Sunday, September 27, 2009
As is the case with most of his Southern Soul brethren, the influence of the church is undeniable in the early work of Wilson Williams. The most sought-after of his two releases for Noah Biggs' How Big label, "I Got A Whole Lot To Be Thankful For" is a devastating Deep Soul ballad so true to these gospel roots it sounds as though he just got off the pulpit and walked straight into the recording studio.
Continuing in this distinctly Southern vein, the Lenis Guess produced "Losing You" was released on the Tri-Us label. Best known for successful outings by Washington D.C. native Little Royal (Torrance) & The Swingmasters, Tri-Us was the flagship of Leroy Little's family of labels which included Tri-It and Tri-Som. In addition to owning the Waxy Maxy record shop on 35th Street in Norfolk, Little was well established in the music business, having done extensive promotions work for larger labels like Atlantic. He utilized his many connections within the industry to secure wide distribution deals, explaining why Nashville and Houston addresses can be found on many of his labels. In fact, most of the Little Royal releases, including his lone album "Jealous", were distributed through the King/Starday empire.
On this, one of the harder to find singles on Tri-Us, Wilson Williams turns in a powerful performance, beautifully complimented by a small chorus of ascending female vocals, mournful piano and soaring organ, all building on a haunting melody. Strongly juxtaposed with this gorgeous ballad is its flip, the provocatively titled "He's A Mother", a wah wah-infused stoner funk track with devilishly breathy vocals drifting in and out. The best of both worlds on one 45!
Besides writing most of his own material (in many cases along with his brother Garfield), Wilson Williams also penned some notable sides for Shiptown artists including Barbara Stant, as well as contributing vocals to The Positive Sounds. By 1978 he signed with ABC Records and had a string of quality singles with an updated Modern sound, including "Faith Will Bring It Home", and even a full album "Up The Downstairs". More recently he has worked on projects with his other brother Jerry Williams Jr., who of course is the legendary Swamp Dogg. To this day Wilson is still performing, most recently touring with a new line up of the Platters.
Wilson Williams "(I Can't Get Over) Losing You"
Wilson Williams "He's A Mother""