CD Review: Tell the Angels — Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs

Tell the Angels
Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs
MCG Records – MCG 7034

James Bullard of MCG Records knows quartet singing.

After all, he was one of the members of the BOS Singers. So it’s not surprising that his record label has done a superb job capturing Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs’ on the quartet’s latest project, Tell the Angels. Plus, it’s hard to go wrong when the live recording is done in Memphis at COGIC Bishop G.E. Patterson’s Temple of Deliverance Church, the holy ground of sanctified worship.

Tell the Angels is given a full-bodied production with ample use of electric keyboards. Standout tracks are the title song, which is the most radio-friendly of the package; “Whom Shall I Fear,” the lively opening number; the funky “No, No;” and freight-train power of “Lord I’m Willing,” which is arguably the best performance on the CD, as it gives old-schoolers like me the enjoyment of hearing the quartet really open up with classic call-and-response singing to a quintessential quartet backbeat.

“On My Way” closes the project; it is a lovely but melancholy performance that draws upon the pathos of the “One of these mornings/it won’t be very long/you’ll look for me and I’ll be gone” thread in gospel music, but with a modern touch: Williams says that you might someday call him on the phone (I imagine it to be his cell phone) and he won’t answer.

My only wish was that the formidable din of audience participation was more prominent throughout the CD. Gospel artists – and quartets in particular – share a special interactive bond with their audiences, but this did not come across on the CD very well, despite the live church setting. The crowd actually sounded too polite for a gospel program. They clapped heartily at the end of each song, but where was their vocal participation during the singing? One knows that such shouting was there just by looking at the ecstacy on the faces of some of the audience particpants captured in photos for the CD’s packaging. Where were audience members’ ad hoc exhortations to the quartet? I suspect they were edited out or dampened, and that’s a shame, because including more audience participation would have raised the CD’s overall energy and excitement level by several crucial decibels.

Regardless, quartet lovers and gospel music fans alike will enjoy Tell the Angels, and will undoubtedly make their own joyful noise during each song.

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.

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