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Lamar Williams

Lamar Williams
Born(1949-01-14)January 14, 1949
Gulfport, Mississippi , United States
DiedJanuary 21, 1983(1983-01-21) (aged 34)
GenresRock, Jam, Alternative rock, Southern rock
InstrumentsBass guitar
Years active1972 - 1983
Associated actsSounds of Soul
The Allman Brothers Band
Sea Level
Wayne Sharp and The Sharpshooter Band

Lamar Williams (January 14, 1949 in Gulfport, Mississippi – January 21, 1983) was an American musician best known for serving as the bassist of The Allman Brothers Band (1972-1976) and Sea Level (1976-1980).

Influenced by players from James Jamerson to Stanley Clarke, by the 1960s Williams was playing bass in a soul music band known as Sounds of Soul with future Allman Brothers drummer Jai Johanny Johanson.

Early years

In 1968, Williams was drafted into the United States Army and served in the Vietnam War. Opposed to the war and to killing in general, Williams went AWOL frequently and wandered around the jungles of South Vietnam, occasionally returning to various units. He was given an honorable discharge in 1970 with the rank of private.[1][2]

Musical career

The Allman Brothers

After jamming with a Biloxi group known as the Fungus Blues Band, Williams joined the Allman Brothers Band in late 1972 after the death of original bassist Berry Oakley. His tenure in the group coincided with the peak of their commercial success. When Williams auditioned, or 'tried out,' for the bass player gig with the Allmans, second drummer Butch Trucks suddenly declared after three songs, "Enough of this tryout shit, let's rehearse." Although rooted in the contrapuntal fluidity of Jamerson's style, Williams' style was more traditional than Oakley's lead guitar-like approach, freeing the band's drummers to be more adventurous.[3][4][5]

Sea Level

After the Allmans dissolved in 1976, Williams founded Sea Level with Johanson and pianist Chuck Leavell of the Allmans.[6] In Sea Level he played in a looser, jazzier fashion.[citation needed] Williams left Sea Level in 1980, shortly before that band broke up.[7][8]

Wayne Sharp and The Sharpshooter Band

Soon after, Jaimoe and Lamar were asked to join longtime friend from Mississippi, Wayne Sharp and his band, The SharpShooter Band, in California. The SharpShooter Band went into the studio and then went on tour. Lamar became ill while touring. In January 1983, Lamar died, and the band went on hold.[9][10][11]

Personal life and family

Williams married Marian Belina in 1974 and they had two children. One child, Lamar Williams, Jr., is also a musician and currently[when?] plays with the Athens, Georgia-based band The Revival. From 2015 to 2017, he also performed with several Allman Brothers alumni (including Johanson, Trucks, percussionist Marc Quiñones and bassist Oteil Burbridge) as a vocalist in Les Brers. The short-lived band (envisioned as a continuation of the Allman Brothers Band's stylistic approach) fulfilled its final engagement in August 2017 following Trucks' death in January of that year.

One of Williams' brothers, James Williams, is also a bassist. He is a founding member of the Lansing, Michigan-based blues band Root Doctor.[12][13]

Illness and death

Williams was found to have lung cancer in 1981. His doctors believed that the disease was derived from exposure to Agent Orange during his Vietnam service. He died less than two years later, seven days after his 34th birthday, and was buried in Biloxi National Cemetery in Biloxi, Mississippi.[14]


The Allman Brothers Band


  1. ^ No Saints, No Saviors: My Years with the Allman Brothers Band, By Willie Perkins - Page 82 21 A New Beginning
  2. ^ BMan's Blues Library - A tribute to Lamar Williams
  3. ^ Bman's Blues Library - A tribute to Lamar Williams
  4. ^ One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band, By Alan Paul - Page 199
  5. ^ No Saints, No Saviors: My Years with the Allman Brothers Band, By Willie Perkins - Page 82 21 A New Beginning
  6. ^ The Artificial Southerner: Equivocations and Love Songs, By Philip Martin - Page 77
  7. ^ Bman's Blues Library - A tribute to Lamar Williams
  8. ^ The Shed Barebeque & Blues Joint - Bands, Wayne Sharp and The Sharpshooter Band
  9. ^ The Allman Brothers Band Website - Family Tree
  10. ^ Jaimoe
  11. ^ The Shed Barebeque & Blues Joint - Bands, Wayne Sharp and The Sharpshooter Band
  12. ^ All About Jazz, October 15, 2008 - Greg Nagy: Our Time Has Come - By David King
  13. ^ - Root Doctor featuring Freddie Cunningham, 'New Attitude' by Johanna B. Bodde
  14. ^ memorial page for Lamar Williams (retrieved 11 June 2017)

External links

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