a groove that would make the late Allen Toussaint proud, Brooks
Williams sings, "I'm
going to New Orleans to catch the lucky star that fell."
It's a lyric from a Walter Hyatt song and gives Williams the title for
his 28th album.
Star features Williams' roots driven compositions alongside songs by
the aforementioned Texas legend Hyatt, a woman known as the "Empress of the Blues"
and another from the original soul sister, known as "the Godmother of rock
and roll." 'After You've Gone' first entered America's pop
consciousness via dozens ? if not hundreds ? of artists ranging from Fats
Waller to Frank Sinatra to Fiona Apple. But it was Bessie Smith's 1928
recording that lodged itself into Williams' head like an ear-worm. "It's the only version
I know," he says, "and
the way she flips the heartache in the chorus from ?I'm sad now, but you'll
be more sad later,' is a lyric twist worth its weight in gold."
reading of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's 'Rock
Me' is a romp built around a repeating guitar riff, much
like Tharpe herself would play. Sister Rosetta is a certifiable guitar
star and a recent inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And
she's also one of Williams' guitar heroes. "She did it like no one else
with her Aretha-like vocals and Chuck Berry-like guitar riffs. She well
and truly rocked my world."
Star took only three days to record. There's an exciting immediacy to
the sound. "I
love those old Sun and Stax records," says Williams, "and that's the vibe I
was aiming for in the studio. No isolation booths, no overdubs, no
headphones, just musicians playing songs together in a way that used to
be pretty common, but isn't anymore. It makes for exciting music."
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