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Among the more interesting stylistic progressions we’ve been charting is how acts who’ve got a hand in both blues and rock are trying to balance their material to appeal to both constituencies.

Is it smarter to make sure all of their songs have elements of both approaches so neither side feels neglected no matter which record they play? Or conversely is it better to alternate songs that lean heavily towards the blues with one that is a full-on rocker so that each fan-base gets something designed specifically for their tastes? After all, isn’t that what the two sides of singles are ideally suited for?

Whereas some of the singers who constantly walk this tightrope, like Floyd Dixon or L.C Williams, tend to deal in slow mournful blues numbers, which makes it easier to differentiate between the two, while guys like Gatemouth Brown are adept at downhome electric guitar stylings to mark the split, Lester Williams has always been uptown no matter which genre he’s embracing.

On this single though he’s hinting he’s finally come to a decision as to where his true allegience lays.


Whenever You Are Tempted To Go The Other Way
If you’re already intimately familiar with Specialty 450, or just peaked ahead and listened to both sides first, you might think that introduction which describes Lester Williams casting his vote for rock ‘n’ roll rather than splitting the ticket as he’d been prone to before this, was better suited for the even more blistering rocker found on the other side.

But while that’s the obvious choice to make, I think it’s better to take the slightly less effective attempt first because in the past we’d get excited for one of his more assertive rockers only to be let down when he went backwards on the flip side or next release.

Here though he doubles down on the rocking attributes and if this side doesn’t live up to what’s found on the other, that doesn’t mean he’s not making a pretty definitive statement by essentially telling us, the rock fan, If You Knew How Much I Love You… maybe you wouldn’t keep doubting my intentions… or questioning my choices… or growing frustrated with my concessions to the blues from time to time. Ahh yes, so many questions with him remain up in the air, so you can see why we’re anxious to have a more clear-cut answer.

Truthfully, Lester Williams was always more inclined to favor rock ‘n’ roll than he was to giving himself over fully to the blues just because of the natural confines of his high-spirited nasal voice and his affinity for faster tempos and rolling horns.

Those are what carry this record as well and if you want to be honest you can even see some pop elements in the melody, which certainly is further away from blues than from rock… as much as we sometimes hate to admit it.

But as we know, rock will overtake pop down the road, something the blues would never be able to do, and so that too is one more sign to show one and all that when push comes to shove, Williams loves us best!

My Love Is Something That Time Can Not Erase
The horns, piano and steady drums that open this should more or less remove any lingering doubts from your skeptical hearts as to his intent.

Then there’s the fact that Lester Williams seems to be singing this with a visible smile on his face, almost like the incessant Fats Domino caraciture that The King Of Piano Rock has been saddled with for eternity.

True, his voice isn’t as warm and inviting as The Fat Man, but it’s still pretty appealing here because he’s so delighted to be singing this ode to a woman who has captured his heart. To call him smitten would probably be massively understating things. In fact he sounds like the guy who would blow his paycheck to have a giant bouquet of flowers sent to this girl after their first date.

Heck, he’d probably spring for a singing telegram too in order to really embarrass her, but only if he himself couldn’t carry a tune. Since he can warble effectively though, that only means Williams himself is showing up at her office to tell her – and her stunned co-workers – If You Knew How Much I Love You, probably while she hides under her desk or ducks into the bathroom… or leaps out the third story window, mortified at his lack of decorum.

But he’s clearly undeterred, grinning like a fool as he pours his heart out to her using all sorts of childlike – but not childish – examples of his devotion. It’s a little over-the-top for those of us who value comportment in social settings, but it’s also fairly endearing in an awkward sort of way.

Luckily for him – and her – he came equipped with a band that is going to serve as enough of a distraction to keep the focus off her blushing face as the rhythm never lets up, letting you focus either on piano or drums for a slightly different feel to get the same results. We even get a brief bass solo of all things to break things up along the way.

But it’s the horns which add to the cheery vibe of it all, from discreetly adding textures to the overall soundscape during the verses, to coming up with a nice enough solo that doesn’t try and upstage Williams’s beaming performance, yet still manages to give you one more thing to take your mind off the guilty smirking done by the masses huddled around the filing cabinet and water cooler.

In the end you are going to be rather self-conscious listening to this while trying to fight back your discomfiture over such a shameless display of wide-eyed romanticism, but considering some of the alternatives in so many songs where women are made sport of, chased down, cheated on and dumped – often all in the course of a single record! – you probably should just grin and bear it and then spend the next few months until his birthday plotting your revenge when it comes to good-natured public humiliation.


You Never Would Be Blue(s)
We presumably are smart enough, experienced enough and cynical enough to not believe we’ve gotten the final verdict from Lester Williams as to his musical classification. There’s every chance that should these types of songs fail to elicit enough interest he’ll sneak back to the blues settings a little more frequently.

But while one song, or even both sides of one single, doesn’t tip the scales of balance in rock’s favor, what does tend to give us some indication that he’s more comfortable openly admitting If You Knew How Much I Loved You to the rock constituency it’s that he’s doing this kind of thing in a multitude of approaches.

This might be far from his best work as it’s just too naively simple with its “aww shucks” look at love, but it DOES present a rock song with a different suit of clothes on it than his best sides in this field which were alternately boastful, celebratory and confident.

Here he might be all of those things in part, but he’s also more comfortable in his own skin now that he’s considering moving in full time… with us, not the girl, though I imagine he’d love to shack up with her too.

We may be amused by his cheerful optimism, but we’re not laughing at him despite the slight lack of sophistication in his outlook, precisely because musically we have no complaints… and for once, no questions either as to his intentions to stick around.


(Visit the Artist page of Lester Williams for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)