The Williams Brothers
The Concert

As top-notch as The Williams Brothers are when it comes to studio finesse, you have truly never experienced the The Williams Brothers 
- In Concert CDstoried trio until you've heard them live in concert. Consider that the essence of this review.

Recorded live in Jackson, Mississippi in the summer of 1999, this new double-CD from Blackberry Records, titled The Concert, captures the essence of the famed group.

With guest spots from Bishop Carlton Pearson and Juanita Bynum, traditional Gospel is introduced to the millenium with a raw finesse that sends tingles up the spine. Much of the material on the project is taken from the best that the Williams Brothers have delivered over the years, both from their myriad of albums, and also from the various solo efforts from brothers Doug and Melvin.

Essential cuts include their massive hits, "Living Testimony", "Never Seen Your Face" and "I'm Too Close". There'sThe Williams Brothers also a trip down memory lane with a 15 minute medley of their long-past favorites (which includes "The Goat, "Sweep Around", "So Good" and three others). Also included is their interpretation of Fred Hammond's "No Weapon".

While you know that the threesome could easily carry the album on their own, they have evidently put as much effort into the supporting album cast as they have in their own vocals. Mainstays Ralph Lofton (organ), Terry Gatlin (bass) and Derrick Horne (rhodes, horns, synth) make their presence known, as does the marvelous performance from Jackson's own EnPraise Singers as backing choir. Minus a couple of uncharacteristicly awkward song transitions, production is on par with the usual beauty that the Williams Brothers' own TurnTable Productions brings out.

Perhaps the gem of the project is the Gospel remake of the Diane Warren song that Celine Dion made popular, "Because You Loved Me". It's arguably better than the original pop smash, not simply because of the brilliant vocal harmonies that emerge when the Williams Brothers pair upDoug Williams with guest soloist Juanita Bynum, but also because of the inherent beauty of turning the song 180 degrees into God-praising work of art. Check out the bonus track, which is a thoroughly urban remix of the cut (produced by Derrick Horne), and watch it smash into urban radio rotations.

Call it a one-two CD punch that no enthusiast of traditional Gospel can resist. With all the fire, the harmony, the masterful tunesmith workings and the heaven-bent enthusiasm that the trio is renowned for, The Concert is a 20-track summation of all that is The Williams Brothers.

Producer: Melvin Williams, Doug Williams
album release date: February, 2000
Blackberry Records

reviewed by Stan North

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