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Composed by C. Mabry & D. McCullum
I don't think I've ever been as nonplused by a song as I was by Dave Mack's "13 Days," which first appeared on Jackson, Mississippi's radio station WMPR in the autumn of 2004.
Did I like it? No way. Few revampings of classic songs have offended me more. Mack slowed down the tempo of Smokey Robinson's "The Tracks Of My Tears."
If anyone else remembers real turntable records any more, it was the equivalent of taking the speed down from an old 40's era 78 rpm to the 45 rpm of a 50's-60's single.
And that wasn't all. Mack drained all the soft, stylish, top-forty-geared beauty and romance from Robinson's ballad, replacing it with a harsh, bluesy sound. He changed the key, rendering his message in a minor-sounding chord structure that took all the blues in "Tracks Of My Tears" and presented them in an unremittingly bleak arrangement comparable to Ann Peeble's "I Can't Stand The Rain."
Listen to Dave Mack's "13 Days" on YouTube while you read on.
Well, your Daddy B. Nice is here to tell you that was a long time ago. I've heard "13 Days" so many times since then that I no longer hear Smokey Robinson. And as I've become accustomed to the song, so have I made peace with Mack's taciturn tenor, which I've belatedly grown to appreciate for its strength, simplicity and honesty.
"People say I'm the life of the party,
Because I tell a joke or two.
They don't know that my heart's really breaking
And it's all because of you."
I'm not sure that Smokey Robinson has ever come to terms with this slow-motion-horror-house version of his classic, but as Dave Mack branches out into his personalized version--
"I'm sitting at home
By my telephone,
Waiting for a call from you.
I can't be strong.
I can't move on.
What the hell am I gonna do?"
--an amazing residue of genuine despair disseminates like a fine but potent mist. The more you hear it, the more "13 Days" cuts a legitimate notch in the bluesy side of contemporary Southern Soul.
The other factor driving Dave Mack's regional popularity is the competence of the supporting tracks on his "13 Days" CD. Although the album is comparatively slim, totaling eight tracks, one or two of which are reprises, the CD's six or seven base songs are virtually hype/filler-free: solid, substantial songs of a texture with the title track.
"Something Just Ain't Right" is a raw but catchy slice of authentic rock and roll, and "Part Time Lover" is an impressively evocative ballad.
Listen to Dave Mack's "Part Time Lover" on YouTube.
"Swing Out" is another rocking jam, lifted by Mack's always believable, rough-cut tenor.
"Save Some Of Mine" is a blues rant, intense and punkish in attitude, and another tune in which the vocal is at first off-putting but on repeated listenings credible and even to some extent appealing.
Dave Mack has never recorded another album, nor to my knowledge another single. And yet, by the strength of his music on 13 Days and the air play it continues to rack up years after its release, not to mention Mack's steady regional gigs and his propensity for mixing (he's often photographed with Southern Soul luminaries), Dave Mack remains a viable chitlin' circuit act.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Dave Mack
Davie R. McCullum (aka Dave Mack), the son of Willie & Ruby McCullum was born in 1978 in Jackson, Mississippi. His first and only CD, 13 Days, was published in 2005 on the Mabrey label through CD Baby.
The songwriting on all of the CD's tracks is credited to Mabrey/McCullum.
Mack hasn't recorded since, although his music can still be heard on Southern Soul stations in the Deep South.
Although Mack doesn't tour much, he is a fixture of the Jackson, Mississippi Southern Soul scene, with a reputation as one of the area's most consistent concert acts. He plays the small clubs, including--of late--the E&E Jazz & Blues House next to radio station WMPR in Jackson. (June 1, 2011.)
Song's Transcendent Moment
"Is this heaven?
I've been waiting thirteen days
Since you took your love away.
I can't even eat,
I sleep all day
Since you took your love away."
June 4, 2011.
Dave Mack or another male artist recorded another uncredited version of "7 Hours, 13 Days," a duet with a female singer, with a bridge that leads to a chorus of:
"Nothing compares to you."
The male vocal sounds a lot like Prince or a Prince-influenced singer, and the "Nothing compares to you" chorus sounds like (or is influenced by) country artist Kenny Rogers.
To automatically link to Dave Mack's charted radio singles, awards, citations, CD's and other references on the website, go to "Mack, Dave" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
If you liked Johnnie Taylor's "Good Love," you'll love Dave Mack's "13 Days."
Over the last year I've been dropping hints to the younger musicians.
"Be watching because there's going to be something coming on the site that'll be a real blessing for the younger people."
And I've also been telling a lot of deserving new artists to bide their time, that their day to be featured in a Daddy B. Nice Artist Guide was coming, and long overdue.
Now, at last, the day has come.
The great Southern Soul stars are mostly gone. There's a new generation clamoring to be heard.
Rather than waiting years to go online as I did with the original Top 100, this chart will be a work-in-progress.
Each month five new and never-before-featured artists will be showcased, starting at #100 and counting down to #1.
I estimate 50-75 new Artist Guides will be created by the time I finish. The other 25-50 Guides will feature artists from the old chart who are holding their own or scaling the peaks in the 21st Century.
Absent will be the masters who have wandered off to Soul Heaven. And missing will be the older artists who for one reason or another have slowed down, become inactive or left the scene.
The older generation's contributions to Southern Soul music, however, will not be forgotten.
That is why it was so important to your Daddy B. Nice to maintain the integrity of the original Top 100 and not continue updating it indefinitely.
(Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul covered the period from 1990-2010. Daddy B. Nice's new 21st Century Southern Soul will cover the period from 2000-2020.)
When I constructed the first chart, I wanted to preserve a piece of musical history. I heard a cultural phenomenon I was afraid might be lost forever unless I wrote about it.
There will be no more changes to the original chart. Those performers' place in Southern Soul music will stand.
But I see a new scene today, a scene just as starved for publicity and definition, a scene missing only a mirror to reflect back its reality.
The prospect of a grueling schedule of five new artist pages a month will be daunting, and I hope readers will bear with me as I gradually fill out what may seem at first inadequate Artist Guides.
Information from readers will always be welcome. That's how I learn. That's how I add to the data.
I'm excited to get started. I have been thinking about this for a long time. I've already done the bulk of the drawings.
In a funny way, the most rewarding thing has been getting back to doing the drawings, and imagining what recording artists are going to feel like when they see their mugs in a black and white cartoon. Hopefully----high! An artist hasn't really "made it" until he or she's been caricatured by Daddy B. Nice.
In the beginning months, the suspense will be in what new stars make the chart. In the final months, the suspense will be in who amongst the big dogs and the new stars is in the top twenty, the top ten, and finally. . . the top spot.
I'm not tellin'.
--Daddy B. Nice
Go to Top 100 Countdown: 21st Century Southern Soul
Honorary "B" Side
"Something Ain't Right"
CD: 13 Days
Something Ain't Right
CD: Motel Lovers: Southern Soul From The Chitlin' Circ
Can't Let Her Go
CD: 13 Days
Part Time Lover
CD: 13 Days
Save Some Of Mine
CD: 13 Days
CD: 13 Days
Can I Get A Witness
CD: 13 Days