Melvin, Doug Williams & family mourn passing of matriarch, Amanda Williams

Join GMF in extending condolences to the Williams family in the passing of their matriarch, Amanda “Mom” Williams.  She was 94 years old.

A guiding force in the lives of her ten children, she and her husband Leon “Pop” Williams (d. 1989) nurtured their musical talents at southern Mississippi’s Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Sons Huey and Frank became members of The Jackson Southernaires. Frank eventually organized the Mississippi Mass Choir.  Leonard, Melvin, and Doug (along with family friend Henry Green) comprised The Williams Brothers.  Some of the other children entered the music field on the business side.

While there is sadness over “Mom” Williams’ transition, there most certainly must also be rejoicing over her blessed life and rich legacy.

Photo from Facebook profile of Linder Banks Williams

"Put It On the Altar" – Jessica Reedy

“Put It On the Altar”
Jessica Reedy
From the upcoming CD, From the Heart (Available Sept. 27, 2011)

I learned two things about Jessica Reedy while watching Sunday Best.  First and foremost, the girl can sing; after all, she snagged the runner-up spot amid hefty competition.  Secondly, the sister can arrange; surely, you remember her version of the Williams Brothers’ “I’m Still Here” and her infusion of neo-soul into both the lead and harmony vocals.

Hark!  Reedy has revealed another fact to her fans: she is a pretty good songwriter.  Along with Tony and Nakeia Homer, Reedy has penned “Put It On the Altar,” the second single from her forthcoming debut project, From the Heart.

“Put It On the Altar” is uplifting with a feel-good vibe that we haven’t heard a lot in Reedy’s musical selections so far. The music itself is both fun and nostalgic; crisp horns, a warm electric guitar, block piano chords, and the 2-5-1 turnaround channel Motown circa 1970.

Reedy’s syncopated delivery and signature low register, which magnetized thousands of Sunday Best viewers in season two, are sure to have “Put It On the Altar” heating up radio throughout the summer.

Sizzlin’ This Week (6/13/11) – “Trouble Will Be Over”

“Trouble Will Be Over”
Blest By Four
From the CD, Just Like Fire (2010)

They started singing as toddlers.  No one is likely to dispute that, especially once hearing Blest By Four’s close harmonies on the punchy, mid-tempo horn-laden quartet track, “Trouble Will Be Over.”  It’s pretty obvious they’ve sung together enough to present a seemingly effortless blend in their live performances.

Marry the lyrical theme of Luther Barnes and the Sunset Jubilaires’ “When I Get Home” (from the Oh My Lord album) with the overall musical architecture of Williams Brothers’ tunes and the offspring is “Trouble Will Be Over.”

Live from Los Angeles – Vol. 2 – Beverly Crawford

Beverly Crawford
Live from Los Angeles – Vol. 2
JDI Records (2010)

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Recall Bobby Jones and New Life’s glory days and you will readily recall the voice that made the group a favorite throughout the early 90’s.  Several solo projects, a Grammy nomination, and a Stellar award win later, Beverly Crawford returned again in September with Live from Los Angeles – Vol. 2, and we can see she is still giving God the glory, ministering to His people, and singing us into frenzies.

The project’s opening number “It’s About Time for a Miracle,” set to what may as well be called “shouting music,” ignites the fire that burns throughout the album.  By the time “Miracle” graduates to its vamp, I can most certainly envision that Crawford and her audience are singing, praising, and pickin’ ’em up and puttin’ ’em down all at the same time.

Next up is “It’s So,” a tempo contrast to the preceding track.  Crawford, who serves as co-pastor at Gainesville Family Worship Center with her husband Todd, delivers the verses just like the singing preacher that she is.  By the song’s end, the preacher is in high gear, exhorting us in sermonette fashion to “name it, claim it, believe it, accept it–it is so!”

From there, she sprinkles a fair amount of quartet-flavored seasoning on the Doug Williams-penned “Born Again,” making the choir tune just right for down-home Sunday morning church.  She then reminds us that she not only can take us to church, but can also lead us into worship with the self-penned “For Who You Are”–easily the centerpiece of this project.

Another standout is “Everything Will Be Alright” (written by Shawn McLemore), the James Brown-esque groove with sassy, brassy horns for which Crawford and her friend and industry contemporary Shirley Murdock team up. As expected, the two make a great tag team, taking turns with the soaring lead vocals.  (You’ll likely be hearing them again on Murdock’s upcoming live CD/DVD.  See GMF’s related post here.)  “Serve You Well” is the beautiful ballad that follows.  Then Crawford is joined by her youngest daughter, Latrina Crawford, on “Radical Praise.”  It’s “I Need A Word” however, where Latrina’s vocality as a soloist shines.

Rounding out the project is “Marvelous,” written by Myron Butler and Ted Winn.  Crawford brings Murdock back in the reprise to riff over the climactic vamp, and the two have us headed straight into another frenzy.

With Michael Bereal and Professor James Roberson handling the production of this project, Live in Los Angeles – Vol. 2 encompasses all that we’ve come to enjoy about Beverly Crawford’s ministry through the years and affirms why she remains a force to be reckoned with among today’s female traditional gospel artists.


“Born Again” – “For Who You Are” – “Everything Will Be Alright” – “Marvelous”

Fever Meter
SMOKIN’ (4 of 5 Stars)

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