Last Updated 10th July 2005

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27th November 1999



3rd October 2000



13th September 2003



10th July 2005



Last Updated 27th November 1999

It's hard to know where to start. About two years ago now I started these 'Paul Williams Music and Acting' web pages dedicated to one of my favourite singer/songwriters. Little did I realise, or hope, that within the next two years I would have both had the opportunity to be involved in helping to set up the "Paul Williams Connection" as well as be corresponding with Paul himself. (The Connection later closed down in September 2002 after 4 years) Earlier this month one of my dreams came true in that I had the opportunity of meeting up with Paul whilst he was in Dublin, Ireland, writing songs with fellow US and Irish songwriters.

The event, organised by the 'Irish Music Rights Organisation', was an opportunity for both sets of songwriters to spend time together writing songs in different combinations. Amongst the songwriters from the US were Alan Rich, Johnny Rivers, Randy Sharpe, Marsha Melman, Ellen Shipley and Alan Scott who had organised the event. The Irish songwriters included Eleanor McEvoy, Juliet Turner, Liam Riley and Rob Book

I went over to Ireland, from my home in Conwy, North Wales, with a mixture of excitement and some apprehension. Although in many ways I knew a lot about Paul, what would he be like in person. I had heard so many stories of people corresponding with people on the Internet, only to find out when they met that they did not get on. Would we disappoint each other?

My wife Ann and I arrived in Dublin on the Sunday anxious about how / when we would be able to make our first contact with Paul. Looking back on it, it started a bit like a farce. We would try to contact Paul - he had just left his hotel. He would get back in and we had just gone out. Eventually we made contact and arranged to meet up with Paul for an evening meal.

My knees were shaking as I walked through the door. Waiting in the foyer was a smiling Paul. As Paul gave me a welcoming hug my first impression was that he was not as small as I had imagined. (I did not wrench my back having to bend down from my 6ft 4in!!). As we settled into our meal it soon became obvious that Paul was everything I had hoped. He was open and friendly and very gracious. Before I had a chance to say all the things that I wanted to say about how important his music had been to me, Paul talked about how my Web page, and everyone in the Paul Williams Connection (The Connection later closed down in September 2002 after 4 years), had helped to give him confidence to start writing again after his years of substance abuse. We then spent the rest of the meal talking about how I had got interested in Paul's music and started the Web page. Although Ann initially felt like a bit of a gooseberry, Paul would insure that she was not left out of the conversation. (Although I'm not a great conversationalist Ann said she had never seen me talk so much!!) By the end of the meal I felt very comfortable in Paul's presence and was delighted when Paul said that he would be able to spend the Tuesday with us - my birthday.

Before that however Paul invited us on the Monday evening to a concert at the 'Irish Hall Of Fame'. The concert was given by the many US and Irish songwriters who had been together writing songs. Many of the songs had only just been written over the past few days so the performances were rather raw and un-polished. This however added to the novelty of the evening - hearing songs 'hot off the press'. Each songwriter sung a mixture of their own songs plus their new songs. It was great to hear the songwriters rendition of their own song, such as Ellen Shipley's rendition of her song 'Heaven Is A Place On Earth' which was such a hit for Belinda Carlisle.

Paul himself sang An Old Fashioned Love Song (Java 'PopUp Lyrics' here) and We've Only Just Begun (Java 'PopUp Lyrics' here). When Paul announced 'We've Only Just Begun' I nearly fell out of my chair. "This is a song that was recorded by Karen Carpenter. A song I wrote with Roger Nichols 206 years ago. It's a song that I want to dedicate to my friends David and Ann Chamberlayne who are over here from Wales - and I love them so - so this is for you guys". (I resisted the temptation of either sliding under the seat in embarrassment or standing up and saying 'that's me!!'). I felt so honoured.

Paul was accompanied by Eleanor McEvoy on violin, which gave it a very poignant touch. Later in the 'set' an Irish songwriter called Gareth sung a song that he, Paul and Randy had written that day called "Far From You" - so look out for that one.

The next day, my birthday, we picked Paul up after breakfast as planned, and drove into the Wicklow mountains. The weather was sunny and the autumn colours beautiful, although Paul found the wind 'bracing'!!

We started by going to a beautiful country house and garden called Powerscourt. What was so precious to me was to be able to spend time with Paul away from the crowds. We virtually had the place to ourselves, although did come across a couple from LA who recognised Paul and introduced themselves to him. Paul stopped to talk to them and obviously enjoys this interaction with his 'admirers'.

We walked and talked about ourselves 

I found Paul such fun to talk to. I found his humour wonderful and yet he would also talk with passion about those things he cares deeply about. He talked about his life since going into recovery in March 1990, and how he will be celebrating 10 years next year. A real milestone for him. Paul also said that after training and working as a drug and alcohol counsellor he had begun to find his way back to songwriting.

After initially fearing that he would not be able to write again without 'stimulants' he now realises that he wrote such great songs in the past 'despite' rather than 'because' of his substance use. What came over is that Paul very much believes in living a day at a time and that whatever happens we can turn into a positive learning experience. Hearing Paul talk about his beliefs, which concur very much with my own, made me marvel how people can have such different life experiences and yet share many common sets of beliefs that they run their lives by.

As well as 'analysing life!' we also spent time talking about Paul's career. From Powerscourt we drove to the nearby Powerscourt waterfall. As we drove Paul talked with excitement about new songs he had written with a variety of fellow songwriters particularly Jon Vezner, Jim Photoglo and Mia Sharpe, the daughter of Randy Sharpe who had been one of the songwriters over in Dublin. What I found wonderful, and somewhat surreal, was having Paul sitting in the front of my car singing along to his songs!!

Paul mentioned that the song he had written for the Ally McBeal show, with Jon Vezner, called I Know Him By Heart (Java 'PopUp Lyrics' here), had now been released on the latest compilation of songs from Ally McBeal. (It is sung by Vonda Shepard. The album is called 'Heart And Soul: New Songs From Ally McBeal Featuring Vonda Shepard (Television Series)' and is available from here). It's such a beautiful ballad - in my opinion one of the best Paul has written and it captures the feel of Ally McBeal so well.

After an exhilarating and exhausting day we dropped Paul off at his hotel and went to a concert given by a British singer / songwriter called John Martyn. Although John can be temperamental at times he put on a great show to end a birthday I will never forget.

Although our visit was nearly over, we had one last meal with Paul and a charming friend of his Michael on the Wednesday. Paul had spent the day writing with Brad Parker and Eleanor McEvoy and had written a song Paul was pleased with.

The whole visit had been such a wonderful experience. Paul was such a wonderful man, very warm and loved giving and getting hugs. (I miss that in British men). I went away feeling that I had enhanced my admiration for this man and his talents but better still had found a new friend.

Thanks Paul

13 / 14 SEPTEMBER 2000

Last Updated 3rd October 2000

Over the first weekend of September 2000 the "Paul Williams Connection" (The Connection later closed down in September 2002 after 4 years) held it's first 'Meet' in Nashville with Paul playing an active part in the whole proceedings. Not only did he attend many of the  events but also, along with his pianist and friend Chris Caswell, performed many of his songs, both old and new at the meet. Paul also took part in a concert at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville along with fellow musicians Gene Nelson, Jim Robinson & Paul Jefferson. Money raised over the weekend of the meet (including at the Bluebird) went towards the 'Community High School' in Nashville. The school aims to provide a supportive environment for students pursuing a high school diploma and dedicated to their recovery from alcohol and other drug addictions . The whole weekend was a great success. 

From my point of view the bigggg disappointment was that, due to having to have a hip operation the week before the meet, I was unable to make Nashville. When I first realized the clash of dates I thought my chance to meet Paul this year had gone. Despite Paul's reassurances that 'things would work out' I was really fed up. 

I should have listened to Paul....the wise old sage that he is.....within weeks Paul informed me that he had been asked to take part in a series of Charity Golfing Tournaments here in the UK the week after the meet.   The tournaments were in aid of charities such as the 'Children's Society and the 'National Society for the Prevention of Crualty to Children' (N.S.P.C.C.). (I used to work for the N.S.P.C.C. for many's a small world). The exciting news was that one of the venues was near the City of Chester in the North West of England about 1 hours drive from my home. It was arranged therefore that my wife Ann and I would meet up with Paul on one of the days Paul was not playing golf.

The following is an account of the wonderful time we spent together with the many surprises which unraveled over the next two days. You can also see my 'PAUL WILLIAMS THE CHESTER VISIT PICTURE GALLERY ' here

Wednesday 13 September 2000

Ann and I left home with some anxiety about whether we would have enough petrol for the days activities as the UK was in the grip of petrol blockades so that nearly all garages were closed. Having managed to find a garage open on the way we arrived at the Carden Park Hotel, where Paul was staying, in good spirits with a full tank of petrol. 

Although Paul and I had had some discussions about us showing them around some of the beautiful countryside of Wales, these plans soon changed on our arrival. (I've always found that flexibility around Paul can be helpful...and fun to see where it leads....!!) Paul and his wife Hildy wanted to go to the nearby City of Chester. Also one of the other guests on the golf tour wanted a ride to Chester as there was no taxi due to the petrol shortage.....As Ann and I were happy to go with that plan we were introduced to the other 'guest'...none other than Richard Roundtree who had played the original 'Shaft' back in the 1970's. It turned out to be a real bonus, as Richard is a great guy. It was interesting to hear him talk about the new version of Shaft, in which he makes an appearance, as well as the support he gives to men who suffer Breast Cancer, something which Richard suffered from a few years back. Paul talked about the 'irony' of how a person who played such a 'macho' character like Shaft, should suffer from a disease which is generally associated with women. In publicizing the fact that he has had Breast Cancer, Richard has been able to allow men to both watch out for it and 'own' up to it without feeling  less 'manly'.

We therefore started our tour of Chester by walking round the City walls. Chester is an old Tudor City surrounded by a wall, with a large Cathedral and with wonderful shops on two layers with black and white timbered facades.

As we walked Paul talked about the wonderful experiences he had had at the recent visit to Nashville meet where he met many Fans. He was moved by the warm welcome everyone had given him and Chris Caswell. Paul also talked excitedly about his work in promoting alcohol and drug related charities through awareness raising and fund-raising activities. 

 For me walking round the walls was rather a 'challenge' being that I was walking with two crutches. Everyone was very patient with me. 

After looking round the shops we toured the Cathedral and had lunch in a local hotel. Over lunch Paul and Richard, who did not know each other before this trip, exchanged stories about the 'rich and famous' they had worked with. As an outsider it was fascinating to  hear them talking about these people in such an ordinary way.  I had to keep reminding myself that although these were people I had only read about or seen in the movies, these were people that Paul and Richard lived amongst and so it was like me talking about someone I work with...although my friends are not quite so famous!!!

After a very full day we returned to Paul's hotel for afternoon tea (well are were in England!!). Over tea Paul gave me some 'goodies' he had brought me from the Nashville meet including the meet tee-shirt, the bag in which all the meet goodies were kept along with a wonderful 'Do Not Disturb - Paul Williams Fans Sleeping' notice, which Paul signed for me "To my brother David - sleep well!! Love from a matching heart - Paul Williams".


Before we left Paul invited us to come along to a fund-raising dinner which was being held the next evening following another days golfing. Paul said that he would check it out with the organizers / sponsors (British Airways) to see if it could be arranged. So we left for home with the anticipation of seeing each other the following day. (Later that evening Paul phoned to say it had all been arranged for us to attend the dinner and stay at the hotel after the event. This was a wonderful gesture.....I'm sure Paul could move mountains if he tried !!!!)

Thursday 14 September 2000 

The next day we arrived at the hotel very excited about what was in store that evening. After checking into our hotel room, and changing for the evening we met up with Paul. Before going for dinner I gave Paul an MP3 CD I had made up of all his albums and talked about a concert he had given in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1980.  (See Analia's and Paul's memories of the concert here. ) Paul also informed us that his manager had phoned him the previous evening to say that a small tour was being arranged for Paul and his band to perform again in South America. Paul seemed both excited and apprehensive about this, as it would be his first performance tour for many years. (For full details of the shows go here)

The guests at the dinner included both celebrities from the US and UK who had taken part in the days golfing in aid of the 'Children's Society'. Ann and I sat at a table with Paul along with an English folk singer / entertainer, Steve Womack, and his wife and a guy who is a singer with the English folk group the Houghton Weavers and his wife.

After a typically English dinner of Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, there were speeches thanking everyone who had taken part in the days golfing and who had attended the dinner. Prizes were awarded to the best team, not Paul's unfortunately, and the best players. 

Whilst photos were being taken of all the celebrities for the sponsors we had the opportunity to talk further, and have our photos taken, with some of the other US celebrities who were over with Paul. We also had a chance to chat again with Richard Roundtree, as well as with Gil Gerard (alias 'Buck Rogers')..Ann rather fell in love with well as Howard Keel who had helped to put the celebrity golf tour together and looked amazing at 81 years old. 


The rest of the evening was taken up with a show put on by the UK celebrities, along with Rex Meredith from the US. Gil Gerard did a wonderful job as compere, he has a very quick sense of humour. There were performances from The Houghton Weavers, Steve Womack, John Miles and comedian Stan Boardman amongst others. There was also a nice rendition of Evergreen by a UK female singer (whose name I can not remember unfortunately). She dedicated it to Paul...I for one felt it was very brave to sing a song whose writer is in the audience!!! It was a lovely evenings entertainment although unfortunately Paul himself did not perform. 

So after a very satisfying evening Ann and I retired to bed, very glad that Paul's hosts had kindly arranged for us to stay over night so avoiding the prospect of an hours drive home at mid-night.

The following morning after breakfast...which Paul kindly fetched for me from the buffet bar (being on crutches does have some advantages!!), we said our sad good-byes to Paul and the rest of their party as they left to fly over to Belfast for another Charity Golf Tournament. Ann and I then made our way home having had a wonderful two days full of surprises.

Although I will remember the two days for a long time to come, I find it interesting to reflect on what was the most memorable part of the two days. I guess for me it is the time spent one to one just chatting with Paul and sharing our personal hopes and fears. I have an over-riding memory of sitting with Paul in Marks & Spencer's Department store, whilst Ann and the others were shopping in the store, talking about Paul's hopes and fears about turning 60 the following week. I think what I find so wonderful about being around Paul is his open-ness and willingness to show his feelings whether in talking in a one to one setting, or in the words he writes for those wonderful songs of his.

I would really like to thank Paul for being so welcoming and helping to make it a memorable two days for Ann and I.  

If you would like to see more pictures from my two days with Paul take a look at my 'PAUL WILLIAMS THE CHESTER VISIT PICTURE GALLERY ' here



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