Lester Williams (musician)

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Lester Williams
"Lester Williams - Texas Troubadour" album cover
Background information
Born (1920-06-24)June 24, 1920
Groveton, Texas, United States
Died November 13, 1990(1990-11-13) (aged 70)
Houston, Texas, United States
Genres Texas blues, electric blues
Occupation(s) Guitarist, singer, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Years active 1949–1990

Lester B. Williams (June 24, 1920 – November 13, 1990)[1] was an American Texas blues and electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter.[2] He is best known for his songs, "Winter Time Blues" and "I Can't Lose with the Stuff I Use".[3] His main influence was T-Bone Walker.[4]

Williams released several singles in the 1950s, but remained a stalwart of the Houston blues circuit for decades.[2] His recording career lasted from 1949 to 1956.

Life and career[edit]

Williams was born in Groveton, Texas, United States, although when he was a young boy his family relocated to Houston.[2][4] After serving in World War II, Williams sang at Houston's Eldorado Ballroom, but quit and enrolled at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, to study piano and voice. He did not graduate, and returned to Houston where he taught himself to play guitar and started to write songs. Walker's influence inspired Williams, who said to himself "I could learn to play guitar and pull in some of that money that T-Bone made". Having formed his own group in 1949, he wrote "Winter Time Blues", which came from his own life experience of his wife and daughter travelling to Los Angeles for the summer, and leaving Williams to contemplate the winter alone. The song's lyrics included the lines "Winter without your baby, you might as well be dead".[4]

He signed a recording contract with Macy's Recordings, and Steve Poncio produced "Winter Time Blues" which was a regional hit. His next few releases did not fare well commercially and, by 1951, Williams had moved to Specialty Records. His first disc for them was his biggest success, "I Can't Lose with the Stuff I Use" (1952). His notability rose to the extent that he appeared in February 1953 on a Carnegie Hall, New York bill, which also included Dinah Washington, Billy Eckstine and Nat King Cole.[2] The song "I Can't Lose with the Stuff I Use" was covered a decade later by B.B. King.[5]

His success was short-lived as subsequent releases did not sell but, by 1954, Williams started to perform on a regular basis on Houston's radio station, KLVL, and began a constant touring regime across the South.[6] Further single releases appeared on both Duke and Imperial, the latter in 1956.[2]

For the ensuing decades, Williams continued to perform around Houston and beyond, and he undertook a tour of Europe in 1986.[2]

Williams died in November 1990, in Houston, at the age of 70.[3]


Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Record label
1993 The Godfather of Blues Collectables Records
1993 I Can't Lose with the Stuff I Use Specialty Records
1995 Texas Troubadour Ace Records


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 314. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Jason Ankeny. "Lester Williams". Allmusic. Retrieved November 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1990 - 1991". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  4. ^ a b c Govenar, Alan B. (2008). Texas blues: the rise of a contemporary sound (1st ed.). College Station, Texas, United States: Texas A&M University Press. p. 282. ISBN 978-1-58544-605-6. 
  5. ^ "I Can't Lose with the Stuff I Use: Lester Williams". Concordmusicgroup. Retrieved November 17, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Big Road Blues". Sundayblues.org. Retrieved November 17, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Lester Williams | Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-27.