Notes on a Fellow Traveler

My first exposure to Williams’ way with words, insight and ardor came in his brief liner notes to the American edition of Procol Harum‘s second album, 1968’s Shine on Brightly. “This is a wonderful record, kind of a letter from a friend I guess,” he wrote, going on to suggest an intriguing exchange of influences between that British group and the Band’s Music From Big Pink. “Procol Harum is a cornerstone of my existence,” he finished, “something I would have a craving need for were it not here.

That conversational intimacy, contagious delight and dogged pursuit of revelation defined Williams’ style as a critic – and also made him more than that. He wrote with judgment but not superiority or lazy censure; he worked to find paths and connections, through committed, often repeated listening, and presented the results as if you were a fellow traveler, not just a reader

David Fricke, Remembering Paul Williams, Rolling Stone

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