Don Williams's mellow, amiable baritone and easygoing approach made him one of the biggest country stars of the 1970s. With simple arrangements, straightforward songs, and an emotionally honest but endearingly laconic delivery, Williams had an instantly appealing signature sound. He rarely strayed far from that template, but there was little reason to, especially with the outpouring of hits he scored throughout the '70s. A hefty helping of those hits is presented here, from the aging-singer meditation "Amanda" to the funky "Tulsa Time" (later covered by Williams acolyte Eric Clapton).
Though Williams generally keeps things slow and easy (it wouldn't be unfair to call him the Bing Crosby of country music), there are infectious rhythmic undercurrents throughout (an R&B lope here, a Waylon Jennings beat there), and no matter how mellow he gets, he's never lugubrious. While one could quibble over some of the omissions (the sharp murder ballad "Miller's Cave," the perky "Big Ole Brew," memorably sung by Bill Murray in STRIPES), THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION is pretty much what its title promises.