For more than three decades, Lee Williams & the
Spiritual QC'S made music for little but love-love of
the Gospel message, memorable melodies, sweet harmony
and a beat that just refused to let feet sit still.
And none of that has changed one bit.
At the same time, almost everything else surrounding
this dynamic foursome in the last six years could read
like a great novel, if it wasn't the honest-to-goodness
truth. Hot on the heels of Lee & the QC'S smash album,
Good Time, featuring the national, chart-topping hit,
"You Didn't Have To," comes their eagerly anticipated
MCG Records follow-up, Right On Time, a riveting,
13-song testimony of love and faith, running a gamut
from solid, rocking R&B/Gospel to heartfelt balladry and
powerful anthems. The quartet's exciting, high-energy,
R&B and rock-flavored Gospel quartet sound continues to
captivate listeners, crossing all walks of life,
ethnicity and denomination.
On an album filled with hits-in-the-making, several cuts
in particular stand out for Lee. The title cut of Right
On Time-an instant radio smash-rocks with joyous
abandon. "We think we've got to have something, and we
want it right now," says Lee. "I think God wants to
show us that He knows far better than we do what we need
and when. And when we look back on all He's done for
us, we can see that his working in our lives is on His
time, not ours. And He's always right on time."
"God So Loved" is a soul-stirring ballad. "No matter
what we do, or don't do-should do or shouldn't-God still
has mercy on us and makes a way for us," Lee says. "He
shows his love to us every day, in so many ways. And
whenever I might lose touch with that fact, I can be
sure it's me who's failing and falling short. Never
"Nobody But You" puts a profound message of God's
omnipotence to an irresistible, roof-rattling R&B
groove. "No matter what we do, or don't do-should do or
shouldn't-God still has mercy on us and makes a way for
us," Lee says. "He shows his love to us every day, in
so many ways. And whenever I might lose touch with that
fact, I can be sure it's me who's failing and falling
short. Never Him."
"Jesus Made A Way" is a driving, compelling profession
of faith. "I've had times-and I think a lot of people
have-where there was something I truly needed, but just
couldn't see where I would find the resources it
required," says Lee. "So you go to bed and pray on it,
and turn it over to God, and when you wake up the next
morning either your phone rings, or you meet somebody,
or something develops through which that need is met.
Some way, somehow, He's worked it out that somebody
comes to your rescue. That's no coincidence. That
Jesus making a way."
Lee was born and raised in Tupelo, Mississippi-where he
still lives today-in a strong, church-going household
where making music was a regular part of daily life.
Lee had an uncle in a quartet called the Gospel Stars
that was popular in and around Tupelo. When he was only
seven, Lee and his three older brothers formed their own
quartet, listening to and replicating the songs they
heard their elders singing.
The boys were talented and became frequent guests at the
Gospel Stars performances, becoming known as the Gospel
Star Juniors. It was that same uncle who formed the
first Spiritual QC'S, which included Lee's brother
Willie on guitar. When that act disbanded in 1964, Lee
and Willie hung onto the name and assembled new
personnel to round out the group.
Lee and the QC'S built a strong local and regional
following, but chose to perform only on weekends and
holidays, maintaining their family, church and community
lives in Tupelo. It wasn't until a self-produced
cassette of some of the group's songs made its way into
the hands of a Memphis, Tenn., radio announcer in the
early '90s that the QC'S world began to change.
Lee and his partners were surprised to find that not
only had their tape been getting some airplay in
Memphis, but that listeners were calling to request it
and to find out where it could be purchased. That
response led to release on a small local record label.
The group's popularity continued to grow and by the
mid-'90s nearly all the members' free time was spent
playing dates all over the Southeast. A show in
Birmingham, Alabama, in 1996, was attended by a
representative of MCG Records, who took an immediate
interest in the Spiritual QC'S, and by that summer, the
foursome-Lee, Al Hollis, Leonard Shumpart and Roger
McKinney-were signed to the label and at work on their
first album, Love Will Go All the Way.
"I was amazed, because I had never looked at our music
as a career," says the ever-modest Lee. "I had been
writing songs for 15-20 years before we even recorded
anything. I wasn't thinking about the music business.
I was just doing it because I loved it."
Almost as soon as the album hit the streets and the
airwaves, Lee & the QC'S soared from a solid regional
following in and around their Mississippi home and the
Southeastern United States, to national renown almost
overnight. Still packing ever-larger venues across
America, and performing more than 200 dates a year, the
group ignites almost explosive excitement and
"It was Gospel quartet music that played a major role in
the birth of R&B, soul and rock'n'roll," says Lee. "They
all borrowed from us. We've cranked it up considerably
since the old days, but the heart of our sound has been
consistent for years. If it sounds familiar…if it makes
you wanna get up and dance, or maybe shed a tear here
and there…well, it ought to. This is where it all
Staying close to his roots, Lee still occasionally
revisits his truck-driving days. "Every now and then, if
the company needs an extra driver, and I've got a couple
of days off, I'll take a drive," he says. "That's a
real get-away…a mind-relaxer for me, and spending time
in the truck stops keeps in touch with the real world,
not to mention giving me good ideas for songs."
As the pride of Tupelo is embraced across America and
beyond, Lee works all the harder to keep his eyes on
the Giver of all great gifts. "I never planned on any
of this recognition and success," says Lee. "I was
happy working Monday through Friday and playing music
around the area on weekends. But when all this came
about, I took it as God telling me it was time to drop
everything else and go totally for Him, and that's what
I've done. I've tried not to let it affect who I am,
and if there have been any changes, I hope they've been
changes for the better. I'm just doing my best to stay
focused on what He would have me do."