Picks and Pans Review: I Believe in You

updated 09/29/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/29/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Don Williams

Many country singers, for better or worse, sound the same from album to album. The difference among them is integrity; Williams' tunes, mostly by Bob McDill and Wayland Holyfield, are simple, honest and soothing, whether the drawling crooner is celebrating glorious love or mourning a terrible loss. His sound manages to be full and clean with slight, yet sufficient, alterations of rhythm and melody to escape patent repetitiveness. (He has used the same backup musicians, engineers and co-producer, Garth Fundis, for years now, so there is an identifiable Don Williams Sound.) On this LP Williams provides lyrical coordinates for his graph of the emotions. The beautiful Rainy Nights and Memories, for instance, recalls Williams' classic I Wouldn't Want to Live If You Didn't Love Me—an aching ballad in the hard-core country tradition. Ain't It Amazing is a stately love hymn with a quintessential country backup. Falling Again ("before I've even had the time for this ole heart to mend") is the LP's best cut, a shuffling up-tempo tune with Lloyd Green's flawless pedal steel chords whispering in the background. Williams' subtlety and taste are addicting; you never get enough because he never overpowers you. If there is one fault with Williams, it's that his music is sometimes infuriatingly underplayed. One yearns for some pickin' pyrotechnics from his studio pickers and Green to punctuate the sound and kick Williams' sweet solemnity into the more upbeat mood he himself once sang about in Tulsa Time.

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