Bobbye ("Doll") Johnson
Daddy B. Nice's #84 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Saving My Love"
Bobbye ("Doll") Johnson
Composed by Bobbye Johnson & Frank McKinney
Listen to Bobbye Doll Johnson singing "Twerk It" featuring Black Zack on YouTube.
September 1, 2014: Bobbye Johnson R.I.P., Un-Memorialized
Your Daddy B. Nice has recently discussed the un-memorialized death of southern soul diva Bobbye Johnson sometime during the last year--by rumor of cancer--with two of the genre's most exhaustive fact-compilers, David Whiteis (Southern Soul Blues) and Dylann DeAnna (Soul Blues/Blues Critic). None of us has come by any hard information regarding Ms. Johnson's death.
A Facebook entry in June 2014 read:
Bobbye Doll Johnson shared Nokey Anderson's status.
Posted by Nokey Anderson
Great gig today at Chastain Park paying tribute to Bobbye Doll Johnson & Chick Willis..... Special thanks and shout out To all who helped out today... Gave love and showed support... Thanks to My fantastic fellow band members of The After Five Band who donated the proceeds to The family of Bobbye Doll Johnson... And thanks to the Mississippi Society of Georgia for letting us complete her last wishes by performing... It was rough hitting the stage without her... but as she would have wanted.. we got through it..."Rockin The Boat"
The timing of this Facebook entry indicates Bobbye Johnson's passing may have occurred during Daddy B. Nice's hospitalizations in the early summer of 2014.
NOTE TO READERS:
If you have first-hand or verified information (not hearsay) worthy of attaching to the Bobbye "Doll" Johnson Artist Guide as a "matter of record," please e-mail Daddy B. Nice at----
Listen to Bobbye Johnson singing "Rocking This Boat" on YouTube.
To automatically link to Bobbye Johnson's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations on the website, go to "Johnson, Bobbye" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile
Think about it. You write a song. You even perform and record the song. Ten years later, the song finally gets some attention.
"Saving My Love (For You)" is such a song, and Bobbye Johnson is the artist. At least I think that's what's she's going by these days.
In her short career, she's already gone through three professional names--Bobbye, Bobbye Johnson, and Bobbye "Doll" Johnson. I prefer plain old Bobbye Johnson. She's a performer good enough not to need a gimmicky name. Then again, if she continues using Bobbye "Doll" she'll have good company: Bobby "Blue" Bland, Billy "Soul" Bonds, "Sir" Charles Jones, Nellie "Tiger" Travis among them.
Bobbye Johnson is the singer behind the Southern Soul singles "Saving My Love" and "Rocking The Boat," which I would define respectively as an up-tempo ballad and a slow-tempo dance jam.
On "Saving My Love," the song that took over a decade to get air play, Bobbye is as good as the renowned girl groups and top-forty divas of the fabulously multi-racial sixties, and her voice has the youthful innocence and emotional directness seldom captured in studios since.
There haven't been many strong (meaning more than one popular single) female contenders for this type of sugar-coated vocal style.
In recent Southern Soul, LaKeisha ("Baby Don't Go," "Already Gone") and Little Kim Stewart ("No Bootleg Baby") come to mind. Over a decade ago, one might look to Lynn White on such cradle-rocking jams as "Take Your Time."
Bobbye cites influences from Southern Soul to Country, but I associate her finest work with an artist who came long before her time, namely, Mary Wells, who in songs like "You Beat Me To The Punch" wrote the book on the kind of caramel-sweet delivery at which Johnson excels.
"Baby Daddy," Bobbye's most recent successful single, is an extension of the "Saving My Love" style. A little older, a little wiser, Bobbye maintains her graceful, amicable poise even while reeling off the disappointments of her baby's absentee father. The beauty of the melody mingles with the beauty of her vocal and together they overpower the depressing news described in the lyrics.
The song goes down like your favorite libation. But it's not TOO light, either. In fact, there's much substance in the lyrics, but the information is delivered in such a deft manner (and the chord progressions and phrasings so well-placed) that the memory one retains of the song is positive and pleasant.
"Baby Daddy" is marred by one flaw. Bobbye sings two or three important notes flat. These off-pitch notes never fail to momentarily interrupt the spellbound momentum of Bobbye's vocal track (and constitute the only reason your Daddy B. Nice ranks the song 4 rather than 5 stars in "Recommended Tracks" on the right-hand column of this page).
The error shouldn't have gotten by producer Frank McKinney, a rising star in the producing ranks who in all other respects has aided and abetted Ms. Johnson's career going all the way back to "Saving My Love" in the late nineties.
Together they have created the great majority of the songs on Ms. Johnson's albums, and their collaboration has been so successful it's beginning to resemble Nellie "Tiger" Travis' and producer Floyd Hamberlin's fruitful run of Southern Soul singles in the mid-years of the last decade.
--Johnson sings by way of opening "Saving My Love"--
"First day of the week.
Can't wait for the weekend
To see my baby."
There IS a doll-like quality to Bobbye's voice. Both the delicacy and the sexiness of a "baby doll" are evident on those first cracked syllables of "Monday morning" from "Saving My Love." And especially when Bobbye sings matter-of-factly--
"I've been waiting,
For that moment
When you take me in your arms."
"Saving My Love" is all about infatuation in its purest, hundred-proof form. It's a hymn to being in love. Bobbye's vocals are more sophisticated than any casual listener would give her credit for, but she succeeds at making them come from the lips of a young person, raw and street-wise. That's what makes Bobbye's "innocence" so alluring. She's a "young thing" espousing faithfulness while in the grips of rampaging hormones.
The impressive thing about "Baby Daddy," written a dozen years after "Saving My Love," is that Bobbye actually recreates the feeling of records like "Saving My Love" and "You Beat Me To The Punch." Bobbye's heroine is older now. She's got responsibilities, not least a new baby, and that's all in her voice. Her message is (on the face of it) bitter--
"Just like magic he disappeared.
I thought he was the man
I was going to marry."
And yet it's a sugar-coated pill, at least for the listener. As with the great singers, it's all in the delivery--into how it's said, not what's said--and "Baby Daddy" both in its primary and its background vocals is notable for the beauty of its messenger, Bobbye's vocal performance.
"Rocking This Boat," by contrast with "Saving My Love" and "Baby Daddy," is a bona fide dance jam (imagine a "baby doll" rocking) and a demonstration by Bobbye that--hey--she can get down, too. She plays a cheating woman whose guy goes out at night and leaves her alone too much.
"Since my man
Don't pay me no attention,
He'll never know."
The choruses, even the stanzas, have an anthem-like quality that is the direct result of Johnson's spirited execution. Once again Bobbye captures just the right vocal technique, enhancing every few syllables with pleasant background flourishes.
"Rocking This Boat" proves that Bobbye can belt things out, but she does it in the same way--the smooth way, the way that Mary Wells once did it--not the way, say, the "big mama's of Southern Soul" like Denise LaSalle or Ms. Jody do it, and not even the way the sugar-sweet but growling-aggressive Jackie Neal used to do it.
Bobbye is best going her own way.
Listen to Bobbye Johnson performing "Rocking This Boat" Live in Atlanta on YouTube.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Bobbye ("Doll") Johnson
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Bobbye Johnson broke into the music business singing background for Stan Mosley on his classic ballad, "Rock Me" (a song he had been persuaded to record by Senator Jones), and Mosley's delighted chuckles on the first chorus are directly attributable to the entry of Johnson's velvety background.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"I love the way you touch me.
BOBBYE "DOLL" JOHNSON: All The Woman You'll Ever Need (CDS) Three Stars *** Solid. The artist's fans will enjoy.Newcomers to Southern Soul music must think there's not a monogamous marriage in Mississippi. With all the cheating and lying in the genre's songs, so many of which center on the Mississippi Delta, it wouldn't be far-fetched to imagine there's some kind of mutated moral code traced back to the often muddy--let's say tea-colored--drinking water in the communities along the banks of the mighty river.
Not so. People are the same everywhere. But Bobbye Johnson contributes another brick in the wall of the legend with her sugar-sweet, top-forty-styled "Mississippi Hideaway," the new treat from her sophomore CD, All The Woman You'll Ever Need.
Most "cheating" songs feature some amount of hostility, dread, revenge or similar domestic drama. Bobbye's "Hideaway," on the other hand, is as buoyant and carefree as a balloon eluding a child's grasp and floating away in a bright blue sky.
"Now picture this.
At the very back part of the woods
Just a little bitty lake
With the muddy water
Real dark, all nice and cozy
And this little-bitty shed
Just sitting there
It's only open two days a week
And the people
They don't ask no questions."
Yeah. . . Who wouldn't go there with Bobbye?
"Mississippi Hideaway" forms a nice bookend with "Baby Daddy," Johnson's oft-played first single from the new CD, and a song which does confront domestic troubles head-on, albeit with Johnson's trademark sweetness and empathy.
Johnson's smooth delivery would be a disaster--Southern Soul-wise--if attempted by the majority of female singers plying the form. Most of the prestigious work by women in the genre is based on much grittier, "bad mama," "still-the-queen" toughness.
Bobbye brings a different personality to the genre. One might call it "cute," although Bobbye's new use of the nickname "Doll" may be going a little too far. But the "doll" part does point to Bobbye Johnson's unique gift for bringing off a pert and pretty persona without sounding like bubblegum or elevator music.
Frank McKinney, a 2010 "Daddy" finalist for Best Arranger/Producer, does the studio work on these and most of the other tracks on the CD. (Carl Marshall does the other three.)
McKinney was the producer/arranger on Johnson's debut disc, Rocking This Boat (CD Baby, 2008). That album was even better, featuring vocals with an almost incandescent directness on songs such as "Rocking This Boat," "Cheat On You" and "Saving My Love."
(8/21/11 Correction: There was actually a 1999 album, Let The Door Knob Hit Ya (Artist One-Stop, 1999). Rocking This Boat (CD Baby, 2008), was Bobbye Johnson's second album, not her debut. And, if you count an even earlier album, BEEN THERE DONE THAT (undistributed), it would be counted as her third. DBN)
"Saving My Love For You" marked Bobbye's first appearance on Daddy B. Nice's Top Singles Review (May 2008), and "Rocking This Boat" and "Cheat On You" from the debut album also were cited for numerous awards in 2009 and 2010. (See Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index to automatically link to those appearances.)
Rocking This Boat is still available and highly recommended.
Other songs of note on Bobbye's new CD are the title tune, "All The Woman You'll Ever Need" and the modest but compelling "Bye Bye Baby," a ballad which morphs into a classic-sounding chorus, memorable, soft-accented and friendly.
A welcome addition to the ranks of Southern Soul divas, Bobby "Doll" Johnson recaptures a refreshing whiff of Dionne Warwick and Barbara Lewis-style sophistication and tenderness on this new disc.
--Daddy B. Nice
Bargain-Priced All The Woman You'll Ever Need CD, MP3's
Comparison-Priced All The Woman You'll Ever Need CD, MP3'S
Listen to Bobbye's "Rocking This Boat" on YouTube.
Bobbye Johnson on YouTube:
Listen to Bobbye Johnson singing "Rock The Boat" on YouTube.
Watch an outdoor tribute to Bobbye Johnson while Bobbye sings "Rocking The Boat" on YouTube.
Listen to Bobbye Johnson singing "Rock The Boat" Live in Atlanta on YouTube.
Listen to Bobbye Johnson singing "Rock The Boat" Live Onstage at another Atlanta club on YouTube.
Listen to Bobbye Doll Johnson singing "Twerk It" featuring Black Zack on YouTube.
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
Honorary "B" Side
"Rocking This Boat"
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.)