The Master of the Blues

Despite a claim of having written over five thousand songs, Dicky Williams’ recorded works have been somewhat sporadic since
his debut in 1960 but, like London buses, if you wait long enough, two will arrive together. With a country-orientated album
waiting in the wings and a blues project with the Ken Massey Group nearing completion, Dicky Williams is set to be back in a big
way.

Born in Snow Hill, North Carolina, on January 6, 1938, Dicky Williams told In The Basement of his early years as a singer and
piano player… I was singing professionally in the US Army but I actually started singing when I was about six or seven years old –
my mother taught me to sing country & western. When I got in the army, they needed some musicians to entertain. I couldn’t play
then and I really couldn’t sing that well but I raised my hand anyway. And they said, Mister Williams, can you play and I said, yes
sir. I lied! My father played a little piano but he was no expert and I couldn’t play a note. I had a friend of mine called Dalton, from
Chicago. He said, they hired you but you can’t play and I said, I know but you can, so you’re going to have to teach me. So I
learned to play Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino and then I graduated to Blue Monday, also by Fats Domino. As I went on tour around
Germany – we started off in Nuremberg – I learned how to play Got A Woman by Ray Charles. Those three songs I took all over
Europe! Fats Domino and Ray Charles were definitely my influences and Dalton was a good teacher. I tried to get away with a few
things but he wouldn¹t let me. Even so, when I started playing piano, I could only use two fingers – but I graduated to three!

Dicky laughed as he reminisced about his piano-playing acumen but it was sufficient to inspire him to begin songwriting. I was
learning to play the piano one weekend, that’s when I started and, over the years, I’ve written many, many songs. I’ve written over
five thousand.

His spell in the US Army over, Dicky Williams settled in Washington DC where he met producer, Bill Boskent, who was looking to
engage a piano player and was not bothered by Dicky¹s limited prowess. Bill Boskent was Lloyd Price’s manager, he advised. I
was about twenty years old I guess. They were getting ready to record Stagger Lee by Lloyd Price. He hadn’t hit for a year or so, so
they needed him a new record. Bill said, how would you like to meet Lloyd? I said, I’d like to meet Lloyd, so they said, come on and
see how we do this. So I said, okay, because it was an interesting experience for me and I went and looked at that and I made a
suggestion. I said, well, folks …