- Lay My Body Low Bear Williams
The Bear Williams Story begins in the sleepy little town of McGhee, Arkansas where Bear’s Mother, Helen was born. Bear’s Mom moved north to Chicago before Bear was born and settled on the South-side in a small apartment on 51st and Yates. Bear’s Mom passed away from complications of Stomach Cancer when Bear was just two years old leaving behind Bear, and his three older siblings (Mary, Diane and Maurice). The four children went to live with their Aunt (Ruby Robinson) who raised them all to be upstanding, self-sufficient young men and women. As a child, Bear was a quiet fun loving kid with a zest for life and always a good joke at the ready. His love for music became apparent to his Aunt around the age of four years old when Bear began to bang on the keys of the family piano. He quickly learned piano and mastered vocals and bass guitar by the time he was fourteen. Some of Bear’s musical influences were Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, and Blues Legends like Robert Johnson,
R.L. Burnside, Son House, and other great Master Musical Storytellers. In 1976 Bear received the distinction of attending the memorial service of an Iconic Blues Man. Says Bear, “I remember being admonished by my high school band director to go and pay my respects to a musical giant that was being laid to rest nearby. He didn’t say who it was, but just urged me to go, so I did. That same day after school I walked the three blocks up to the A.R. Leak & Sons Funeral Home on 78th and Cottage Grove Avenue. I walked into the funeral home and went through two big white doors. Inside there was a metallic grey casket flanked by flowers. Organ music was playing solemnly in the background and there were mourners seated all around. I greeted the family, gave my respects and then walked over to the casket and looked down into the face of this frail black gentleman, not realizing until much later that Chester A. Burnett was in fact, the one and only… Howling Wolf!”
Bear’s birth name is Larry Kimpel, but as he explains… “It was Fall 2015 and at the time, my then Fiancee’ (Dee) told me that I was just her “Big Ole’ Bear! Well, the name stuck! And from that day forward I’ve been just “Bear!” and my last name (Williams) is my Mother’s maiden name and I took it on as a tribute to her memory.”
Bear cut his teeth playing bass and touring with Soul/Gospel Legends, The Staple Singers and from there has traveled the world with famous artists in virtually every genre of music. Bears’ Debut CD “Waters Of Love” is a hybrid of southern blues and roots rock influenced styles coupled with the urban singer/songwriter feel of the music of Chicago.
SOURCE: Official Bio