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Author Topic:  Was Mason Williams an accomplished guitarist?
Darrell Criswell

 

From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2021 8:16 am    
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I was told by someone who knows a lot about different guitarists, that Mason Williams, who authored the popular song "Classical Gas" was not really an accomplished guitarist. He said Mason was really an interesting and talented individual but his skills as a guitarist were minimal. He said you can look at his playing and realize that he had a lot of his poor technique and masked his deficiencies by recording "Classical Gas" with an orchestra. I wonder what others think?
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Don Poland


From:
Hanover, PA.
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2021 8:25 am    
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I think everyone is entitled to their opinion.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2021 10:30 am    
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Mason Williams was gifted with an array of talents, that is for sure. I may not be a world renowned guitarist, but I know enough to qualify Classical Gas. It is a piece of work to play. The comment about covering his poor technique with orchestration is inaccurate, since it wasn’t even his idea. Maybe he is not Segovia technique-wise, but to have written and performed one of the most popular and unusual instrumental hits of all time is certainly what I would call “accomplished”. Had he not written it, we may not have ever heard of him. Of course, most people go through their entire lives not ever hearing of the world’s greatest classical guitarists anyway, so what exactly is meant by “accomplished” is the subject of opinion.

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/mason-williams/classical-gas
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Larry Carlson


From:
My Computer
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2021 10:46 am    
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I saw him at a concert he had at the college I was attending (back in the 1800's).
I sure wish I was as unaccomplished as he was.
He also had some good stories and a great sense of humor.
In addition he was a comedy writer and did some writing for the Smother's Brothers and the Glen Campbell TV shows.
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Bob Womack


From:
Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2021 12:35 pm    
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Little known factoid: Mason Williams played with the Wrecking Crew. Some book I read by one of the Wrecking Crew related the story that for a period, whatever session he was on, Mason was always playing the piece that became "Classical Gas" and trying to sell the idea of him making a single out of it. And then, all of a sudden it showed up on the radio.

Bob
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Joachim Kettner


From:
Germany
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2021 7:19 pm    
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Around 2:05 into this Steve Howe from Yes copied a short sequence of "Classical Gas"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rHaZYWEtYs
Mason Williams re-recorded that song on his album "Handmade" two years later in 1970 just by himself without an orchestra.
I've tried to play this but I always got stuck somewhere so I gave up.
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Darvin Willhoite


From:
Roxton, Tx. USA
Post  Posted 10 Jan 2021 8:39 pm    
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I have a Mason Williams Christmas album that I listen to every Christmas. He does a version of "What Child Is this" or "Greensleeves" in the Classical Gas style. I love it as well as the other songs on the album. I would say he was definitely "accomplished".
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Darvin Willhoite
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Tom Keller

 

From:
Greeneville, TN, USA
Post  Posted 11 Jan 2021 2:45 pm    
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Mason Williams was a very good guitar player and he also played the banjo. I have not been able to find any videos on you tube of him playing banjo but he could definitely play. I totally agree with what Fred said. Also, Classical Gas may of been one of the last guitar instrumentals to get any national radio air play and or land in the billboard top 10 I believe it peaked at #2.
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