Recommended if You Like
El' Willie Isaac Hayes

Genres You Will Love
Blues: Soul-Blues Moods: Solo Male Artist Easy Listening: Adult contemporary Blues: Rhythm & Blues Blues: Funky Blues

By Location
United States - Florida United States - Georgia Sell your music everywhere

El' Willie

Hard worker, all day all night, every day, every night, no nonsence, straight to the point, call it, like I see it kinda guy, pretty much a loner .. sometimes misunderstood but only by those who are not really in his inner circumference, and especially if you're trying to read something into what he is saying, instaed of hearing what he is saying, and taking it for what he is saying, no more , or no less.. because for the most part , it really cut and dry, black or white , there are no gray areas .. Some may call him arrogant, but El' call it, straight to the point, raw, can be abrassive, uncut, and sometimes rated xxx, but only if needed.. tell it like it is , and sometimes like it can hurt ,that's if and only if , you don't really want to hear the truth,, So one of El's suggestions is , " don't ask me , if you really don't want to know , you figga dill me ?.."

Songwriter, Arranger, Producer, Sax & Keyboard Player, Singer William Travis aka "El Willie" began his professional career began in the early 70's, when he joined The Original Drifters as a sax player. In the late 70's he left The Drifters to venture into other types of music. So in the late 70's he joined the renown group called, The Cornelius Brothers & Sisters Rose as a sax player and band leader. He was with that group approx. two years, and at that time the same guy that was managing The Drifters, Cornelius Bros & Sister Rose, was now managing The Flamingos, and they needed a singer. So he asked him to do him a favor and sing with that group. So he sang with The Flamingos as a background singer and choreographer for about nine months but at the time the doo-woop style wasn't for him. At the request of Eddie Cornelius he returned to the group to become the band director, background singer, and choreographer. He was with the group a total of nine years. In 1991 he branched out on his own and formed a four piece jazz band. In 1994 moved to Atlanta, GA where he became an established songwriter who has written, arranged and produced songs such as, "All My Baby Left Me A Note, My Guitar And A Cookie Jar" and "Stand Up In It" for Theodis Ealey. Which remained in the Billboard Magazine at the number one spot for three months as the number one song in single sales , and he wrote "I'm A Man On A Mission" for Willie Hill , El' also added some lyrics to an already very solid layed track as El said by Bruce Billips on" Come Back Home," for Lebrado.

El' Willie released his first C.D. on M.V.P. Records out of West Palm Beach Fla. in 2002 entitled, "EL ' Over Easy." Since then from 2003 up until now, 2016 El' Willie have realeased 13 full cds. and have managed to stay in the top 5 since the Up Close & Personal Cd which was released in 2011. that had a song call Body calling , that remained in the number 1 spot for at least a year and stayed in the top 5 for another year and a half. since 2011 one of El's songs are always in the top five on the Southern Soul radio charts .. there is a radio chart page on this website, so you can check it for yourself.. El' did a remake of one of James Brown song Try Me, in 2015 and the song is still floating in and out of the #1 & 2 spot on the charts

July 1, 2017: Re-Posted from Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews

July 1, 2017:
EL' WILLIE: The Game Changer ( El' Willie / Twilight Records)
Four Stars **** Distinguished Effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

If you're burned out from listening to too much Pokey Bear, I have just the album for you: El' Willie's new The Game Changer. The first time I put this disc in the machine, I was blown away. I had been stressed, and even when I wasn't feeling the stress, I had been listening to pretty much exclusively, admittedly terrific, fast-jumping music like Jeter Jones' jam, "Single Footin', music--in other words--that chafed my butt if I was sitting down on it. El' Willie's slow-jam set was like nothing I had heard in a long time: slow, peaceful, lounging music, meditative and soothing, like an aural hot-tub and massage.

And I wasn't just blown away by the peacefulness of the music. I was staggered by the fact it was El' Willie. In my years of reviewing southern soul, this artist had been all over the map, up and down in ways that made "erratic" an understatement. I didn't even remember the extremes of his fluctuations. If anyone had told me I'd once awarded El' Willie Best Male Vocalist of the year, I'd have said, "Nahhh," but I had, and I did--in 2007 for his vocal on "You Got Me Where You Want Me." (Sorry, but the YouTube link isn't the much better original version.) And if anyone had reminded me that I once gave an artist a one-star review ("A Disappointment. Avoid."), I'd have said, "Nahhh. Never." But I had and I did, for El' Willie's The Anthem, which--subsequently--El' never distributed as a full album.

There was, however, a harbinger, of what was to come: the song "Nobody," or, "Ain't Never Had Nobody To Love Me Like You Do" in....

Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .

-------DECEMBER 2016-------
"Nobody"-----El' Willie

Ever wonder what Willie would sound like on a professionally-produced record? Pretty impressive, as it turns out. Willie told me he sent me the wrong mix, and I said, "No, you didn't." A long, leisurely, Herbie Hancock-ish, instrumental intro leads into El's intimate, velvet-baritone vocal, and it's worth the wait--justified in the way you would wait to be ushered into a bishop's inner chambers. Reminiscent of the jazz/blues of Charles Brown.

Listen to El' Willie singing "Nobody" on YouTube.

What first impressed me about "Nobody" was the audacious length of the instrumental introduction, a "Summer Madness"-like keyboard-synth solo that only a very confident recording artist would dare foist on the listener. And when the solo segued into the vocal, El's intimate voice--double-tracked on the chorus--more than justified the leisurely preamble, coalescing in one sweet and successful catharsis.

What I didn't know at the time the "Nobody" single launched was that El' produced it all. And what I had taken to be a more professional producer's "help" was that darned Willie just doing his thing--writing, arranging, producing and almost everything else short of standing on his head--only at a much higher and consistent level than in the past.

Yes, the arrangements are what mainstream critics call "sparsely produced," and those dreaded synthetic horns rear their "Dollar General" (I was going to say "nickel and dime" but I guess that term is outdated) heads once in awhile. And yet, in its simplistic way, each song is flawless, a distinct identity--genuine and self-contained--and El' Willie communicates each with aplomb, with the dominant sound a meditative organ that perfectly fits the contemplative tone. The scope of the album is panoramic (the Willie has been busy) and the tunes float into one another like ripples in a quiet lily pond.

I'm especially impressed by Willie's delivery--how he sets up a song. I don't know how to describe it other than El' Willie now sounds natural. That is, there are no misguided song choices, no blips, no failures of nerve or execution.

In the past, a voice-over like the one that starts and intermittently emerges in "Sexy Lady (Remix)" would strike a false note, a flaw that might originate in the arrangement as much as in the words--it was hard to tell. The whistling in "Sexy Lady," for instance, might seem like a mis-step. But either I'm getting awfully used to The Willie or the whistling--simple and crude as it is--works to perfection, meaning I like hearing it again and again. The addition of the striking Clinton Powell guitar solo on "Sexy Lady" also tells you how much you've missed in the form of embellishment from Willie's historically routine fare.

Another stand-out track is "Caller I.D.," in which Willie sings--

"Strange as it seems,
That's the wrong number.
It was the right number
For me."

--over a melody so precious you want to put a tiara on it. Accomplished vocalists like O.B. Buchana or Tre' Williams or Nelson Curry--perennially starved for first-rate material--could transform "Caller I.D." or other of the songs on the set into southern soul blockbusters.

The mid-tempo "Dance" is the most brisk of the CD's tunes, along with the mid-tempo title track, "The Game Changer," perhaps my least favorite of the album's eleven distinct songs. Everything else is balladeering. (The compelling and durable "Feel Real Good" is done twice--an original and a remix.) The touching "Love Story" and "My Baby" (with a nod to the Temps' "My Girl") are drenched in a sincerity neither overblown nor sophomoric.

These songs are so good, many of the tunes don't even utilize the hooks available to be improvised within their structures. Take, for example, the barely-audible guitar riff/progression on "Feel Real Good," which would transform the song entirely if accentuated. Like many of the songs on the CD, the tune exists like an unopened treasure chest of musical possibilities.

Willie has recorded songs like "Love Land," with its story line of a woman calling him up at two a.m. in the morning, in the past and they've more often than not come across awkwardly and somewhat self-serving. Here, in the seamless context of this essentially flawless set centered on love and friendship, it comes across as genuine.

Listening to "You Were Always On My Mind," I couldn't help wondering, "Isn't that a Willie Nelson song?" And sure enough, El' gives credit to Willie Nelson in the credits. The selection fits, too. El' writes ballads with the same kind of affection and proprietariness the legendary country singer/songwriter does. I also note a resemblance in the synthetic strings to some of Sir Charles Jone's early slow jams.

The Game Changer is a tapestry of refined mood--an anomaly in the last decade of southern soul music. You can almost go back to the reasons you once loved Dave Brubeck's and Paul Desmond's "Take Five"--and the way that sound influenced the soft jazz of the seventies--in the "peace" this music emanates. What this means is that you can put on this album for the same reason the "grown folks" used to put on Johnny Mathis or Nat King Cole: for dim-light, wine-and-dine romantic background that never falters in its steady gushing of intimate ambience. And yet, it's southern soul, it's still El' Willie, southern soul's iconic version of "smooth contemporary".

One note of caution. The two gospel songs that close out the set--although solid on their own merits--do break the romantic ambience, and the more invested you are in that mood, the more compelled you'll be to skip them.

--Daddy B. Nice

Sample/Buy El' Willie's THE GAME CHANGER album at CD Baby.

Read Daddy B. Nice's Artist to El' Willie.


May 29, 2017:
New Album Alert!

Sample/Buy El' Willie's new THE GAME CHANGER CD at CD Baby.


1. Feel Real Good

2. Nobody

3. Come On Over To My Place

4. Love Story

5. The Game Changer

6. Dance

7. My Baby

8. Caller I.D.

9. Love Land

10. You Were (Always on My Mind)

11. Sexy Lady (feat. Mr. Clinton Powell)

12. Feel Real Good (Remix )

13. Jesus: The Anointed One, Pt. 1 (feat. Elder Lizzie M. Byrd)

14. Jesus: The Anointed One, Pt. 2 (feat. Elder Lizzie M. Byrd)