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Kearney Williams
Born:  September 9, 1924
Died:  March 5, 1992

"He Can't Read Music but He Writes a Hit," headlined The Dallas Morning News about the local policeman Kearney Williams, whose writing and performance of "Travelin' Man" made Cash Box Pick hit in 1963.

The up-tempo studio recording directed by legendary producer Mitch Torok gained notice for its upbeat rockabilly, lifting Williams onstage to regular performances at the weekly stadium-style venue of Dallas' "Big D Jamboree."

Williams opened for Johnny Cash, The Wilburn Brothers, Ernest Tubb, Tex Ritter and others whose personal autographs crowded onto the facing of Williams' guitar.

The record, produced first on Williams' own label, Tara, and then reissued on Hickory Records, carried the "B" side lament "Two Worlds, One Heart." Williams wrote additional songs about other soul-searching journeys, producing an unreleased demo of an upbeat ballad, "That's The Life for Me."

In 1965, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith recorded "Travelin' Man," sparking novelty interest for Meredith's break-through path to performing. Meredith extended his career beyond football with a recurring role as a detective in "Police Story" and the immensely popular Monday Night Football with Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell. (Meredith's signature game-ending rendition of "Turn Out The Lights, The Party's Over" was once upstaged by the TV crew slipping-in Meredith's version of "Travelin' Man".)

Williams, however, unlike the persona of his "Travelin' Man," never took to the road to promote his own singing career beyond the distance he could drive to performances in Austin or East Texas, choosing family life over the lure of touring on the road.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank Keith Williams, son of Kearney Williams for contacting us and graciously providing us with information and pictures related to his father's career.

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Recordings
 
Hickory
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1218 A Travelin' Man
  1218 B Two Worlds, One Heart


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