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After spending most of the ’80s and ’90s out of music and living on the streets thanks to a severe drug problem, Andre Williams cleaned himself up and cut a new album in 1996, in which he dusted off some of the classic tunes he cut for Fortune Records in the ’50s and ’60s. But Williams dove head first into the present day with 1998’s Silky. Working with Mick Collins and Dan Kroha (formerly of the Gories, now respectively recording with the Dirtbombs and the Demolition Doll Rods), Williams merged his wild and greasy R&B style with Collins and Kroha’s noise-spattered, stripped-down, roots-punk assault, and the results are flat-out nuts. On “Agile, Mobile, and Hostile,” “I Wanna Be Your Favorite Pair of Pajamas,” and “Looking Down at You Looking up at Me,” Williams sounds like the world’s most spectacularly dirty old man as a squadron of Detroit alt-rock all-stars kick up a wall of rockin’ din behind him, and the two side-closers, “Bring Me Back My Car Unstripped” and “Everybody Knew,” are Twilight Zone psychodramas so bizarre they defy conventional description. Vintage soul purists will doubtless be horrified by Silky, but anyone wanting to hear the wildest man in ’50s R&B getting even wilder 40 years on ought to give Silky a spin at their next stag party or parole hearing.
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