“I’m a democrat with a republican attitude…
…I’m for everybody!” growls the soon-to-be octogenarian come garage, sleazy r&b, neo-soul and rock-n-roll legend Andre Williams on his 5th and latest offering on Bloodshot Records, I Wanna Go Back To Detroit City. The “Shake Your Tail Feather” author and Motor City stalwart’s new record is nothing more than brilliant, overflowing with stark, concrete imagery with plights as low as a drunken gutter crawl and enough greasy funk to cure the “Morning After Blues”, not unlike a pork roll, egg, and cheese (salt, pepper, ketchup) at a Jersey diner at 4am.
Andre Williams has never left, he held fast to his beloved second hometown after making a jaunt northward from the great state of Alabama, unlike the American motor companies and essentially every other industry that’s left Detroit a veritable exoskeleton of a once-thriving Midwestern epicenter that’s always had a terrible NFL football team. Instead, Williams has opted to take all that angst and sentimentality of what once was and repurpose it into the form of an instant classic. From the title track opener and Williams’ guttural, almost ostentatious chuckle, the record sets off in prime fashion with a simple wah-wah shuffle and some fuzzy synths to transport the title phrase bouncing back and forth from hand clap to hand clap in Andre’s classic enunciated/spoken wordplay.
For those unaware, he’s been covered by the Cramps, made records with 2/3 of the Gories, written songs for Ike and Tina, and produced records for Berry Gordy, Jr at the Motown Records, ironically that hardly scratches the clear coat on the hot rod show ready, American rhythm muscle car that is Andre Williams. If the first two bands aforementioned are mysteries to you, you’ve earned a date with YouTube and a crash course on Garage Punk 101. And I’m a tad jealous of how much fun you’re going to have for the next 6-9 weeks. Gories guitarist and singer Dan Kroha lays down some fuzzy funk riffs on record highlight and hometown anthem #2, “Detroit (I’m So Glad I Stayed)”, the opening phrase of which I quoted to commence all this nonsense. Detroit wants to remind you they’re still on the map with resurgence in audible, sonic, and mental forms of transportation run buy tubes and/or solid state electrical components rather than steel, rubber, a motor and transmission. Andre Williams has seen it all, loved some white women, and been around the world more than twice…now it’s all about going home, or what once was.
Originally published at Glide Magazine 6/21/16