The daughter of English professor Miller Williams, Lucinda Williams was born in Lake Charles, LA, and spent most of her youth moving from college town to college town in the American South and South America. Lucinda had begun singing and playing in 1965, at age 12, when Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited was the album on every hip turntable in the Louisaian college town where she then lived. Though too young to be part of the 1960s folk revival, she nonetheless followed her passion for folk, country, and blues music. In 1974, she became part of the Texas alt-country scene, spending time in Austin, Houston, and Nashville. Her friend, Jeff Ampolsk, who had just released his God, Guts and Guns on Folkways suggested she send a tape to Moe Asch in New York. She was accepted as a Folkways artist, and made two records for the label: Ramblin' in 1979 and Happy Woman Blues in 1981. Ramblin' is a series of cover and traditional songs, with few originals. Her second album, Happy Woman Blues, is filled with originals that showed off her unique style of songwriting and the influences of the Delta bluesmen she grew up listening to in Louisiana. Happy Woman Blues defined Lucinda as a recording artist, bridging the gap between contemporary and folk/blues. The Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau gave Happy Woman Blues an "A – " and described Williams as a "guileless throwback to the days of the acoustic blues mamas" who "means what she says and says what she means." This vinyl reissue of Happy Woman Blues, which includes a liner notes booklet with the song lyrics, is part of the Smithsonian Folkways Vinyl Reissue Series, revisiting some of the most iconic and influential albums in their storied collection.

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