By Todd Baptista
South Carolina native Maurice Williams wrote not one, but two of the most recognizable hits from rock’n’roll’s first generation, “Little Darlin’”, and “Stay”. At age 70, he remains an active recording and performing artist, with a legion of fans worldwide, particularly in the Carolina Beach Music scene. Honoring the 50th anniversary of his #1 hit with The Zodiacs, he and his self-contained troupe have produced a 15-track CD of new recordings, a mixture of R&B, vocal group harmony, and soul that oozes summer fun.
Traditionalists may balk initially, but the “Little Darlin” opening, complete with Williams’ rap about the formation and early success of the Gladiolas works, and works marvelously, immediately grabbing listeners’ attention. Strong versions of “Do I” and “Dearest Baby” are smooth and soulful. New renditions of “Stay” and “May I” are equally entertaining, and feature the soaring high tenor of co-producer Fred Mangum, whose untimely death at age 46 following the album’s completion clearly affected Williams deeply as noted in his dedication.
Overall, Maurice Williams has created a solid, entertaining piece of work in “50 years…” which will hold up well to numerous plays by the pool, the beach, or relaxing in the sun. www.mauricewilliams-stay.com
For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
• A great resource for record collecting is Goldmine’s “Standard Catalog of American Records, 1950-1975, 6th Edition,” in large paperback and DVD
• Check out an informative read in “The Everything® Rock & Blues Piano Book with CD, Master riffs, licks, and blues styles from New Orleans to New York City”