Willis Alan Ramsey

Born: 1951 AL

Country Vocals, Songwriter Lyle Lovett

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Willis Alan Ramsey (born March 5, 1951) is an American singer/songwriter, a cult legend among fans of Americana and Texas country. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in Dallas, Texas. Ramsey graduated from Highland Park High School in 1969, and was a prominent baritone in the High School's Lads and Lassies Choir. In his senior year, he played a leading role in the musical Carousel. He released the critically acclaimed album, Willis Alan Ramsey, in 1972 on the Shelter label. The album included "Muskrat Candlelight" which was covered twice as "Muskrat Love," first by America in 1973, then by Captain & Tennille, who scored a #4 hit with the tune.

Windham Hill's Michael Hedges has cited Ramsey as a strong influence on his left-handed tapping techniques. In a radio interview, Hedges claims he developed the technique listening to Ramsey's album, saying Ramsey had no idea "how I got it from him, so I guess I'm safe."
Owing to conflict with his label, Ramsey left Shelter at the end of his contract. As a result, Ramsey's fans have been waiting more than 35 years for the release of his "mythical second album". When asked where the new album is, he often responds, "What's wrong with the first one?"
In the 1980s, he moved to Great Britain[1] to reconnect with his ancestry and study traditional and modern music narrative. At the same time, he enjoyed a revival in the United States, due in part to numerous artists who cut versions of Ramsey's songs, including Widespread Panic ("Geraldine & The Honey Bee"), Jerry Jeff Walker ("Northeast Texas Women"), Waylon Jennings, Shawn Colvin ("Satin Sheets"), Jimmy Buffett ("The Ballad of Spider John," "Northeast Texas Women"), and Jimmie Dale Gilmore ("Goodbye to Old Missoula").[2] In 1989, he returned to the United States and began performing again. Backed by Champ Hood, multi-instrumentalist (of Uncle Walt's Band fame), Ramsey could often be found on the same bill with another Dallas singer-songwriter, Alison Rogers. The two married in 1991 and continue to perform together. In 1996, Ramsey and Rogers co-wrote Lyle Lovett's hit, "That's Right, You're Not From Texas".
In 2000, Ramsey appeared on Austin City Limits, showcasing his new material and performing his classics. He is currently mixing his new album, "Gentilly",[2] an independent release, financed by old friends and fans mostly from the Dallas and Austin area. Co-produced by Willis, Alison Rogers and Jamie Oldaker, guest musicians include Oldaker (drums, percussion); Sam Bush & Tim O'Brien (mandolin, vocals); Viktor Krauss, Roscoe Beck & Freebo (bass); Bruce Bouton (steel guitar); Mickey Raphael (harmonica); Walt Richmond (piano, organ); Joel Guzman (accordion); Marcia Ball, Tommy Malone, Abra Moore & Alison Rogers (vocals). Ramsey, Rogers, and Everett Moran are engineering.
References
1^ Biography
2^ a b Peppard, Alan (16 September 2009). "Seminal songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey prepares his second album - 37 years later". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 18 February 2010.
Willis Alan Ramsey is the first, and only, album ever recorded by the Texas songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey. The album's genre is hard to categorize with touches of country, country rock, folk, and folk rock. The tunes range from the reflection and regret of "The Ballad of Spider John" to a heartfelt tribute to Woody Guthrie on "Boy from Oklahoma". It was recorded on Leon Russell's Shelter label in 1972, and Leon sat in on piano, keyboards, vibraphone. Other guest musicians include: Carl Radle, Jim Keltner, Red Rhodes and Russ Kunkel. The song "Muskrat Candlelight" was later covered by the band America in 1973 and then by Captain & Tennille in 1976, both using the title "Muskrat Love." "Ballad of Spider John" was covered by Jimmy Buffett on his 1974 album Living & Dying in 3/4 Time.
Track listing
"Ballad of Spider John" (Ramsey) – 4:16
"Muskrat Candlelight" (Ramsey) – 3:18
"Geraldine and the Honeybee" (Ramsey) – 2:15
"Wishbone" (Ramsey) – 2:42
"Satin Sheets" (Ramsey) – 2:32
"Goodbye Old Missoula" (Ramsey) – 4:53
"Painted Lady" (Ramsey) – 3:02
"Watermelon Man" (Ramsey) – 3:25
"Boy from Oklahoma" (Ramsey) – 3:54
"Angel Eyes" (Ramsey) – 3:07
"Northeast Texas Women" (Ramsey) – 5:43
Personnel
Willis Alan Ramsey - guitar, bass, harmonica, vocals
Leon Russell - piano, keyboards, vibraphone, vocals
Robert Aberg - guitar (acoustic, electric, & slide)
Red Rhodes - pedal steel guitar
Dusty Rhodes - fiddle, violin
Carl Radle - bass
Jim Keltner - drums
Russ Kunkel - drums
Eddie Hinton - guitar
Nick DeCaro - accordion
Charles Perrino - guitar, vocals
Ernest Watts - saxophone
Kenneth Buttrey - drums
Waller Collie - drums, vocals
Tim Drummond - bass
John Harris - piano
Cathy Pruitt - cello
Tim Self - fiddle, violin
Larry Stedman - piano
Leland Sklar - bass
Kenny Bulbey - drums
Mike Sexton - vocals
David Ward II - bells, cowbell, sound effects
Grant Conch - sound effects
Terry Dodson - sound effects
Production
Producer: Denny Cordell/Willis Alan Ramsey
Recording Engineer: Bob Potter/Peter Nichols
Mixing: Al Schmitt
Art Direction: Marlene Bergman
Photography/Artwork: William Matthews
Liner notes: Ellis Widner
Willis Alan Ramsey

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