When Crystal Blue Persuasion by Tommy James and The Shondells and Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On were released in 1969 and 1971, the United States was gripped by Civil Rights turmoil. Not much changed when Eurtis Williams covered those songs for Day by Day, his debut album.
Day by Day was released in March, a time of uncertainty with the global spread of the COVID-19 which has killed over 100,000 people in the US. Two months later, there was racial strife in the country following the murder of George Floyd, an African-American man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
Williams, a guitarist known in South Florida music circles as Purple, was a boy in Jamaica when the songs came out. They resonated with him then, and still do.
He decided to cover Crystal Blue Persuasion and What’s Going On, reggae style.
“Is two songs mi always like. Di lyrics are powerful and still relevant to what’s going on in di world,” said Williams.
Crystal Blue Persuasion called for unity at a time when the US was reeling from Viet Nam.protests and the assassinations of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, who many presumed would be the Democratic nominee for president in 1968.
What’s Going was Gaye’s passionate statement supporting the movement for change in the US.
The other eleven songs on Day by Day, including the title track and Wicked Man, were written and produced by Williams who is best known to South Florida music fans as a member of the Millennium Band.
That unit has backed elite acts such as Freddie McGregor, Sanchez and Glen Washington in the US. Prior to that, Williams was a stalwart musician on Jamaica’s North Coast tourist scene.
After backing other artists for over 35 years, he began work on Day by Day in 2019.
“Is a great feeling to finally get it out. I think it’s every musician goal to release an album and I hope people will like it,” he said.