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Andre Williams always talked through his tunes more than sang ‘em, and he does the same here. The difference between this disc and the 70-year-old’s other recent forays into rock ‘n’ roll lies in the quality of the backing instrumentation. The Diplomats of Solid Sound provides a tasty, soulful accompaniment that mightily showcases Williams’ talents as a performer. Nate “Count” Basinger’s Hammond B3 organ serves as a strong foundation for Williams greasy vocals. The Black Godfather sounds like he’s always ready to do the nasty, even when he’s singing about the recent hurricanes that ravaged the South (“Three Sisters”) or driving in an automobile (“Chrysler 300”). Talk about sweet rides, whew. Williams is certainly the star here, yet the Diplomats deserve lots of credit. Basinger’s brother David makes his baritone sax sound like a pornographic weapon. Doug Roberson’s guitar simply cuts in all the right places, and Jim Viner’s drums are always in the groove. “It doesn’t take a blind man to see that you are quite right,” Williams croons on the off-kilter love song, “I Can See”. And it doesn’t take a deaf man to know this is the real deal. Lovers of naughty ‘60s R&B, this one is for you.

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Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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