Revelations feat. Tre' Williams

Daddy B. Nice's #59 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Revelations feat. Tre
 



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"I Don't Want To Know"

Revelations feat. Tre' Williams



July 3, 2015: UPDATE...NEW SINGLE ALERT!

Listen to Tre' Williams singing "Put Those Cups Up" on YouTube.

It never fails. When your Daddy B. Nice, after years of patience, finally becomes frustrated enough to write a column about some travesty of musical justice, real life answers with its own independent answer. Thus, when Daddy B. Nice took public his vexation with the forced absence of DJ Ragman from WMPR Jackson, Mississippi last winter, events at the station just happened to conspire to bring DJ Ragman back to the fold.

Similarly, after bemoaning the demise of The Revelations featuring Tre' Williams (see below), and the five-year drought without any new work from the promising southern soul vocalist, what do I see and hear when I turn in to Chico's Radio this morning but the first new single by Tre' Williams since his break with the band. The song is "Put Those Cups Up," the first solo Tre' Williams single. Published by Advantage Recordings, the song is from an upcoming album titled THE DEPTH OF MY SOUL. Wilbe recording artist Jeff Floyd assists.

Yes, life does work in mysterious ways.

--Daddy B. Nice

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Listen to The Revelations featuring Tre' Williams singing "I Don't Want To Know" on YouTube.

July 1, 2015:

Elegy For A Great Band



The Revelations featuring Tre' Williams had something unique going for them: an extraordinary lead-singer with prior hiphop visibility in the North, a great drummer, Gintas Janusonis, a great guitarist with a jazz-name pedigree, Wes Mingus, an incredible instrumental supporting cast including a full horn section, and a great producer, Bob Perry, who had parented the legendary Excello blues compilations of the 90's.

The band's masterpiece, the 2009 album The Bleeding Edge, was succeeded by 2011's Concrete Blues, an equally impressive collection that culled the best three songs--songs that had achieved popular status in the Deep South--from THE BLEEDING EDGE. Two of those songs, including the signature single, "I Don't Want To Know," had been on The Revelations 2009 debut EP, Deep Soul.

Concrete Blues was recorded in Memphis at the late Willie Mitchell’s famed Royal Studios with Mitchell’s son Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, who co-produced the sessions with Bob Perry. The band’s core members were joined on the sessions by the Hodges Brothers (the vintage Motown house band) whose work with Al Green was also a hallmark of the Hi Records sound. Along with ‘Teenie’ Hodges (guitar) and brother Charles Hodges (organ), the sessions also drew Stax alumnus James Alexander of the Bar-Kays on bass and Lester Snell of the Isaac Hayes Movement on piano.

What broke up this cutting-edge aggregation? What busted this band that had the attention of the South and the cachet of the North? Was it the hubris of Tre' Williams, who toured the Delta clubs singing in front of the instrumental track? Or was it the economics? The fact that audiences in the South couldn't have afforded the ticket prices associated with the full (at one time ten-member) band?

Your Daddy B. Nice had hinted at the potential for a break-up in his original profile of the group. (See below.)

Make no mistake about it. The Revelations would be nothing without Tre' Williams. His vocals are superb. You can feel the pain of the story in his voice. He has a lot of the power and even some of the timbre of Reggie P. (RIP), which is putting him in select company.

But the Revelations as a band is equally important. Without the smoking unit behind him, Tre' would be just another singer. It's the combined sum of their parts that makes The Revelations featuring Tre' Williams work.


So now we have Tre' Williams touring the chitlin' circuit singing what have become "oldies," and we have The Revelations without Tre' Williams issuing albums--The Cost Of Living, 2014--that don't even generate a blip on the consciousness of southern soul fans.

What a pity. What a great loss for southern soul music. Here was an entity that provided entree into the national mainstream without watering down the power of the black southern soul musical experience.

--Daddy B. Nice

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide


Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile:




The Revelations are part of a new and exciting trend in Southern Soul, the infusion of new talent from outside the Deep South/Bible Belt, the traditional breeding grounds of Southern Soul stars.

The Revelations' "I Don't Want To Know" first charted on Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles in October of 2008. Despite being birthed in Brooklyn (the home of Lee Fields), the song broke down one chitlin' circuit barrier after another, winning over fans two years running to become one of the most recognizable radio singles of Southern Soul radio.

This is not an easy task. Countless artists from beyond the Delta (and its northern outpost, Chicago) have tried and failed to break into the Southern Soul market.

The fabled "sound" that makes Southern Soul unique isn't easily recreated, and many non-Southern artists (Simeo, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, B. Dupree and others, including Grady Champion's new single, "Weight Of The World,") have occasionally stumbled in spite of possessing great talent and production skills.

Even Southerners can "un-learn" the knack. An example is Mavis Staples, whose current catalog leans toward mainstream rock more than Southern Soul. It may sell more records, but it doesn't satisfy the groin or the heart of the Southern Soul music politic yearning to "Let's Do It Again."

The Revelations' "I Don't Want To Know" has a unique retro feel without being imitative. And it has the one thing that the rest of the country (and the rest of the world) outside the chitlin' circuit seems to demand before taking Southern Soul seriously: real instruments, in particular an ace lead guitar player, Wes Mingus.

Listen to Tre' Williams & The Revelations singing "I Don't Want To Know" on YouTube while you read.

The group's fantastic lead singer, Tre' Williams, negotiates the lyrics with a skill seldom seen outside the chitlin' circuit, and the live band (complete with expert lead guitar and brass section) boasts a technical expertise most artists outside of Malaco Records would kill for.

(Imagine, for instance, T. K. Soul's beautiful ballad "Try Me" with these Revelations horns.)

Make no mistake about it. The Revelations would be nothing without Tre' Williams. His vocals are superb. You can feel the pain of the story in his voice. He has a lot of the power and even some of the timbre of Reggie P. (RIP), which is putting him in select company.

But the Revelations as a band is equally important. Without the smoking unit behind him, Tre' would be just another singer. It's the combined sum of their parts that makes The Revelations featuring Tre' Williams work.

Not only that, their achievement on this album--which is generous, no less than fifteen songs, all fully-fleshed out--is remarkable.

From an authenticity perspective, it's so easy to fail at what the Revelations do. Musically, they walk a very thin line, going back to vintage rock & roll-slash-r&b (meaning a time when rhythm and blues was really popular), basically mining the backing tracks and either doing a cover song or a "clone"--a new melody adorning the "cloned" rhythm track.

The follow-up single to "I Don't Want To Know" (in the Deep South) was "Everybody Knows," another song with a unique sound which your Daddy B. Nice compared to Gene Pitney's "Town Without Pity," not that many fans beyond baby-boomers remember that Top-40 hit of yesteryear.

Once again, the technical excellence of the band and the singer gets them over that "thin line between success and failure" most journeyman cover bands can't summon. "Everybody Knows (It's A Small Town)" brims over with genuine regret and longing.

Other songs on the LP have more direct bloodlines. "It's Too Late" is a creditable cover of the Carole King classic, as is the Revelations' homage to Latimore on "Let's Straighten It Out." To be truthful, the band's cover of "Straighten It Out" won't make you forget Gwen McCrae's scorcher of a couple of years back.

Another song, "The Truth Shall Set You Free," recalls Dusty Springfield's "Son Of A Preacher Man," and it doesn't succeed to any great extent. If the album were made up only of cuts like these, it would be very ordinary and I wouldn't be writing this review.

But "I Don't Want To Know" sounds like nothing you've heard before--not exactly anyway--and yet it rings up something from the past that was valuable and lost.

"Now I'm sitting home
Minding my business.
Tell me--
What is this?

And while my phone's
Just ringing off the hook,
And they be talking
About my baby's look.

You see, I haven't
Got a whole lotta time
To deal with
A whole lotta mess.

Telling me my baby's
In the club,
And she's doing that
And doing this.

And if you took
The same energy,
That you're putting
Toward me.

Then you would have
Far less time
To worry about
Me and mine.

And if she's doing
Her thing in the streets,
You ain't gotta
Run and tell me.

I don't really want to know,
Beause what I don't know
Won't hurt me.

You ain't gotta
Run and tell me.
I don't really want to know."

These lyrics have by now been played so often they have taken on an iconic status, and the melody, the rhythm track, the exquisite horn charts and (above all) the wailing, soulful vocal of Tre' Williams put the song in a class by itself. It's a musical peak few performing entities, single or group, ever reach.

"Graceful Bow" is inspired by Al Green's "Love And Happiness," recreating the rhythm track and evoking that gritty Stax soul background while embellishing with a new treble clef melody line. It, too, works to perfection.

"Sorry's Not Enough" is the most touching track on the CD--for me at any rate--reminding me of a time in my life when I was just beginning to discern the existence of Southern Soul songs, and thus was especially sensitive to their emotional power.

"Sorry's Not Enough" outrageously robs Syl Johnson's "I Wish I Hadn't Walked Away"--I mean like grave-robbers--then reheats the Memphis classic in all its glorious, poignant, string-section glory.

The band does a great job with the appropriation. Complete confidence--a sure hand--guides every touch from the falsetto background to Tre's effortlessly soulful vocal. You hear Syl Johnson's soul in every syllable, and yet the song works as an original, and does so without offending.

Although The Revelations have pursued popularity in the North, their hearts and minds are in the South, and not only musically, as their liner notes testify. They have backed up their air play in the South with a series of tours through the chitlin' circuit, including dates this coming spring and summer. See Daddy B. Nice's Concert Calendar.

That's to the good. It means Tre' and the boys will be soaking up more of those vital Southern Soul vibes for future inspiration.

A Link to The Revelations feat/ Tre' Williams on I-Tunes is here.

A Link to The Revelations feat/ Tre' Williams on Amazon is here.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Revelations feat. Tre' Williams

Tre' Williams was born and raised in the projects of Daytona Beach, Florida. He enrolled in Bethune-Cookman College, but dropped out at age 21 and moved to Yonkers, New York to start a music career.

After a 2001 appearance at Amateur Night at Harlem's Apollo Theatre, Williams was invited to sing on a Petey Pablo album, which led to a number of appearances on various hiphop artists' records over the next few years.

Williams' debut solo album, The Depth of My Soul, with guest appearances from Nas, Styles P and Kanye West, was set to appear in 2007 but was never released.

Meanwhile, Williams signed with New York-based producer Bob Perry, who had worked with many of the hiphop artists Williams had worked with in New York, and who had also published Excello reissues in the 90's.

Surmising that Tre' Williams would be the perfect front man for a band inspired by vintage soul records from the late 1960's and early 1970's, Perry called the band The Revelations. The eventual lineup included: Wes Mingus (vocals, guitar); Geoff Countryman (saxophone); Neal Sugarman (tenor saxophone); Ian Hendrickson-Smith (baritone saxophone); Joe Ancowitz, Tatum Greenblatt, Dave Guy (trumpet); Corey King (trombone); Borahm Lee (keyboards); and Shawn Banks (percussion).

The Revelations released an EP called Deep Soul (Decision Records/Traffic International Group), which included the singles "I Don't Want To Know," "Everybody Knows," and "Sorry's Not Enough," in 2008.

The same label released the group's debut CD, The Bleeding Edge, in October of 2009. The album included the EP's stand-outs plus covers of Carole King's "It's Too Late" and Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out," among others.

A second Revelations CD, Concrete Blues, was released in November 2011 on the Decision/NIA label.


Tidbits

1.

January 19, 2012: Here are some assorted YouTube videos of The Revelations featuring Tre' Williams.

Listen to Tre' Williams & The Revelations singing "Until You Get Enough Of Me"

Listen to Tre' Williams & The Revelations singing "I Don't Want To Know" Live at an outdoor concert in Jackson, Mississippi.

Listen to Tre' Williams & The Revelations singing "Everybody Knows" Live at The Black Cat in DC.

Concrete Blues,
Listen to Tre' Williams & The Revelations singing "How Do I Tell Him" on YouTube.

Listen to Tre' Williams & The Revelations singing "Sorry's Not Enough" (the album version).

Listen to Vick Allen and Tre' Williams & The Revelations singing "I Gotta Have It."

Listen to Tre' Williams & The Revelations singing "Everybody Knows" (the album version).

Listen to Tre' Williams & The Revelations singing "I Don't Want To Know" (the album version).


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked The Impressions' (featuring Curtis Mayfield's) "It's All Right," you'll love The Revelations featuring Tre' Williams' "I Don't Want To Know."


Honorary "B" Side

"Everybody Knows"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Don't Want To Know by  Revelations feat. Tre' Williams
I Don't Want To Know


CD: The Bleeding Edge
Label: Decision/Traffic Int. Group

Sample or Buy
The Bleeding Edge


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Everybody Knows by  Revelations feat. Tre' Williams
Everybody Knows


CD: The Bleeding Edge
Label: Decision

Sample or Buy
The Bleeding Edge


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Sorry's Not Enough by  Revelations feat. Tre' Williams
Sorry's Not Enough


CD: The Bleeding Edge
Label: Decision

Sample or Buy
The Bleeding Edge


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Graceful Bow by  Revelations feat. Tre' Williams
Graceful Bow


CD: The Bleeding Edge
Label: Decision

Sample or Buy
The Bleeding Edge


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy How Could You Walk Away     by  Revelations feat. Tre' Williams
How Could You Walk Away


CD: Concrete Blues
Label: Decision/NIA

Sample or Buy
Concrete Blues


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy It's Too Late by  Revelations feat. Tre' Williams
It's Too Late


CD: The Bleeding Edge
Label: Decision

Sample or Buy
The Bleeding Edge


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Trouble Man by  Revelations feat. Tre' Williams
Trouble Man


CD: Concrete Blues
Label: Decision/NIT

Sample or Buy
Concrete Blues


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Concrete Blues by  Revelations feat. Tre' Williams
Concrete Blues


CD: Concrete Blues
Label: Decision/NIT

Sample or Buy
Concrete Blues


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Gotta Have It (w/ Vick Allen)            by  Revelations feat. Tre' Williams
I Gotta Have It (w/ Vick Allen)


CD: Concrete Blues
Label: Decision/NIT



3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Let's Straighten It Out by  Revelations feat. Tre' Williams
Let's Straighten It Out


CD: The Bleeding Edge
Label: Decision

Sample or Buy
The Bleeding Edge


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