John Gary Williams was a member of the Mad Lads, who were signed to Stax Records in the early Sixties, while he was still in high school. They had several R&B hits, including “I Don’t Have to Shop Around,” and “I Want Someone.”
Williams decided to go solo in the early Seventies, recording a fantastic debut, self-titled album in 1973. Full of lush strings, funky rhythms, and Williams’ falsetto overtop, it should’ve been a smash hit. Yet, distribution problems kept his album from getting into key markets like Detroit and Chicago.
Now, over 40 years later, his album is finally getting a proper release, as part of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary celebration.
We chat with Williams about his early days in the Mad Lads, who were much closer to New York Doo Wop, than Memphis Soul. Plus, he talks about an upcoming movie that’s in production about his life. And, he takes us track by track through the reissue of his debut album.