Missouri-born singer and songwriter Leona Williams is a little-known though highly-regarded country singer, perhaps best remembered for the duets she sang with Merle Haggard in the 1980s. She got her first break as a member of Loretta Lynn's band, and had modest success as a solo performer before working with Merle Haggard, singing harmony on several albums, as well as a number of fine duets on several of his albums. They were married from 1978-84; after their split, Williams recorded a few albums, faded from view, and has since reemerged as an indiebilly icon. Here's a quick look at her work...
Leona Williams "Yes, Ma'm, He Found Me In A Honky Tonk" (Bear Family, 2013)
Here's another great -- and long overdue -- Bear Family reissue collection. Leona Williams had been a solo artist for years before joining Merle Haggard's road show, cutting her first singles in the late '60s and recording a bunch of albums and countless singles. Her major label days ended with after her hits with Haggard, but she's been a mainstay of the Texas indie scene, and continues to be highly respected by singers across the stye. This 3-CD set gathers all of her studio recordings, from her early work on the Hickory label to an entire unreleased album recorded with "outlaw" producer Tompall Glaser. And of course there are a bunch of the soulful duets she's known for... Great stuff!
Leona Williams "Old Loves Never Die" (Bear Family, 2001)
A swell collection of classic Williams-Haggard duets...
Leona Williams "That Williams Girl, Leona" (Hickory, 1970)
Leona Williams "The Best Of Leona Williams" (Hickory, 1972) (LP)
Leona Williams "San Quentin's First Lady" (MCA-Tally, 1976)
An album recorded for Merle Haggard's MCA vanity imprint, Tally Records, later reissued on the Heart Of Texas label... This album, recently reissued on CD, featured Williams doing a Johnny Cash/Mere Haggard-style prison concert (the first one headlined by a woman) with lively backing from the Merle Haggard band, the Strangers.
Leona Williams "A Woman Walked Away" (DJM, 1977)
Leona Williams & Merle Haggard "Heart To Heart" (Mercury, 1983) (LP)
Leona Williams "Someday When Things Are Good" (Mercury, 1984) (LP)
Leona Williams "Melted Down Memories" (Leona, 1999)
Leona Williams "Honorary Texan" (Heart Of Texas, 2004)
Leona Williams "I Love You Because" (Heart Of Texas, 2005)
Leona Williams "Sings Merle Haggard" (Ah-Ha!, 2008)
Leona Williams "New Patches" (Heart Of Texas, 2008)
Leona Williams "This Is Leona Williams Country" (Ernest Tubb Record Shop, 2008)
Leona Williams "Duets" (Leona Williams Records, 2009)
Leona Williams "By George This Is Leona Williams" (Ah Ha!, 2013)
One of many George Jones tributes to come out after the King of Country passed away in '13. Nice stuff.
Hick Music Index