Andre Williams- Movin’ On, Silky, The Black Godfather, Aphrodisiac

Posted: April 20, 2010 in Uncategorized
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The soul/blues/R+B genre is well known for being the land where musicians don’t get “washed up”. In fact, the style has a history of seeing 50, 60, 70, even sometimes 80-something year old stars who reinvent themselves with a ferocity that makes the lame “retro” posers sound and feel like incompetent cover acts. Folks such as  RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough,Solomon Burke,and Nathaniel Mayer have planted their well worn soles firmly into the ground of modern day relevance by making rough and soulful  music that avoids any sense of novelty. Andre Williams is easily considered one of the most notable legends who comprise the aforementioned stable.

Born in 1939 Alabama,  the legacy of Andre Williams dates all the way back to 1955.  While still just a sixteen year old orphan, Williams took the solo journey to Detroit where he made the aquaintance of Jack and Devora Brown. The Browns were owners of Fortune Records, a small record label run out of the back of a barber shop. Though he went on to become lead singer of Fortune band The Five Dollars, his most successful singles of the late 50’s were solo efforts. Bacon Fat and the legendary statutory rape cautionary jam, Jail Bait made such a name for Williams that Epic Records expressed interest. The Epic released Bacon Fat single reached number 9 on the R&B charts in 1957.

The 1960’s saw Fortune Records releasing an LP of Williams’ singles entitled Jail Bait. Throughout that decade, Williams worked with artists such as Stevie Wonder, The Contours, and Edwin Starr. He released a number of singles and LP’s through various labels including Avin, Wingate, and Chess.

The 1970’s brought collaborations with Parliament, Funkadelic, and Ike Turner. The close association Williams developed with Turner instigated a drug habit that led to periods of addiction and homelessness that would plague Williams throughout the 1980’s. During this time, Williams all but dropped out of the music industry.

Williams’ 1996  comeback album, Mr. Rhythm, was a collection of new renditions of old classics. The album was less than definitive and produced minimal fanfare. However, 1998’s Silky saw Andre Williams boldly venturing into new territory. The album, dubbed the “world’s sleaziest album ever” took Williams classic raw soul sound and energized it with dirty punk rock n roll style. Silky was the beginning of the new phase in the career of Andre Williams. 

Over the next decade, Williams went on to release five more albums, varying in musical style and record label. From 1999’s country heavy Red Dirt to his 2006 straight up funk Aphrodisiac, the decade proved to be Williams’ most prolific.

The rise/fall/rise again story of Andre Williams was documented in a 2007 documentary entitled Agile Mobile Hostile:A Year With Andre Williams. Check out the trailer and then enjoy a listen to the various sounds and times of the man.

Movin On- Greasy and Explicit Soul Movers (1956-1970)


The Black Godfather -2000

Aphrodisiac- 2006

  1. DefChef says:

    I love Andre Williams, but I’m pretty sure that it was Mick Collins et al that really re-ignited his comeback, b/c everything since “Silky” has just stunk out loud. “Black Godfather” is un-listenable, and I love JSBX. As for “Aphrodisiac,” it sounds thin and soul-less.

    But gawt-DAMN did he make some good stuff back in the day.

    Annnnyway…love the site, keep up the good work!

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