Daddy B. Nice's #108 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Make That Monkey Jump"
September 15, 2016: NEW ALBUM ALERT!
Sample/Buy Grady Champion's new ONE OF A KIND CD.
To automatically link to Grady Champion's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other references, go to "Champion, Grady" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
November 9, 2014: Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile
A dozen years ago, in the essay "On The Difference Between Southern Soul & The Blues, your Daddy B. Nice tried to explain the frequently cavernous gap between the blues (sometimes called "mainstream blues," "guitar blues" or "white blues") and southern soul. What makes Grady Champion such an interesting recording artist, in addition to his substantial talent and determination, is the fact that he grew up in the Delta, immersed in both divergent musical branches.
In Daddy B. Nice's Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's), first published over a decade ago, a handful of "mainstream" blues artists (Shemekia Copeland, Keb' Mo', Arthur Adams, Dr. "Feelgood" Potts, R. L. Burnside) were included in the chart in part to give the non-Deep South fan of black music some familiar names to make the chart of almost entirely-unknown "southern soul" artists (at the time) some context.
These artists (along with hiphoppers like R. Kelly, Kelly Price, Jaheim, Erykah Badu, Angie Stone) also represented the musical journey your Daddy B. Nice had taken in the early-Internet, pre-file-sharing days from the "mainstream" to the ever-more-obscure layers of chitlin' circuit, end-of-the-musical-rainbow treasures.
"Traditional blues," as I once wrote, "is the only music the majority of the music-buying public associates with the genre, or even knows exists." The statement still applies, but not nearly to the extent it did in 2000.
Almost a generation later, Daddy B. Nice's new chart, Top 100 Countdown: 21st Century Southern Soul, has not had to contend with the kind of inaccessibility of those early southern soul recordings as the genre has become ever more popular.
Grady Champion, however, represents the first 21st-century southern soul artist to straddle those two forks in black music (in the way, say, of Bobby Rush), and the first performer to "make" the new "top one-hundred" chart while still embodying those tensions between the blues and southern soul.
Some of your Daddy B. Nice's commentaries on Grady Champion's songs over the years fairly drip with disdain:
(To automatically link to all the awards, citations and other references to Grady Champion on the website, go to "Champion, Grady," in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.)
For instance, this remark from Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Tre' Williams & The Revelations, which "calls out" Grady's song "Weight Of The World" specifically as being illegitimate:
Countless artists from beyond the Delta (and its northern outpost, Chicago) have tried and failed to break into the Southern Soul market.
The fabled "sound" that makes Southern Soul unique isn't easily recreated, and many non-Southern artists (Simeo, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, B. Dupree and others, including Grady Champion's new single, "Weight Of The World,") have occasionally stumbled in spite of possessing great talent and production skills.
But Grady Champion came in at the #6 chart position in July of 2011:
6. "Make That Monkey Jump"---Grady Champion
"Weight Of The World" had an arrangement that sounded like it came out of a whites-only suburb in the West, but "Make That Monkey Jump" rocks. It's chitlin's, baby.
And by the end of the year, your Daddy B. Nice was including Grady in a short list of the new and upcoming stars in his year-end review and ceding "Make That Monkey Jump" one of the Top 25 Songs Of 2011:
21. "Make That Monkey Jump"-------------Grady Champion
Jumps out of the stereo speakers and grabs you by the throat with an immediacy that has even chitlin' circuit vets shaking their heads in dumbfounded amazement.
Grady's signing with Malaco this year (2014, for BOOTLEG WHISKEY) is huge. Not only does it represent an extraordinary accomplishment for a "hometown kid" who grew up worshiping the R&B powerhouse. (This is the label that gave up on the super-talented Vick Allen, after all.) But it also testifies to the mainstream-or-nothing mentality of present-day Malaco, hitching themselves to a young performer (Grady Champion) who, in the time-honored fashion of all of the great R&B performers before him, has a genuine chance to cross over to the white mainstream audience.
Hats off to Grady Champion. Southern Soul needs more like him.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Grady Champion
The youngest of a staggering number of siblings (28), Grady Champion grew up on a farm near Canton, Mississippi, a suburb of Jackson, with moves to the Miami area in his high school and post-high-school years. Steeped in gospel and blues, Champion nevertheless began his professional career in the early 90's as a rapper named M C Gold.
December 6, 2014:
Grady Champion On TourGrady Champion is undertaking an extensive tour beginning in December 2014 and extending through January and February 2015. Champion and band will be appearing in Dothan, Alabama and the Delta towns around Jackson, Mississippi, including Madison and Grady's oft-frequented venue at the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg throughout December. Then, starting around New Year's Eve, Grady gets really intense with nightly appearances in Greenville, Lexington, Memphis, and Jackson before heading north to Topeka, Kansas en route to Alberta, Canada, where he'll do a two-night date in Calgary followed by an entire week in Edmonton at a club called, aptly enough, Blues On Whyte. He'll return to Mississippi for a quartet of gigs in Vicksburg and one in Memphis in January and February.
--Daddy B. Nice
See Daddy B. Nice's Concert Calendar.
3.November 2, 2014: NEW ALBUM ALERT!
Sample/Buy Grady Champion's new BOOTLEG WHISKEY CD.
See Daddy B. Nice's #2-ranked Southern Soul Single for September 2014: Grady Champion's "South Side."
Listen to Grady Champion singing "On The South Side" on YouTube.
Honorary "B" Side
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