An old friend stages return

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 1999

Freeborn County residents welcomed back an old friend Thursday night.

Friday, August 06, 1999

Freeborn County residents welcomed back an old friend Thursday night. Don Williams, who performed at the Freeborn County Fair in 1993, took the stage again.

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While his lyrics spoke volumes, the artist said little during the concert. The occasional utterance, &uot;Mercy,&uot; brought some giggles from the audience that didn’t seem to mind the lack of dialogue.

The peaople packed in the grandstand immediately recognized their favorite tunes, erupting in applause during the first couple chords or after a line or two.

The opening tune &uot;Good ole boys like me&uot; had such an effect on the audience, clapping and cheering after only a couple lines were sung.

&uot;We’re real happy to be back in Albert Lea,&uot; Williams told the crowd after the opening song. &uot;And we’re just tickled y’all could make it out here too.&uot;

While his sentiments sent the crowd into a fury of cheers and yells, they quickly hushed for the second tune.

In unison, the crowd sighed a deep &uot;Ahhhh,&uot; as Williams began to sing &uot;Some broken hearts never mend.&uot;

Williams’ deep, rich voice seemed to lull the crowd, bringing them down memory lane. While some concert goers sang along to their old favorites, others just seemed to stare off into the distance, with each song bringing back a lost memory.

Heads fitted with cowboy hats bobbed up and down and toes tapped inside their cowboy boots for &uot;Tulsa Time&uot; and the audience could almost be heard over Williams singing, &uot;If Hollywood don’t need you, I still do&uot; and &uot;I believe in you.&uot;

Williams also paused in a couple songs to share the spotlight with his fans.

The crowd was up to the challenge for &uot;Amanda,&uot; singing the lyrics loud and clear.

But while many lips were moving for &uot;You’re my best friend,&uot; when Williams asked the crowd to sing it out, he didn’t seem too impressed.

&uot;Why don’t you try it again,&uot; he told the crowd. He gave them the opportunity to belt out the chorus, but joined the bashful crowd halfway through the last song of the set.

The crowd’s thunderous applause, yelping and cheering caused Williams to plug his guitar back in for the hand-clapping, toe-tapping &uot;Louisiana Saturday Night.&uot;

Joining Williams on stage were Brian Barnett, drums and vocals; Anthony Clausi, guitar, harmonica, vocals; Charles Cochran, keyboard; Joe Compito, bass, vocals; and Billy Sanford, guitar, mandolin, vocals.

Now 60 years old, Williams began playing the guitar when he was a teen. He began his solo career in 1972, after spending five years with the Pozo Seco Singers. Some of his recent albums include Flatlands, Borrowed Tales and I Turn the Page.