Beau Williams

Bodacious

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Beau Williams has enjoyed his greatest commercial success as a gospel singer; some people in the Christian market don't even know that he once recorded secular music. But in fact, Williams did record some secular albums for Capitol in the '80s (before he decided to concentrate on gospel exclusively), and one of them was 1984's Bodacious. Commercially, Williams didn't get very far as a secular artist, but Bodacious (an R&B album with rock and pop leanings) definitely has its moments, even though it wasn't a big seller. The stand-out track is clearly "C'est la Vie," which was a major hit for Robbie Nevil in 1986; Nevil co-wrote the song, but Williams was actually the first to record it, and unfortunately, Capitol's A&R department didn't agree with Williams when he recommended that "C'est la Vie" be released as a single. So "C'est la Vie" didn't become a hit until Nevil recorded it two years later, but that doesn't mean that Williams' version isn't appealing. Bodacious has its share of romantic ballads, which combine R&B and adult contemporary in a middle of the road fashion that is not unlike what Lionel Ritchie and James Ingram were doing in 1984. But the most memorable songs on Bodacious (which Funky Town Grooves reissued on CD in 2011) are the uptempo ones, and Williams brings a definite rock edge to urban/dance offerings such as "Danger Zone," "Dark and Lonely Nights," and "Slave." None of those tunes were hits, but with the right promotion, they could have been. When all was said and done, however, Bodacious only made it to number 56 on Billboard's R&B albums chart. But Bodacious, although slightly inconsistent, has more ups than downs, and it's good to see Funky Town Grooves bringing the album back into print.

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