Is this the same Lee Williams from the Cymbals? If you know, pass it on.
Download or Listen To Lee Williams & the Cymbals – Shing-A-Ling U.S.A. from the Carnival Records 45
I apologize for the late Friday post, but those who stopped back later on in the day got a treat from Mr. Fantastic and his Soundtrack to a Bank Job Mix. Kudos to my man Justin for laying down a really smooth ass mix. It’s just what we like here at FMF. What I have here today is a slice of Funky Soul pie, courtesy of Lee Williams & the Cymbals on Carnival Records from 1967.
Being a musician in the 1960’s wasn’t easy. It may seem like there was some trick to being in any band, but let’s face it. Back then (and even now if I may be so bold), for the most part, you did it for the love of the music. That’s why there were so many basement and back yard bands popping up, doing regional covers of James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, and even covers of covers of their local Funk and Soul heroes. Lee Williams and the Cymbals were just that band. Discovered while practicing in their backyard of 127th St. in Harlem by Carnival Records owner Joe Evans, this band was signed on the spot and immediately thrust into the Carnival rotation in Newark, NJ. Their first record was the Ronnie McCoy (of the Topics) penned “She’s So Fine”. This record was primarily an East Coast record, gaining popularity in Philly, Baltimore, and Washington, but also gaining the band some notoriety in Cleveland and Chicago. Although this record did climb the charts, it narrowly missed as a Top 40 hit. McCoy wrote another song for them “Peeping Through the Window”, which didn’t chart as high, but would be their second largest selling record. They would go on to release four more singles for Carnival, including this side. Once again, records like this, without proper promotion would only garner local attention, and would get lost in the sea of 45’s, artists, and hopefuls in NYC and all over the East Coast. They would move from Carnival to small labels like Pittsburgh’s Black Circle (Get It Together) and Rapda (IC Funk was the side on this label), only to fade out into obscurity. But did Lee Williams? Upon digging further into this man’s life, I turned up a bunch of info on Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s. A man who very closely resembles Williams is fronting a tight ass Gospel band, and is all over YouTube. If anyone can confirm this, I’d appreciate it. Possibly he had his roots in Gospel, did the secular music thing, and went back to the roots once again.
Cashing in on the Shing-a-ling craze of the 60’s, Williams and company illustrate the dance, where it came from, and why it’s so damn good. I’ll tell you why it’s good. It’s funky as hell. Anything that can upset the boogaloo is ok in my book. Bottom line: The band is tight and out of sight, Williams is on point, and I can’t get enough of those drums! Listen closely and the bass line really kills it as well. See you midweek and Keep Diggin’!
Nice One Pres! You also introduced me to, probably my all-time favourite “blog” 45 I picked up based on your posting of Lee & The Cymbals, “I Love You More.” Now I’ve got another to search out. Thanks Brutha!!
Peace and SOUL,
Nice cut. It’s stuck in my head, this is a keeper for sure.
thanks for the information, lee williams has done some fantastic tracks, did you ever find out wether they were the same person i myself have drawn a blank…
great blog thanks kev s
I bought my first Lee Williams and the Cymbals’ 45 entitled “Please Say It Isn’t So” and “Everything About You”. They were just as good as the Manhattans back in the day.
Please keep me posted on all upcoming concerts!! i am your biggest fan..