I Wanna Go Back to Detroit City
An Exciting Concoction of Blues and Soul from a Founding Father.
When this album arrived I knew that I knew the name Andre Williams; but couldn’t remember where from; then after reading the accompanying Press Release ‘Bingo’!
At 79 years old, Williams has had what we call a ‘life lived well,’ starting out as a Street ‘hustler’ then going on to be a famed producer with Motown and Fortune Records, occasional singer and if he’s remembered for nothing else (which won’t be the case!) he wrote Shake (a Tail Feather)….so a serious listen to this album was called for.
I was immediately taken aback by the quirky intro to the opening track I Wanna Go Back To Detroit City; but after a few seconds a seriously hot slice of Rhythm AND Blues simply oozes out of the speakers and my face was emblazoned with a huge smile for the next 45 minutes or so….plus my feet kept shuffling under the desk too.
This is immediately followed by a brooding ‘talking Blues’ set over a deep Funk backing called Times. Williams contemplates on the differences between today and his yesterdays; money, people and the poh-leece; but in the coolest way imaginable.
Andre Williams throws in several amazing curve-balls like with the inclusion of some Country Blues in the shape of Mississippi Sue; the tale of the ‘woman he loved the most.’ Suffice to say Andre admits to be married with two children when he ‘knew her’ but when he casually mentions Sue was ‘the only woman to get the Electric Chair’ you know there’s a whole other story for another day not in these lyrics.
As befits a man with such an extraordinary history Williams sets some of those stories to music, making for an array of interesting autobiographical songs sung in a warm and welcoming style that embraces many musical cultures.
While his existing fan base will no doubt ‘love’ Hall of Fame; personally I don’t think the self-pitying and slightly angry sentiment befits an album and a man of this gravitas; but hey…what do I know?
Apart from that one song; I think I’ve fallen in love with Andre Williams gruff singing style; and as for picking a favourite to point you towards, it has proved very difficult indeed as no two tracks sound the same, with something for everyone tucked away somewhere.
But for a fulsome flavour of the album try Meet Me at the Graveyard which sounds like Tom Waits fronting Chic or perhaps Detroit (I’m So Glad I Stayed) which opens with Andre growling “I’m a Democrat……With a Republican Attitude!” then proceeds to deliver an angry but very Funky diatribe for the ‘common man’ of which he could be our leader!
In this day and age when music is sadly deemed ‘disposable’ this album is a definite ‘keeper’ and will be pulled out from the racks and played for decades to come.
Released 3rd June 2016