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Tonight at Alex's Bar: Andre Williams, One Bad, Lowdown, and Wicked Man

Rhythm-and-blues renegade Andre Williams is one bad, lowdown and wicked man -- thank heavens. With an extraordinary career divided between recording and performing some of the most potent, rebel R&B ever created (with 1950s stunners "Jail Bait," "Bacon Fat") and operating as a key, behind-the-scenes songwriter and studio cat (penning the likes of "Shake a Tail Feather," "Twine Time," helping Berry Gordy get Motown up and running, producing sessions for Ike Turner), Williams is both an important historical figure and an artist whose contemporary, ongoing exercises in underground sleaze-o-rama always bear close examination.

The dapper, dangerous and completely unpredictable Williams (who, it is worth noting, exerted a powerful influence on the late Lux Interior) always delivers a magnificent brand of reekingly funky, ultramaxi venery, put across with a down-in-the-bottom vehemence that still plays as nothing less than mesmerizing. (Jonny Whiteside)