Album Review: Revelations Featuring Tre Williams - Concrete Blues
The last time I saw a torch get passed so obviously and willingly it was when MJ presented JB BET's Lifetime Achievement (Vanguard/Sammy Davis Jr.?) Award a couple years ago. Like Ali frail and wobbly making his way through in that Olympic Torch lighting ceremony, Brown was waaaay ready to give it up but there was seemingly no takers. Enter MJ and the deal was sealed in one of the most memorable moments (TV or otherwise) ever.
The irony here is that all of that in-studio wizadry (trickery?) is conspicuous by it's absence here. No sound gates, gone are the hokey horn patches and it's all replaced by the sparest of spare rhythm section (replete with a nice greasy Hammond b3 organ), bari and tenor saxes and a trumpet player. Horns are only on a couple tunes but their presence is so effective that it's another one of it's great selling points. Due to Mr. Williams' age the subject matter and delivery while very similar in some ways to Lattimore's is informed instead by the reality of black male life TODAY!
It also borrows heavily from the PEAK days of this genre. Luther Ingram, Johnny Taylor, Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack, Otis Redding along with the guitar playing of a Curtis Mayfield or Steve Cropper are all invoked. Anthony Hamilton comes to mind as well as his soul emits the exact same kind of emotionally charged maturity through the vagaries of the life experience. Jaheim got it too but those two are a lil more 'caught up' in 'today-isms' to matter as much as they could. By 'today-isms' I mean the 'hot' 'happenin' studio stuff.
Maybe because of the sadly deteriorating aspects of our culture through broken dysfunctional nuclear families and the subsequent impairment of the black community, so many of today's young artists lack the continuum of tradition necessary to move forward. I believe that this is the main contributing factor informing this need for 'the next hot thing'. Cats acknowledge the presence of the Masters and all of their groundbreaking pioneering efforts only to abandon the same in search of this ever elusive 'Eldorado' of relevance.
Forget it! Just stop, NOW!
There's nothing on this album HALF as suggestive or even crude as anything Lattimore sang. Even by hip-hop standards Tre Williams stuff is so unobtrusive that it's tame by way of comparison. But this cat's voice, the angst of a broken heart, the despair of city life and the claustrophobic blues of being 'behind these walls' of prison are given to us in just as raw and unfettered a manner.
There's not even one cuss word here for God's sake. That alone should push this to the head of the class but today 'commercial' actually means to be as obscene and ignorant as humanly possible...especially when it comes to black music. Ever notice Maroon 5 and Coldplay and Katy Perry and all of those great R&B influenced 'hottest-of-the-hot' dance/club/pop acts have nary a cuss word or obscenity contained in their lyric or presentation? Doesn't anybody see that scene in Malcolm where (I forget the character's name in the flick) he gets informed through an education session with a dictionary the defined meaning of the words 'black' (filthy, bad, blackest night etc.) and 'white' (good, pure, as pure as new fallen snow etc.) Reborn in today's music and the presentation of same?
1-Something's Got To Give- not the best home opener but you may disagree. A haunting thumping drum and bass line augmented by the heartbeat of a youngun arriving at that moment where no dough meets hungry bellies and all the tension built up from that despair. A Southern Soul answer to Billy Joel's Pressure
2- Concrete Blues- same, same made slightly less melodramatic because the groove while equally haunting (think Grapevine meets Love And Happiness) is driving and the horns dig in deep to almost make you forget the Concrete Blues.
3- Behind These Bars- to quote Tre here: "it's hard, said it's hard, said it's HARD, lovin somebody when you're locked behind these bars". Nuff said
4- Trouble Man- bluesy 6/8 blues about (again) getting up when knocked down and bein something more than a nobody to all of the somebodies in one's life. If JB did this you'd be riveted because he might have more breaks and horn punctuation. As it is the bluesy but GREAT guitar playing pull you in and keep you there.
5-How Could You Walk Away- the closest thing to a 70's style slow jam on here and even that like most of the rest of this CD is mid-tempo. A tender love song with a lot of really sweet hooks.
6- One Reason To Stay- probably filler. A nice easy going 'beg-for-forgiveness type tune.
7- Until You Get Enough Of Me- a SMASH hit just as Concrete Blues, Don't Wait and many other of these tunes would be. This is the infidelity tune in the spirit of Me and Mrs. Jones. But DAYUM this horn line and vocal smacks of some Solomon Burke. Tre's got a growling thing goin on that is lacking in much of the music to which we listen today.
8- I Gotta Have It- might as well be lifted lock, stock and barrel from Bobby Womack's A Woman's Gotta Have It except the concept here is reminiscent of Jaheim's dance floor smoker Aint Leavin Without You. Lip-smackin, booty shakin groove.
9- Lonely Room- I've gotta say here that most of this album pulls on me in an almost emotional way because of the earnest honesty in Tre Williams heartfelt soulful delivery. Throughout there's this something in his crooning of the urgings of his love, his soul, his life that endears and makes this music of a lasting enduring quality. Ladies if he sang this to you you'll be crying, opening the door to your heart and saying yes, yes, YES all at the same time! He even gives the band a nice 24 bars or so to vamp out in the end.
10- Don't Wait- THIS TUNE BLEW ME AWAY!!!!!!!! Completely and totally. A stocking stuffer of a tune to fill the Black holes surely to be dark and void real soon! This jaunt is magnificent. It sounds like Burt Bachrach era Chuck Jackson meets Make It Easy On Yourself era Jerry Butler. Powerfully delivered with only trombone and baritone sax, uplifted by a single flute and completely 'pop' inflected with swirling, heady, exhilarating strings. Didn't I Blow Your Mind and it's French Horns have NOTHING on this! Bad, bad tune. Y'know how on many Babyface tunes (i.e. Tony Braxton, After Seven and his own work) they do this silent Marvin Gaye tribute by intoning the word 'woo' (just as he used to do often) either obviously or inconspicuously? There's several
places on this tune where you have to stand back and just say wooo!
There's three bonus trax on this CD. Two of which (Everybody Knows and I Don't Want To Know) are featured on the previous CD. The other is entirely apropos because it is exactly why and where the torch is passed from
Lattimore to Tre Williams symbolically saying take this and do in remembrance of all of the greats that opened the door. Continue doing such a great job bringing forth this Soul music into the 21st century! The tune is Lattimore's Let's Straighten It Out and it is well done indeed.
Concert Review: Revelations Featuring Tre Williams (w/Rell Gaddis and Mia Pace) + Angela Johnson
On a typically chilly Saturday night in downtown West Philly (aka University City) The World Cafe Live got 'souldified'. The Revelations featuring Tre Williams and his pardnuh-in-crime Rell Gaddis and hyper kinetic beauty Mia Pace invaded our fair city and it'll never be the same!
Opening for Mr. Williams and his 'revue' were the wonderful Angela Johnson and her group. Ms. Williams appearance was a wonderful surprise as I've heard much about her here at Soul Patrol but have never heard her music or seen her perform. Unfortunately I have little to report of her set because I was about 1/2 hr late.
However of what I saw there was present a vivacious and talented lady who plays keyboards almost as good as she sings. It's always nice to see/hear any musician that can accompany themselves. It presents their art from a dual perspective as they must both perform as the 'frontground showdawg' and anchor all of that in the bed created by themselves and their band mates. I heard only three or four tunes and of those easily the standout performance was of Ms. Johnson's rendition of Aretha Franklin's Rock Steady. This was a very forthright, proud, chest-stuck-out-smacking-cocky thowin do wn! Angela's playing on this was nothing short of frenzied! The drummer thwacked the hell out of the drums, the bass was percolating and the guitarist shang-a-langed through n through.
Ms. Johnson played lead/melody lines, horn lines and organ seamlessly and effortlessly-even if it looked like the keys were taking HER for the ride of her life! Man they rode that horse right out onto Walnut St. and onto the Drexel Campus...and if any of the students were around they rode it as well!
Rock Steady is a decidedly rhythm section workout what with all of the Bernard Purdie-isms (eg. Purdie shuffles, Drum solos, signature sock-cymbal barks etc) with horns added for sweetening. Here is was strictly a rhythms section affair as there were no horns for this set. One tune and they rained about 40 days and nights of FUNK on em. THAT's what you're supposed ta do when given the opportunity. Smack the HELL out the crowd and call paramedics later if necessary!
The other tunes were either mid-tempo or outright ballads and were notable for both their execution as well as their artistry in subtlety. Les the drummer made tasty use of a midi pad configuration that had all manner of clicks and chimes programmed. The guitarist also had a few toys of his own. Afterward Ms. Johnson and the band were more than gracious and accommodating to me in a somewhat private meet-and-greet. Nice to see an open, unpretentious dressing room area. I'm not one who generally seeks backstage audience but I know Tre and em and the vibe was very open and receptive. I was comfortable in approaching these artists. Angela Johnson! Philly welcomes you and we certainly look forward to your return....SOON!
The Revelations featuring Tre Williams
Lest I bill them any other way I need to say again: The Revelations featuring Tre Williams!!!! The Revelations are a very serious mix of musicians dedicated in a non-obtrusive, completely inconspicuous, perfectly believable way to the deliverance of some of the deepest grooves known to man on THIS planet! This aint necessarily JB or Wilson or Otis or Kool or The JB's or even Tower Of Power. If anything these cats are of the Booker T and the MG's school of white cats that simply LOVE this music but don't come off with those snarky-assed white boy attitudes that come off as pandering, obnoxious and condescending. IMO the Dap-Tones, Brand New Heavies and a few others display this sort of thing. TOP, AWB, The old Markeys and the aforementioned Booker T and the boys are more like it. Like Dr. John or Harry Connick Jr, these cats could be rednecks for all I know (they're not) but it's apparent that they have been breastfed this milk of blues n soul from infancy.
Much like my MAIN man Carlton J. Smith's 'revue'-style presentations but minus the fanfare or suspenseful drama inherent with this performance style, The Revelations featuring Tre Williams offers a full rounded entertainment experience with top-notch musical accompaniment.
This show replete with in-show mini sets by the ubiquitous Rel Gaddis and the lovely Mia Pace might be considered a post-hip-hop tribute to days such as this gone by. When I say 'post-hip-hop' I don't mean neo-soul but a true answer to our black hole dilemma by younger folk for an any age audience that however is peopled by some of Ms. Johnson's crowd, early middle-aged white folk and a smattering of 40 something black people.
All have apparently signed up for a huge dose of soul music much like Southern Soul but full of so much more.
Opening up with a thumping groove the Revelations bring out Miss Mia Pace. She's comes mincing out in her stilettos, no stockings on gorgeous legs and one of those old-time female mini dresses that alternately shimmer with sequins (not this one) or shake and shimmy like a sequined flapper dress (yeah...like that). back in the day the girl groups might wear it but the artist that is probably most associated with this look of the soul era would be Tina Turner. This lady has TONS of Tina Turner charisma and moves to boot! She slid, glided and hoofed her way across the stage alternately pumping the band with strong stage presence and command of the already deeply grooving band.
Daddy Rolling Stone- not to EVER be even slightly confused with Papa Was A Rolling Stone! This is a show opener supreme and on a lesser headliner just might've STOLEN the show OUTRIGHT!
Let Me Be Your Lovemaker- a midtempo grind-em-up bluesy tune
Pay To The Piper- our late friend General Johnson's kick ass funk jam from The Chairmen Of The Board that was every bit as funky as the original.
Ms. Pace's only dilemma as I see it is a bit of a disconnect from her tribute source material. Tine Turner could only be imagined or seen on TV or in some movie or you tube by this young lady hence there are points where she needs to 'fill-in-the-blanks' with some thing more from her OWN experience. That's what we do. We cop from the masters and add a little bit of 'us' for the necessary sweetening that rounds out a presentation or performance. Other than that her set was dead on the double butt GOOD! Besides unlike her peers (Ms. Pace could've been 30 if she was lucky...mo like her late twenties) she gave it her all in her dedication to the 'bit'....Job well done my dear!
Tre Williams- Pt.1
My man Tre Williams is a very interesting character. As I've said in the past, I swear he reminds me of the Black Snake Moan Sam Jackson. Just a lil paunchy but he's more of a just a big lovable guy also in the Bill Withers everyman mode. His singing skills are so incredible that in my haste to see a STAR of huge magnitude he dispels all of that with his overall appearance and presentation.
As Mia exited and the band kicked into the opening strains of Take Me To The River out of seemingly nowhere this guy walks sideways onto the stage, facing the band, back to the audience and smiling slyly he slowly turns to address his audience...and the crowd went wild!
He was dressed in what looked like one of those ass-kicking zip-up jackets that a bus driver might wear, a black t-shirt, a pair of grey-blue stonewashed jeans, a pair of Lugz boots and topped off with a black cool cap (i.e. Kangol).
If I hadn't just spoken with him backstage I would've thought he was part of the maintenance or stage crews. He is very unassuming and actually his mannerisms are reminiscent of somebody's uncle who after a couple tastes
wanders up to the stage apron, suddenly lurches onto the stage and proceeds to 'happy dance' until escorted off the stage. He directs the band but not with any style or seriousness. He throws himself on, around and about the stage with reckless abandon. He's no drunk nor druggie. He's a cat having the time of his life and we've been allowed to share in that with him. He turns and asks are we ready? He thanks both Mia as well as Angela
Johnson for their contributions thus far.
And then he sings. All the way from the deepest pits of somewhere near his testicles he moans, cajoles, whines, hums and growls. A little squall here and a smooth as silk butter-soft note there, this cat on ONE tune has slain his captive audience and could right there have left us all for dead.
Take Me To The River- the funk and drive of this alone just makes me smile and grin from ear-to-ear. Cats have begun to work up a sweat from Mia so they're cooking amiably now. Tre is urging us to Take Him while Rell, the
drummer (Gintas Janusonis) as well as the guitarist (Wes Mingus) apply choirboy-like background vocals.
Graceful Bow- undistinguishable but nice mid-tempo jam that morphs successfully into Love And Happiness.
Let's Straighten It Out- Lattimore's classic delivered with a taste of Syl Johnson FUNK laced with Ike Hayes Walk On By grooveyard. Screw Southern Soul for a minute. These cats are serving up muscular blue collar lunchpail funk!
Because Of You- nicely performed bluesy tune
The Rell Gaddis Show
As Tre asks for a mini-break he turns the mic over to Rell Gaddis. All of this time Rell has basically been the Bobby Byrd of this outfit-except he's really more Lou Rawls-to-Sam-Cooke as his singing skills are independently strong and dependable. they're so good they're actually stand alone but apparently my man knows on which side his bread is buttered. Tre did what I always expect those amongst the best singers to do: cede the lead and slide into the background for vocals and support.
The Reason Why You're First- Almost reggae/Groove Me bouncing lil tune.
Nice groove and nicer harmonies from Tre and the rest of the crew.
It's Too Late- Carol King probably never expected anyone to take her sad song so literally turning it into weepy, dirty forlorn blues. Nice guitar work here.
Tre Williams Pt.2
You really would like a new jacket or a cape or.......not to be. If it's wet it's sweat. If it looks funky it might just be but it's part of the ambience and overall performance. Not one soul left or even tried to leave. This is the 'evening drive' of the show.
Concrete Blues- title cut from the new cd and yet another romper-stomper.
Trouble Man- another hit from the cd- this time a lil more laconic and bluesy
Everybody Knows- THIS is my JAM!!!! Old time r&b walking groove. Like the original the grooves of Aint No Way or World of Fantasy or Gonna Take A Miracle.
I Don't Want To Know- assuredly the showstopper here. Nasty, oh-so-nasty funk version of Why I Sing The Blues complete with nice guitar solo work. Tre Williams works almost as hard as JB but in a completely unassuming almost quirky sort of way. He's got trumpet,sax and bari saxophone players for horns but they NEVER get in the way. Neither Chicago nor TOP these guys feel like they were stored in a time warp from the Stax-Volt days and recently reborn for The Revelations purposes.
Heavy Metal Blues- Jody's Got Yo Girl and Gone revisited for the new millennium. Same never-ending chest pounding, heart stopping thump we've been hearing all night.
The band was set loose for individual solos and they did not disappoint. This was the show closer. They came back for an encore with the tune Stay Free- a uptempo blues with heavy rock leanings and chord progressions.
So, there's hope at least for those younguns that are interested to come on out and get it...or make purchases at their friendly neighborhood internet wrecka stowe. The Revelations Revue (which is what I need to call it) featuring Tre Williams, Rell Gaddis and Mia Pace as well as Ms. Angela Johnson are ready, willing and able to carry out the mission of rescuing our musical culture from the doldrums of banality and edify the people with some of the finest music ever made!
CD's were available throughout the night and the sound system was appropriately adequate. Hardly what you guys have been writing about in AC but decent just the same.
Culture War In Black Music/Culture (maybe oil & water really doesn't mix?)
Never has it been laid out more clearly for me....
1. REVELATIONS (FEATURING TRE WILLIAMS) @ HECKCHER PARK IN HUNTINGTON, NY
This Sunday I was out on Long Island and I attended a free concert at Heckcher Park in Huntington. It was a hot night, which got even hotter because the Revelations (featuring Tre Williams) absolutely ignited the evening with a smokin mix of Soul, Blues & Rock. If you closed your eyes and listened as the music cut thru the thick humidity you might have easily imagined yourself at a concert of the STAX review in 1968 featuring Otis Redding, Sam & Dave & Johnny Taylor backed up by Booker T & the MG's/Bar-Kay's as the sweet/powerful sounds of H-A-R-D-C-O-R-E S-O-U-L M-U-S-I-C makes you forget about a depressed economy, 100,000 barrels of oil/day sh*tting on our way of life, millions unemployed while a catatonic Amerikkka and greedy corporate interests stand by watching. Then you open your eyes and see that besides my own family and a few others the crowd was 100 percent white and they were rockin to the music. After the show I learned who the "few others" were. Seems that Tre Williams has also brought his crew of sons, daughters, brothers, cousins, etc. with him. Together with my family that was the extent of the Black folks in attendance. It was great meeting Tre's family and it was wonderful to see them out supporting him. It reminded me once again of all of the reasons why "family unity," has always been the key component to the survival of Black people/culture. For more on the Revelations featuring Tre Williams on Soul-Patrol.com go here: http://www.soul-patrol.com/funk/revelations.htm this is one of the key artists to keep your eye on as GREAT BLACK MUSIC Expands into the future. We have featured Tre Williams and other new artists like him here on Soul-Patrol.com in the past and plan on continuing to do so in the future for a good reason
2. BET KOON SHOW ON CABLE TV
After the concert we went over to my mom's house & flipped on the TV to the BET Awards show, which is advertised as being an awards show showcasing the best in Black culture. Instead I thought for sure that I had stumbled upon a large televised meeting of an ESL (english as a second language) group, that had actually failed the course. Viewing this program almost required a scroll of subtitles in order to understand what was being said. I suppose that it was a nice thing that the producers of the show allowed tributes to both Michael Jackson & Prince during the show. However whatever the cultural good and/or motivation that those tributes might have had in reversing the slippery slope towards oblivion that Black culture seems to be descending into, was quickly lost & forgotten. Watching this program makes one quickly understand exactly why a depressed economy, 100,000 barrels of oil/day sh*tting on our way of life, millions unemployed while a catatonic Amerikkka and greedy corporate interests stand by watching, has become "the new normal."
The optical difference between these two events and the fact that they exist in what seems like a parallel universe, literally "bizzaro worlds," was not lost on me. It seems to me that we are at a true crossroads and some conscious descions are required by people on an individual level to figure out what the proper path is. (or maybe it's too late?)
We have some VERY serious problems here to address folks, and much like Pogo, the solutions to those problems can be found right in the mirror......(continued here)
Album Review: Tre Williams & the Revalations - Deep Soul
I'm ecstatic about this opportunity to review the new EP by Tre Williams and the Revelations: Deep Soul.
As a bit of an introduction to this amazing artist I'd like to let you know that this is one of few artists that I've encountered that actually sounds a little bit like every one of those whom he cites as influences (and as it turns out a couple more but more about that later).
Looking like some unholy cross between a young sort of Sam Jackson and D'Angelo and bringing all of the soul of the likes of Raheim or Anthony Hamilton, Tre Williams leaves em all in the dust. We'll never know what's gonna happen with D'Angelo and it seems we may have gotten Raheim's best already. In some ways the jury is still out on Anthony Hamilton.
The reality is in spite of the hierarchy of hip-hop (both young and old, gangster and square, male and female, neo soul or rap) Tre Williams is peerless at this point in his career. Only Ledisi and Leela James stand in his path. There's Raphael Saadiq, Amy Winehouse, Usher, Ne Yo,Beyonce, Alicia Keys, John Legend and all the rest but none of em bring the gut bucket sensibility that Mr. Williams has re-discovered and then regurgitated back to us for consumption.
I mention regurgitation because this stuff comes from deep down inside. Y'all know that place as soul. I KNOW Tre Williams got SOUL (to paraphrase Arlester Christian aka Dyke of the Blazers).
Borne of Hip-Hop in the Deep South (Florida?), Tre Williams was steeped in late 60's and 70's Soul. His skills were so good that the inevitable use of his talents as vocalist on various hip-hop projects began. Isn't it deep that some of the best voices of the future have appeared on so many rap tunes as the incidental, BACKGROUND vocal? Used to be the other way around as fading classic soul and funk artists used to use rappers for a bridge or a verse.
I'll review this EP by tune...although I may have this stuff out of 'order'
Heavy Metal Blues - 1st of all none of these tunes except one is longer than 4 minutes but the grooves are so deep and hypnotic that they seem to last much longer. This tune is got that 'herd-of-buffalo' loosed sound of Sly's Higher or Al Green's Love and Happiness. It positively throbs. This cat sounds like Johnnie Taylor all up and through this one! But just when you think it IS Johnnie it becomes clear that Tre Williams done gone and fooled ya agin.
He's A Hustler - this is a 1971 or 72 mid-tempo funk shuffle workout (i.e. mid-tempo funk is Sing A Simple Song; Joyful Process funk). When I was a kid in Philly and there were as many bands as there were gangs, this was the kind of stuff that we cut our teeth on. Straight ahead-I'm-a-b-a-a-a-d-maryland-farmer-funk. You strut and often there's a little message to go with it all. This one is a funny sort of nod to Curtis and Superfly. We've forgotten that we made music like this. When you hear it today it's usually the Tower Power or somebody. There aint nothin wrong with that because at least they're keeping it all alive. And now, thankfully Tre Williams is on post holdin it down for the funk.
Stay Free - Did I tell y'all this boah is versatile as he wanna be? Well this tune is pure Lenny Kravitz and Outkast except it is more Living Color and Edwin Birdsong than either of those. The intro has the nerve to sound like this Doors tune called I'm Going to Love You. Driving hard core black rock. Mother's Finest would be proud.Mosh Pit anthem for post Obama America.
Everybody Knows - Tre breaks out the Solomon Burke/Bobby Womack story teller gear for this one. Earnest in his declaration that 'everybody knows what's goin on, what we're doin everybody knows, it's a small town, there are no secrets here'. He's captured the best of it here.
Because of You- Motown-y 'Soul' label sort of Jr. Walker stuff here. Nice sing-songy melody and chorus line. Tre can sound like anybody and then just as abruptly cut it off and let self shine through. This one got the Raheim/Anthony Hamilton thing goin on only to start pleading like Al and Otis towards the end. Amazing!
Sorry's Not Enough - I'm supposed to be impartial and objective on these things but this is clearly my favorite tune on this EP. It is too, too much. Right up there with The Mystery Man's I Want To Make Love To You, this is a nasty ass slow drag. Almost Syl Johnson but then comes the bridge and these absolutely gorgeous chord changes happen. During which my man launches into the most delicious Levi Stubbs/Michael Cooper impersonation you never heard. The background vocals have that almost snickering yet persistent presence that was in Bootsy's I'd Rather Be With You or Telephone Bill or Munchie's For Your Love. It's like their doin a parody but of course they're just updating and maintaining yet another of our lost musical voices. This man can't do it all alone but he's damned sure giving it his all.
I Don't Want To Know - The last tune of this EP. This one has more of that Syl Johnson preachy style of vocalizing. It's bluesy southern soul tale of a man that actually doesn't want to know about the misdeeds of his erstwhile woman. The guitar shrieks the pain of the singer on the why-I-sing-the-blues-style breaks. Whether she's hookin,freakin,drinkin or druggin, Tre wants to know why ya'll keep sweatin him with the dumb stuff? Mind your damned bidness. He'd rather not know because 'this is where I choose to be'. You do your thing and I'll do mine.And by the way, yo shit aint too cool either. Cocky Stevie Ray Vaughn kind of mood. I think Betty LaVette would be right in the pocket with all of this by thay.
As I have been saying for the past few months, we are truly at a tipping point for our culture going forward and a new culture is going to evolve out of what once was. I am far from being alone in making that prediction. The results of the past Presidential election are something that many people have pointed to as the start of a new culture going forward. While that is true in some ways, what this really is just a matter that it's time for a new generation to take over and it's time to begin the new century in earnest. What we are seeing is that the people who are going to be the leaders of that inevitable shift in time, beginning to emerge. Clearly people like Barack Obama and not people like John McCain represent the future leaders. And in time others we will watch as others emerge in government, business, sports and other arenas. It's all merely a function of time...
In music and in Black music specifically we see artists like Ledisi, Conya Doss, Krunk Movement, Nadir, James Hunter, Global Noize, Homemade Jamz Blues Band, Nikka Costra, and others emerging as the leadership of moving Black music forward in the future. As much as I like artists like George Clinton, Mavis Staples, Sly Stone, Smokey Robinson and others, these individuals do not represent the future leaders of Black music, they represent the past...
Please do me a favor and add the name of Tre Williams & the Revelations to the list of artists who are going to provide leadership in Black music going forward. Tre Williams & the Revalations is an artist that you are going to be hearing a lot about here on Soul-Patrol.com and elsewhere going forward, just remember that you read about them here first. I realize that cha neva heard of them before, but just trust me on this one.
Last night at the Key Club in downtown Newark, I was fortunate enough to watch this group perform live for a Thursday night crowd of about 100 "buppies." "Buppies" (ie: Black Urban Professionals) are always a tough crowd simply because they are like "Mikey" (they don't like ANYTHING that they don't already know about).
Tre Williams & the Revelations had this crowd of well dressed and uptight "buppies" hooting and hollering like they were at a "low down/dirty blues ghetto juke joint on a hot summer night in 1955 in segregated Alabama".
They did a short 1/2 hour set where the lead singer Tre Williams "channeled" BB King, Latimore, Brook Benton, Bobby Womack, the Impressions, Might Sam McClain, Al Green, Prince and more. At the same time the integrated horn driven band (the Revelations) "channeled" Muddy Waters, Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughn/Double Trouble.
In other words, put quite simply, Tre Williams & the Revelations provide for you that often spoke of but quite elusive thing that we like to reference as "great black music from the ancient to the future" or what might otherwise be called "the real thang."
They opened with a cover version of "Let's Straighten It Out", featuring this blazing band fronted with the six foot, thirtysomething year old Tre Williams holding the microphone like a rapper, but moving around the stage like Jackie Wilson, stopping occasionally to bend down on his knee, give a piercing look and sing directly to the woman in the first row, who thinks that he is singing only to her!
For the uninitiated, if you are ever looking for the "real thang", it's actually pretty easy thing to spot. Just arrive early to a nightclub where you know that there are going to be a whole bunch of well dressed and perfectly manicured black women. You have to get there early so that you can observe them in their pristine state of "well dressedness and perfectly manicuredness." If by the end of the evening these women are no longer "well dressed and perfectly manicured", then you will know that these women have experienced "the real thang."
What I observed last night were several groups of "well dressed and perfectly manicured" Black women who during the 1/2 hour performance were moving their arms and shaking their be-hinds in such a manner that would lead them to look "UN well dressed and UN perfectly manicured", by the end of the evening. They move "slow & hard" at the same time in a manner that will clearly "kink up some straight hair". And if you know anything about Black women, you know the last thing that Black women who purposely straighten their hair want is for that hair to become "re-kinked."
I am all but certain that once "mainstream critics" get a hold of Tre Williams & the Revelations they will attempt to use terminology such as "retro soul", "neo soul", "blues revival", "southern soul", "post hip hop soul", etc to describe their music.
Since I am not (and never will be) a "mainstream critic", I won't use any of their terms. I will simply let you use your own judgment as a person who loves great music and let you figure out how or if you think they should be "classified." http://www.myspace.com/trewilliamsrevelations
In my opinion their music renders attempts at classification to be an exercise in futility, so I'll just leave the classification exercise to the mainstream to determine for us...
Sometimes (not all of the time) the music has to be about honesty, after all isn't that the reason why we all became music fans in the first place, because the artist made us belive that he/she was giving us their honest emotions and they were emotions that resonated with us, from the inside out?
I interviewed the "thirtysomething" Tre Williams prior to the show, but at my advanced age he looks like a teenager. When he told me that one of the things that he was enjoying most was having an integrated band and that in their appearances thus far both white & black audiences seemed to enjoy that. Quite naturally when he said this I drew a historical parallel to Sly & the Family Stone. When I mentioned that Sly & the Family Stone had done much the same thing back in the late 1960's, Tre Williams eyes glazed over. You see his eyes glazed over and he told me; "Bob I have no idea who Sly & the Family Stone is." I suddenly felt VERY old at that moment, however I realized that it actually wasn't important for Tre Williams to know Sly & the Family Stone was. What was important is that for the next 50 years Tre Williams is going to be carrying on the tradition of artists like Sly & the Family Stone and he will be doing so not because someone like me or someone like a record label told him that it was important that he do so. Tre Williams will carry on the tradition of artists like Sly & the Family Stone doing it because simply because Tre Williams is...
And they are destined to become one of the leaders of the new culture that is emerging...
Tre Williams & the Revelations have released their first EP called "Deep Soul", as an all digital release (how interesting, eh?). Later the EP will be released as a hardcopy CD and then in late winter/early spring Tre Williams & the Revelations will be releasing a full album of songs.
In the meanwhile, take a visit to their MySpace page at the following link and take a listen for yourselves:
Reviews: Tre Williams & the Revalations "I Don't Want to Know"
As you can tell from the concert review, I REALLY like this artist. But at the end of the day, who actually gives a sh*t about what I think? just so yall know, the song "I Don't Want to Know" is the first single from Revelations featuring Tre Williams recently released EP. It is currently in the rotation in at least 20 "Urban AC" radio stations across the country (mostly in the south so far) and is currently and it's #3 at KMEZ in New Orleans, LA. Get the song now, next week we will be making different song from Revelations featuring Tre Williams available for download and if you want this one, you will have to buy it. Here is some of the initial feedback I have gotten thus far on "I Don't Want to Know".
--Bob Davis (soul-patrol.com & radioio.com)
Great stuff! Do you think we can stop worrying about who someone reminds us of and focus on the person whose work we are hearing? Whereas it may be true that voices have "similar" sounds; each is unique unless one is attempting to "cover" someone else's style or version of a song. Tre Williams is UNIQUE; he should be appreciated for whom he is. HE IS GOOD! --Milton
I like "I Don't Want to Know"! The music, the lyrics, the voice is appropriate . . . it's COOL!!! Tell the Brother, and the Group "thumbs up!!" --Habibah,
Definitely old school Soul. Wish the radio stations played more of it. --Thomas Dorsey www.soulofamerica.com
Thanks for the download. I like the artist and the band. The only thing is, when it first came on, my first thought was "oh this is Anthony Hamilton." If I didn't know it was someone else, that is who I would have thought it was. I like to hear originality. Overall, it was good. I would have to hear more of this artist to tell the difference between him and Hamilton. --Wanda
With regard to the Tre Williams song, I love it! I have been an fan of his work for about four years now. I received a demo from an associate of his here in the Bronx that far back. I looked for this guy for a long time, and one day found some hint of him on Youtube or of those social sites. I always thought that this cat was ready. When I heard his other works like: Grandma, I95, Tell me who he thinks he is, and quite a few songs on that demo CD. I am not sure if the titles I listed are the actual names of the songs, because the demo did not list the title, so I named for my own purposes. I play that CD all the time, and have shared it with many of my friends. When you speak to him again, please let him know that he has a big Fan here in NYC, that is happy to hear a young brother that is bringing back grass roots R&B Soul! --Charles Leake www.rcahas.com
I'm don't know much about this genre, but it reminds me of Chocolate Genius with funky horn arrangement and Steve Lukather (heavens!) fade- out solo. Sounds great: minimal sounding yet lush. --Matt www.mattmargolin.com
WOW! That was nice! Now I'll be looking for the downloads every week. It's so sad that this song wouldn't get radio play (aside from Soul Patrol, of course) today. I can hear it back in the 60's/70's when Motown ruled, but today the chances would be very slim for spin. --Michelle Bateman www.myspace.com/decentexposuremusic
hmmm.. tre's got a great voice, though doesn't conjure anyone in particular. Maybe a bit of d'angelo's phrasing n background vocs mixed with something older, like Latimore's "Let's Straighten it out" or Luther Ingram's version of "If loving you is wrong.." a minor key slow burner. --Greg Humphries www.greghumphreys.net
I just listened to "I don't want to know" by the Revelations feat Tre Williams or something like that. It was not the first time I've heard it and it won't be the last. It is what soul music should be and once was on the regular. This group along with Leelah James , Ant Hamilton, Jill Scott, D'angelo, Maxwell and others get it. No formulas , Soul you either got it or your extremely unlucky. Revelations Lead singer has it in Bunches! --Enorman www.myspace.com/enorman
Ok, I heard it. After 1 listen, I think it's good. Not smokin', but good. I need to hear what else they can do. --T.Watts www.teewatts.biz
Great Song Too real for UAC and R&B Could make it in Southern Soul
--Boogie (The Boogie Report) www.theboogiereport.net
Thank you for this - this is a genuine soul man -- can't wait to hear the rest --Carole Ware www.leonware.com
In answser to your question "Did you download? ... " Oh yeah. Yep. Sho did. Soulful sho nuff. Put his foot all up in it and did the piece the way it should be did. Especially refreshing to listen to with no mid song rap. Reminiscent of early Anthony Hamilton in spots. Upwardly mobile. An artist blazing his own trail and on fire. Thanks for the heads up. --Ms Jeanne (from Columbus, Ohio)
Bob, Tre and the Revelations are at home in soulsville!! When the song started to play, he reminded me of Anthony Hamilton who had a spot in "American Gangster". Anyway, the Tre is ON. "Mighty" Sam McClain www.mightysam.com