MP3 El' Willie - Situations
El'' Willies Situations cd, very nice piece of work, both relaxing and entertaining. 16 track dealing with relationships. Or just life in general.
16 MP3 Songs in this album (78:55) !
Related styles: BLUES: Rhythm & Blues, EASY LISTENING: Adult contemporary
***** Classic, Essential Purchase
**** Very Good. Majority of songs above average
*** Good. Solid disc with little filler
** Mediocre. A few above average cuts- mostly filler
* Avoid it.
Reviews added throughout the month so check often
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El'' Willie "Situations" (****). The E-to-the-L-to-the Willie has a gift for melody, expert vocal phrasing and clever lyrics. "Situations" is where it all comes together. Again, in case you forgot, he is the brutha who wrote Theodis Ealey''s "Stand Up In It" and penned Ealey''s "All My Baby Left Me Was A Note, My Guitar & The Cookie Jar" and Willie Hill''s "Man On A Mission".
While he is mostly known for his uber-mellow slow jams El does add a dancer or two to his repertoire like the booty mover "Come Get Your Groove On" & the funky "You Got To Play With The Hand You''ve Got". Still, he''s got made skills with the laid back to midtempo numbers. I fell in love with "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo, Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Dee", a coasting finger snapper with a memorable refrain. It may seem light and even slight sonically but it''s soulful in it''s restraint, a perfectly structured song in it''s simplicity that the Temps or the Four Tips (or heck, Boys-2-Men for that matter) could take to the top of the chart. Just as melodic is the lovely "Don''t Ever Be Lonely", the early 70s hit for the Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose. These two songs make it worth the while for me. But, wait! If you order now you also get...seriously there''s much to like amongst the generous 16 tracks. The title track, "I Can''t Get Over You", "If Some Know Somebody?" and the supremely romantic "I''m So Glad I''ve Got You" is vintage El''- chillin'' on the slow tip- rappin'' to you. Speaking of "rap" in the Hip Hop sense our hero adds a little Hip Hop flavor to the hilarious "Dope Or Dogfood" (with lyrics from Bishop James E. Bryant). Here El'' reproves a foolish youngin'' who''s trippin'' and wasting his life. Funkay! I''ve also grown to dig El''s baritone voice. Initially (in my review of his first CD "El'' Over Easy") I referred to it as "guide" or "pilot" vocals but either he''s greatly improved or I just finally get it. It creeps up on you. Now I''d consider him a top notch singer. El''s cool as all get out.
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Frost Illustrated. Copyright 2008
El'' Willie brings ''Situations'' to listeners
Not to beat a dead horse (although it''s safer than trying to ride a live bronco), but I''ve said it before- it''s taken be some time to get used to some of the newer sounds in R&B, especially when it comes to Southern Soul. I grew up on full rhythm sections, real horns, Hammond organs and the like. So, it''s taken me some time to get used to the stripped down synth- and drummachine based sound that came along a few years ago. Yeah, I understood that time marches on, and with it comes changes in economics and technology and, alas, changes in music.
Okay, I have to admit, some of the new stuff that''s come along ain''t bad-not bad at all. Some of it, like "Situations" by El'' Willie (Ash Street Productions, MVP Records/Phat Sound Promotions) falls in that category: Not bad and, in fact, quite a bit of fun.
On his latest, El'' Willie, who''s always been a solid performer when it comes to soul singing, has added storyteller to his repertoire. At times, he seems to be channeling that same spirit that blew my mind the first time I heard Isaac Hayes'' long rap at the beginning of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" on the classic "Hot Buttered Soul" album. Can''t complain about that. But, all along, El'' Willie hasn''t abandoned that fun, funky sound that''s popular in places fun loving grown folks love to frequent. Or as my, well, uh, "special friend" might say, "That''s the kind of record I like to hear when I''m down at the Legion ready to dance."
You get the picture.
Anyway, good clean, but adult fun is what this 16-song set is about. The music and themes are familiar, starting with the opener, "Come Get Your Grove On," a funky, bumpin'' number that issues a call to the dance floor. El'' Willie follows with "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be- Doo, Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Dee," an easy going tune that, like the title sounds, harkens back to some classic old school singing styles.
Next is the title track. It''s here that El'' Willie starts to get deep into storytelling mode explaining that, "This song is about situations and how you handle a situation." Ever the gentleman, he talks about situations the ladies might find themselves in first before talking to the men. Check out some of the clever writing in this one if you want to know how you tastefully can tell adult truths without having to be explicit.
The singer continues on down that path of teaching life lessons with "I Can''t Get Over You," a tale of love lost and found, before moving back to the fun on the easygoing "Don''t Ever Be Lonely."
It''s back to Isaac Hayes groove for a moment with "Will He Be There," a touching track that clocks in at a bit over six minutes. Of course, check out the 1:30 rap at the beginning that sets up the tune.
"Simple Girl" is a simple, stripped down tune that leads into "If Some Know Somebody," a poignant piece about a friend. El'' Willie lightens it up again with the funky love song (yeah, that''s right!) "Baby Don''t Be Gone Too Long."
While this record features a lot of fun, there''s some serious tough talk on here, particularly on "Dope Or Dogfood?" a pointed social commentary with lyrics by Bishop James E. Bryant. I agree-drugs have been the ruination of so many folks and the community.
El Willie gets, well, call it "silly," in a fun way on "Blues Reggae Style," a hilarious track that needs no explanation. Check out the accent!
The record finishes with the light "Say It''s Time For Loving, Baby," the sensual "Show Me What You''re Working With" (yeah, the theme might seem a bit cliché-ish, but El'' Willie handles this in fun fashion), the piano-driven "I''m So Glad I''ve Got You" and the flat out gospel tune, "You Need Jesus." It''s a relatively rare closing idea to remind folks of what life really is about that I''ve only heard on a couple of other records, most notably by the legendary Frank-O Johnson and Southern Soul überproducer Carl Marshall. It''s a nice touch.
"Situations" by El'' Willie is a fun modern exercise in the new Southern Soul aesthetic.
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The "DADDIES": 1st Annual (2007) Southern Soul Music Awards
Best Male Southern Soul Vocal:
1. "Baby Come Back Home" by Vick Allen
2. "It''s Okay" by Steve Perry
3. "If I Could Do It All Over" by Donnie Ray
4. "Somebody Else" by Lenny Williams
5. "Try Me" by T. K. Soul
6. "You Still Got It" by Floyd Taylor
7. "Give Me A Chance" by Omar Cunningham
8. "Plumber Man" by Charles Wilson
9. "She''s Gone" by Wilson Meadows
10. "You Got Me Where You Want Me" by El'' Willie
11. "Please Let Me In" by Theodis Ealey
12. "Just A Little Bit" by Willie Clayton
13. "Up In Here" by Bobby Rush
14. "Somebody''s Gettin'' It" by Earl Duke
And The Winners of the Inaugural "Daddy" Awards for Southern Soul Music Are.
2007 "Daddy" for Best Male Southern Soul Vocal:
"You Got Me Where You Want Me" by El'' Willie
. May 28, 2008. Your Daddy B. Nice was fascinated to learn that El'' Willie, who took home the "Daddy" award for "Best Southern Soul Male Vocalist of 2007" for his song "You Got Me Where You Want Me" (Dance With Me CD), was in fact the writer (and co-writer) of Theodis Ealey''s two biggest hits--at the least, what were considered his two biggest hits up until Theo''s latest album.
Those hits would be "Stand Up In It" and "All My Baby Left Me Was A Note, My Guitar, & A Cookie Jar." And El'' Willie is the one and same William Travis II who co-wrote "Stand Up In It" with Ealey and solo-wrote "All My Baby Left Me Was A Note, My Guitar, & A Cookie Jar."