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Looking back at all of these artists releasing all of these records, most of which – both acts and songs – were never going to be big, you start to wonder what was going through people’s minds when one DID manage to break through.

Not the sudden excitement of having a hit, but rather after it sunk in that you’d reached your goal and now you had to come up with a game plan of what to do next.

Did most artists think it was the start of something big, or were they more realistic and understood that a combination of the old being in the right place at that right time with the right sound FOR that time was something they might not be able to recapture?

We don’t know who among them burned the midnight oil trying to figure out some precise formula to keep their gravy train rolling, but we can more or less rest assured that Lester Williams didn’t suffer any sleepless nights over this problem because he just kept on doing what he always did, hits be damned.


You’re My Sweetheart
No matter which way he leaned from one release to the next – heck, one side of one release to the other – Lester Williams was probably bound to suffer from the same nitpicking criticisms.

A little too bluesy for rock ‘n’ roll, a little too rocking for the blues.

Yet while that may be true when it comes to consistently appealing to either hardcore constituency, as we’ve seen in the past Williams did tend to throw his weight behind one or the other a little more depending on the song.

The flip side of this, Trying To Forget, finds him more in a blues state of mind with its downcast mood and more emphasis on his guitar than the horn section. It’s still an uptown version of the blues rather than a harsher urban blues track or a backwoods Delta style, but his intent with the material seems pretty obvious… keep that fan base satisfied with something more in line with their thinking.

But here on Let Me Tell You A Thing Or Two we have the other side of his musical persona being given full airing with a more rollicking track with the horns adding to the joyous optimism the song possesses, letting the rock fan know this was intended for their ears from the moment the needle drops.

If you were really astute you shouldn’t have even needed to wait that long to know this was the case, as the lengthy title seems like a purposeful nod to his last hit, the boastful rocker I Can’t Lose With The Stuff I Use, thereby trying to make sure that it wasn’t going to risk being overlooked.

Obviously you don’t need to choose one style over the other and stick to that exclusively, but if you were one of those who did prefer their records to have definite categories to know where you stand, let alone where the artist stood, then listening to this side was at least going to remove a lot of the doubt.


Come To Me, Baby
Though he’s had hits in both blues and rock now, every time you hear him sing you think to yourself how much bigger he might’ve been if he’d been blessed with a better voice.

That high-pitched nasal whine does him no favors in either genre, but in a rock song like this he’s got plenty of help in making sure it’s just part of a fuller arrangement, taking the onus off it to carry all of the load as it were.

The record’s arrangement might actually be its most notable feature, at least how it kicks off with shimmering guitar chords met by echoing piano that acts almost like percussion in the way it’s emphasized, each of them helping to build the tension that sounds as if something will soon explode.

It doesn’t unfortunately but as the horns join in everything falls together nicely on Let Me Tell You A Thing Or Two, giving us a mid-tempo rolling groove that encourages moving your shoulders without insisting upon it, allowing you to focus on the message he’s imparting if you’d rather remain glued to your seat.

The song’s not quite the egotistical boast his last record was, but as come-ons go it’s hardly shy about his proclamations of love, delivering the rather ordinary lines with a carefree optimism that is charming, almost as if he’s not overly concerned about how they’re being received because he can’t possibly imagine they’re not going over well.

As if his cheery upbeat tone of voice doesn’t convince you of his confidence, then the guitar solo probably will erase any doubt, its clear tone climbing, dropping, circling around, never too busy yet always providing enough energy to keep the track moving until the horns come in to give the instrumental break a second jolt while the guitar patiently answers.

It’s compact and yet remarkably full and the rhythm section behind them all never lets up. After another vocal section Williams cries out with delight, spurring them on as the piano now returns with that reverberating crash as it trades off with the guitar down the stretch.

Did we learn much in the story itself? Nah, other than Lester Williams is in a good mood, but considering that on the blues side he was sort of down in the dumps you can see the necessity of his continued stylistic balancing act.

That’s not to say rock fans are always in a good mood, but any music that gets you moving is good for your mental well being. After all, you’ll have plenty of time to be still when you’re dead.


Please Believe Me
These are the kinds of records that are, in many ways, the backbone of a genre in that they’re satisfying without being smash hits, they’re distinctive in their approach without being influential in the process, and at the same time are representative of the larger scene without being merely generic.

In other words Let Me Tell You A Thing Or Two was the kind of thing you’d hear at the time and enjoy in passing but would go largely unremarked on in the decades since.

That’s not altogether fair, at least inasmuch as it pertains to painting Lester Williams in a good light, because he does this sort of thing consistently well which is a virtue unto itself.

But as stated at the beginning, when there are so many records by so many artists, all of whom are trying to stand out, the ones like these which are good records without making a deeper impression are always going to have plenty of company.


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