Steve Williams – Deja Vu
CD review by Tony Smith
TN2517 – $20 TH154 Feb 23
This is a slim CD with scant information provided on the album sleeve except the track titles and writing credits.
The advantage of this approach should be that it keeps the price of the album down.
The disadvantage is that it is difficult to find other reliable information about the musician.
While there are many people around named Williams, I assume this Steve Williams is the noted guitarist and vocalist with the band ‘Wa Wa Nee’ and supergroup ‘The Party Boys’.
These bands were hits with fans of pop rock, funk and new wave and they featured on shows such as Countdown.
‘The Party Boys’ featured many accomplished musicians from established but ‘resting’ groups.
The title Deja Vu suggests that Williams is reprising some of the great hits of the time, but this is uncertain.
Eight of the tracks are by Williams alone: ‘Stormy’, ‘Deja Vu’, ‘People’, ‘Potato Man’, ‘Little Lamb’, ‘Real World’, ‘Stars in your Eyes’ and ‘Bouquet of Life’.
‘Pump’ is credited to Powell/Williams and ‘Ronnie’ to Kenny/Williams.
The sleeve notes do not attribute either vocal or instrumental backing to anyone, so perhaps we should assume everything – vocals, harmonies, guitar, keys, percussion – is multi-tracked by Williams.
Nor do they mention track lengths.
My CD player says that the album runs some 54 minutes.
‘Stormy’ has a metallish air with power chords and voice high, close to falsetto.
‘Deja Vu’ begins with acoustic guitar and the voice is lower.
The Rolling Stones would be proud of ‘Pump’, a recitative blues rock.
‘People’ is blues in the cool jazz style.
Williams’ versatility as performer and arranger begins to show in ‘Ronnie’, which has a funky soul feel about it.
Keys and drum feature on ‘Potato Man’.
‘Real World’ is a contemplative track with a relaxed keys intro.
‘Stars in Your Eyes’ features drum and bass intro and an echo effect to the voice.
For me, the best song is ‘Little Lamb’ which has a jazz guitar backing to some of the brightest and best delivered lyrics.
Another very interesting track is ‘Bouquet of Life’ – a lengthy piece over 8 minutes.
It begins gently with celeste sound over a drone and at about three minutes, segues into a Bach-like organ.
Then there comes guitar and voice with an acid rock flavour reminiscent of the legendary Jimi Hendrix.
Fans nostalgic about the pop and rock that came out of Australia in the late twentieth century will enjoy this album.