Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(Hank Snowball)

Warner Bros. 7190

No. 2    August 3, 1968




At Oklahoma City University, Mason Williams (b. July 24, 1936, Abilene, TX) studied mathematics

and music.   After classes, he played guitar and sang in folk clubs, briefly joining up with the

Wayfarers Trio.   Following a stint in the Navy, Mason took up folksinging full-time.   At a

coffeehouse in L.A., he met the Limeliters’ GLENN YARBROUGH, who introduced him to Tommy

Smothers.   Mason and Tommy became good friends, and eventu­ally shared an apartment together.


Williams joined the Smothers Brothers’ back-up band, penned tunes for the clean-cut but

controversial duo, and even wrote some comedy material.   Johnny Desmond, GALE GARNETT, the

Kingston Trio, and Clau­dine Longet recorded some of his compositions.   Esther and Abi Ofarim’s

cover of his “Cinderella Rockefeller” topped the British charts, and Longet’s work on Mason’s

marvel in 10/4 time, “Wanderlove,” was a siz­ able seller in Singapore.


By the release of “Classical Gas”–which he des­cribed to Goldmine as “half flamenco, half Flatt &

Scruggs, and half classical”–Williams was a writer for “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” the

highly­ popular TV program.   Before the brothers’ boob-tube demise and Mason’s departure from

the show in 1969 for other creative endeavors, Williams won an Emmy for “Outstanding Writing

Achievement for a Variety Show.”   “Classical Gas,” his three-minute classic, gar­nered three

Grammys:  “Best Instrumental Arrange­ment,” “Best Contemporary-Pop Performance,” and “Best

Instrumental Theme.”


Over the next year, Warner Bros. did a rather brisk business of selling Williams’ mongrel music.

His first three  LPs–The Mason Williams Phonograph Record (1968), The Mason Williams Ear

Show (1968), and Music by Mason Williams ( 1969)–were all best sellers.   A few of his singles

dotted the lowest reaches of the Hot 100-­-“Baroque-a-Nova” (#96, 1968), “Saturday Night at the

World” (#99, 1969), and “Greensleeves” (#90, 1969).


Mason periodically pops up in the record racks on one label or another.   In the meantime, he is

certainly not idle.   He has had, at last count, seven books pub­lished, including such tomes as The

Mason Williams Reading Matter and The Bus Book, and he has been writting mate­rial for Glen Campbell,

Petula Clark, Pat Paulsen, Andy Williams, and the brothers Smothers.   For a period in the early

’80s, he was the headwriter for NBC’s “Satur­day Night Live:’