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Hoods and Shades

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An R&B pioneer and survivor of the first order, Andre Williams has soared higher, fallen further, and persevered longer than most any other musician of his generation. A formidable songwriter, he served time on Motown’s songwriting staff while the label was still in its infancy, and on his defiantly salacious solo recordings he evoked the sleazier side of the R&B circuit with a storyteller’s flair. Though missing in action throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, in recent years Williams has managed to release an impressive string of characteristically eccentric solo LPs. He even made his authorial debut with a collection of streetwise short stories. Williams’ 2012 full-length, Hoods and Shades, is a ramshackle but compelling effort that seems to take cues from his recent forays into fiction. It's essentially a set of loose spoken-word narratives delivered over shuffling blues-flavored instrumentals courtesy of Canadian country rockers The Sadies. Hoods and Shades lacks the frenetic appeal of Williams' early R&B sides, but it remains a fascinating listen thanks to his unfailingly charismatic delivery.


Born: November 1, 1936 in Bessemer, AL

Genre: Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Multi-talented Zephire "Andre" Williams has worn many musical hats during his long career: recording artist, songwriter, producer, road manager, and so on. The Father of Rap was born November 1, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in a housing project by his mother, who died when Williams was six years old. Thereafter, Williams' aunts raised the precocious lad, who had already become quite the character. The R&B legend is best known for co-writing and producing "Twine Time" for Alvin Cash...
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Hoods and Shades, Andre Williams
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