Lenny Williams (New Album Alert!)
Daddy B. Nice's #44 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Can't Nobody Do Me Like You"
Lenny Williams (New Album Alert!)
Composed by Lionel Holman, Charles Leonard & Lenny Williams
September 1, 2020:
NEW ALBUM ALERT!:Buy Lenny Williams new FINE album at Apple.
FINE TRACK LIST:1
All Night feat. Jeanie Tracy
Dance With Me
The Greatest Gift Is You
Blues & BBQ
All We Need
You Been Good to Me
Take It From Here feat. Leonard Williams Jr. & Lonnell Williams
Lines in the Sand
Last Two Dollars
Old School Loving
Daddy B. Nice notes:In today's ever-expanding and chaotic southern soul scene, he is almost a forgotten man, but Lenny Williams still has enough audience drawing power to rank as a perennial headliner in the genre's most prestigious multi-act venues, including the Blues Is Alright Tour. With his many albums spanning nearly three generations, Williams is a conduit to soul music's gloried past. R. Kelly picked up his "Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh" from Lenny Williams and his classic single, "'Cause I Love You". Even less understood among today's fans is Lenny Williams' subtle influence on current Southern Soul stars, who have used him for imitation and inspiration.
Ricky White's "I'll Still Love You" was inspired in part by Lenny's "Can't Nobody Do Me Like You". Williams recorded "(I Like)Your Sister" in 2000 on his Love Therapy album, which found him transitioning into contemporary Southern Soul. Mel Waiters redid the same song as "I Like Your Sister" on his 2006, Throwback Days CD and scored a moderate chitlin' circuit hit with it. And Lenny Williams recorded "Amen," a song overtly critical of wayward preachers (a hitherto forbidden subject in the Deep South's Bible Belt) on his It Must Be Love CD in 2007. Subsequently, younger-generation star Vick Allen recorded "Forbidden Love Affair (The Preacher Song)" in 2009 on his Truth Be Told CD and it became a noteworthy Southern Soul single.
One would expect as a septuagenarian that Williams' creative fires would be all but extinguished, but that is not the case. FINE, his first new album in five years, is full of new if somewhat derivative material, all rendered with consummate taste. (And when I say "derivative," I mean derivative of Lenny's own best work, not others.)
"Fine," the title track which debuted in 2018, tackles the age issues head-on:
"I'm doing fine," Lenny sings.
Don't you worry about me,
I try to live right,
Save a little cash
And I pray every day...
If anybody asks you,
You can tell them,
I'm doing fine."
"Southern Girl(s)," Lenny's brand new single, hews to the light-hearted formula that made "Sorry (I Didn't Know It Was Your Mama)" and "Your Sister" immensely popular. The lyrics also remind listeners that there are southern girls all over the world.
The atmospheric ballad "Shine" has the piquancy that gives Williams' finest slow jams their lemon-tart edge, while "Dance With Me" showcases Lenny's uptempo, dance-jam skills to perfection.
This is a bountiful album---fifteen songs---and I couldn't find a repeat from Lenny's extensive catalog, although given his past productivity, I may be mistaken. There's one cover, Johnny Taylor's "Last Two Dollars," but more representative of the album's vibrancy and freshness are "Lines In The Sand" and "Take It From Here," a collaboration with Leonard Williams Jr. and Lonnell Williams, who just happen to be Lenny's sons.
--Daddy B. Nice
Listen to all the tracks from Lenny Williams' new FINE album on YouTube.
Buy Lenny Williams' new FINE album at Amazon.
Listen to Lenny Williams' new FINE album on Spotify.
Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile:Lenny Williams is one of that lost generation of soul singers headlined by the late Johnnie Taylor, Tyrone Davis and Little Milton, and peopled with such largely unknown performers as Latimore, Willie Clayton and Charles Wilson, who got their start in the late sixties or early seventies, just when traditional R&B lost favor amid a deluge of popular music genres including new jazz, light rock, disco, reggae and contemporary country.
Under the radar until the late 90's, when a small coterie of Southern Soul and blues fans rediscovered them via chitlin' circuit venues and Deep South radio stations, these largely-forgotten artists became the big fish in Southern Soul's small pond of resurgent R&B.
Even among the unappreciated stars cited, Williams was a lesser light, known primarily for his piercing tenor on the early-70's horn band singles of Tower Of Power. The allure of musicianship and enhanced arrangements that the best of these bands--Chicago Transit Authority, which morphed into Chicago, and the Oakland-based Tower Of Power--purveyed allowed them to shine in the upper regions of the Billboard charts for a brief period.
Lenny Williams returned to a solo career in the late 70's, recording at least one song of such stature it became his indelible musical signature. The song was "Cause I Love You," and even the audience who never paid much attention to the particulars of the song or its singer heard the spectacular ballad from time to time on urban radio over the years, highlighted by its over-the-top, emotionally-spoken monologue and its rousing chorus, in which Williams repeated the phrase "Oh!-Oh-Oh-Oh-Ohhh" with the fierce tenacity of a killer plunging a knife repeatedly into his victim's mid-section. That the intent of the phrase was an expression of love made the emotional impact even greater, prompting many fans to call it the best old-school love song ever.
Less well-known is that Lenny Williams' voluminous recording career continues today outside the mainstream public's eye, in the cafes, juke joints, barber shops and hair salons of the chitlin' circuit. Williams' 21st-century persona is devoid of the brilliant sentimental excesses of "Cause I Love You," featuring a more modest, seasoned and frequently skeptical approach to life more in keeping with a mature, "grown-folks" perspective.
But the jewel of William's latter-day career is a romantic yet gritty love song Southern Soul enthusiasts cherish more dearly than any other tune in the Williams catalog, including "Cause I Love You." The song is "Can't Nobody Do Me Like You."
Listen to Lenny Williams singing "Can't Nobody Do Me Like You" on YouTube while you read.
A fine band accompanied by a majestic brass section previews the melody in the opening bars as Lenny begins:
"It's been a year and a half
Since you left me, babe. And
Girl, I've been trying to find
Another lady like you.
And I must confess that
I've had a few loves,
But nothing--none of them--
Not a single one will do.
'Cause they don't have your flavor.
Sure don't have your personality.
And after a few weeks
Of going out together,
It just gets boring,
It seems so boring,
So boring to me, because--
Can't nobody love me like you.
Can't nobody do me like you do.
Can't nobody love me like you do, babe.
Can't hold me,
Can't squeeze me,
Can't love me like you do."
"Can't Nobody Do Me Like You" debuted on Williams' My Way on the Thump label in 2004 and was reprised on Williams' 2007 CD, It Must Be Love, on the LenTom label.
Even less understood among today's fans is Lenny Williams' subtle influence on current Southern Soul stars, who have used him for imitation and inspiration in selecting their own material, usually without any recognition of the source on the part of the Southern Soul audience.
For instance, Lenny Williams recorded "(I Like)Your Sister" in 2000 on his Love Therapy album, which found him transitioning into Southern Soul. Mel Waiters redid the same song as "I Like Your Sister" on his 2006, Throwback Days CD and scored a moderate chitlin' circuit hit with it.
And Lenny Williams recorded "Amen," a song overtly critical of wayward preachers (a hitherto forbidden subject in the Deep South's Bible Belt) on his It Must Be Love CD in 2007. Subsequently, younger-generation star Vick Allen recorded "Forbidden Love Affair (The Preacher Song) in 2009 on his Truth Be Told CD and it became a noteworthy Southern Soul single.
Lenny Williams has really come into his own as a Southern Soul artist--the latest phase of his long career--in just the last five years with two CD's that have spawned a number of radio-friendly, chitlin-circuit singles. The first, 2007's It Must Be Love, scored solid Southern Soul singles with the atmospheric "I Be Missing You" and "Somebody Else" in addition to "Amen" and "Can't Nobody Do Me Like You." The second, 2009's Unfinished Business, introduced two durable, chitlin-circuit-oriented singles in "Cheatin' On The Cheatin'" and "Sorry (I Didn't Know It Was Your Mama)" along with the less impactful "Six In The Morning" and "Amnesia" and a reprised "Somebody Else."
"Cheatin' On The Cheatin'" delves head-first into one of Southern Soul's prime subjects, right down to the lover's hidden tattoo that only the hero was supposed to know about. ("If we were married, I'd divorce you.")
Similarly, "Sorry (I Didn't Know It Was Your Mama)" regales the listener with mock-apologetic lyrics memorializing a "freaky mama" adept in all the things young girls do.
"I'm just a man.
I couldn't resist.
I never thought
It would turn out like this.
Didn't know it was your mama.
She looked so young.
She kept on showing me
That ring in her tongue.
Didn't know it was your Mama."
And. . .
"Yes, I did your mama,
But she also did me.
I don't mean no disrespect.
But look at this hicky
Your mama put on my neck."
If the low-key, lowdown "Cheatin' On The Cheatin" and "Sorry (Didn't Know It Was Your Mama" find Lenny Williams 180 degrees from the hyper-emotive flamboyance of his mega-hit from yesteryear, "Cause I Love You," his "Can't Nobody Do Me Like You" inhabits the middle ground between the two extremes.
In Williams' pre-eminent Southern Soul ballad the romantic verve of youth meets the world-weary wisdom of maturity. In fusing the best of both eras, Lenny Williams takes his career to its highest peak, even higher than "Cause I Love You." "Can't Nobody Do Me Like You" is the quintessence of Southern Soul. It's top-shelf, right up there with the very best the genre has to offer.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Lenny Williams (New Album Alert!)
Lenny Williams was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on February 6, 1945. His family moved to Oakland, California in his teens and he recorded his first single at the age of 24 for Fantasy Records. Soon after, he signed with Atlantic Records and recorded a version of "People Make The World Go Round" that was overshadowed by the Stylistic's rendition and subsequent hit.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"I pray each night
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
If you liked Glenn Jones' "Baby Come Home," you'll love Lenny Williams' "Can't Nobody Do Me Like You."
Honorary "B" Side
"Cause I Love You"
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