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Andre Williams | Black Godfather | review | soul | rock | Lollipop
Black Godfather (In The Red)
by Jon Sarre
What made 1998's Silky the best muthahumpin' record of that year and mebbe a couple before or since was this very real'n'relentless PUSH it had. With Mr. Andre Williams and Mick'n'Dan from the Gories sweatin', gruntin', bangin' on beer bottles & car parts, makin' noise into one slingin'shit sex bomb after another, how could songs like "Pussy Stank" or "Agile, Mobile & Hostile" be anything but? I mean, here's a genius/maniac wingin' his way back from crackhead oblivion to reclaim his throne as the Redd Fuckin' Foxx of Rock'n'Roll... Everyone else is gonna look like a chump, right?
Allow the Andre saga to drift back to present tense'n'the guy's a stock victim of his own success. Everybody loved Silky (especially strippers), Jon Spencer saw more badasssatude in the guy than in RL Burnside and Rufus Thomas combined, so he tapped Williams as Blues Explosion support last summer, hell, he's played Vegas, he cut a country record! With all his new friends and fans, ya'd think The Black Godfather'd be the big breakout super hit Andre Williams komeback kid kompletion welcome to the top yet again Mr. Williams, so sorry to hear Mr. Turner will not be joining you for another eight to ten, hell, loadsa them friends'n'fans even help out: Spencer, Mick Collins' Dirtbombs, The Compulsive Gamblers (aka The Oblivians), The Cheater Slicks, The Countdowns (Williams' tip-top backing band on the road), plus Steven MacKay (he played sax on the Stooges' Funhouse LP and then sorta dropped off the map for about thirty years). Sounds swell, but in reality, the various jumpin' backing bands on various tracks turn the whole thing into an incoherent circus based around Blackspoitation hommages'n'Andre's phrasology. The flow that made Silky so fuckin' tight ain't here, see, so The Black Godfather just don't stick to the ribs like ya'd expect it to.
Fuckin' disappointin' in the final reckonin' (speakin' as a fan and not as some jerk who wants the guy to fall on his ass), y'know, but The Black Godfather just ain't that good. The Countdowns stuff all hangs in as the most organic rock-style and the boys all know Andre really well, so mebbe it shoulda been all Andre & The Countdowns (plus MacKay's sax, which works well when he blows it). The Dirtbombs shit is great, but it's only two songs worth, ditto for The Compulsive Gamblers 'cept only one of their "duets" with Williams, "I Hate Cha" is really up to Oblivian-type standards. The Blues Explosion stuff coulda been just as effective with Wesley Willis up front, whilst the lone Williams/Cheater Slicks track, "Can't Find My Mind" (courtesy of The Cramps' pointed pens) is not only the grand finale, but also mebbe the best thing on the record and if Williams can sound that great with the Slicks, not exactly the tightest, most focused outfit out there, ya'd figure he could shine with anyone. What The Black Godfather seems to prove is, he can't. That's a damn shame, too.
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