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Published on March 19th, 2019 | by Gilles LeBlanc

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RIP, Black Godfather

Andre Williams passed away on March 17th, 2019 at the age of 82. The Detroit native by way of Alabama started recording R&B songs in his teens with family-run label Fortune Records, and released his last album I Wanna Go Back to Detroit City in 2016.

Despite co-writing the hit “Shake a Tail Feather” and working with musicians like Stevie Wonder, George Clinton and Ike Turner, the man known at times as Mr. Rhythm and the Black Godfather fell on some hard times in the ’60s and was living on the streets for a spell in Chicago. He turned things around for the better in the ’90s and was quite prolific in the years that followed with more than twenty albums to his name, including a pair where Toronto country rockers The Sadies were his backing band (1999’s Red Dirt as well as Night & Day in 2012). He was even a featured performer at Hogtown’s favourite saloon the Horseshoe Tavern during the North by Northeast festival. Not that any of you reading will probably care, but that’s me in the glasses snapping pics of a very sharply-dressed Mr. Williams!

His son took over the @MrRhythmAndreW Twitter account to confirm the news while putting together a touching collage. Here’s hoping they have all the “Greasy Chicken” you can eat in punk blues heaven, Good Sir.




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About the Author

Gilles LeBlanc literally fell into “alternative rock” wayyy back at Lollapalooza 1992, where he got caught in his first mosh pit watching some band named Pearl Jam. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his life looking for music to match the liberating rush he felt that day, with a particular chest-beating emphasis on stuff coming out of his native Canada. It took him awhile, but Gilles now writes feverishly about all things that rock (and or roll) through his ROCKthusiast alter ego.


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