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Album Review

In the late '90s, Andre Williams was undergoing a bit of a renaissance as small, independent labels realized that this R&B/rap pioneer still had plenty of gas left in the tank; they started recording him again for the first time in several decades. It also helped that enlightened times give the more salacious aspects of his art a wider playground than they had back in the 1950s and early '60s, when he was cutting his streetwise, spoken-word classics for labels like Fortune and Chess. Efforts for St. George and others focused on the style and substance of those landmark recordings, but this one put a different spin on the Andre Williams sound.

Backed by the country-rock group the Sadies, this is Williams' country album. He applies his rappin' mastery to Johnny Paycheck's "Pardon Me (I've Got Someone to Kill)," Leon Payne's "Psycho," Harlan Howard's "Busted," Eddy Arnold's "Easy on the Eyes," and Lefty Frizzell's "I'm an Old, Old Man." His patented slow drawl makes these songs his own, while the band provides minimal support, rife with twangy guitars, mandolins, fiddles, and dobros throughout. Williams and guitarist Dallas Good co-wrote everything else, with "She's a Bag of Potato Chips," the moody and downright eerie "I Can Tell," and the goofy opener "Hey Truckers" being standouts. It's the aural antidote to the CMA Awards.

Biography

Born: November 1, 1936 in Bessemer, AL

Genre: R&B/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...
Full Bio
Red Dirt, Andre Williams
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