Hoods and Shades
Even at age 75, it's hard to think of Andre Williams as mellow, so the idea of the notorious R&B belter making an acoustic-based album is initially hard to fathom. But as Williams has demonstrated over the past decade, his aim isn't so much to perpetuate his image as "Mr. Rhythm" or "the Black Godfather," but to genuinely impart his wisdom learned through decades of living in America's toughest ghettos. One of those was in Detroit, and Hoods and Shades is the result of a one-day session with a host of Motor City musicians, including Don Was, Funk Brothers guitarist Dennis Coffey, the Dirtbombs' Jim Diamond, along with Dirty Three drummer Jim White. The results sound predictably off-the-cuff, and several tracks like "Jaw Dropper" and "I've Got Money On My Mind" sound like little more than microphone level checks. But when Williams decides to say something meaningful, as on "Dirt," "A Good Day To Feel Bad" and the title track, his sage-like delivery is as devastating as ever. It culminates with recitation "Swamp Dogg's Hot Spot," describing a typically bizarre encounter with the singer best known for'70s classic "Total Destruction of Your Mind." I would wager that an entire album of these types of stories would sell a million copies.
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