Willie Clayton

Daddy B. Nice's #5 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Willie Clayton by Daddy B. Nice
 


Sample or Buy


Due to repeated requests. . .




From artists, their familes, friends and fans. . .




For a limited time only. . .




From Daddy B. Nice's archives. . .




Over 100 Southern Soul drawings. . .




Original Daddy B. Nice sketches. . .




All caricatures and satirical renderings are untitled. . .




It's a little piece of history. . .




For those in the "know". . .




Who want a keepsake, memento or souvenir. . .




To commemorate their time. . .




In the Southern Soul limelight.




Browse through all the Southern Soul satirical sketches in Daddy B. Nice's archives.




Browse through all the Southern Soul sketches in Daddy B. Nice's archives.




Browse through all the Southern Soul collectibles in Daddy B. Nice's Southern Soul Products Store. . .



"Boom Boom Boom"

Willie Clayton

Composed by Willie Clayton & Mike Snoddy




October 30, 2014:


Willie Clayton is now the #3-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 Willie Clayton.

**********

December 17, 2012: NEW ALBUM ALERT

Sample or Buy Willie Clayton's "I Am Rhythm & Blues" on Amazon.

Sample or Buy Willie Clayton's "I Am Rhythm & Blues" on iTunes.

Daddy B. Nice's Recommended Single: "Loving Each Other For Life"

Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Loving Each Other For Life" on YouTube.

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

See "Tidbits" below for the latest updates on Willie Clayton.

To automatically link to Willie Clayton's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and many other appearances on the Southern Soul website, go to "Clayton, Willie" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.

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

Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique:

The guy-next-door modesty, the aching vocal, the nostalgia for "back in the day": these are the calling cards of Willie Clayton. Willie Clayton blends blues and soul into such a sweet-tempered hybrid that 21st century listeners may initially look upon it with disdain. Why? Simply because music like this isn't supposed to exist in the era of hiphop-dominated R&B.

Clayton's work, although not flamboyant, represents a "golden mean," the essence of what the new rhythm and blues is all about. Straightforward love ballads. Paeans to the good old days. Even remakes of sixties' classics, in case you didn't get the point.

Willie Clayton sounds like he really does listen to the old songs. He respects them and emulates them, sometimes almost shamefully so. But we (as listeners) are so far removed from the masterworks of yesterday that we wouldn't know the difference, and would enjoy it even if we did. And Willie C. is so confident in his artistry that he transforms the music into his own virtually every time. Listen to the excellent "Drowning In The Sea Of Love" or "Let The Good Times Roll" from The Last Man Standing (N-Zone, 2002).

Prior to 2004's Changing The Game (Endzone), it was hard to pinpoint a single spectacular Willie Clayton track. Hits such as the atmospheric "Old-Fashioned Girl" floated into "Party Like We Used To Do," which merged in the mind with "I Love Me Some You," which conjured the seminal "Love Mechanic," and so on, the melodies invariably winsome, the arrangements sparkling with a lush part-Memphis, part-Motown sheen.

One song, however, did stand out. An old and grizzled dance floor veteran (the fondest fraternity of them all), your Daddy B. Nice always had a soft spot in his heart for an uptempo (relatively speaking) Clayton number with lyrics that declaim:

"Got a brand new song, y'all,
A little something for the old school,
Cause we can't boogie, no,
Not quite like we used to do."

"Wiggle" (written, incidentally, by the young Terry Kimble before he forged a name for himself as T. K. Soul) was Willie Clayton's raggedy rocker, his self-proclaimed dance song (from 2001's The Little Giant Of Soul, Claytown). The song owes a debt to Johnnie Taylor's "Electric Slide," with a lyric that runs, "Two steps to the left/ Two steps to the right,/ Slide to the left/ And rock it all night." Clayton's "Wiggle" doesn't stray far:

"Two steps to the front
Two steps to the back,
Now wiggle in the middle
From front to back."

2004 ushered in yet another stellar album, arguably Clayton's finest yet, Changing The Game (N-Zone). The blues world sat up and took notice too, naming Clayton the top R&B performer of the year. The material from Changing The Game, especially the songs "Woman's World" and "Unconditionally," surpassed anything Clayton had done in the past, an astounding accomplishment given his already high level of excellence. In spite of its lifted riff from "Unchained Melody," "Unconditionally" proved extremely popular with fans and Deep South deejays. But it was "Woman's World," a bluesy ballad, that marked an artistic peak.

Relying on the inspired songwriting of Vick Allen and Paul Richmond, who as individuals or together have composed most of Clayton's ballads over the years, Clayton went beyond winsome and romantic to the heart of the matter to deliver the starkest truth of a woman's love:

"She can be the sweetest thing
That you've ever seen.
But if you mistreat her,
She can go from simply beautiful
To so damn mean."

Even that "damn mean" phrase had antecedents in R&B tradition, harking back to "The sweetest woman in the world/ Could be the meanest in the world" from the Persuaders' 1971 hit, "Thin Line Between Love And Hate."

And even more directly, in terms of inspiration, Clayton's "Woman's World" was a redo of the James Brown classic, "It's A Man's World":

"This is a man's world,
But it wouldn't be nothing
Without a woman. . . "

In that respect, it mirrored Pat Brown's triumphant remake of the Ronnie Lovejoy classic, "Live In Man."

Both songs, Clayton's "Woman's World" and Brown's "Live In Woman," were steeped in a jazzy-bluesy paradise; both songs implied years spent in private hells and purgatories. Queued up together, the two songs flowed effortlessly into one another, Clayton's "Woman's World," if anything, surpassing Brown's "Live In Woman" in power.

From the opening note, "Woman's World" sounded like Willie Clayton had found the purest corner of the soul since B.B. King recorded "The Thrill Is Gone."

--Daddy B. Nice


About Willie Clayton

Willie Clayton was born in 1956 in Indianola, Mississippi, B.B. King's hometown, due east from Greenville and Leland, the heart of the Delta's musical cradle. He started singing as a boy but got his professional start in Chicago in 1969, moving in the same musical circles as R&B peers Tyrone Davis, Syl Johnson and Otis Clay. He then moved to Memphis, where his small record label was distributed by early-seventies' R&B icon Hi Records, home of producer Willie Mitchell (one of his principal influences) and performers Al Green and Ann Peebles.

Hi issued a series of fine Clayton efforts on its Pawn subsidiary, but none of them garnered much commercial attention. Clayton kept plugging away. In 1984 his CD Tell Me garnered recognition, and with the 1993 album Let's Get Together (named after the Al Green hit although the CD contained all-original Clayton material), Clayton broke through in a big way with Southern Soul audiences, perfecting his persona of the kind of guy you could bring home to meet your mama.

Since the early to mid-nineties, Clayton has been one of the most prolific artists on the chitlin' circuit, recording an album of significant material at least once a year. In 1998 and 2002 he produced two annually. In the early years of the 21st century, Clayton picked up even more momentum, scoring one radio single after another that transformed him into one of the undisputed stars of Southern Soul.

CD's of note during this period were Changing The Game, Last Man Standing, Little Giant Of Soul, Classic Soul, Vol. 1 and Call Me Mr. C, all on the N-Zone or Claytown labels.

Slightly younger than graying masters like Tyrone Davis (recently deceased), Bobby "Blue" Bland and Marvin Sease, Willie Clayton is slowly gaining on them in musical stature. He is now based in Atlanta.


Song's Transcendent Moment

"A man's got bigger muscles,
But a woman's got a stronger mind.
It's a woman's world.
Emotionally, she's stronger."


Tidbits

1.

References to the master stylists of yesteryear abound in the lyrics of "Party Like We Used To Do," where Willie says he's going to take you back to the days when "we had so much fun jamming to the old school songs." Musicians Clayton honors include not only R&B forerunners like David Ruffin, Otis Redding, Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Kendrick, Jackie Wilson, Sam and Dave and Marvin Gaye, but (yes, believe it) Elvis Presley and--

"Would you believe?
Frank Sinatra had soul."

2.

February, 2006. The hits just keep coming for Willie Clayton. If there was a Southern Soul deejay not playing Clayton's "Going Crazy" (Full Circle, Endzone) during the winter of 05-06, he or she must have been on vacation. Clayton is on an amazing roll--never off the Southern Soul playlists, always there with a sterling new track. He seems incapable of making a bad record.

3.

September 21, 2006. Willie Clayton's new single, "Boom Boom Boom," sounds like another musical home run. Barry Bonds misses more than Willie. Your Daddy B. Nice just heard a riveting interview on WMPR (Jackson, Ms.) between DJ Ragman and Willie Clayton (Thursday, 9/21/06) in which "Rag" goaded Willie about how good T.K. Soul, "the bad boy of Southern Soul," was. They were talking about an upcoming concert at the Laurel, Mississippi fairgrounds featuring Clayton (with whom T. K. Soul once apprenticed), Bobby Rush, T. K. Soul and Sheba Potts-Wright.

Well, Willie wasn't having any of it. Wouldn't say anything positive about T.K., and took umbrage with Ragman for talking about another artist on "his" interview time. Rag kept teasing him about T.K. Soul, however ("You ain't seen 'bad boy' lately, have ya?"), as if he were warning Willie that the competition at the concert was going to be stiff.

And apropos of the "king of Southern Soul" remarks regarding Marvin Sease and Sir Charles Jones (DBN's Corner 6/4/06), it sounds as if Willie rates himself highly (as he should). Willie twice said to Ragman, "The only two artists you can compare me to are gone--Johnnie Taylor and Tyrone Davis."

But wisely, Willie also recognized the trap he was falling into (beating his own drum), so he said, "I'm not going to signify any more." And, later in the interview, Clayton was more conciliatory when Ragman brought up the name of Bobby Rush. Clayton gave Rush the respect he wasn't willing to give the younger generation.

It was an amazingly tense interview between two old friends in which both Rag and his listeners weren't sure from moment to moment whether Willie might not hang up on the Ragman.

What's your Daddy B. Nice's view? It's fun to get a glimpse into our favorite artists' psyches, but it doesn't mean a thing. Good music requires a lot of things, but passing a personality test isn't one of them. It's all about the material, baby. And in that department Willie Clayton--as evidenced once again by the beautiful "Boom Boom Boom"--is one of the best. DBN.

4.

January 27, 2007. The Willie Clayton album showcasing the seductive single, "Boom Boom Boom," appeared by way of Malaco Records in October of 2006. Entitled Gifted, the CD memorializes Clayton at the peak of his powers. In addition to the popular "Boom Boom Boom," deejays of the Deep South were hailing the new year with the very Claytonesque "Beautiful" and "My Miss America." DBN.

5.

April 25, 2008. Willie Clayton appears on literally dozens of pages at Southern Soul Rnb. To read more references To Willie Clayton, go to Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index, page "C". DBN

6.

November 14, 2007. Willie Clayton has inched up two very hard-to-negotiate spots at the peak of the Southern Soul Top 100 Artists (from #7 to #5). Remember, this chart covers 1990 to the present, almost twenty years.

And he may be even better than that. In addition to many other awards and honors, Willie Clayton's "Going Crazy" (Bargain-Priced Full Circle CD) took the number-one spot in Daddy B. Nice's Top 25 Southern Soul Singles of 2006, with the following description:

"It scales heights in its opening bars that most songs never dream of, much less achieve."

"Boom Boom Boom" from the (Bargain-Priced Gifted CD) also scored high on Daddy B. Nice's year-end "best-of" list. The tag-line description:

"Could Willie come even close to replicating the success of "Going Crazy"? The answer is yes."

The two smash chitlin' circuit hits gave evidence of Willie Clayton's present-day dominance of the Southern Soul charts. Even better, both discs were devoid of filler, boasting above-average songs--songs that might have been centerpieces of CD's by other artists'--songs that far-flung chitlin-circuit deejays did not hesitate to play all through 2006 and 2007.

Additionally, I've moved "Boom Boom Boom" into the number-one niche in the Willie Clayton artist guide. Normally, I wait a couple of years and let the dust settle on recently "hot" hits, but "Boom Boom Boom" is extra-special. Atmosphere. Melodic nostalgia. Aural brilliance. Impeccable vocal. With a phrase--"boom"--that worms its way into your head long after the last pleasant, repetitive echo of the song has died away. Yep! Just like the simple classics of yesteryear.

Browse through the Willie Clayton Recommended Tracks section, one of the lengthiest on the entire Southern Soul RnB website. If you are new to Southern Soul music, you will be amazed that music this good--the Willie Clayton phenomenon--is flying under the national radar.

If your Daddy B. Nice is sounding like a press agent, I can assure you there are many artists who will tell you I can be brutally honest. I sound "promotional" only because Willie Clayton has earned it. He is a complete professional. His work deserves respect from anyone who loves Southern Soul. DBN.

7.

Update: April 21, 2008. Willie's new CD My Tyme's first single, "A Woman Knows," is a unanimous hit across the chitlin' circuit. It's hit number one or close on just about every Southern Soul radio station out there. The song is distinguished not only by its smoking rhythm section and sterling vocal (achievements we take for granted with Willie Clayton) but a divergence of sorts in theme, at least in recent years. With Willie it's all about love, and it's been major helpings of the positive lately ("Going Crazy," "Boom Boom Boom," etc.). "A Woman Knows" is a walk on the "wild" side--the cheatin' side, the negative side. The good news is that Willie still knows how to negotiate that negative territory and produce a hit. DBN.

8.

Update: September 3, 2008

Willie Clayton's My Tyme. is surprisingly absent from the Stations of the Deep South scene--other than "A Woman Knows," of course. Another Willie C. stunner, "A Woman Knows" (#2, Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles way back in December 2007) has saturated the chitlin' circuit scene for months, but with no sign of another single.

This may be a calculated strategy on the part of Willie and Malaco (his record company). And it has worked for them in the past, extending the "shelf lives" of Willie's recent CD's a year or more, based upon a strategy of holding back product long past the original release date and then carefully--slowly--releasing singles. My Tyme continues to sell well, but now that "A Woman Knows" has faded, it's nothing less than eerie not to hear any airplay for a new Willie Clayton CD.

(The above piece ran on Daddy B. Nice's Corner in August 2008 under the title "Speaking Of Albums Flying Under The Radar. . . Where's Willie?" DBN)

9.

January 10, 2009: New CD Alert:

Soul And Blues

Daddy B. Nice notes: Sorry for the delay on this, Clayton fans, but nothing has jumped out and grabbed me--radio-wise--from this new one. Stay tuned. I'm beginning to think maybe Willie is "human" after all.

(RE: "Human" comment: See Tidbits section below--the most extensive of any artist on SouthernSoulRnB, for Willie Clayton's "super-human" accomplishments over the last two to three years.)

DBN.

Bargain-Priced Soul And Blues CD

10.

March 1, 2009

Updating the new CD alert below. . . "Another Man's Gain" appears to the the first breaking single from the new Soul And Blues album. It's a light-hearted, slightly revved-up, mid-tempo tune on the order of "A Little Bit More" from the phenomenal Gifted CD--in other words, not the very best Clayton has to offer, but good enough.

Another song garnering a little air time is the first cut from the CD: "I Feel A Cheatin' Comin' On."

"I Can't Stand The Rain" is receiving some air play on the Stations of the Deep South, but one wonders why this same Ann Peebles track continues to get covered while the far-superior Peebles anthem, "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" never gets any love, even from masters of song selection such as Willie.

On a down note, "Your Body," the final cut, is a weak-hearted and unsuccessful attempt to recreate the fabulous atmosphere and poignancy of Willie's "Boom Boom Boom" from the (Bargain-Priced Gifted CD.

DBN

11.

5/31/09: Update: Add the memorable single "Strong Love" to the new Willie Clayton tracks making headway on the Stations of the Deep South. It's another strong single (DBN #4 Single, May 09) from the Soul And Blues album.

12.

Author's Note: November 4, 2009

NEW ALBUM ALERT: Love, Romance & Respect

The CD contains the eary-seventies-sounding, word-of-mouth underground single, "Dance The Night Away," and a rare "cut-up" Willie Clayton dance track called "Shake Your Money Maker" which will be featured on Daddy B. Nice's Top Ten "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles for November 2009.

Bargain-Priced Love, Romance & Respect CD

Comparison-Priced Love, Romance & Respect CD

--DBN

**********

13.

January 6, 2011: NEW ALBUM ALERT:

Bargain-Priced The Voice CD

And watch for. . .

Willie Clayton's upcoming album: RELOADED

Pre-Order Bargain Priced Reloaded CD

********

14.

May 8, 2011: NEW ALBUM ALERT:

Bargain-Priced If Your Loving Wasn't Good Enough To Keep Me... CD

Comparison-Priced If Your Loving Wasn't Good Enough to Keep Me... CD






If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Michael Jackson's" "Billie Jean," you'll love Willie Clayton's "Boom Boom Boom."


Honorary "B" Side

"Going Crazy"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Boom Boom Boom by Willie  Clayton
Boom Boom Boom


CD: Gifted
Label: Malaco

Sample or Buy
Gifted


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Going Crazy by Willie  Clayton
Going Crazy


CD: Full Circle
Label: Endzone

Sample or Buy
Full Circle


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy A Woman Knows by Willie  Clayton
A Woman Knows


CD: My Tyme
Label: Malaco

Sample or Buy
My Tyme


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy No Getting Over Me by Willie  Clayton
No Getting Over Me


CD: Classic Soul, Vol. 1
Label: N-Zone

Sample or Buy
Classic Soul Vol 1


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Old-Fashioned Girl by Willie  Clayton
Old-Fashioned Girl


CD: The Last Man Standing
Label: N-Zone

Sample or Buy
The Last Man Standing


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Whipped by Willie  Clayton
Whipped


CD: Changing The Game
Label: N-Zone

Sample or Buy
Changing The Game


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Wiggle by Willie  Clayton
Wiggle


CD: Little Giant Of Soul
Label: Claytown

Sample or Buy
Little Giant Of Soul


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Woman's World by Willie  Clayton
Woman's World


CD: Changing The Game
Label: N-Zone

Sample or Buy
Changing The Game


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Drowning In The Sea Of Love by Willie  Clayton
Drowning In The Sea Of Love


CD: The Last Man Standing
Label: N-Zone

Sample or Buy
The Last Man Standing


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Love Me Some You by Willie  Clayton
I Love Me Some You


CD: The Last Man Standing
Label: N-Zone

Sample or Buy
The Last Man Standing


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I'll Make It Good To You by Willie  Clayton
I'll Make It Good To You


CD: Full Circle
Label: Endzone

Sample or Buy
Full Circle


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Loving Each Other For Life by Willie  Clayton
Loving Each Other For Life


CD: I Am Rhythm & Blues
Label: Select-O-Hits

Sample or Buy
I Am Rhythm & Blues


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Strong Love by Willie  Clayton
Strong Love


CD: Soul And Blues
Label: Malaco

Sample or Buy
Soul And Blues


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy We Both Grown (w/ Dave Hollister) by Willie  Clayton
We Both Grown (w/ Dave Hollister)


CD: Reloaded

Sample or Buy
Reloaded


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy A Little Bit More by Willie  Clayton
A Little Bit More


CD: Gifted
Label: Malaco

Sample or Buy
Gifted


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Bartender Blues by Willie  Clayton
Bartender Blues


CD: Ace In The Hole
Label: N-Zone

Sample or Buy
Ace In The Hole


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Dance The Night Away by Willie  Clayton
Dance The Night Away


CD: Love, Romance & Respect
Label: Music Access



3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Equal Opportunity f/ Pat Brown by Willie  Clayton
Equal Opportunity f/ Pat Brown


CD: Ace In The Hole
Label: N-Zone

Sample or Buy
Ace In The Hole


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Let The Good Times Roll by Willie  Clayton
Let The Good Times Roll


CD: The Last Man Standing
Label: N-Zone

Sample or Buy
The Last Man Standing


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Party Like We Used To Do by Willie  Clayton
Party Like We Used To Do


CD: Call Me Mr. C
Label: Claytown



3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Shake Your Money Maker by Willie  Clayton
Shake Your Money Maker


CD: Love, Romance & Respect
Label: Music Access

Sample or Buy
Love, Romance & Respect


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Unconditionally by Willie  Clayton
Unconditionally


CD: Changing The Game
Label: N-Zone

Sample or Buy
Changing The Game


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy As We Lay by Willie  Clayton
As We Lay


CD: The Voice

Sample or Buy
The Voice


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Cheating In The Daylight by Willie  Clayton
Cheating In The Daylight


CD: If Your Loving Wasn't Good Enough to Keep Me...
Label: SDEG

Sample or Buy
If Your Loving Wasn't Good Enough to Keep Me...


Browse Through
Daddy B. Nice's
'Bargain CD' Store


©2005-2014 SouthernSoulRnB.com

All material--written or visual--on this website is copyrighted and the exclusive property of SouthernSoulRnB.com, LLC. Any use or reproduction of the material outside the website is strictly forbidden, unless expressly authorized by SouthernSoulRnB.com. (Material up to 300 words may be quoted without permission if "Daddy B. Nice's Southern Soul RnB.com" is listed as the source and a link to http://www.southernsoulrnb.com/ is provided.)