Published May 23, 2012Things weren't going well for Andre Williams back in 2008. After decades mired in substance abuse and repeated incarceration, the then-70-year-old R&B legend was close to rock bottom. None were feeling his pain more than the Sadies, who had helped bring Williams back into the public eye via their 1999 collaboration, Red Dirt. In the four years since Night and Day was recorded, Williams has, to a large extent, straightened himself out enough to enjoy his golden years. Night and Day is therefore a compelling snapshot of a man – fresh out of jail, no less – pulling no punches in relating the circumstances in which he found himself. The Sadies have always brought out Williams's best, and here again they perform sympathetically under the direction of Heavy Trash's Jon Spencer and Matt Verta-Ray. Night and Day is another true testament by one of America's last genuine musical anti-heroes.
What was the impetus behind making this album?
The Sadies' Dallas Good: It had really just been too long since we'd done anything with Andre, and the truth is that he was in really rough shape. He means the world to us, as well as Jon and Matt, so when we booked that first session we all felt that, if nothing else, we were willing to pay just to see our friend.
How would you describe Andre's state of mind at that time?
It was a weird time for him. There was a film crew shooting a documentary on him and they were plying him with booze. He got really sick shortly after that and went into the hospital. He started getting healthy from then on and aside from the odd relapse, today he's never been better since I've known him.
How do you reflect now on the Sadies' relationship with Andre?
We've found out through working together all of the things we have in common stylistically, and that wasn't really apparent yet when we made Red Dirt. Going into this one, our intention was solely to work with Andre again and just do it for the love of the game. I think that comes across and I'm really happy that people can now hear it after all this time.
Read a review of Night and Day here.