Monday, March 29, 2010

Andre Williams - "Pearl Time" - Sport Records, 1967

This week I'm bringing you the Black Godfather, Mr. Rhythm, the legend - Andre Williams.
This is a guy music geeks go ga-ga for, but he still hasn't broken into the current mainstream consciousness. But enough so that prices for his records are getting out of hand.
Andre Williams hits the mark on several notable areas for record collector idolitry: fleeting commercial success, loads of personality, a hell of a story, and GIANT tunes.
His early hits were with Fortune Records out of Detroit ("Bacon Fat" hit #9 on the RnB charts in '57). From then on he had a slew of releases on many labels, and worked with such notables as Stevie Wonder, Ike & Tina Turner, Parliment, and Funkadelic.
Then Mr. Williams hit a rough spot in the 80's, his drug addictions at one point leaving him homeless and begging for money on the streets of Chicago.
But in the 90's he staged a comeback, releasing songs in the "Sleaze Rock" style - interesting stuff, but quite different from his older material. I got a chance to see Mr. Williams perform in New Orleans about 3-4 years ago in a divey joint with members of The Morning 40 Federation (another great act I caught a few times in New Orleans but recently disbanded). I won't soon forget him crooning "Let Me Put It In" from his Silky album. Andre Williams is still out there, releasing and touring - I even heard a rumor he lives near here, in Queens.
Now today's song, "Pearl Time", might as well be called "Bacon Fat Pt. II" since the style is so similar. I'm having a hard time digging up much info on Sport Records. Apparently a fella by the name of Andrew Harris ran a "Super Sonic Sound" Studio and also ran the Sport record label. I believe the label was run out of Detroit and also put out some Jay Johnson / Four Sonics tunes (these are also in high demand). If anyone out there has more info, please post a comment and share!
I recently picked up an LP that has all of Andre's hits from the 50s-70s collected together for the first time. Highly recommended! You can check it out here: Movin On: Greasy and Explicit Soul Movers 1956-1970 [Vinyl]
And without further delay, here's a juicy clip to get your Monday going in a better direction.

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