Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Andre Williams "That's All I Need"

(Bloodshot) There are no bigger Andre Williams supporters than the folks here at Roctober. We interviewed him when his comeback was still theoretical, audio from his 1996 appearance on Chic-A-Go-Go was sampled for his first hipster recording on the In The Red label, and we never miss a performance. So it is with love that we say that we have not always looked forward to his new albums. While we would never fault the great Mr. Williams for doing whatever it took to keep above water in hard times, too often he played down the low expectations of European and hipster fans and gave them the stereotypes they craved. His live shows, and the new material he was crafting for those shows, felt designed to elicit reactions that were painfully similar to watching a room of white fans laugh and cheer condescendingly when big, black Wesley Willis would grunt out "Suck a camel's dick" or 78 conjugations of "fuck." We offer these harsh words at this juncture only because with his stellar new album Williams has erased any of these hints of minstrelsy. He has created a spare, dire, brilliant collection of hack-free blues songs about pain, the trials he's been through, and the weight of the world he has bore as a true soul survivor. If I were to point out what was outstanding or interesting lyrically or performance-wise I would have to discuss all ten tracks, so let me just in shorthand say "My Time WIll Come," "America," "When Love Shoots You in the Foot," and "Tricks" are all powerful and personal and more real than anything he's ever written, and in some ways as good as any pop R&B hits he crafted in his heyday. You won't move to this like you do to "Twine Time," but you'll be moved.

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