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| 1 February 2013 | Reply

Label: Alive Natural Sound Records
Released: October 2012
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Andre Williams - Life CD

Andre “Mr Rhythm” Williams looks a dapper son-ova-bitch on the cover of his umpteenth album, a million miles removed from the desperate and almost destroyed faded star who spent much of the Eighties homeless and begging for small change to support his near-fatal drug addiction.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and with a few new albums under his belt, Mr Rhythm may never again straddle the heights of fame that he did in the Fifties and Sixties, when he recorded hits such as Bacon Fact, Jail Bait and Pig Snoots for the Fortune and Chess labels (amongst others), but he is in rude form on this disc, his deep, honeyed voice as seductive as it’s ever been.

Opener Stuck In The Middle is a surging and insistent Seventies blues soul classic, Matthew Smith’s strident stabs of guitar punctuating Jim Diamond’s fluid and funky bassline while Williams’ familiar talking-singing voice does the rest.  Hypnotic and riveting.

But’n again takes the listener on a trip with one foot in Muddy Waters’ foray into electric blues on Electric Mud, the other in Isaac Hayes’ Seventies soul classics.  It’s invigorating stuff, and more urgent and relevant than most new music from people a fraction of Williams’ age.

Don’t Kick My Dog goes further down the Muddy Waters road and is, given Williams’ history, probably an obscure sexual reference of some sort!

Mr Rhythm’s sense of humour comes to the fore on the classic Blame It On Obama, in which he pokes fun at the naysayers, blaming everything from the economy to chickens not laying eggs to your wife who “won’t give you none” on the current U.S. President.  Laugh out loud hilarious.

It’s Only You That I Love sees Williams stretching out into a doo wop love song, which shows his voice to be a little cracked – unsurprising given his age (76) and lifestyle choices.  His charm pulls him through though.

Money Ain’t Got No Loyalty takes him in a reggae direction, before the band crank out a garage rock version of Williams’ Shake A Tail Feather – yep, THAT Shake A Tail Feather, written by Mr Rhythm and taken to the top of the charts by Ray Charles via The Blues Brothers movie!  This version is a Bo Diddley stomper, with narry a piano in sight.

Life closes with Ty The Fly, a quirky little metaphorical tale which is more beat laden than the rest of the album’s tracks.

Life is pretty damn good for this 76 year old veteran of six decades in and out of the record business.


Category: CD Reviews

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