I love the gospel album by The Williams Brothers entitled, Feel The Spirit released in 1983. The group members consisted of three brothers: Doug Williams, Leonard Williams, Melvin Williams, and their cousin, Henry Green.
I was about 6 years old when this album came out. For some reason, my Dad would play this album when we would go on long car trips to Los Angeles-----not that I complained because I LOVED IT! This album was played on a cassette tape in the white, El Dorado Cadillac my Dad drove. We would travel there from San Jose, where we lived from my birth until I was 12 years old.
My Dad and my Mom were in the front seat. And there was my grandmother, me and sometimes my grandfather in the back seat. I used to sing along with my grandmother to this music. This brings back great memories. I called her Grammy.
For the most part, it would be my Grammy and me in the backseat, unless my Papa, who was my Grammy’s husband went with us. He did not travel with us all the time, but he did come with us sometimes.
The first song that was on this album was called Let It Show, but I always called it, I FEEL THE SPIRIT because that is what I heard The Williams Brothers repeating in the song. This song was led by Melvin Williams. At the beginning of the song, Melvin Williams had a preaching tone. Then, the song exploded with this AMAZING, unexplainable rhythm. It had such a wild bass line; it made me want to dance. Actually, I was dancing while I sat in the backseat of the car. And it made me feel like I was in church.
Oh, my goodness! I loved this song. And I still love it today! It was my favorite song on this album. The only problem I had with Let It Show was that it was way too short. It only lasted about 2 minutes and 38 seconds. I hated for that song to end. For me, it needed to be at least 10 minutes long.
There are various musical sounds and styles on this album. One of which was on another one of my favorites called Jesus Set Me Free. But again, I had another name for the song: MY GOD WILL MAKE A WAY. This was because I always remembered the lead singer, Doug Williams singing those words.
Jesus Set Me Free contains 3 genres of music. First off, it has a 1950s Doo-Wop style, especially when The Williams Brothers sang lyrics that sounded like, “Doo Wop Doo Wop Oooohhhh” in the background. Secondly, in my opinion, Doug Williams led the song like Sam Cooke would have during the time when he was a member of the Gospel singing group, The Soul Stirrers in the 1960s. Last of all, the song has a country music flare. There is a steel guitar playing on this song that I just could not get enough of. I enjoyed the part when Doug Williams sang, “Play the steel guitar” to introduce a short steel guitar solo toward the end of the song.
Now, I really enjoy the sound of a steel guitar on just about any country music song. But to incorporate the steel guitar with elements of Doo-Wop and the sound of Sam Cooke all into one gospel song?! WOW!!! How courageous of The Williams Brothers to bring all of these components together on this project. It was also courageous of the music producer of this album. Unfortunately, I do not know the person’s name.
After my sister was born, she would become restless and fidgety on our long car trips. I believe she was between 10 to 12 months old. She would want to come into the backseat with my Grammy and me from the front seat with my parents. So, when she was ready to go back to the front seat to be with my parents, my Grammy and I would applaud. This would go on continuously while we were listening to The Williams Brothers’ Feel The Spirit album on cassette tape.
I also remember the times when we were traveling in the same white Cadillac, listening to this very tape when my sister was a little bit older. I used to listen to her sing the “Doo Wop Doo Wop Oooohhhh” parts in the background of the song, Jesus Set Me Free. It was so cute!
There was another song on this album I loved entitled, I Had A Dream. But once more, I had my own name for this song: I HAD A DREAM LAST NIGHT. This was because Doug Williams repeatedly sang those words in the song. My Grammy would sing along with this song, and I didn’t really know all of the words to the song. So, I just listened to her sing along.
By the way, my Grammy was a great singer and musician in the church. She had a honky-tonk style of playing, and I along with everyone else loved to hear her play and sing in church.
I have been deeply influenced by this album because The Williams Brothers were and still are a Black Gospel quartet group. I was raised listening to this genre of music, and I LOVE IT! Now, I mentioned the fact that they are a Black Gospel quartet group because this genre of music is far different from other Gospel quartet groups. The Gospel quartet music genre normally consists of Caucasian singers.
Additionally, I love this album because there are so many different sounds on this project, as I stated earlier. And I love writing songs for albums that contain different sounds. I feel that every artist should be free to think and create outside of the box. The Williams Brothers have always moved with the times and incorporated contemporary sounds into their music without sacrificing their classic Williams Brothers sound. They have been a Black Gospel quartet group since they were little boys. But they have always possessed a contemporary, timeless sound.
Additionally, my Mom and Grammy would often reminisce about the time they attended a Williams Brothers concert at Brooks High School in Wichita, Kansas when they were very young boys.
My entire family has an ear for music, and we all loved this album back in the 1980s. I am so happy and grateful that Spotify has this album and it is available for our listening pleasure.
Now, without further ado, here it is! Listen to Feel The Spirit by The Williams Brothers on Spotify at: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2K5NaWKDqZ3sCJ9oOh6ufS?si=j9Vf9bXZRW2MG7bCGf5cpg
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