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Okay, this is more like it!

Whereas the flip side was more or less evenly split between rock and blues elements, perhaps even favoring the latter, this one leans much more heavily towards the rock side of the ledger.

In fact, the song is so aligned with rock ‘n’ roll attitude that the one aspect of it that still retains a blues sensibility – the lyrics – are more or less wiped out by the manner in which they’re delivered, proving once again that with the right mindset an artist can transform both a song and themselves into a rocker through sheer willpower.


Get Myself Together
Let’s face facts here… when it comes to definitely stating his allegiance, Lester Williams is never going to choose sides.

If that bothers you, then I suggest you come back another day for those artists who will have no problem with picking which team they play for.

But if you like to live life on the edge, at least when it comes to listening to records, and you want to see how a talented artist walks a musical tightrope each time out, which of course can be far more interesting at times, then Williams is definitely your man.

His nasal tone seems woefully out of place as a bluesman, yet his normal guitar picking style tends to cancel that out. The horns he finds himself paired with almost always keeps the blues from overtaking him fully, yet the songs he writes lets you know they’re never far from his door.

Which of those aspects are going to most apparent varies from song to song and on Lost Gal he takes a blues subject and wraps it with a rock arrangement until the message gets all but lost in the total package.

Contrast that to the other side, Sweet Loving Daddy, where the perspective offered was one of the few things that tied the song to rock ‘n’ roll while he did his best to negate that with his delivery and guitar runs, and it’s pretty easy to see that Williams is never going to play by anyone else’s rules.

That means he doesn’t always make it easy for us to defend his presence on these pages each time out, but more often than not he makes it worthwhile for us to try.


Knows Just What to Do… Yeah!
A word of advice to aspiring musicians… it’s amazing what simplicity can accomplish.

Case in point, the two note repetitive twang of Lester Williams guitar on the intro, drenched with a deep resonance which gets picked up again while backing the sax solo later on, is so mesmerizing that it virtually guarantees you’ll pay much closer attention to the rest of the two minute track.

There’s nothing to it really. With a quick demonstration a virtual novice can play it the first time they pick up the guitar, and yet it offers up a sense of foreboding mystery that is downright addictive as soon as you hear it pouring out your speakers.

Nothing else here quite matches that sensation, even if everything they add to the arrangement contributes to a more swinging vibe, from those aforementioned horns to the way in which Williams gives the downcast story an upbeat outlook by the way in which he sings.

Those contradictions built into Lost Gal are virtually taken from a standard playbook of rock ‘n’ roll… find two opposing forces and weld them to one another working in tandem to accomplish the same goal.

In this case we have a sad story about a guy who is in the throes of despair over getting dumped, but whose vocal drip with a weird sort of optimism, almost like he’s reliving the good times while telling you about the bad ending to it all.

The music backs this outlook with the guitar building your anticipation, almost pushing it past the breaking point, relieved only by him shifting to a more melodic pattern to close out the lead-in, and then letting the riffing horns and in your face drums keep you on the edge of your seat, sure that some plot twist is going to turn the tables on his misery and make everything alright.

Am I giving away too much to tell you that it never happens, that they don’t reconcile or find out it was all a bad dream? Maybe, but in this case it doesn’t matter because the story merely tells you WHAT happens, while Williams tells you the more important part, which is how he’s letting it affect him.

Or should I say how he’s NOT letting it affect him and bring him down.

Sure, he’s not happy about it, but he’s not giving up and that’s the important part, both on the record and in real life for artist and listeners alike.

You can’t always win, but by not conceding defeat before the final bell sounds you’re always giving yourself a chance and that’s a rock ‘n’ roll mindset that Williams embodies here and makes this record come alive. Though the resolution to the story doesn’t seem to give him much hope, you still leave it more convinced than ever that he’s going to get this Lost Gal back in due time.

Call it delusional, say it’s a severe case of denial or self-deception, but it’s also what keeps him getting up in the morning and for that matter is what defines the type of music he’s given himself over to fully in this case and that’s something we aren’t ever going to turn down a chance to hear.


Folks, I Would Not Lie To You
I’m sure some people would prefer an artist who always made his stylistic intentions clear. Who picked a side and stuck to it come hell or high water. Who cried when he lost and exhulted when he won.

But what fun would that be?

Lester Williams keeps us guessing, never doing what’s expected, even within a song like Lost Gal which seems to make its intentions clear… at least on paper. That it works so well by confounding those expectations and giving us sounds that challenge our sense of order and predictability is part of his charm.

They always say don’t judge books by their covers, or records by their titles and surface classifications, and here’s another case of why that remains such a truism in life. Let the ignoramuses keep telling you Williams is a bluesman, but we know better because of records like this.

But no matter what you want to call him, or even what WE want to call him, Lester Williams remains an enigma, a free-thinker and a musical non-conformist, satisfying his own muse and making sure to keep you on your toes with each and every side.

Most of them, like this one, won’t you let you down in that regard and thus ensures that he’ll have you coming back for more next time around.


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