Ghetto Cowboy

Daddy B. Nice's #76 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Ghetto Cowboy by Daddy B. Nice
 


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"Party Goin' On (Up In Here)"

Ghetto Cowboy

Composed by James Emerson & Albert Moore


February 21, 2012: NEW ALBUM ALERT

Sample or Buy Ghetto Cowboy's CD Debut: Check Your Mailbox.

Read Daddy B. Nice's 3-star, "Solid Southern Soul Debut" CD Review of Ghetto Cowboy's CHECK YOUR MAILBOX. (Scroll down to Tidbits #2.)

******

Editor's Note: Although Ghetto Cowboy doesn't have an album where a potential fan can sample his work, his signature songs (the songs discussed here) can be accessed at Ghetto Cowboy on ReverbNation.

*****

At the time of this writing, Ghetto Cowboy doesn't have an album deal, and readers might ask your Daddy B. Nice, "How can you rate a guy with no CD's to his credit ahead of artists who have done many CD's?"

The answer is that once in awhile an exception comes along, a performer busting out not just with talent and promise but with actual, fully-realized, popular songs, tunes that have entered the contemporary lore of Southern Soul without benefit of an album.

Ghetto Cowboy's "Party Going On Up In Here" (not to mention a couple of his others) is such a song.

Since the late sixties, CD's have become the measuring stick of a recording artist's ability to be taken seriously, but with Malaco leaving Southern Soul and the album-buying public continuing to shrink, we may be returning to a singles-dominated time like the fifties and early sixties.

Ghetto Cowboy's songs may not be available in album form--indeed, they're not even available as singles (except by mailing the artist)--but they're all over the Internet and in particular YouTube, free and entire.

Like fellow Louisianan Cupid, Ghetto Cowboy is essentially giving away his music free to build his reputation for touring, where the real (or at least better) money is. A close friend of the late Reggie P., Ghetto Cowboy is an aggressive networker who has developed deep ties throughout the chitlin' circuit, not least among the other performers, who respect his music.

Watch Ghetto Cowboy assisting Reggie P. with "Hold On" Live on YouTube.

Ghetto Cowboy does his own marketing. He seeks out artists--Andre' Lee, Bigg Robb, Nathaniel Kimble--to collaborate with him, making his tunes even more marketable.

And it could be argued that Ghetto Cowboy's hard-edged Southern Soul in the sweat-flinging "Party Goin' On Up In Here" paved the way for the subsequently "monstrous" success of Sir Jonothan Burton's similarly hard-charging "Too Much Booty Shakin'" a couple of years later.

I liked Ghetto Cowboy's "New Rooster In The Hen House" from the first time I heard it, although it was years before I knew who did it. I just like lyrics about the barnyard, I guess. "New Rooster In The Hen House" has both roosters and chickens, which is unusual. And in "Party Goin' On" I love the garage-rock, "96 Tears"-sounding organ (? & The Mysterians). Ghetto Cowboy is a master of bells and whistles, but the meat and potatoes--"Party Goin' On's" pounding hook--is what makes it all worth listening to.

By coincidence Sylvia Robinson, onetime Savoy blues singer, "Sylvia" in Mickey & Sylvia ("Love Is Strange") and the "Mother of Hiphop," just passed away as this critique is being written. Sylvia was the producer who masterminded "Rapper's Delight" and, not long after, "The Message," the two songs that started the whole rap thing.

Ghetto Cowboy's "Party Goin' On" brings the exuberant flavor of "Rapper's Delight" to Southern Soul.

"There's a party goin' on
Up in here,
So let's party.

Me and my baby,
We came to party.
Get out of your seats.
Let's get it started."

Ghetto Cowboy's tune has the feel of a deejay talking over a record, and of overlapping vocals, and of street-corner harmonizing and hand-clapping. Most of all, there's plenty of pure fun in it.

Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "Party Goin' On Up In Here" Live On YouTube while you read.

"You can be young,
Or you can be old,
As long as your music
Has a whole lot of soul."

This is underground, boondocks Southern Soul as wild as small-town Louisiana cooks up in the middle of a hot weekend night.

"You can be black
Or you can be white,
Asian, Puerto Rican,
Whatever you like."

Ghetto Cowboy sings through a mix as harsh as a cheerleader's megaphone, but it doesn't really matter. The words don't call for subtlety but for hard country force. Plenty of women pop into the picture as well, both in rap cameos and background vocals that add even more zest and sexual buzz.

If you like the rhythmic groove of "Party Goin' On" but find it a little rough-hewn for your taste, you'll want to check out Ghetto Cowboy's slicked up, techno-funked "Pop A Pill" with Bigg Robb and his Problem Solvas crew.

Bigg Robb's production eliminates all the Louisiana coarseness, pitting Ghetto Cowboy's excellent, half-spoken vocal against a stark, gleaming background track. I prefer the rougher style of "Party Goin' On," but admire the techno effect that shimmers around the hook in "Pop A Pill." What's never in doubt is the same, propulsive Ghetto Cowboy groove, and whenever it comes to the forefront the listener settles into a comfort zone.

The last of Ghetto Cowboy's quartet of interesting songs is "You Walked Out," a ballad with the heft of a Carl Sims slow jam.

Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "You Walked Out" (The Original) on YouTube.

Once again, Ghetto Cowboy more than compensates for the crudeness of his vocal palate with a complex and memorable arrangement which, while programmed, still somehow manages to stir up some deep feeling.

He stresses the melody and accentuates it with echo effects, he plays with his vocal, giving it subtle after-echoes, he overlays his vocal on key parts of every stanza with a harmony line. When the bridge appears, a strange bongo-knocking commences. And throughout, at intervals, Ghetto Cowboy throws his head back and lets out a "Wooo!" All of the effects merge into one of the stranger musical brews you'll ever hear.

If "You Walked Out" were any more of an anthem, it would be waving its own flag.

Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "You Walked Out (Remix)" w/ Andre' Lee.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Ghetto Cowboy

James Emerson (aka Ghetto Cowboy) was born and remains a native of Homer, Louisiana, a small town northeast of Shreveport not far from the Arkansas border. According to his own account, Ghetto Cowboy's first single, "New Rooster In The Hen House," came out in 1998.

The single was revived in 2007 and played on Chico's Radio out of Mobile, Alabama among other Deep South outlets, along with the new single, "You Walked Out."

The single "Party Goin' On (Up In Here)" was released in 2008 and the single (You Make Me Wanna) Pop A Pill, a collaboration with Bigg Robb, was released in 2010.

The same year, Ghetto Cowboy released a remix of "You Walked Out" with Southern Soul singer/songwriter Andre' Lee.


Song's Transcendent Moment

"Oh, ladies,
Please do me a favor.
Get out on the dance floor
And shake your money maker.

Don't worry, fellas,
I ain't forgot about you.
You better be ready,
You better be ready,
You better be ready,
You gotta be ready,
To dance all night."


Tidbits

1.

October 2, 2011:

Here is a full list of current Ghetto Cowboy videos:

Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "New Rooster In The Hen House" Live on YouTube.

Watch Ghetto Cowboy assisting Reggie P. with "Hold On" Live on YouTube.

Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "Party Going On (Up In Here)" on YouTube.

Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "Party Going On Up In Here" Live at The G-Spot in Rayville, Louisiana on YouTube.

Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "Pop A Pill" with Bigg Robb on YouTube.

Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "You Walked Out" on YouTube.

Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "Party Goin' On Up In Here" Live On YouTube.

Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "You Walked Out" (The Original) on YouTube.

2.

February 21, 2012:

Ghetto Cowboy: Check Your Mailbox (Desert Sounds) Three Stars *** Solid Southern Soul Debut by a New Male Vocalist.

A debut album begs one overriding question: "Who is he (or she)?" Ghetto Cowboy throws his fans (limited to Southern Soul insiders at this point) a bit of a curve with his first published CD, Check Your Mailbox.

Listeners expecting to hear rousing party anthems on the order of "Party Goin' On Up In Here" or "You Walked Out" or Ghetto Cowboy's collaboration with Bigg Robb & The Problem Solvas on "Pop A Pill" could be disappointed. Maybe Ghetto Cowboy wasn't who we thought he was.

Not only are these YouTube songs (and Cowboy's original "Rooster In The Hen House") absent from the debut. The songs Ghetto Cowboy chooses to define himself on his introductory disc are much more mellow, inhabiting a middle-ground of melody and modest expectations that may surprise fans who up to now have been attracted mainly by Ghetto Cowboy's hard-charging rhythms and brashness.

"Check Your Mailbox," the title track and first single now bubbling up on deejay playlists throughout the chitlin' circuit (See Daddy B. Nice's #2 "Breaking" Southern Soul Single for January 2012), has a nice musical feeling to it, but it's unclear whether it has the pizzazz of some of those early hits which brought Cowboy his first notoriety.

"A night of pleasure bound us together," relates Ghetto Cowboy.

"You said you were pregnant
When I saw you again.
But all I wanted
Was a one-night stand."

The background vocal--or more accurately, voice-over--by Levy Marie as the hard-pressed single mother is indispensable. In fact, the female background singing, shared by Ms. Marie and Misty Lundy working separately on various tracks, is superb throughout the collection.

On "Down Low," another slow jam that epitomizes the more reflective and mature persona Ghetto Cowboy is intent on projecting in his first full-length disc, the combination of Levy Marie's background and the mainstream-sounding chords struck by a classic, cabaret-style piano mark Cowboy as a singer/songwriter more than an over-the-top, crowd-pleasing party impresario.

"Staying In Love With You" lifts the melody and arrangement from Bobby Jones' popular title cut from his 2011 Southern Soul comeback album, You Ain't Got No Proof. Southern Soul zealots will be sure to recognize the burglary; it remains to be seen whether they'll hold that against Cowboy's otherwise attractive redoing.

The closest Ghetto Cowboy comes to the adrenaline rush of "Party Goin' On" on Check Your Mailbox are the drastically-muted, mid-tempo finesse of "Wiggle" (no relation to the Willie Clayton standard) and the promising, subtly-exciting "Tighten Up," which plays a catchy, percolating rhythm against an eighties-style, synth-disco background.

As unlikely as it would have appeared before listening to this CD a few times, the cut that best represents what Ghetto Cowboy seems to be after in this collection is the #1 track, "Sweeter Than Candy," a pure, mid-tempo melody in the traditional Southern Soul style with a marvelous background cameo by Misty Lundy.

"I Love You," "Back Seat Love Affair," "Kick Off Your Shoes" and "Staying In Love With You" are cut from the same melodic, easy-going cloth. Ghetto Cowboy's vocals retain the same, rough, smoker's-harsh quality heard on his early singles, but the crescendoes and vamping are nowhere evident.

This lowering of the energy level might be fatal if not for the more-than-adequate songwriting, a task shared by James Emerson (Cowboy), studio maven Eric "Smidi" Smith and producer Pete Peterson.

Enjoying Check Your Mailbox is a bit like being invited to the house of a guy you've always known as a wild party-type and instead chilling in the living room with a few people and some pleasant conversation. If you can forgive Ghetto Cowboy for omitting the songs we wanted to hear (and still can't attain in published form), you'll find him surprisingly good company: a down-to-earth singer/songwriter with a real pipeline to the sweet mid-section of the Southern Soul canon.

Sample or Buy Ghetto Cowboy's "Check Your Mailbox" CD.

Read Daddy B. Nice's new Artist Guide to Ghetto Cowboy.


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked the Stereo MC's "Connected," you'll love Ghetto Cowboy's "Party Going On (Up In Here)."




EDITOR'S NOTE

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'.

Not yet.

--Daddy B. Nice

Go to Top 100 Countdown: 21st Century Southern Soul


Honorary "B" Side

"You Walked Out"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Party Goin' On (Up In Here) by  Ghetto Cowboy
Party Goin' On (Up In Here)


CD: (No Album)

Sample or Buy
Party Goin' On


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy You Walked Out by  Ghetto Cowboy
You Walked Out


CD: (No Album)

Sample or Buy
"You Walked Out" on YouTube


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Party Goin' On (Remix) by  Ghetto Cowboy
Party Goin' On (Remix)


CD: (No Album)

Sample or Buy
Party Goin' On (Remix)


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy You Walked Out (Remix w/ Andre Lee) by  Ghetto Cowboy
You Walked Out (Remix w/ Andre Lee)


CD: (No Album)

Sample or Buy
You Walked Out(Remix w/ Andre' Lee)


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy (You Make Me Wanna) Pop A Pill w/ Bigg Robb by  Ghetto Cowboy
(You Make Me Wanna) Pop A Pill w/ Bigg Robb


CD: (No Album)

Sample or Buy
(You Make Me Wanna) Pop A Pill


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Check Your Mailbox by  Ghetto Cowboy
Check Your Mailbox


CD: Check Your Mailbox
Label: Desert Sound

Sample or Buy
Check Your Mailbox


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy New Rooster In The Hen House by  Ghetto Cowboy
New Rooster In The Hen House


CD: (No Album)

Sample or Buy
New Rooster In The Hen House


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Ghetto Stomp by  Ghetto Cowboy
Ghetto Stomp


CD: (No Album)

Sample or Buy
Ghetto Stomp


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy The Weekend by  Ghetto Cowboy
The Weekend


CD: (No Album)

Sample or Buy
The Weekend


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Tighten Up by  Ghetto Cowboy
Tighten Up


CD: Check Your Mailbox
Label: Desert Sound

Sample or Buy
Check Your Mailbox


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Country Swang by  Ghetto Cowboy
Country Swang


CD: (No Album)

Sample or Buy
Country Swang


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Sexy Grown by  Ghetto Cowboy
Sexy Grown


CD: (No Album)

Sample or Buy
Sexy Grown


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