Bass, Vocals

Ray was a founder member of Man in 1968.

Ray Williams (1943 - 1993) was one of the Manband's founding fathers, and was part of The Bystanders from their earliest days in the mid-sixties. Clive John said of The Bystanders' creation; "We had this wonderful feeling that we could form this band around Micky Jones and myself, Jeff Jones was in there too, and he knew he was onto a good thing! We wanted Raymond to play with us; we knew he was the best bass player in Merthyr".

One of Ray's earliest memories of The Bystanders was when Clive and Micky drove down one Sunday morning to invite him to join. Ray was recovering from his previous night's gig with a big band, but knew the potential of what was on offer and didn't hesitate. His contribution to the vocal harmony group was valued highly by producer John Schroeder who later commented; "He had a certain power or force and made his points of view known, he was never dominant but contributed a great deal to that particular group and style of music". He held on to the bass player's berth throughout the life of The Bystanders, resisting competition from Vic Oakley who also played the instrument, and carried the job through into the new group Man. He featured on the Manband's first two albums, 'Revelation' and '2 Ozs Of Plastic With A Hole In The Middle' but despite his longstanding contribution his name was inexplicably left off the credits for both records.

Ray remembered the change; "With the transition into the Manband I think I was possibly a lot of time on the sidelines...... I think I was married, or due to be, so I couldn't live at 66, Tierney Road.......I felt like I was on a thrill trip all the time, and that it would reflect on my part from the input side. It was always down to the stronger individuals, Deke, Martin and Clive were the people who put the effort into writing stuff. I used to think of myself as someone who would give the odd nudge here and there". During the early years of the Manband much of the group's time was spent touring in continental Europe, and Ray would frequently act as band driver. Deke, who had returned to Llanelli and temporarily wasn't in the band at the time relates the story of one trip; "In late November they did a two week stint at the Blow Up club in Munich. Ray drove all the way from London. On arrival, half asleep, he found the club owner and asked where they should set up. 'You're a day early' said the club owner. Those present will testify under oath that a pink glow emanated from Raymond. Then he went to bed."

Despite being part of a group that had taken up a hectic touring schedule and accepted the drug scene with relish, Ray was not entirely comfortable with the direction the group were taking. John Schroeder recalls; " I don't think Ray was typical. He appeared to be much more family orientated, he liked a base and I think he wanted a certain amount of security, to have an anchor somewhere." Ray's reticence in accepting the changes, and his stated preference for a more structured approach to the music were slowly alienating him from the main forces in the group. Things came to a head in the summer of 1970 when Ray and drummer Jeff Jones were sacked during a UK tour. Ray later recalled; "I was very disappointed, it was like the carpet had been pulled from under your feet and there's not a lot you can do about it. To be totally honest, I just didn't realise that I was slipping out of their plans. I was whizzing around Europe and totally taken up by the new lifestyle. On reflection, it's possibly because I wasn't as involved as I should have been. Perhaps I wasn't showing enough of what they were looking for."

Ray and his wife Janet moved to Cambridgeshire where during the seventies and eighties they raised a family and settled into a more stable life with their four children. Ray always considered himself to be a musician and despite not working at it professionally for many years, remained involved in the local music scene, playing with local dance bands. For a short period during the mid-seventies, around the release of Man's 'Maximum Darkness' album, Ray was again being considered as a permanent replacement for the departed Ken Whaley. In a 1993 TWC interview he reflected on the events; "I dutifully travelled down for God knows how many weeks in London, staying with friends. I'd just been made redundant, so it came at a good time for me to give it a shot. I spent weeks waiting for something to happen, hoping I'd get my hands on a bass and play with them, do something. That seemed to run into months......It was all very slow going, about nine months altogether I think."

Although Ray did appear with Clive John at The Roundhouse in September 1975 nothing tangible came out of this period and it wasn't until the first Welsh Convention in November 1992 that he briefly reclaimed the Manband bass slot. Although he was already seriously ill, Ray took again to the stage, appearing in the rousing version of 'Spunk Rock' that served as an encore. He said; "It was a great thrill to play with the band again as I did at the Convention..... It was good to see some old faces and friends that I haven't heard from for years, and all that makes me think it would have been great to have been a part of it all the way through. But I've got a lot more out of life on other fronts as well".

Ray Williams died in December 1993 after a long illness. His wife Janet wrote of him; "Ray was a gentleman in the true sense of the word, and yes, he was too nice to be a rock musician. Ray was a first class husband, my best friend and a truly wonderful father".