Lee Williams of the Spiritual QC’s dies at 75 [Arrangements Added]

Lee Williams of the Spiritual QC’s has died. The quartet great’s death was announced Monday, August 30, on the group’s official Facebook page.

“It is with our deepest sorrow that we announce the passing of our fearless leader, Dr. Lee Williams,” the post read. “We thank God for allowing him to Stop By On His Way Home, and though he has moved from his temporary house, the love, the memories and the music will linger on. We will always remember that to Give Up is not an option if we want to be Welcomed Home.”

Despite health challenges in recent years, Williams continued to perform with the QC’s until retiring in 2018. (Read “Living Legends Concert” honors Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC’s as Williams readies for retirement.) In 2011, Williams commented to GMF that he intended to travel and minister with the multi award-winning Tupelo-based group “as long as [God] lets me.”

Our deepest sympathy is with the entire Williams family, the Spiritual QC’s, and the gospel music community. A man of remarkable talent, resoluteness, and humility is now at rest. A memorial service sponsored by the City of Tupelo is set for 4 PM CT on Saturday, September 11, at Gumtree Park. The homegoing celebration takes place Sunday, September 12, at the BancorpSouth Arena at 1 PM CT. Additional details are on the flyer below.

Lee Williams' final service arrangements

Journal of Gospel Music’s Bob Marovich wrote a brief bio of Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s that you can read here.

'Living Legends Concert' honors Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC's as Williams readies for retirement

Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs
By Libra Boyd
Melvin Williams and Doc McKenzie & the Hi-Lites were among hundreds who filled Durham’s King’s Park International Church Friday evening to honor Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s (pictured left).
The four-hour musical was billed as “The Living Legends Concert: An Intimate Evening with The Legends Honoring Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s” and is said to be one of Lee’s final appearances with the QC’s in North Carolina.  The longtime frontman of the Tupelo-based group founded by his uncle in the 1960s plans to retire from traveling and performing this year.  In July, Daily Journal reported that the multi award-winning singer and songwriter is battling Alzheimer’s Disease.  Lee spoke with GMF in 2011 regarding fans’ concerns about his health and rumors of retirement.  At the time, he told GMF founder Libra Boyd, “That’s not up to me” and that he’d continue to travel and perform with the group “as long as [God] lets me.” (Read the related story here.)
Last evening, Williams led the QC’s and an enthusiastic audience through abbreviated renditions of the group’s hits including “I’ve Learned to Lean” and “I Can’t Give Up,” with support from fellow group members Patrick Hollis and Leonard Shumpert.  One of the evening’s most memorable moments, however, occurred at the conclusion of gospel great Melvin Williams’ 37-minute set when Lee, to Melvin’s utter surprise and sheer delight, reappeared on stage for “Cooling Water,” the standout song from Doug and Melvin Williams’ Duets project.  Minutes earlier, Melvin had credited Lee, who was featured on the recording with Melvin, for the song’s massive success.
Other musical guests for the Living Legends Concert were Doc Mckenzie & The Hi-Lites and area groups From the Heart, New Creation, and Chuckey Robinson & C.E.R.J.E.R.Y.  Lee was also celebrated with video tributes from industry colleagues Pastor Luther Barnes, Harvey Watkins, Paul Porter, Keith Wonderboy Johnson, and Pastor Thomas Walker. 

Additionally, he was honored with a proclamation from the City of Durham declaring August 24, 2018 “Lee Williams Day” and was presented a framed honorary gold plaque on behalf of event coordinator Clarence Harding, M4 Enterprise, and North Carolina gospel media.
GMF extends congratulations and deep gratitude to Mr. Lee  Williams for his notable achievements during his time on the gospel highway and for the example he has set in the quartet community.  Our prayers are with him for a blessed retirement and precious quality time with his family and friends.
See more pictures below and check out even more photos from the concert on GMF’s Facebook page.

Clockwise from top left: Lee joins Melvin Williams for “Cooling Water.” (Photo credit: Michael Boykin) / Radio personality Bobby Parker (left) presents Lee a framed honorary gold record on behalf of M4 Enterprise, its owner Clarence Harding (third from left), and NC gospel media personalities (in the background, partially obscured). Rosie Trenia Moore (right) looks on. (Photo credit: LaShelle Crump) /  Doc McKenzie & The Hi-Lites deliver a riveting concert of fan favorites. / Melvin weeps as he embraces Lee following “Cooling Water.”

Editor’s Note:  Lee Williams is no relation to Doug and Melvin Williams.

The doctor is in: Lee Williams receives honorary doctorate

From LWSQCs Facebook Page

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Congratulations are in order for Lee Williams–Dr. Lee Williams, that is.  This past weekend, the beloved quartet frontman of the Spiritual QC’s received the Honorary Doctorate of Sacred Music from Bible Believers Christian College in California.  Other members of the Spiritual QC’s–Leonard Shumpert, Patrick Hollis, and Al Hollis–were also celebrated with certificates of recognition in sacred music.

Williams began singing at eight years of age, mentored by his uncle Mitchell Thornton, who eventually formed the Spiritual QC’s.  The group established by Thornton disbanded in the 1960s, but Lee and his brother Willie maintained the group’s name and enlisted new personnel to continue singing.  His brother no longer performs with the Tupelo-based group, but Lee is a mainstay as the quartet’s lead singer and primary songwriter.  Since achieving national acclaim in the late 1990s with a pair of well-received albums–Jesus Is Alive and Well and Love Will God All the Way–he and the QC’s have become one of the most in-demand quartet gospel groups in the country with Billboard-charting albums, more than a dozen releases, and multiple Stellar Awards.  Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s currently travel and perform roughly 50 weeks of the year.

Living on the Lord's Side – Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC's

Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s 
Living on the Lord’s Side
MCG Records (2011)

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s are one of the most beloved quartets on the circuit today, and their fans were eagerly awaiting–and I do mean eagerly–more great music like the relatable songs (such as “I’ve Learned to Lean” and “I Can’t Give Up Now”) that caused the group to skyrocket to the height of quartet acclaim.  It’s no surprise that some wonder why their current project Living On the Lord’s Side is filled with recycled material; nine of the twelve tracks were released on the group’s prior albums.

MCG Records says the reason Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s re-recorded these songs is “the vast number of written and verbal testimonies that they’ve received and the impact that these have had on so many lives.”  I suppose that’s justifiable, but it would have been great for these tracks to have had some kind of refreshing quality about them–a musical twist, an added bridge, or some reconstructed runs.  “Good Time” is the one rollicking pewburner that delivers on musical newness.  It boasts a thumping bassline, stabbing horns, and an extended vamp that graduates from “good time” to “thank You.”

The mid-tempo title song “Living on the Lord’s Side,” one of the three new tunes, is not quite as engaging.  In fact, it could even be considered a bit bland.  Given the soulful and often bluesy character of the group’s music, it lacks the fervor that one is used to hearing in Williams’ repertoire.  “Touch Me” is the toe-tapper that follows, but the previously released versions remain superior.  Williams has recorded it at least twice before (with his group and with the Racy Brothers), and on this one his voice just isn’t at its best.  What’s more is that he omits the second verse, thereby creating an awkward turn the QC’s didn’t sound altogether ready for.  Additionally, once he’s in the run, he tells a Biblical story (about the woman with the issue of blood) twice verbatim, seeming to have lost his place in the song.  A studio overdub could’ve remedied this.  Nevertheless, by the song’s end, the flat-footed singer’s heartfelt insistence compels listeners to respond to his repeated inquiry, “Did He touch you?!”

“Call Him” is another new track and it features a guest lead by Willie Legon.  Legon’s pleasing tremulous tenor guides the song along its turtle-paced ascent until he tags Williams to drive it to its climax.  “Call Him” mimics the tempo of “I Can’t Give Up Now” and the intensity of “You’ve Been Good” (from the album Good Time); the only real critique here is that at times Legon’s words are not so easy to understand.  An overdub could’ve fixed this, too.

Production issues were the snare (literally and figuratively) for the remake of the mega hit “I’ve Learned to Lean.”  The stomper sounds great until the verse, when the snare’s tone suddenly brightens but then becomes muted again in the chorus. This brightness/mutedness alternates throughout the song, making it completely annoying to listen to once the ears lock in.  The fact that “I Can’t Give Up Now” brings up the rear and features Williams’ emotional testimony makes this otherwise lackluster project redeemable.

Gospel’s iceman Williams and the Spiritual QC’s have secured a place as one of the leading quartets in the nation. The production issues combined with the lack of freshness in the remakes is hard to overlook.  I really wish more time had been spent on post-production to give listeners the caliber of project traditional quartet lovers know the group is capable ofLiving on the Lord’s Side leaves those of us who enjoy the ministry of Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s a lot to anticipate for the group’s next project. 

“Good Time” – “I Can’t Give Up Now”

Fever Meter
WARM (2 1/2 of 5 Stars)

Lee Williams comments on his health, thanks fans for prayers

GMF founder and editor Libra Boyd spoke with Lee Williams this weekend.  Gospel’s iceman was prepping to greet fans, perform a concert later that evening, and promote the Spiritual QCs’ new CD, Living on the Lord’s Side.

Followers of his ministry can’t get enough of Williams and his group’s soul-drenched gospel.  It’s only natural that fans have become concerned by the ongoing questions surrounding his health.  GMF wanted to hear straight from the source if he plans to call it quits with the QC’s anytime soon.

“That’s not my choice,” offers the debonair frontman of few words.  “That’s not up to me; that’s up to God.”  While the decision does not rest with him, he adds that he intends to sing for as long as God allows him and the group to carry the much needed message of hope and encouragement.

And all the rumors about his health?

“If I had a nickel for every time someone has asked me that,” he asserts, “I wouldn’t have to sing anymore; I’d be a rich man.”  Pointing to heaven, he maintains, “That’s not up to me either.  Like I said, as long as He lets me…”

Williams wants his supporters to know that he genuinely appreciates their concern and prayers, and he looks forward to coming their way to have a “good time.”

Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC’s prep for live recording in August 2011


MCG Records is calling it “the most powerful gospel music event in Atlanta’s history.”  Lee Williams and The Spiritual QC’s are set to record live at The Greater Traveler’s Rest Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA, on August 20, 2011.  The concert is dedicated to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The group is known for its flat-footed, yet hard-driving approach to traditional gospel quartet music.  This is the approach that propelled them to national acclaim seemingly overnight, and today, keeps them atop gospel music charts and radio station playlists.

Joining Lee Williams and The Spiritual QC’s for the live recording are The Alabama Spirituals and Doug and Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers.

Additional information is available at www.mcgrecords.com.

Lee Williams takes concert detour to visit shut-in fan

Gloryland Gospel Blog shared this moving story from Daytona Times.  God bless Lee Williams of the Spiritual QC’s and James Parks of the Golden Wings Quartet.  Ministry is purposed to extend beyond church walls.