Reverend Scottie Wiliams, Sr. – Beams of Heaven: Gospel Hymns and Songs | Album Review

Reverend Scottie Williams, Sr. – Beams of Heaven: Gospel Hymns & Songs

The Sirens Records, LLC

11 Tracks  – 55 minutes

Scottie Miller, Jr. was born on March 22, 1967, in Greenwood, Mississippi. He was one of three children born to the Reverend R.L. Williams and his wife, Mary Ann. His father was the pastor at the Calvary Baptist Church in Yazoo City, MS. Scottie grew up singing in the choir at the church. Williams embraced his motto early in life – “A Man on a Mission from the Master”.

His studies took him to the New Orleans Theological Seminary; the Sanford University Extension in Carrolton, AL; the Ministerial Institute & College in West Point, MS; and the Baddour Management Seminary in Memphis, TN. Numerous church assignments including his establishment of the Christian Faith Baptist Church in Sackville followed. IN 1988, he moved to his Chicago where was ultimately promoted to his present position as the Senior Pastor at the Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago.

The Christ Tabernacle became famous for the Thompson Community Singers which was led by the church’s Reverend Milton Brunson. That choir became famous when it started in 1948 as a ground for vocalists from all religious denominations to come together in one massive choir.  In the midst of the choir was Elsa Harris on piano and Richard Gibbs on bass and keyboards, who have recorded their own solo performances as well as backing other gospel performers.  These two have continued their careers with Reverend Williams on this recording, his debut album.   The album was recorded live at the church on March 5, 2024.

Elsa and Richard determined that Reverend Williams must be heard. Both provide backing vocals on the album with Richard playing the organ. Scottie has a deep, rich voice. He is further joined by Kenard Pulliam on drums, with backing vocals by Felicia Coleman-Evans and Armirris Collins.

The album is a mixture of traditional gospel hymns and more contemporary penned hymns. the album opens with the traditional song “When the Gates Swing Open”. That is followed by “I Am Redeemed”, “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand”, “Your Mother Loves Her Children”, Trouble in My Way”, The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow”, He Will Remember Me”, “In the Garden”, “Beams of Heaven”, “Pass Me Not”, and concludes with the six minute “He Knows Just How Much We Can Bear”.

Scottie’s vocals show an emotional depth, expressing joy or pain, as the song’s themes demand. As might be expected from a gospel recording, the backing vocals are generally call and response.

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