Blues & Rhythm
The Gospel Truth
Issue No. 194 / November 2004
Andre Williams: Rhythm & Blues
By Tony Watson
Black Rose (48:47)
She Don’t Eat Meat / Honest I Do / Shake A Tailfeather / Rock Me Baby / Just Because Of A Kiss / Hallelujah / Night Time Is The Right Time /I Hear You Knockin’ / Tell Her For Me / I’m a Man / Blue Monday / Boston
I must confess I was ready to give this release a panning.Having heard some real dogs from Andre over the last few years, I’d steeled myself for the worst. However I had no cause to worry, this album is a good ‘un!
Recorded the old-fashioned way, ‘live’ in the studio, re-doing the takes as necessary with minimal overdubbing.The sound is warm and clean, unlike so many modern-day albums.Producer Tom Hambridge assembled a bunch of prime musicians, amongst whom Dick Laurie (sax), Tom Jesser (piano) and Ted Harvey (drums) stand out, not that the rest of the band, including Silvertone Steve on guitar, Zac Pike on rhythm and Kenny ‘K’ Krumbholz on bass, together with background vocalists Liz Hannon and Marcia Devine – and Hambridge himself on second drums – are slouches.The whole band gel like they’d played together for years, whilst Andre himself seems relaxed and in good form, his vocals sounding natural and un-forced.
Williams, never the most convincing singer, nevertheless had, and still has, a style that is able to hit the spot when it comes to dirty low-down greasy rhythm and blues.He is right at home on this album of mainly R&B standards – especially with such sympathetic accompaniment and production.The album was cut in one day earlier this year (I believe), in Boston, Massachusetts.Andre, 68 years old, sounds as fresh and passionate as a man half his age.The band members were obviously enjoying themselves too, playing with enthusiasm and fervor throughout.The choice of material is spot on, being mainly covers of 1950s favourites.
Covers apart, the album’s opener, ‘She Don’t Eat Meat’ (a collaboration between producer Hambridge and Delbert McClinton) is a very clever ditty about Andre’s baby, who ‘don’t eat meat, but sho’ does like the bone’ and as Andre proclaims is ‘finger lickin’ good!’The closer, the self-penned ‘Boston,’ is Andre’s tribute to ‘Beantown,’ and is somewhat typical of his 1950s output, a half-sung, half-spoken number with Andre leading the backing vocalists on a chanted ‘B-O-S-T-O-N’ line for most of the song, with riffing sax in the background, whilst the other self-penned number, ‘Hallelujah,’ is again typical Williams fare, with Andre asking and imploring his woman to ‘give it to me baby.’Sleaze of the highest order.
Apart from his revival of his own 1957 Fortune recording, ‘Just Because Of A Kiss,’ all other numbers are recreations of R&B classics by the likes of Jimmy Reed, B.B. King, Smiley Lewis, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino and others.Whilst the originals are never going to be beaten, Andre’s versions here take them on a highly listenable outing.Nothing too clever, just solid versions that remind us just how good numbers from the 1950s should sound.All in all, this is a most enjoyable album that is perfect for playing in the car whilst on a long trip.Full credit to all concerned (For more info visit www.blackroserecords.net).