Ice Cream Man Presents!
Saturday's Flavor: Andre Williams
By Matt Allen, Fri., March 20, 2009
We've been doing this South by Southwest feature a few years now, and most of the acts we feature are younger ones you might not have heard of. For Saturday, I'd be hard pressed to find another artist playing SXSW that had a Top 10 hit over 50 years ago.
In 1956, Andre Williams wrote and recorded "Bacon Fat," which made it to No. 9 on the R&B charts. Fifty years later, he's still blowing away the uninitiated with raunchy sets featuring "Jail Bait"; "Agile, Mobile, and Hostile"; and "Only Black Man in South Dakota."
Late last millennium, I worked at a record store and picked up an album by the Gories because the cover looked cool. I began following members Mick Collins and Dan Kroha in their subsequent projects. When In the Red released Andre Williams' comeback, Silky, in 1998, Collins and Kroha were all over it. That disc opened my mind to a whole universe of old soul, funk, and raunch artists.
Silky stands on its own as a garage/sleaze masterpiece, but you could dig forever and probably never find everything that Williams has recorded. He's toured consistently in recent years, and his backing bandmates in Austin, the Allen Oldies Band, say he's in the best health they've seen him in for years. For proof, check out his latest on Bloodshot Records with the New Orleans Hellhounds: Can You Deal With It?
Andre Williams' SXSW showcase: Saturday, Continental Club, 11pm; Mojo's Mayhem, Saturday, Continental Club, 3:30pm.