Artist: Andre Williams
Album: I Wanna Go Back To Detroit City
Label: Bloodshot Records
Release Date: 06/03/2016
Pushing 80, the nattily attired Motown expatriate and unabashed hustler Andre Williams doesn’t sugarcoat anything on I Wanna Go Back to Detroit. Expressing his fondness and concern for the hardscrabble, troubled city he loves, Williams, who’s seen his fair share of misfortune, tells it like it is on this gritty, stripped-down and gleefully loose soul/R&B affair that begins with a stoned laugh and the title track’s psychedelic mantra.
Along the way, the man who wrote “Shake a Tail Feather” and produced Stevie Wonder, the Contours and Mary Wells, among others, acquired a taste for the low-key, shaggy garage-rock found in the rough-and-tumble “Times” and a gently swinging “What Now?” Evoking Screamin’ Jay Hawkins while creeping, with dark lust in his heart, through “Meet Me in the Graveyard.” Williams casts spells of his own in the sparse, acoustic blues of “I Don’t Like You No More,” with its ghostly slide-guitar flurries. Also dabbling in authentic talkin’ country blues on “Mississippi Sue,” this cheeky rascal laments, “She was the only woman to get the electric chair/I really felt bad about that ’cause I wasn’t there.”
Parading through the stomping, boisterous funk of “Detroit (I’m So Glad I Stayed)” elevates his mood, as he gruffly shouts, “I’m a Democrat with a Republican attitude.” That statement speaks volumes about the resilient Williams. Prone to speaking, rather than actually singing, he colorfully raps his musical accomplishments over clever little funk grooves in “Hall of Fame,” while telling detractors to kindly “kiss off.” Williams isn’t kidding around.
– Peter Lindblad