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From Soul Express 1/1998


ANDRE´ LEE

Out of Jackson, Mississippi, comes Andre´, who was born as Andrew Lee Caples on 21.8.1955 and whose father provided him with some spiritual legacy, as he was singing gospel around Chicago. "I started playing guitar at the age of seven, and by the age of fifteen I was playing in local groups, and I ended up playing with a group out of Jackson, Mississippi, called Freedom." Freedom was an eight-piece group, who enjoyed some small disco hits on Malaco in the late 70s. "I have worked with several blues artists and different musicians, Bobby Rush, Billy Soul Bonds, the late McKinley Mitchell - that was in the mid-80s - and nowadays with Willie Clayton and Tyrone Davis."

Andre‚ hooked up with John Vincent through his manager, Jerry Meadows, and as a result we have the first outing on John's new Avanti label and also Andre's debut (released) recording, So Good. The set was produced by Andre, Ron Evans and Harrison Calloway, who now works for the Avanti organization, and Andre‚ also does most of the background work. "I pretty much lay my whole track. I do my drum programming, the bass lines, guitar and most of the keyboards."


Andre‚ wrote eight of the ten songs on display. The overall atmosphere is almost late-night, very nice and cosy, lacking any edge, which also can mean uneventfulness. The mid-pacers and dancers are soft and gentle toddlers, whereas the ballads - five altogether - tend to be more on the seducing side. The title slowie is Andre's own favourite.

The two outside tunes are a beautiful opening ballad, Take Hold Of Your Life, known by Dobie Gray, and L.T.D.'s # 1 hit in '76, Love Ballad, written by Skip Scarborough but credited to Mr. Unknown here (but, then, we all know Mr. Vincent's habits in these matters). There's also a connection here, because to me at least Andre‚ sounds a lot like Jeffrey Osborne. "I've always been fascinated with L.T.D. and Jeffrey Orborne. A lot of people have classified me of sounding like Jeffrey, and also Will Downing, but I think I also got my own flavour. I took this song and tried to get a kind of a hip-hop flavour to it and see what will happen with it."

Andre's `quiet fire' style seems to be doing ok. "We've got several orders in from various places - New Jersey, Detroit, Los Angeles, Georgia - and we've got an eight thousand order in from England, so it's beginning to catch on pretty good."


-Heikki Suosalo

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