Andre Williams & The Sadies: Night And Day
On which the great funky one reunites with the Canuck kids who brought him a new career and further evidence they did the right thing.
The year was 1999 when The Sadies hooked up with a more or less clean Williams for the Red Dirt album, his first with the Toronto alt-country stars. While the album didn’t sell a ton it introduced Williams to a whole new audience of players and fans, leading to collabs with The Dirtbombs, Morning 40 Federation, The Diplomats Of Solid Sound, and other garage/punk/blues/soul acts.
The sessions for Night And day commenced in 2008 and the initial signs didn’t look good. At that time, Williams was in his seventies and dealing with legal troubles as well as substance abuse issues. Eventually the sessions were put on hold while he worked through his legal problems and cleaned up.
It took years, but when Williams and The Sadies finally hooked to finish the album, the difference in Williams’ demeanour and state of being was, as they say, "night and day."
Which kind of describes the way the album is structured; the first half loose and gritty, the back end tracks cleaner and more coherent, “One-Eyed Jack” and “I’ll Do Most Anything For Your Love,” as strong as anything Williams has put out.
The surprise here is the sting of Williams’ keenly honed observations of living black in America. Dude rears up tall and strong on racism and racial tension in "Mississippi & Joliet" and "Bored,” which opens with the shotgun blast "Look here, the worst thing in the world is a black man being bored and broke."
"America (You Say a Change Is Gonna Come)" checks him riffing on straying free in the free world over warm female backing vocals. Somehow, they don’t distract from the album’s overall vibe of pain and passion dealt out in equal parts, driven by Williams back from the abyss growls and grumbles.