Saturday, November 19, 2016
"DRIFT AWAY" songwriter MENTOR WILLIAMS passes away: Brother of Paul Williams
'Tis better to be known as a "one hit wonder," or "the brother of Paul Williams," than not be known at all.
Either or both were headlined when Mentor Williams died a few days ago, Nov 16th, at the age of 70 in Taos, New Mexico. Mentor also had a hand in writing "When We Make Love" a 1984 success for Alabama, and the Randy Travis and George Jones novelty "A Few Ole Country Boys" in 1990. He also was a capable guy around the studio, doing a lot of mixing and recording work for a variety of people including Kim Carnes and Paul Macca McCartney (or as they're known together, Caca)
Below you get Mentor's own take on his best-known song, which was of course, not successful. He wasn't a particularly distinctive singer, and his bland country rendition was not what the song needed. Not with lines about "free my soul" and "rock and roll."
John Henry Kurtz and John Kay were among the first to cover "Drift Away" in 1972, but it became a hit in 1973 for Dobie Gray. After that, just about anyone and everyone took a shot. Roy Orbison gave it the traditional country-rock treatment on his "Milestones" record, while The Doobie Brothers re-titled it "Give Me The Beat Boys."
It's been done by Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen, Uncle Kracker, the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Bob Seger, Michael Bolton, Bon Jovi, and most recently, Meryl Streep in her film "Ricki And the Flash."
You can definitely get lost in the rock and roll and country cool of "Drift Away." Sorry about the loss of Mentor Williams (who lost his lady love Lynn Anderson July 30, 2015).
Drift Away with Mentor Williams singin' his own song in 1974