Mel Waiters

Daddy B. Nice's #7 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Mel Waiters by Daddy B. Nice
 


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"Hole In The Wall"

Mel Waiters

Composed by Mel Waiters


February 1, 2014: NEW ARTIST GUIDE ALERT!


Mel Waiters is now the #2-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 Mel Waiters.

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


March 16, 2013: NEW ALBUM ALERT!

Sample/Buy Mel Waiters' POOR SIDE OF TOWN CD.

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

To automatically link to Mel Waiters' charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other references, go to "Waiters, Mel" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.

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

Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique:

The most recognized verse in contemporary Southern Soul goes like this:

"Three o'clock in the morning.
All the damn clubs are closed.
I went to this place, you all,
I didn't want anyone to know."

"Hole In The Wall" was a huge hit, instantly recognized by chitlin' circuit fans as the poster boy for Southern Soul when it was released as a single from the 1999 Mel Waiters' Material Things CD. And by virtue of its accessibility and heavy airplay it has taken on a burden that few Southern Soul hits have had to shoulder.

God knows, the concept of a "hole in the wall," be it in the vernacular of everyday American life or the vocabulary of the chitlin' circuit, is nothing new. It was simply a matter of Mel Waiters executing the idea better than anyone else had done before.

"I walked into the room,
Had my nose in the air.
It's seven in the morning,
And I'm still in there."

"Hole In The Wall" was the track all of us (including your Daddy B. Nice) recommended to our friends who knew next to nothing about contemporary rhythm and blues as proof of the genre's re-emergence, and its very popularity has led to a familiarity-breeds-contempt status, so much so that it is difficult for even the most avid one-time admirers of the song to recall how perfectly it defined the musical and cultural milieu of Southern Soul rhythm and blues.

Mel Waiters' straightforward singing style can sound one-dimensional to an unfamiliar ear, but in time one appreciates his Chuck Berry-like directness. Matched with his unerring ear for rhythms and melodies, the self-assurance that inhabits the very timbre of Waiters' vocals gives his records an immediacy and relevance that is actually quite rare.

The melodic "Swing Out" and the slightly more derivative "Smaller The Club" ("The smaller the club/The bigger the party") perhaps come the closest to "Hole In The Wall" in their artful compression of a whole night's worth of festivity. A cynic might carp that "Smaller The Club" is just a reworking of "Hole In The Wall," but Mel Waiters doesn't just recycle his signature hit. He transforms it (among other things, incorporating the first successful funk-style synthesizer in Southern Soul) and makes another, totally new and self-sustaining riff.

"You've got to stand in line,
To get a drink.
You've got to wait outside,
Just to get a peek."

"Hole In The Wall," "Smaller The Club" and "Swing Out" are just three in a virtual cavalcade of Southern Soul hits Mel Waiters has scored since 1997's "Got My Whiskey" (Woman In Need) first made chitlin' circuit fans sit up and take notice. "Got My Whiskey" ("I'm going to dance until the morning comes") is yet another rocker that plumbs Waiter's almost mystical vision of partying.

"I came out to have a good time,
That's all that's on my mind.
I got my money, I got my whiskey,
All I want to do is get a little tipsy."

Mel Waiters also does ballads, although he'll never be mistaken for a master balladeer like Bobby "Blue" Bland. Here the simplicity of his vocal style works against Waiters. Sensitivity, vulnerability, self-doubt--all are largely absent in a Waiters slow jam.

Waiters' style amplifies and extends, but never bends a note, never approaches a vibrato, never quivers with indecision or fragility. The results are ballads that don't sound like typical ballads, but they do have a unique, propulsive appeal. The best examples are "Show You How To Love Again" and "How Can I Get Next To You," both from Waiter's 2001 LP, Let Me Show You How To Love Again.

"Body language say you want to,
But your heart says no.
You've been hurt too many times before.
You just don't want to be hurt any more."

In both songs, love stories unfurl with the mastery and compression that distinguish Waiters' up tempo work. Musically, they're superb, incorporating a jazzlike feel and vintage soul arrangements,but instead of sorrow or regret or longing, the ballads specialize in persuasion, motivation and rejuvenation.

"Somebody's done you wrong,
And now you're all alone.
I can show you how to love again.
Baby, let me show you how to love again."

Nevertheless, "Hole In The Wall" remains Waiters' biggest success and the standard for all Southern Soul rockers. If Mel Waiters had never recorded another song, his place in the Southern Soul pantheon would be assured. Like a confident Babe Ruth rounding the diamond after hitting a home run, Waiters' "Hole In The Wall" touches all of Southern Soul's thematic bases. Lack of pretension. Nostalgia for days gone by. Tolerance for alcohol and late-hours revelry. And, of course, the pull and tug of man and woman. This little bar song--Mel Waiters' "Hole In the Wall"--brings all of the elements together in a succinct and original message to loosen up and have fun.

Daddy B. Nice

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

Author's Note: The following article was one of the first features to run on Daddy B. Nice's Corner page.

Mel Waiters Makes The Cover Of "Living Blues" Magazine: Another Milestone For Southern Soul


February 17, 2007 Get out to your local newstand before the month winds down and snap up a copy of "Living Blues," currently the premiere blues magazine in America. The February 2007 issue (Issue #188) features a cover story entitled "Mel Waiters: Southern Soul King," with a smiling, immaculately white-suited Waiters clowning in front of yet another mural-sized image of a more reflective Waiters.

For Southern Soul fans, this is an instant collectors' item. Maybe it's because I've been in the print media much of my life, but when your Daddy B. Nice's complimentary copy arrived in the mail this week (another first), I performed a triple somersault and slipped the magazine into a plastic sheet protector and just gloated, as if it were a work of art. Not only is this a tremendous achievement for Mel Waiters, it's a benchmark event for Southern Soul music as a whole.

For those who can't find the issue, the magazine's number is 662-915-5742 or 800-390-3527. The magazine's address is P.O. Box 1848/301 Hill Hall/University, Mississippi/38677 (Living Blues Magazine).

Why is this such a momentous occasion? First, it's a long-overdue tribute to Mel Waiters, who as much as any other performer has made Southern Soul music "happen." I remember how, last year when I was writing my columns about Sir Charles Jones not being the "king of Southern Soul," just the "crown prince," I suggested that Marvin Sease was the real "king," with a nod to Willie Clayton. But even then, when I made the footnote about Willie Clayton, I remember thinking, "Should I make yet another footnote for Mel Waiters?"

The article is extensive, filled with the bounty of what must have been hours of conversation with Waiters. Waiters discusses his younger years in his native state of Texas, his burgeoning career (with lots of new information for Southern Soul connoisseurs) and the current state of the music.

Mel remarks on how all his songs come down to "hooks." This is so important, and yet so easily forgotten. Your Daddy B. Nice, who as much as any writer tends to focus on lyrics because music is so ephemeral and so difficult to describe in words, often wishes he could put a disclaimer on every review and artist guide: "I would have never written about this record or any of its lyrics or themes IF IT HAD NOT HAD A GREAT HOOK."

Mel also states that, although he has made a series of hits prominently featuring whiskey, that he doesn't drink!

But the prominence given this Southern Soul artist is--even more importantly--a significant success for the Southern Soul genre as a whole. Over the last decade I have watched this music grow to an extent no one would have believed possible. When I first started writing about it, no one even believed in the term ("Southern Soul") as a viable contemporary genre.

Southern Soul is still more a possibility than an actuality. But the tortuous road to the mainstream wends first through the huge and hungry blues-loving audience, both in America and the world, and the recognition "Living Blues" has accorded Mel Waiters is a significant step forward for Southern Soul. Another "door" has been opened.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Mel Waiters

Mel Waiters was born in San Antonio, Texas. He began singing in local teen clubs in the mid-seventies and honed his style while under contract to the United States as an entertainer at military bases throughout the Southwest. Whether or not his trademark, bleached-blonde hair pre-dated basketball player Dennis Rodman's "do" is not definitively known.

What is known is that beginning in the late nineties Mel Waiters rose to the forefront of blues vocalists with a series of brilliant adult R&B albums on Waldoxy Records (which deserves great credit for sticking with him) with hits that followed one after another as inexorably as the passing of the seasons: "Suki-Suki Man," "Swing Out," "Hit It And Quit It," "Got My Whiskey," "Man Shoes," "Show You How To Love Again," "Girls' Nite Out" and "The Smaller The Club," to name only a few.

As the new millennium has progressed, new Waiters product has continued to appear--always danceable, always radio-friendly. Deep South radio stations are rarely without a new Mel Waiters track on their "hot" or "just-added" play lists.

Mel Waiters' CD's:

1995: I'm Serious (Serious Sounds)
1997: Suki-Suki Man (Serious Sounds)
1997: Woman in Need (Waldoxy)
1999: Material Things (Waldoxy)
2000: I Want the Best (Suzie Q)
2001: Let Me Show You How to Love (Waldoxy)
2003: Nite Out (Waldoxy)
2005: Got My Whiskey (601)
2006: Throw Back Days (Waldoxy)


Song's Transcendent Moment

"Smoke-filled room,
Whiskey and chicken wings,
People dancin' and drinkin',
And no one wants to leave."


Tidbits

1.

Many fans delight in the references to fellow musicians imbedded in not a few Southern Soul songs and find them fascinating road maps to the genre as a whole. Those fans will especially enjoy Mel Waiters' "How Can I Get Next To You."

"I heard Bobby Womack" (Waiters sings) "on the telephone line,
And he said, 'Girl, you're running out of time.'
And he said, 'That's the way I feel about you.'"

And then. . .

"But just after Bobby Womack
Had split the scene,
I thought I had it made,
Until I heard about you from Al Green,
And Al said, 'Let's stay together.
Whether time's are good or bad, happy or sad.'"
Johnnie Taylor's "I Believe In You," Rufus Thomas's "Walking The Dog," James Brown's "Please Don't Go," Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" and Clarence Carter's "I'm Too Weak To Fight Any More" are also spotlighted.


2.

December 5, 2006. Your Daddy B. Nice has a confession to make: it often takes him awhile to "warm" to a Mel Waiters tune. That's the way it was (for me, at any rate) with Waiters' "Whiskey And Blues," from the excellent (and even more excellent in retrospect) Nite Out album. Nite Out arrived in 2003, but "Whiskey And Blues" sounded a little thin, a little too derivative. Then, almost two years later--sometime in 2005--I heard that salacious bass line and Mel drawing out the "Heyyyyyyyy. . . " in this verse coming over the radio:

"Hey Mr Bartender,
What time does this joint close?
You see it's going to take me awhile
To forget about her. . . "

And I was hooked. It was the point where the song kicked in musically for me, and from that time on I have absolutely craved hearing "Whiskey And Blues."

This by way of announcing Mel Waiter's new CD, Throw Back Days, published by Waldoxy in April of this year. "Throw Back Days," "Half Pint" and "I Like Your Sister" are the tracks that have been collecting the most airplay.

And--you can probably see this coming--I haven't "warmed" to "Throw Back Days." It still sounds a little thin, a little derivative. But I keep thinking about how I overlooked "Whiskey And Blues" and wondering whether or not the old-school atmosphere of "Throw Back Days" will hit me when I least expect it.

In the meantime, I can recommend "I Like Your Sister," a joyful, light-hearted melodic romp that made your Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 Southern Soul Singles for October '06. It only took two listenings for me to crave it. DBN.

3.

A Throw Back Days postscript. I'd be remiss if I didn't report the way in which another single from the album, "Friday Night Fish Fry," dominated the chitlin' circuit radio charts through the first half of 2007.

At year's end it also earned a nomination for Daddy B. Nice's "Daddy" award for Best Southern Soul Song By An Established Veteran.

4.

Feb. 29, 2008. Mel Waiters didn't release an album in 2007, his last being 2006's Throw Back Days, so expectations are high that 2008 will be a year of new Waiters product.

Mel hasn't been loafing. For the second year running, he's been headlining the Southern Soul star-studded "Blues Is Alright Tour," which has been traveling all around the country since late January and will continue into March. Unlike some of the headliners, who have only appeared in the Deep or Mid-South, Mel has been appearing in the northern-tier cities, including many that had never seen a Southern Soul concert of this magnitide before. That would include Milwaukee tonight, where your Daddy B. Nice's brother and his significant other will be watching Mel Waiters for the first time.

For more about the "Blues Is Alright Tour," visit the Concert Calendar page.

Postscript: Longtime Mel Waiters fans who are familiar with this page but want more to read about the artist would do well to check out the many entries under "Mel Waiters" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index, an index to Mel Waiters items and references scattered throughout the pages of the website. Also check the "Tidbits" section below for updates.

DBN.

5.

April 11, 2010: NEW ALBUM ALERT

I Ain't Gone Do It CD
(Waldoxy)

Bargain-Priced I Ain't Gone Do It CD

See Daddy B. Nice's #1 "Breaking" Southern Soul Single: March 2010

6.

November 5, 2010: "Meet Me Tonight"--Daddy B. Nice's #1 "Breaking" Southern Soul Single for November 2010.

See Daddy B. Nice's Top Ten "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles.

7.


January 23, 2011:

Mel Waiter's I AIN'T GONE DO IT album wins BEST SOUTHERN SOUL CD OF THE YEAR: See 4th Annual "Daddies," Southern Soul Music Awards

And in "2010: The Year In Review," Daddy B. Nice writes:

"Above all, 2010 was the year of Mel Waiters. The star finally released the bounty from his recording hiatus, rolling out his new CD and one big Southern Soul single after another--"Everything's Going Up," "I Ain't Gone Do It," "Meet Me Tonight"--topping the Southern Soul singles charts time and again.

Waiters accomplished perhaps the hardest feat in the music business: an aging artist redefining himself, giving his well-known "brand" daring tweaks to make his music sound new and relevant.

And nowhere was this magic more evident than in the title tune of his I AIN'T GONE DO IT album, in which he confessed to trying Viagra ("didn't do a thing") and begged off trying to keep up with the clubbing life."

--Daddy B. Nice

*********

See Daddy B. Nice's "Breaking" Southern Soul Single for January 2011: Mel Waiters' "Barbeque" (with Cupid)

*********

8.

July 9, 2011: NEW ALBUM ALERT

Bargain-Priced Say What's On Your Mind CD.

The CD contains "When You Get Drunk," "Little Girls Can't Do What Big Girls Do."

See "Good Women," Daddy B. Nice's #4 "Breaking" Southern Soul Single for July 2011.


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you loved Sam & Dave's "Soul Man," you'll like Mel Waiters' "Hole In The Wall.


Honorary "B" Side

"Whiskey And Blues"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Hole In The Wall by Mel Waiters
Hole In The Wall


CD: Material Things
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Material Things


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Whiskey And Blues by Mel Waiters
Whiskey And Blues


CD: Nite Out
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Nite Out


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Got My Whiskey by Mel Waiters
Got My Whiskey


CD: Woman In Need
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Woman In Need


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Meet Me Tonight by Mel Waiters
Meet Me Tonight


CD: I Ain't Gone Do It
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
I Ain't Gone Do It


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Swing Out by Mel Waiters
Swing Out


CD: Material Things
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Material Things


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Everything's Going Up by Mel Waiters
Everything's Going Up


CD: I Ain't Gone Do It
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
I Ain't Gone Do It


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Ain't Gone Do It by Mel Waiters
I Ain't Gone Do It


CD: I Ain't Gone Do It
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
I Ain't Gone Do It


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Like Your Sister by Mel Waiters
I Like Your Sister


CD: Throw Back Days
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Throw Back Days


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Slip Away by Mel Waiters
Slip Away


CD: Woman In Need
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Woman In Need


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Smaller The Club by Mel Waiters
Smaller The Club


CD: Nite Out
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Nite Out


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Barbeque (w/ Cupid) by Mel Waiters
Barbeque (w/ Cupid)


CD: I Ain't Gone Do It
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
I Ain't Gone Do It


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Friday Night Fish Fry by Mel Waiters
Friday Night Fish Fry


CD: Throw Back Days
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Throw Back Days


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Girls' Nite Out by Mel Waiters
Girls' Nite Out


CD: Nite Out
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Nite Out


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy How Can I Get Next To You by Mel Waiters
How Can I Get Next To You


CD: Let Me Show You How To Love
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Let Me Show You How To Love


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Let's Dance by Mel Waiters
Let's Dance


CD: Nite Out
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Nite Out


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Man Shoes by Mel Waiters
Man Shoes


CD: I Want The Best
Label: Waldoxy



3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Poor  Side Of Town by Mel Waiters
Poor Side Of Town


CD: Poor Side Of Town
Label: Mel Waiters/Brittney



3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Suki-Suki Man by Mel Waiters
Suki-Suki Man


CD: I Want The Best
Label: Waldoxy



3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Throw Back Days by Mel Waiters
Throw Back Days


CD: Throw Back Days
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Throw Back Days


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy When You Get Drunk by Mel Waiters
When You Get Drunk


CD: Say What's On Your Mind
Label: Brittney

Sample or Buy
Say What's On Your Mind


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