Sincerity and perception are two qualities quite evident in the soul-searching renditions of Miss Sondra Williams in "God Bless the Child," "He's Got the Whole World in his Hands," and "He Included Me." She is so hip in today's style of pop music, that many of the cuts seem commercial - "Heartaches" and "Need Somebody," for example.
|Atlantic LP # R-003 (1967)|
Sondra Williams from Stockton, Calif., had been singing since her childhood days in the church of her father, Rev. Austin E. Williams. Together with Andre Crouch (as he is billed on the LP, actually Andraé Edward Crouch, who contributed two songs for Sondra's album) and Billy Preston on organ she performed as member of the COGICs (»Church of God in Christ Singers«), who recorded two singles for the Simpson label (231, 273) between 1962 and 1965 and finally had an album out for Vee-Jay, in 1966 (Exodus 54: »Presenting the Cogics«). Using her own name Sondra Williams had a single, likewise on Vee-Jay (# 941: »He's Got The Whole World In His Hands« / »Heartache«), part of Vee-Jay's gospel-output. Then she recorded, as far as I could ascertain, nothing more until the time of the Atlantic LP.
|»Just We Two« (Gordy LP 945, 1969)|
God Bless The Child«. (There is another, male, vocalist on this recording, which I could not identify.)
The second song that you can listen to in the following is »Need Somebody«. The sleeve notes credit this song to Sondra Williams (»Trad. Arr. Sondra Williams«), and indeed a song by this title is not known, before 1970, except from this LP. I cannot say whether it is identical with (or similar to) another song, viz. »You're Gonna Need Somebody On Your Side«, recorded by the (Famous) Davis Sisters in 1958 on Savoy # 4101 (rec. on Aug. 23, 1957). Whatever. Billboard qualified this song neatly as »commercial«, and this is correct if this is to mean that it sounds rather like R&B than gospel, being thus a good example for »soul-gospel« (or whatever you like to call it). Sondra's faultless performance and the secular appeal of this and similar songs on the album may have been responsible for procuring Sondra the Motown contract she got the following year. Both songs, as the entire LP, have been recorded on March 21, 1967, at Audio Arts Studio, Hollywood. The session was produced by Richard Simpson who had already produced the COGICs.
Sondra Williams: »Need Somebody« / »God Bless The Child« from the Atlantic LP # R-003 (1967):