Monday, September 21, 2009

Getting High on the Lord

Andre "Mr. Rhythm" Williams was born in Bessemer, Alabama in 1936, and spent his youth in Chicago and Alabama. Andre launched his musical career in Detroit in the 1950's, recording for the now legendary Fortune Records. He is best known for his especially greasy R&B Fortune recordings like "Jail Bait", "The Greasy Chicken" and "Bacon Fat" which made it to #9 on the R&B charts in 1957. As a writer and producer, Andre Williams worked with Stevie Wonder, The Contours, Ike Turner as well as 1970's funk bands Parliament and Funkadelic.

The Meditation Singers were a Detroit based gospel group formed by Earnestine Rundless in the late 1940's. They recorded on a variety of labels through the 1970's and continued performing into the 1980's. The group's line up changed over the years, and at various times included Della Reece, Laura Lee and Rev. James Cleveland.

Later in their career, the Meditation Singers recorded two albums on the Jewel label, the first of which "A Change is Gonna Come" was released in 1971. Andre Williams produced the LP and wrote all of the songs, except for the title track, which is a Sam Cooke song.

"Getting High on the Lord", (listen here) is a funky gospel number from that LP that's a departure from the Meditation Singers' earlier, more traditional shout gospel sound. And, producing a gospel record is a departure for Andre Williams for obvious reasons. The result is strange and interesting, though the collaboration came to an end after the "A Change is Gonna Come" Jewel LP.
Since the 1990's Andre has toured and recorded albums with The Dirtbombs, Diplomats of Solid Sound and Morning 40 Federation who hail from the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. Recently he's been touring and helping to promote the documentary film, "Agile Mobile Hostile: A Year with Andre Williams". Check his MySpace page for up to date information.

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