October 2008

Andre Williams & The New Orleans Hellhounds - Can You Deal With It?
Bloodshot Records BS 155
Format: CD
Released: 2008

by Shannon Holliday

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

Before shelling out the whopping $12 price tag for this underground gem, be sure you can deal with it. Andre Williams is an unsung R&B hero and to many musicians today an inspiration. With his distinctive spoken-word approach to lyrics, he's been called "the Father of Rap" and "the Black Godfather." After some minor success in the late '50s Motown scene with his hits "Bacon Fat" and "Jail Bait," he went on to write and produce music for Stevie Wonder, Parliament/Funkadelic, and Ike & Tina Turner. He's also collaborated with artists such as John Spencer, Jack White, and the Dirtbombs. Now the pimp is back, fronting NOLA's finest dysfunctionals, the Morning 40 Federation, who perform under the pseudonym the New Orleans Hellhounds.

Can You Deal With It is raunchy and ribald. Williams plays the part of dirty old man convincingly but with just enough humor and sass to make you want to let him pinch your behind. Fuzzy guitars, crushing horn blows and a slinky organ back Williams' gravelly growl. "Hear You Dance" begins with, "Hello Baby...Pick up da phone. I wanna hear you dance" and is one-part suave Big Bopper, two parts whiskey-soaked desperation. From booty to crack, girls gone wild to smack, Andre Williams and the New Orleans Hellhounds are unabashedly unapologetic, but don't doubt that the concoction is potent. So, can you deal with it?