Willis Alan Ramsey, a singer-songwriter with deep Texas roots, released his first and only album, called Willis Alan Ramsey, in 1972 on Leon Russell’s Shelter Records label. The recording was a critical success that included “Boy From Oklahoma”, a tribute to Woody Guthrie. Jimmy Buffett and Jerry Jeff Walker, among others, covered Ramsey’s songs, but the song that became best known was a knockoff Ramsey called “Muskrat Candlelight”. Released by the pop group America, it was later recorded and retitled “Muskrat Love” by The Captain and Tennille and reached the Billboard Top 10, becoming one of the most popular songs of our time. Ramsey eventually left both Shelter Records and the United States, moving to Great Britain in the 1980’s to explore Celtic songwriting and instrumental traditions.
“Willis Alan Ramsey is living proof that reward and reverence come from quality, not quantity,” — Mario Tarradell, The Dallas Morning News
“You might not have seen him lately, but if you’ve listened to Shawn, Lyle or Jimmie Dale, you’ve heard him.” — John T. Davis The Austin American Statesman
“Even if Ramsey had made a dozen more albums, this would still be the record that no home should be without.” — No Depression
“Everybody owned this record when I lived in Austin in 1977. That’s because it’s great and them Texans knew it. I think Lyle is great, but tell me he didn’t learn something from Willis.” — Shawn Colvin
“I learned every song off his record. I went to see him every time he played, got tennis shoes like his. I wanted to be Willis Alan Ramsey.” — Lyle Lovett