Andre Williams & The Sadies “Night and Day”
Andre Williams is one lucky man; he’s got the Sadies (as well as Jon Langford, Sally Timms, Kelly Hogan, Jon Spencer, Matt Verta-Ray and Danny Kroha of the Gories) helping him out.
And help he needed. These sessions began with Williams in a permanent rum-induced fog, but he’s now clean living and at 70+, still making music. Williams is a man with a colourful past, and thanks to this record a brighter future.
It all starts rather gloriously with a steady beat, clipped guitars, jabs of organ and wonderful bum-bum-bum backing vocals from Timms and Hogan; then Williams’ trademark growl speak/singing ‘Gotta Get Shorty Out of Jail’ with the flat out honesty and eye for detail as the great poet of the dispossessed and desperate, the crime novelist Charles Willeford. If stories be true, though Williams is more of an Eddie Bunker figure in that his stories come from his life, they are bowdlerised versions of the truth. ‘The Seventy Year Old’ finds him at the end of his tether ready to pull the trigger with the sort of belligerent dirty blues backing that almost makes his declaration of ‘Don’t fuck with me’ redundant.
On ‘Bored’ he sings that "the worst thing in the world is a black man being bored", and here menace bubbles up into the music that conjures up Pussy Galore in their pomp. ‘Don’t Take It’ stirs up another hornets nest of blues; the guitars pop and scrape as Williams lets us in on another of his life rules, "don’t take anyone’s money". There’s an old time Country feel to ‘Hey Baby’ with fiddles and swing replacing grind and howl, the mood has changed so much that Williams even manages a chuckle. I can imagine him smiling the whole way through ‘That’s My Desire’, a Grand Ole Opry style duet with Sally Timms, all Williams’ anger evaporates as he sounds tender.
Those of you looking for a quintessential Sadies record will be disappointed, but those of you partial to some dirty blues, Jon Spencer fans, will be delighted that Williams is still making music both gracefully and disgracefully at 70.