Album Review – The Williams Brothers – “Memories To Burn”

For your listening consideration is this somewhat curious, but certainly enticing offering from a duo that was once, no longer really, but nonetheless taps into something eternal in musical truth to deliver an album that brings you back and entertains wickedly. It’s called Memories to engraveand if you’re one of those souls who feel uplifted whenever the sanguine harmonies of The Every Brothers or other close singing duos hit your ears, this will suit you perfectly.

The Williams Brothers were originally signed to Warner Bros. from 1987 to 1994 and released three albums. Although the label’s instinct was right that the recording of twin brothers Andrew and David Williams could result in magic – and in order not to stifle that magic, the musical accompaniment had to be kept simple – apart from the semi -hit “Can’t Cry Hard Enough”. from 1992, the project came and went without much noticeable recognition.

The new album Memories to engrave is just as much about producer, songwriter and Lone Justice member Marvin Etzioni finally trying to make the magic of Andrew and David Williams work in the studio as anything else. The two brothers no longer really perform together and have mostly evolved. But Etzioni was there for the band’s original era, co-writing “Can’t Cry Hard Enough” and others, and almost as a challenge or a passion project for himself, wanted to capture what these brothers are capable of. for posterity.

Along with producing the album, Marvin Etzioni also wrote four of the album’s tracks. But the genius of the album is not in trying to take the two-part blood harmonies of the Williams Brothers and sell them to the modern music market as was done before in the days of Warner Bros., but rather go in the opposite direction and try to capture the original spirit that made the Everly Brothers so important that the duo became freshman inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and eventually the Country Music Hall of Famers. .

Writing or procuring the right crop of quality songs, and recording it all live and in one take, just like the Every Brothers did, makes for a listening experience that is as haunting as it is rewarding. However Memories to engrave is officially 28 years in the making, it really feels like a relic from 60-70 years ago unearthed and dusted in the trash of a forgotten music collection on an abandoned farmhouse blending into a field in Central America, and animated to evoke powerful memories of better times in music and life.

Robbie Fulks’ songwriting is employed for the opening track “Tears Only Run One Way,” which immediately sucks you in with its vintage sound and luscious close harmonies. Another excellent selection from Robbie Fulks in “She Took a Lot of Pills (And Died)” also makes the cut, along with “Let The Mystery Be” by Iris Dement and “Death of a Clown” by The Kinks. The duo also writes for themselves on the song “She’s Got That Look In Her Eyes”.

Song selection was really key to making this project work, and she succeeds by choosing well-written compositions that also fit into the vernacular of the Sun Studios era that they seek to evoke, while the steel guitar of the great Greg Leisz offers peppy compliments. With the exception of Leisz, Marvin Etzioni on bass, drummer Don Heffington and Andrew Williams on acoustic guitar, there is no other musical accompaniment or overdubs. It’s all raw and real, with flawless performance delivered by The Williams Brothers, though audiophiles may want a little more clarity and separation in the tracks.

The longest song on Memories to engrave is 2 1/2 minutes, and four of the songs arrive in less than 2 minutes. But in 30 minutes, Marvin Etzioni and The Williams Brothers do more than some work for weeks to fail to accomplish, failing to capture those cores of human emotion that so much modern music lacks in their attempts to misguided evolution. and innovation.

Music has to grow and evolve to some degree, but when it strays too far from the eternal truths of music that the Williams Brothers capture here, it falters, whereas an album like Memories to engrave which is isolated from trend and time will always endure.