he was very similar to Berry. He played much more with the drums than Berry did, but he was also willing to explore and experiment - like the tentacles of an octopus, he was always searching for the limits of a song. That was especially true later on, in Sea Level."

As for what Lamar's biggest contribution to the Allman Brothers Band was, Jaimoe feels that it was stability. "I think that what Lamar and Chuck did was to stabilize the band during a period when we really weren't certain about what direction we were going in. All of a sudden, Dickey had a huge load on his shoulders. Now he was the only guitar player in a band that had featured two powerful players. Now he essentially was trying to play both parts - his and Duane's - and that's a hell of a task. So there were a lot of musical changes going on in the band, and Lamar and Chuck brought some much needed stability. There weren't a lot of new ideas brought in, but they both gave us some foundation during a very confusing time."
Chuck reflects on what it was like for him and Lamar to fit in with the Allman Brothers Band. "I felt a kindredship with Lamar, right from the very beginning. I was in the band before he was, but that didn't matter, we were both new guys. It was all very exciting for us - I remember the photo shoots for Brothers and Sisters out at the farm - there was the big group shot that was used for the centerfold of the album, and then there were band shots, and then shots of just me and Lamar. That was very cool, and there was a lot of media attention surrounding the Allman Brothers Band, and that was nice and novel, as was the traveling and the big crowds, but it wasn't that important to either one of us. We were there to play music, and we really didn't care about who Gregg or Dickey were, or what was being written about them. We were excited because they were great musicians in an extremely talented band that we had been asked to contribute to. I think Lamar and I were completely relaxed in our playing with the Allman Brothers Band, because we had been accepted by the band. It was a chance to make some great music, and we took advantage of it."

Lamar's playing on the three albums he recorded with the ABB - Brothers and Sisters, Win, Lose, or Draw and Wipe the Windows, Check the Oil, Dollar Gas - was very solid, but it went largely unnoticed. This was due in large part to the fact that the Allman Brothers Band was making as many headlines off the stage as they were for their music. With all the glitz and glitter that was accompanying the most popular band in America, it was easy to overlook their quiet, consistent bass player. But with the passage of time, it is now very clear just how good he was. Listen to "Come and Go Blues" and "Jessica" from Brothers and Sisters, and you get an immediate feel for Lamar's style. His bass thumps along, rock solid, driving the band forward. Unlike Berry and his often melodic style, Lamar was more structured in his playing, and he gave the ABB a real bottom end to its sound. The band swirls around his bass on "Come and Go Blues," and he is there, note for note, as Dickey and Chuck turn "Jessica" into an instrumental classic. He add a nice bit of blues funk to "Jelly Jelly," and really attacks "Southbound," supplementing Dickey's energy with his own. Lamar also plays upright bass with unrestrained joy on "Pony Boy," which was the perfect way to close out the most successful ABB album ever. It is obvious when listening to Brothers and Sisters that Lamar was smart enough not to try and be Berry Oakley - he was confident enough to be Lamar Williams, with his own style and sound.

On July 6, 1974, Lamar married the love of his life, Marian Belina, in Macon. The ceremony was performed by Gerald "Buffalo" Evans, an ABB roadie who was kind of a hippie minister with affiliations in several different churches. Lamar and Marian had been together since 1971, after meeting in Marian's hometown of Long Beach, Mississippi. They settled into the Macon community, and eventually had two children - a daughter, Marla, and a son, Lamar, Jr. Lamar was very dedicated to his family, and he loved spending quiet time with Marian and the kids whenever he was off the road.

Win, Lose, or Draw was recorded in the summer of 1975, as the band was beginning to come apart at the seams. Despite this, there were a few good musical moments, and Lamar contributed heavily to them. "Can't Lose What You Never Had" is probably the best track on the album, and Lamar's snarling, growling bass line set the tone for everyone else to play off of. "High Falls" allowed Lamar to display more of a jazz style, and he took full advantage. His vibrant, Latin-style bass line is the segue from the cascading introduction theme into Chuck's piano, and again into Dickey's solo. His playing on "High Falls" is some of the most expressive in his ABB career, and was a preview of what was to come in Sea Level.

Of all the Allman Brothers' albums released in the '70s, certainly Wipe the Windows, Check the Oil, Dollar Gas was the most critically panned - with some justification. Poorly mixed and packaged, it also suffered from several rather uninspired performances - At Fillmore East it ain't. Jaimoe, however, believes it does feature glimpses of Lamar at his best. "When that record came out, I didn't want to hear it. I didn't take the time to listen to it, because we were very unhappy that the record company choose to put out an album mostly made up of different versions of songs that had already been released. The record company was just trying to make some quick money, and I ignored it. Anyway, a few years later, a friend of mine in Atlanta was talking about the great playing on that album, and told me I should really give it a listen. So I finally did, and I was blown away by what I heard. The stuff that Chuck, Lamar, and I were playing - we were out there, man! Despite all the bull **** that was going on, Chuck, Lamar, and I were having a ball, and if you listen, you can hear that on Wipe the Windows. We three were really locking on, and we were basically playing around Dickey, Gregg, and Butch, supporting them, but really playing off each other. It was so much fun, man, and it's great to hear it on tape. There's some damn good playing on there, and if you think about all the **** that was going on, it's even more amazing that we could play that well. I mean, the walls were coming down, man! I think it's a damn fine record, especially in terms of what Lamar, Chuck, and I were doing."

There are some fine moments on Wipe the Windows - "Elizabeth Reed" features a hypnotic bass line from Lamar that runs like a thread through some great solos by Chuck, Gregg, and Dickey, while "Ain't Wastin' Time No More" displays how easily Chuck and Lamar fit into the band right after Berry's death. But Wipe the Windows marked the end of that phase of the Allman Brothers Band. It was time for Jaimoe, Chuck, and Lamar to move onto something new. The band Sea Level came together, and Lamar's playing would reach new heights.

The formation of Sea Level was a natural progression for the relationship that had developed between Lamar, Jaimoe, and Chuck. Playing music together for the fun of it had been their way of dealing with all the madness that surrounded the ABB in its last few years. They would jam in empty hotel meeting rooms, at sound check, and occasionally around Macon, billing themselves as We Three. Their onstage locking had been the lone musical highlight as the Allman Brothers disintegrated, and they wanted that to continue.

Chuck Leavell: "Sea Level was really spurned on and promoted by Jaimoe. It was his doing. I mean we'd be at the hotel, and he'd call me and ask, 'Hey Junebug, what's you doing?' I'd say, 'Nothing really, just watching TV.' Jaimoe then say, 'C'mon man, let's go play. There's an empty ball room downstairs, I'll have the roadies set our stuff up in there.' He'd do the same thing to Lamar - he'd pretty much call our hand on it, and we'd go play. We'd do it backstage - we'd go to the gig early just so the three of us could play. We started doing it all the time, and we'd play almost anywhere. I remember one time we were in Boulder, Colorado, and Jaimoe called me up and said, 'Hey Junebug. You know that big empty field next to the hotel? I'm going to have Red Dog string every one of our extension cords together and run them out to the middle of the field so we can play out there.' I thought he was kidding, but he was dead serious. Red Dog ran the extension cords, Jaimoe set up his kit, and Lamar and I dragged our rigs out there, and we played - right there in the middle of that field. People were walking by, wondering who the hell we were, but that's how it was for us. We'd play anywhere Jaimoe would put us."

Chuck relates the actual birth of Sea Level: "It was Hartford, Connecticut, in 1974. Both Gregg and Dickey were running late for the gig, and after an hour and a half of waiting, the crowd was getting ugly. John "Gyro" Gilley, one of the stage technicians, came back to the dressing rooms and asked, 'Listen man, is there anything you guys can do? They're starting to throw stuff on the stage - it's getting real bad." So the three of us agreed to go on and play some tunes. John went out and introduced us, saying 'We've got our little band within the band, and they are going play for you right now.' We went out and did four or five songs, and the crowd loved it. That night in Hartford was were it basically began for Sea Level."

During one of their impromptu jam sessions in Washington, D.C., they were joined by guitarist Jimmy Nalls, Chuck's long-time friend. Chuck and Jimmy had met in 1970, when they both played in Alex Taylor's band [James Taylor's brother]. They had also played with Dr. John for about eight months in 1972, right before Chuck landed the Allman Brothers gig. Jimmy stayed in touch with Chuck over the next couple of years, visiting with him whenever the ABB came to the D.C. area, where Jimmy was then living. He also knew Jaimoe fairly well, from the occasions when Alex Taylor and Dr. John had opened for the Allmans. In early 1975, The ABB was playing the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, and Jimmy got a phone call from Chuck.
Jimmy Nalls: "Chuck called me up and said, 'Come on down and do sound check with us. You can use Dickey's rig, 'cause Gregg and Dickey won't be there. It'll just be Lamar, Butch, Jaimoe, and myself.' So I went down and did sound check with them, and we played about three hours. It was just fantastic, and we knew we had something. We all just went 'Damn, that was amazing!' This was also the first time I really met Lamar, our first major meeting, anyway. Afterwards, Chuck told me, 'You know, I'm not going to leave the Allman Brothers, but there is something happening, so let's just stay in touch on this.' Well, about a year later, the Allmans did break up, and we decided to put a band together. We decided to call it Sea Level, as kind of a joke that started with Twiggs Lyndon. The name Sea Level first appeared on one of Chuck's road cases. Twiggs put it there as a little play on Chuck's name, and it stuck, so we decided to use it. I loved that band - that period is a very special memory to me. I'm very proud of what we did - we were a slamming group, man."

When asked to describe Lamar as a bassist, Jimmy gushed with praise. "Lamar was one of the most talented bass players I ever heard. You could build a building on top of what he laid down. He was like a piece of granite back there - just so solid. He had a marvelous sense of time, and a real deft touch as well. He played with a pick, like Berry did, and while he could be as melodic as Berry, he would really lay down a bottom like no one else."
Sea Level gave Lamar more flexibility than he had in the Allman Brothers, and as a result, his playing is looser and a bit jazzier. Their self-titled first album is a fusion classic, featuring Chuck's keyboards and Jimmy's guitar, driven along by the rhythm section of Jaimoe and Lamar. On "Tidal Wave" and "Scarborough Fair" Lamar's bass holds steady as the rest of the band works around him, and his melancholy theme is the perfect foundation for the moody and beautiful "Grand Larceny." It was the best post-break up music being played by any of the former members of the ABB, and the critics raved. Lamar obviously flourished in this situation, and everyone was having a blast, even if they weren't enjoying the commercial success they might have hoped for.

As Chuck points out, "Lamar had more input, more freedom, in Sea Level than he did with the Allmans. He had more say in what was going on with the band, and more responsibility as a player, because we had fewer members. He was very helpful as an arranger, because of his ear for music. I'd play something back to him, and he'd go, 'Right there, Chuck. Change that note to B Flat,' or whatever. Lamar was always willing and able to do whatever it took to help us grow as a band, and we all appreciated his abilities."
"I loved Sea Level when it was just the four of us," says Jaimoe. It was a great gig in the beginning, and that first album was some bad **** , I'll tell you. Lamar was playing at his best, and I loved what we were doing together. But then we started going in another direction, and that wasn't what I really wanted. The addition of Randall Bramblett [on sax] was fine, but a second guitarist [Davis Causey] was too much for me. It took us away from our original direction. We still made some great music - I loved the second album we did - but it no longer was what I thought Sea Level was supposed to be. As for Lamar, Sea Level allowed him to create, to just play, and that was great for him."

The 1977 release Cats On the Coast, with the addition of Bramblett and Causey, gave Sea Level a greatly expanded sound, and Lamar stepped up accordingly. "Midnight Pass" features perhaps the best playing Lamar ever put on a record. This beautiful instrumental features Chuck's uptempo piano, biting solos by Jimmy Nalls, and dark and moody sax from Randall Bramblett, all coming together for a powerful climax. Churning along the entire song, just underneath everyone else, is an incredible bass line from Lamar, subtle yet powerful at the same time. He is playing almost a counter-melody to the rest of the band, with a dream-like quality that fits the theme of "Midnight Pass' perfectly. It is fusion bass at its best, the work of a true master.

Jaimoe split from Sea Level after Cats On the Coast, but the band went on to record three more albums from 1978 to 1980. After a fast start, things never quite worked out. The financial collapse of Capricorn Records and the changing musical trends of the late '70s were too much, and the group slowly dissolved. Lamar left Sea Level in 1980, and within a year, it was all over. The break-up went largely unnoticed, and Sea Level, despite the brilliant musicianship, never got the acclaim it deserved.

Lamar and Jimmy Nalls forged a special friendship during those years. "Lamar was my best friend during the Sea Level period. We confided in each other, and I think I opened up to him more than I did to the other guys. Jaimoe and I were close, and I had always been great friends with Chuck, but during Sea Level, I gravitated more towards Lamar. Because he was a few years older than me, he really was like my big brother, and I truly loved the guy."
Jimmy continued, saying that "Lamar had a heart of gold. You hear that a lot, but in his case, it was true. He was a true gentleman, and a true gentle man, if you follow me. Reserved and quiet, but at the same time, he had a wonderful sense of humor. Lamar was a quality human being, one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He cared deeply about his family, and he was always there for his friends. What better things can you say about a man?"
After leaving Sea Level, Lamar remained in Macon, playing in local clubs with various groups. Eventually, he headed out to Los Angeles, where he became involved in session work. His health began to fail, however, and he went for a check-up at a V. A. hospital, where he was diagnosed with lung cancer. The doctors theorized it was from exposure to dioxin, a carcinogen found in Agent Orange, the defoliant used to eradicate the jungles of Vietnam. Lamar had been exposed to Agent Orange numerous times while he was AWOL in Vietnam, and he had no doubt as to what caused the cancer. On October 29, 1981, surgeons removed two ribs and most of a lung, but they were only cautiously optimistic that the cancer had been caught in time. Lamar went back to playing sessions, but the cancer soon returned.

His condition steadily worsened, and Lamar Williams passed away on January 21, 1983. He was
34 years old.

Lamar left behind a wonderful musical legacy, but more importantly, he touched those who
knew him in a very special way. He was a man who loved life and cared for people, and his memory is still alive in the hearts of those who were closest to him.
Juicy Carter: "When we were in the Kings of Soul, we used to play touch football between gigs. I remember this one time Lamar got the ball on a pitch out, and I started to move in on him. Although I was older than Lamar, I thought I was the better athlete, so I just knew I could catch him. Well, I'll tell you what - Lamar got to the corner, and he blew by me like I was standing still. I mean, he just smoked me. We just laughed and laughed about that one.

That's how I remember Lamar - running free and loving life."
Jimmy Nalls: "When I think of Lamar, Clorox bottles come to mind. We used to kid him about it, but he'd just say, 'Don't knock until you've tried it, brother.' I can still see him gathering bottles and going through his ritual. He knew the right area of the bottle to cut from, and just how big he wanted each pick to be. It was Lamar's special thing, and I'll never forget that."

Chuck Leavell: "First and foremost, Lamar was a family man. I remember going over to his house in Macon, and he'd be there with Marian and the kids. He'd have his bass around his neck and a baby in each arm, and he was just so happy. He really loved family life. On a personal level, I truly enjoyed discussing race relations with Lamar. The beautiful thing about music is there is no room in it for racism or prejudice. By playing rock music in a white band, he - and Jaimoe - helped break the color barrier that existed in the Deep South in the early '70s, and that was important. I thought it was great that a white man from Alabama and a black man from Mississippi could sit down and openly discuss our backgrounds. We were never uncomfortable talking about our backgrounds - as a matter of fact, we both rather enjoyed talking about that. When Lamar made the decision to leave Sea Level, I know he was disappointed and hurt by the situation, and I felt very badly about that. After Sea Level ceased to be, I put together my own little trio, and we played Macon in early 1981. Lamar came down to the club and sat in with us, and we talked for a long time afterwards. I'm pleased and proud to say that we were able to look each other in the eye and say that we loved one another. I'm happy that we had that chance to visit, because shortly thereafter, Lamar left for Los Angeles, and then the cancer struck. I appreciated our relationship, and I always admired the goodness that Lamar had in him."

Jaimoe: "I knew Lamar was crazy when he told me about going AWOL in Vietnam. I asked him, 'Lamar, why didn't you try to get on a plane and come back to the States? Why did you hide out in the jungle all those months?' He just looked at me and said, 'Because it was a challenge.' Right then, I knew he was crazy. I told him, 'Lamar, I always knew there was something strange about you. Now I know what it is - you're crazy.' [Laughing.] To me, that was Lamar Williams."

Marian Williams: "Lamar was a quiet, gentle, serious, and loving man who was dedicated to me and the children. He was a talented and gifted musician who loved his music, but his family was first and far more important to him. We had some marvelous times together, traveling with the Allman Brothers Band. After the children were born, Lamar continued to travel on the road, sometimes for weeks at a time, but he never forgot about his family, and we enjoyed every minute while he was home. I would like it to be known that Lamar Williams was a kind person, good husband, and a great father."

Sometimes it is easy to get overwhelmed by how unfair and cruel fate can be. Duane is gone. Berry is gone. Twiggs is gone. Lamar is gone. In thinking about their untimely deaths, we often forget to focus on their lives and what they stood for. Everyone wants to be recognized for what they do in life, and some people deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments. Lamar Williams was an outstanding bassist, but he was also a good and decent man who loved his family and his friends, and in the end, that's what really matters.

Those who were close to him are better people for having known him, and for those of us who didn't know him, he left for us a beautiful gift - the timeless music he helped to create. This one's for you, Brother Lamar.

John Lynskey




Seven days from now will be the 24 the anniversary of his death........


Happy Birthday Brother Lamar...Tell Duane and Berry hello and how much we love and miss you all,. sure you guys jam all the time.

Rest in Peace Brother.



[Edited on 1/15/2008 by OldDirtRoad]

 

____________________

 
Visit User's Homepage
Replies:

Peach Head



Karma:
Posts: 157
(158 all sites)
Registered: 9/23/2007
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:00 PM
thanks

 

____________________

http://db.etree.org/crossroads24

 

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 25242
(25272 all sites)
Registered: 1/5/2002
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:01 PM
Thanks Kenny for remembering. You one cool brother.

 

____________________

 

World Class Peach



Karma:
Posts: 5872
(5871 all sites)
Registered: 4/18/2002
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:15 PM
Beautiful post. I hope BlueEyes gets to read it today.

 

____________________
All photos posted of family, friends, and places, including those of historic ABB value, by this poster are copyrighted by the poster, or posted by permission of the copywriter.
None of those photos may be reproduced for commercial gain.

 





Karma:
Posts: 2804
(0 all sites)
Registered: 7/29/2006
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:26 PM
Loved his playing.
RIP Lamar

 

____________________

 

A Peach Supreme



Karma:
Posts: 2809
(2812 all sites)
Registered: 3/25/2004
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:33 PM
nice post . definately saw lamar a lot in those 70's , great player, RIP

 

____________________
https://images.app.goo.gl/68fjWFscMt4d6hED9
http://www.e-z-2-win.com/hats.htm

 

True Peach



Karma:
Posts: 12358
(12481 all sites)
Registered: 2/25/2002
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:35 PM
Sweet....

My first ABB concert was during the Lamar and Chuck incarnation of the band and I was just blown away....

 

____________________
"Political correctness is a doctrine -- fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rapidly promoted by mainstream media -- which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of $hit by the clean end."

 

Ultimate Peach



Karma:
Posts: 3039
(3125 all sites)
Registered: 11/30/2001
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:40 PM
Nice one Kenny.The first Allmans show I saw was Lamar's first show in Ann Arbor Mi. Dec.9.72. Lamar was very solid, Berry was only gone 4 weeks- we had no idea what to expect but it was a good show. I know his first is sometimes called for Milwaukee a week earlier but Willie Perkins hisself checked his notes and confirmed the date.

RIP Lamar. The tone of the story from HTN says the story best,he never did get his due.

 

____________________
"This ain't no ballet-we want people to listen with their eyes closed,to just let the music come inside them and forget their wordly cares..." Duane Allman

 
E-Mail User

World Class Peach



Karma:
Posts: 5246
(5252 all sites)
Registered: 6/7/2003
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:41 PM
Dang Kenny...you went and brought me to tears...again!

I only saw Lamar once, in Macon December 1975.

He would've been the same age as Rory. Maybe they are playing somewhere tonight.
How easy we forget...thanks for the memories.

 

____________________
"There's only two kinds of music...The Blues and Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah"- Townes Van Zandt

 

Ultimate Peach



Karma:
Posts: 3507
(3527 all sites)
Registered: 5/7/2007
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:43 PM
Hey Jack, bro I miss seeing you! I agree with you. Gotta love some Lamar! Happy birthday to another Brother Lost!

 

____________________
That's right never criticize some one till you walk a mile in their shoes, that way when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes!

 

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 19784
(21124 all sites)
Registered: 3/23/2006
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:47 PM
Great job, Kenny.

RIP Lamar

 

____________________

 

True Peach



Karma:
Posts: 10984
(11120 all sites)
Registered: 5/24/2002
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 08:55 PM

The first time I saw the ABB was at the Omni{Atlanta}, I went with some friends...one of their Mom's drove us and she went to the show. She liked the ABB also. It was when Dickey was the only guitarist..and Chuck and Lamar was in the band. It was a great show, they did a lot of jamming. Lamar was wearing that hat he wore. He was damn good.

About 3/4 through the show my friends Mom got high from all the Pot smoke and had to go sit out in the car until it was over. We laughed about that.

 

____________________

 

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 15832
(15866 all sites)
Registered: 8/9/2002
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 09:17 PM
Thanks for posting this, Kenny. My first show was in Jan. 73, right after Lamar joined the band.

Happy Birthday, Brother Lamar.

[Edited on 1/15/2008 by SantaCruzBluz]

 

____________________


 

A Peach Supreme



Karma:
Posts: 2496
(2512 all sites)
Registered: 12/3/2002
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 09:23 PM
I also got to hear Lamar play in the day and am very greatful for that. Rest in Peace Lamar...

 

____________________
Helen P. Banes

 

Extreme Peach



Karma:
Posts: 1066
(1100 all sites)
Registered: 12/23/2001
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 09:57 PM
I had never seem that article before. Had a few really interesting nuggets. Saw Lamar one time in Tuscaloosa about the time Brothers and Sisters was coming out. He was one serious player. Nice to know more about the person

 

____________________
ain't no saint, sure as hell ain't no savior

 

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 27533
(27822 all sites)
Registered: 2/18/2006
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 10:07 PM
As I get older the more I realize how young not only Duane and Berry were when they left but Lamar also.....he'd just turned 34. How truly sad.
 

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 23560
(24062 all sites)
Registered: 1/2/2004
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 10:45 PM
Nice thread, Kenny. I miss Lamar. He was great in ABB....and Sea Level.

 

____________________

 

A Peach Supreme



Karma:
Posts: 2657
(2684 all sites)
Registered: 11/28/2004
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 10:57 PM
happy birthday to one of the unsung great ones.

 

____________________

 

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 16027
(16019 all sites)
Registered: 10/13/2007
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 11:03 PM

How bout that "We Three" disc...Lamar is on fire.

 

____________________

 

Extreme Peach



Karma:
Posts: 1495
(1514 all sites)
Registered: 12/8/2004
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/14/2008 at 11:33 PM
I've been listening to some Lamar-era ABB lately. He could play!

Gone but certainly not forgotten.


 

Extreme Peach



Karma:
Posts: 1246
(1246 all sites)
Registered: 4/16/2007
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/15/2008 at 08:41 AM
Lamar Williams
American Hero
RIP

 

Zen Peach



Karma:
Posts: 23560
(24062 all sites)
Registered: 1/2/2004
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/15/2008 at 08:43 AM
quote:
happy birthday to one of the unsung great ones.


Look closely at that bass. Is that the Tractor?

 

____________________

 

World Class Peach



Karma:
Posts: 5463
(5472 all sites)
Registered: 12/14/2002
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/15/2008 at 08:49 AM
RIP Lamar. Thanks for the great tunes~!

 

____________________

 

Sublime Peach



Karma:
Posts: 6478
(7646 all sites)
Registered: 4/4/2005
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/15/2008 at 08:55 AM
I copied what I had posted on the "Show Lamar some Love" thread....

I only wish that when I was going to all these shows... " Back Than " that I had carried a
camera at all times... ( it just wan't cool.. to be snappin away .. and besides I was way to shy ) but I woulda had some great photo's of all the ABB... there just isn't enough photo's of Lamar from back then.. and his contribution to the Band was .... nothing less than enormous..... very cool cat.. and great bass player... A shame he also was taken from us .. to soon...What a band there must be in Heaven

R.I.P. Lamar , you are so missed..

 

____________________



 

Maximum Peach



Karma:
Posts: 8978
(8996 all sites)
Registered: 12/12/2007
Status: Offline

  posted on 1/15/2008 at 10:59 AM
RIP--to one of my all time favorites
 
<<  1    2  >>  


Powered by XForum 1.81.1 by Trollix Software

Privacy | Terms of Service | Report Infringement | Personal Data Management | Contact Us
The ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND name, The ALLMAN BROTHERS name, likenesses, logos, mushroom design and peach truck are all registered trademarks of THE ABB MERCHANDISING CO., INC. whose rights are specifically reserved. Any artwork, visual, or audio representations used on this web site CONTAINING ANY REGISTERED TRADEMARKS are under license from The ABB MERCHANDISING CO., INC. A REVOCABLE, GRATIS LICENSE IS GRANTED TO ALL REGISTERED PEACH CORP MEMBERS FOR The DOWNLOADING OF ONE COPY FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. ANY DISTRIBUTION OR REPRODUCTION OF THE TRADEMARKS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE PROHIBITED AND ARE SPECIFICALLY RESERVED BY THE ABB MERCHANDISING CO.,INC.
site by Hittin' the Web Group with www.experiencewasabi3d.com