Steve Perry

Daddy B. Nice's #74 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Steve Perry by Daddy B. Nice
 


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"Let Me Go"

Steve Perry

Composed by Steve Perry


February 1, 2014: NEW ARTIST GUIDE ALERT!


Steve Perry (aka Prince Mekel) is now the #37-ranking Southern Soul artist on Daddy B. Nice's new 21st Century Top 100 Countdown.

Go to Daddy B. Nice's new 21st-Century Artist Guide to Steve Perry (aka Prince Mekel).

*************


Author's Forward, November 30, 2008

Steve Perry's march to well-deserved recognition continues to be hampered by lack of national distribution of his CD's. Unless you're lucky enough to be in the limited orbit of his favorite radio outlets (and, one suspects, even less limited CD sales outlets), it's pretty near impossible to purchase his music. (Two words, Steve: CD Baby.)

However, by piecing together a patchwork quilt of out-of-print and rare accessible in-print CD's, your Daddy B. Nice has made major improvements to the Steve Perry Artist Guide that you're reading, with sound samples to a lot of the Perry music previously unavailable. Most of these samples are accompanied by ways to purchase at least the majority of the CD's.

The big news for Steve Perry in 2008 has been the radio single "Booty Roll." I've had requests from readers on how to get the song, and I tell them it's not out yet. The latest was from a guy
in the Navy who sent me more than one plea on how he could get a copy.

Personally, I think Steve did this jam better in "Slide" from the Come Back Love album. "Booty Roll" always sounds to me a little like the needle's stuck. I've danced to a lot of monotonous music in my life--some I was "into," some not--but the key ingredients are a groove, a fine rhythm section and the little original twists given the groove that either mesmerize or don't, depending on how good they are.

I don't doubt you can get "high" enough to dance to Steve Perry's "Booty Roll," and I don't mean that in a drug way. But "Booty Roll" doesn't hold a candle to a really mesmerizing beat--say, R. L. Burnside's and trance-producer Tom Rothrock's one-chord masterpiece, "It's Bad You Know."

The difference is in the details. Burnside's hit has plenty of details, and moreover, it builds and grows by stages, adding elements. Perry's "Booty Roll" sounds like--well--the needle's stuck. To be fair, Burnside recorded an ample share of monotonous music before he got to "It's Bad You Know".

I'm harping on this one-chord repetition technique because Steve Perry has recently (Oct 08) released another groove-based single, "Let It Roll," and it has the same characteristics. These one-chord, vaguely Zydeco-sounding Southern Soul jams ("Slide," "Booty Roll," "Let It Roll") are rapidly becoming a Steve Perry specialty.

--Daddy B. Nice

*************************

Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique

I've been asking myself what it is about Steve Perry's song "Let Me Go" (from the CD I Need You, Juana) that makes it sound "classic." Maybe it's because the record was made under the tutelage of the legendary Frederick Knight (Johnnie Taylor's "Big Head Hundreds," etc.). Steve Perry has a less than overwhelming voice, but it's genuine-sounding and durable, with a natural quality that infuses the lyrics with realism and integrity, recalling tell-it-like-it-is, seasoned artists like Mel Waiters, Carl Sims and Stan Mosley.

The lyrics of "Let Me Go" (also written by Perry) work the time-honored chitlin' circuit tradition of the unhappy spouse, channeled--in this case--through a third-person narrator:

"I met this woman
One night at the Waffle House.
And she looked at me so sad.
She said, 'Steve, my man
Don't want to love me no more.
Can you help me figure out why?'"

Nice touch--that reference to the Waffle House--typically down-to-earth and Southern Soul. But the lyric takes a non-traditional twist in that the man telling the story doesn't appear to have any amatory interest in the woman. We assume (mainly because the woman doesn't go there) that he's not a love interest of hers either, just a friend--a friend, perhaps, of the couple.

"She said, 'It gets hard sometimes,
Sleeping here all alone.
When you got love on your mind,
And you should be getting it on.'

"She said, 'I'm a beautiful woman,
And I just don't understand,
Steve, when a man gets a good woman,
(Why) He let it slip right through his hands.'"

"Let Me Go" harks back to Peggy Scott-Adams' "Mr. Right Or Mr. Wrong," written by the late great Jimmy Lewis, in which the distressed wife calls the deejay "Mr. Jody" because she "ain't getting it at home." He tells her to wait on the line because "there's a couple of lonely ladies ahead of you." Towards the end of "Let Me Go" Steve's lady friend gets frustrated enough to consider Mr. Jody herself.

Steve Perry staked another claim to fame a couple of years after the release of "Let Me Go" with his "response" song, "You're A Freak (Shirley, Don't Lie)," a takeoff on Shirley Brown's 2004 Southern Soul hit, "(I've Got To) Sleep With One Eye Open." Brown's heroine was also dissatisfied with her mate, but for a quite different reason. He was too sexually aggressive.

"I've got to sleep with one eye open,
'Cause this man won't leave me alone."

Steve Perry's song took the point of view of Shirley's man.

"Tell the truth,
That you want it,
Just as much as I do.
You're a freak, Shirley,
Don't lie.

Tell the story,
Tell it right.
That you got to have it
Every day and night."

This little tune, with a barely serviceable melody, was somehow transformed by Steve Perry into a swinging minor hit that negotiated an amazingly long "shelf life" on chitlin' circuit deejay rotations throughout 2005.

One of a gaggle of great new male vocalists since the turn of the century, Steve Perry is demonstrating a distinctive penchant for both the sound and the thematic heart of Southern Soul rhythm and blues.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Steve Perry

The Pratville, Alabama native Steve Perry's biography reads more like a "who-he-is-not" list than a resume. The Steve Perry of the chitlin' circuit is not to be confused with the lead singer of the rock band Journey, nor is he a member of the mod/swing band Cherry Poppin' Daddies. Nor, to make distinctions within the chitlin' circuit, is he a member of The Perrys, a Southern Soul band out of Abbeyville, Mississippi, who put out a radio single ("Cover Shaker") and a CD titled Got What It Takes around the turn of the century.

The Steve Perry of "Let Me Go" fame, with the help of his brother Anthony, began writing and producing music in the mid-nineties, selling records out of a car at one point. In 1998 Perry self-produced a CD called Who's Stealin' My Love, and in 2001 two CD's (comprising a half-decade of songwriting) appeared on the Bluesland label.

Finally, in 2003, Steve Perry signed a deal with a new label and self-produced the CD I Need U (Juana), containing the radio single "Let Me Go." Juana Records, with ties to Malaco Records, gave Perry his first national distribution and the oversight of Frederick Knight, who was the executive producer on the album.

"Let Me Go" was a solid hit on the chitlin' circuit and established Perry as an up and coming artist, as did--a couple of years later--the novelty song, "You're A Freak." "You're A Freak" (from Come Back Love became the most popular "response" tune spawned by Shirley Brown's popular "Sleep With One Eye Open" radio single (Woman Enough, Malaco, 2004).

It's Okay, led by the popular chitlin' circuit radio single title cut, propelled Perry onto Southern Soul deejay charts in 2007.

Steve Perry Discography

2001 Who's Stealin' My Love (Bluesland)


2002 She Caught Me (Bluesland)

2003 I Need U (Juana)

2005 Come Back Love (Bluesland)

2007 It's Okay (Bluesland)


Song's Transcendent Moment

"She said, 'A woman got needs,
Just like a man do. . .
'Baby, all I'm asking,
Is put some action in my hips. . .
If you don't want to love me,
Then let me go.'"


Tidbits

1. Steve Perry has taken a giant step forward with his 2005 release, Come Back Love. The first single from the album, "You're A Freak" (see above), tantalized the chitlin' circuit audience when it was pre-released in 2005.

But the arrival of the new CD (unfortunately, not nationally distributed) has raised Perry's stock among deejays of the Stations of the Deep South. Buoyed by solid songwriting and creditable vocals, the album boasts a chitlin' circuit hit in the mode of "Let Me Go" ("U Can't Raise Her") and a rhythmic groove--accented by a fine, gurgling organ--on rockers "Slide" and "Donkey Donk."

Fans can sample entire cuts from the album at Chittlin' Circuit Radio's playlist request page for Perry.


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you loved the Commodores' "Three Times A Lady," you'll like Steve Perry's "Let Me Go."


Honorary "B" Side

"It's Okay"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Let Me Go by Steve Perry
Let Me Go


CD: I Need U
Label: Juana

Sample or Buy
I Need U


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy It's Okay by Steve Perry
It's Okay


CD: It's Okay
Label: Bluesland



4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Casino by Steve Perry
Casino


CD: She Caught Me
Label: Bluesland

Sample or Buy
She Caught Me


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Slide by Steve Perry
Slide


CD: Come Back Love

Sample or Buy
Who Am I


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy U Can't Raise Her by Steve Perry
U Can't Raise Her


CD: Come Back Love

Sample or Buy
Come Back Love


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy You're A Freak by Steve Perry
You're A Freak


CD: Come Back Love

Sample or Buy
Come Back Love


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy All Woman by Steve Perry
All Woman


CD: I Need U
Label: Juana

Sample or Buy
I Need U


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Donkey Donk by Steve Perry
Donkey Donk


CD: Come Back Love

Sample or Buy
Come Back Love


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Meat On Her Bones by Steve Perry
Meat On Her Bones


CD: I Need U
Label: Juana

Sample or Buy
I Need U


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Nosy Neighbors by Steve Perry
Nosy Neighbors


CD: I Need U
Label: Juana

Sample or Buy
I Need U


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Roll It by Steve Perry
Roll It


CD: I Need U
Label: Juana

Sample or Buy
I Need U


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Shake What Yo Mama Gave Ya by Steve Perry
Shake What Yo Mama Gave Ya


CD: I Need U
Label: Juana

Sample or Buy
I Need U


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Treat Her Right by Steve Perry
Treat Her Right


CD: I Need U

Sample or Buy
I Need U


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