Pat Cooley

Daddy B. Nice's #69 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Pat Cooley by Daddy B. Nice
 


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"Older Woman, Younger Man"

Pat Cooley

Composed by Robert "Bigg Robb" Smith & Bart "Sure 2 B" Thomas


April 4, 2012: NEW ALBUM ALERT

Bargain-Priced Talking To You CD, MP3's

See "Tidbits" below for the latest updates on Pat Cooley, including CD Reviews of her latest albums.

To automatically link to Pat Cooley's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other references, go to "Cooley, Pat" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.

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

It's almost impossible not to like the music of Pat Cooley. Unfailingly soulful due to Cooley's artful journeywoman vocals, the music is accessible, unafraid of being mainstream, and recklessly experimental in countless entertaining ways.

The listener inevitably draws the line at some songs--for your Daddy B. Nice it's "Boy Toy," although some like it--but for every questionable or marginal tune Pat Cooley scores a winner like "Older Woman, Younger Man" (already something of a contemporary Southern Soul standard) or "Be A Man" (a Latin-tinged ballad worthy of Sam Cooke or Ben E. King).

Cooley doesn't have the overpowering strength of most Southern Soul divas. Her voice is thinner, but the timbre of her vocals is real and appealing. And as far as all the tricks of the R&B trade, she's a true professional, experience shining through every sung or spoken phrase.

Pat Cooley's modus operandi is to emulate a specific R&B standard of whatever style and make the best song she can, and more frequently than you'd imagine, she succeeds.

"I Ain't Going Where You Go" is a paean to eighties disco--you can practically see and feel the pulsing strobes circling above your head while you listen--and yet both the groove and Cooley's Candi-Staton-like vocal go down like hot cinnamon rolls with white frosting.

"Hypnotized," reissued on the 2008 Boy Toy album from an earlier (1993) album, Warm Hug, is a sumptious ballad in the classic Philly soul style.

"Older Woman, Younger Man" is a Denise LaSalle-like vehicle. Lots of voice-over, just-testifying, common sense, chitlin' circuit-style advice.

It starts with the chorus:

"I'm an older woman
Looking for a younger man.
Don't think I can't work it,
'Cause I still can."

Listen to Pat Cooley singing "Older Woman, Younger Man" on YouTube while you read.

1st verse:

"These young girls whispering
In the grocery store.
They say Miss Pat
Ain't got it no more.

But they just don't know
I'm in the prime of my life.
I'm so glad
That I know that is why--"

Chorus:

"I'm an older woman. . . "

2nd and 3rd verse:

"I'm over forty,
Still sexy as hell.
Everything I got
Is still working real well.

As a matter of fact,
If you really want to know,
I can pop, lock it and drop it
Better than twenty years ago.

'Cause I know
Just how to please a man.
That's something you young girls
May not understand.

I know how to give him
Everything he needs.
Just like a washing machine
I got different speeds."

A beautifully-timed bridge then takes you to. . .

"When you're sixteen,
You get your first real spark.

When you're twenty-five,
You really hit the mark.

After thirty,
You can make them scream and shout.

But over forty,
You can turn the whole place out."

Then the song closes with two more choruses, the first with echo reverb and the final straight and simple with a voice-over coda.

I quote the song (written by Robert "Bigg Robb" Smith and Bart "Sure 2 B" Thomas) at length because the lyrics are so perfectly realized. The melody is simplistic, and wouldn't warrant attention, if not for the right-on observations embedded in the lyrics and the spare, direct--and once again perfect--mechanics of the arrangement.

Surprisingly, like its predecessor on Daddy B. Nice's 21st Century Top 100 Countdown, Earl Duke's "Sugar Bowl," Pat Cooley's "Older Woman, Younger Man" has never made it onto a Pat Cooley CD. The song was showcased on the Bigg Robb compilation disc, Blues, Soul & Old School in 2007. And the song was redone by Denise LaSalle as "Older Woman (Looking For A Younger Man)," a cover very faithful to the original Pat Cooley arrangement, in 2010.

(Denise LaSalle's "Older Woman Looking For A Younger Man" wins BEST SOUTHERN SOUL COVER SONG OF THE YEAR: See 4th Annual "Daddies," Southern Soul Music Awards.)

Pat Cooley has always benefitted from great song selection and great producers. Bigg Robb's masterful production of "Older Woman" led to composer/arranger/producer Frank McKinney's expert handling of Cooley's Cougar CD in 2010.

The title tune was an obvious play on the older-woman-chasing-younger-men theme of "Older Woman, Younger Man," but the real meat of the album was contained in the substantial and entertaining singles, "Be A Man," "Get Out," and "Hold Still."

"Hold Still" was a ballad reminiscent of Cooley's previous work--"Hypnotized" and "I Ain't Goin' Where You Go"--and continuing fascination with eighties' disco/soul. "Get Out" was an unabashed dance jam, arguably the most smoking, funk-laced groove of Cooley's career.

But the real head-turner was "Be A Man," in which Cooley and McKinney explored the spare, Latin-tinged territory that Ben E. King mined in "Stand By Me" and Sam Cooke in "Cupid."

Once again, the lyrics bear special scrutiny. After a delicate acoustic guitar intro that guilelessly states the melody, Cooley sings:

"Well, I'm not going to stay here with you.
You've been drinking and acting a fool.

We've got three little children to take care of.
Are you gonna be a father or be a bum?

You've got to be a man.
You've got to take a stand.
You've got to be a man.

Your unemployment is a bad situation.
Financial crisis can be trying your patience.
A bed of roses wasn't promised to you.
Just keep your head high, you'll find something to do.

But you've got to be a man.
You've got to take a stand.
You've got to be a man."

This is not typical, generic tripe. There is real gravity, anger (muted) and determination in these lyrics, and Cooley delivers them with an effectiveness that may surprise listeners who associate her with disco exercises and "Boy Toy"-like light fun. But at the same time, "Be A Man" lingers in the mind with a romantic residue, the effect of its tasteful arrangement and memorable melody.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Pat Cooley

Pat Cooley was born in Marietta, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. In the late 70's, while singing in Atlanta area R&B clubs, she met Clarence Carter, who hired her as a secretary, studio background singer and eventually an opening act.

In 1983 Cooley went on a Department of Defense tour singing with a country-western band, and she continued touring the globe in various musical capacities through the mid-eighties.

In 1987 Pat Cooley recorded her solo debut album on Ichiban Records: Double Talk. The album included the song, "I Ain't Going Where You Go," which established Cooley as a disco-influenced R&B singer in the mode of The Pointer Sisters and Donna Sumner.

The album Warm Hug (Peachtree) followed in 1993, adding another standard to Cooley's catalog, a Stylistics-influenced ballad named "Hypnotized."

Cooley did not record for over a decade. Then, in 2006, with the winds of change blowing through Deep South rhythm and blues with the emergence of Southern Soul music, Cooley re-entered the studio and released her third CD, Real Thing (L&L). The album reprised "I Ain't Going Where You Go" and introduced the title tune to a new audience. The album met with a favorable response and Cooley became a full-time performer on the Southern Soul-chitlin' circuit.

In 2007 Pat Cooley teamed up with an up-and-coming, rapper-turned-Southern Soul star from Ohio named Bigg Robb, who with his collaborator Bart Thomas fashioned a song, "Older Woman, Younger Man" for Cooley to sing on his Blues, Soul & Old School compilation (Over 25 Sounds). "Older Woman" was a smash hit on the Southern Soul and Soul Blues charts, becoming Cooley's signature song.

The album Boy Toy (L&L) followed in 2008 and Cougar (L&L) in 2010. Cougar, with talented producer Frank McKinney assisting, was especially influential.


Song's Transcendent Moment

"When you're sixteen,
You get your first real spark.

When you're twenty-five,
You really hit the mark.

After thirty,
You can make them scream and shout.

But over forty,
You can turn the whole place out."


Tidbits

1.

November 24, 2011:

Listen to Pat Cooley singing "Get Out" on YouTube.

2.

November 24, 2011:

Simeo teamed up with Pat Cooley on a uniquely personal "response song" to Cooley's "Older Woman, Younger Man" entitled "Like Me." It can be found on the "Slammin' Southern Soul Remixes" compilation (CDS). Simeo is expressive and boyish as the younger man. Cooley has some lines that are as delightfully sung as any in her long career.

DBN.

3.

March 29, 2010: Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews

PAT COOLEY: Cougar (L & L) Three Stars *** Solid. The artist's fans will enjoy.

Experimenting with a wide range of styles, the talented Southern Soul singer Pat Cooley has nevertheless steadily and surely carved out a singular identity for herself with three albums in the last three years. Pat's dominant singles over that period reflect her eclecticism.

"I Ain't Going Where You Go" (from Real Thing) is disco-tinged Candi Staton--even Donna Sumner--like. "Older Woman, Younger Man" is pure Southern Soul in the vein of O. B. Buchana's "Back Up Lover." And "Boy Toy" (from Boy Toy) is as pop as Annette Funicello.

The newest CD, Cougar, starts off with a riff and arrangement that is done much better on the third cut, "Get Out," the first single from the CD. "Get Out" (Daddy B. Nice's Top Ten Breaking Singles, March 2010) grafts the "Cougar" song onto a more sophisticated guitar riff and pares down the noise around Cooley's vocal, which is a marvel of rocking, leather-slapping toughness.

Pat Cooley shows off a worthy soulfulness on the pop-influenced tune "Hold Still" as well, her inherent straightforwardness just as compelling when she's using it in a romantic and tender way.

One of the pleasures of listening to Cooley is the little jabs to the memory her songs give the soul fan who harks back a decade or two. (Cooley first recorded back then.) There's a little Barbara Lewis here, a little Adina Howard there--sounds that are as indispensable as they currently are rare.

Not as special are the tunes "Haters" (when's the last time you heard a "haters" song that was any good) and "Hungry Woman" (a bar blues on which Cooley sounds uncharacteristically restrained).

But the CD quickly regains balance with the beautiful "Hold Still," the Bill Withers' remake "Use Me," and the interesting "Be A Man," a serious message delivered in first-rate fashion by Ms. Cooley, who is almost always convincingly real.

Here she's in that deep domestic territory Karen Wolfe explored so well last year. And "Be A Man" also boasts a Latin-tinged, acoustic guitar-based arrangement that lends the song an endearing originality.

The CD closes with "Dance It Down," which dancing-wise is actually less hypnotic than the fantastic "Get Out"; the falsetto-scaled "I Can't Stop Loving You," which more than any divas recalls male crooners like Little Anthony and Curtis Mayfield; and "Everyday With You," whose "Boy Toy"-like melody and arrangement is refashioned to celebrate a grown man.

But these songs--although not without charm--are nothing to write home about.

Your Daddy B. Nice must confess to going back and reading the track listings for Pat Cooley's first two albums many times in the course of this review. I was looking for Cooley's chitlin' circuit hit, "Older Woman Younger Man." I couldn't find it. (DBN Note: "Older Woman Younger Man was published on Bigg Robb's Blues Soul And Old School .)

It's not on this album either. With "Older Woman," this new disc would certainly be approaching five-star territory. The title cut of Pat Cooley's Cougar is okay, with a big underline, but it doesn't take the album over the top, the way, for instance, Nellie "Tiger" Travis's "I'm A Woman" boosted that CD a couple of years ago. And any title cut that doesn't give its CD a boost ends up giving into the laws of gravity.

Readers can sample the songs on Cougar and decide for themselves whether it's worth the fairly hefty album price ($15). For the MP3-crowd, the undisputed keepers are "Get Out," "Hold Still," "Use Me" and "Be A Man." That being said, this disc is Pat Cooley's best and most consistent yet.

--Daddy B. Nice

Bargain-Priced Cougar CD

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4.

Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews

April 3, 2012:

PAT COOLEY: Talking To You (L & L) Four Stars **** Distinguished Effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

Fans of Pat Cooley and her classic single, "Older Woman, Younger Man" (from Bigg Robb's Blues, Soul & Old School LP) may be surprised to discover she has left her talented former composer/producer Frank McKinney to strike out into new musical territory. McKinney wrote "Be A Man" and "Get Out" (among others) from Cooley's most recent (and first-rate) album, Cougar.

Then fans will put on the first track of Pat's newest disc, Talking To You, and possibly do another double-take as Cooley lathers up a new version of B. B. King's "Paying The Cost To Be The Boss." It turns out that Pat Cooley's in a bluesy mood, and she's found another collaborator, Rob Harris, to enable her new direction.

Not only does "Paying The Cost" give notice that the eclectic Ms. Cooley won't take any "guff" from a man who's not paying the bills. It sets the tone for an entire set in which Cooley's bound and determined to give her fans a taste of something different: a hard-edged R&B descended not only from the Boss but the Queen.

Queen Ann Peeble's "I Didn't Take Your Man" hovers over this album like a patron saint, and writer/producer Harris furnishes Cooley with material that is both faithful to the Hi Records sound and freshly-minted.

Talking To You, the title cut, is arguably one of the weakest cuts, simply because it appears to be diluted for radio single air play under the rationale of "trying to please everybody," which more often than not ends up "pleasing no one especially." Which is not to say it isn't a radio-worthy track--just that it doesn't pack a visceral punch.

Most of the other tracks on the CD do. They are uncompromisingly potent, bluesy rockers that grab your attention like a river whose current and depth are powerful and dangerous enough to carry away the fragile and faint of heart.

Your Daddy B. Nice's favorite cut is "Dirt Road Double Wide." Harris and Cooley seem to like it, too, because they remix it for a second outing on the album's finale. Cooley is in great form, comfortable, tough and businesslike (the business of the blues, that is), and Harris provides a "Clean Up Lady"-like guitar riff and foot-stomping, horn-driven arrangement that hits the nail on the head with a sledgehammer.

Similarly, "Bring It Baby," in which Pat is--

"(I'm) Burning with fire,
I'm so full of desire,"

--vamps to a thick, Rolling Stones-like rhythm section and Keith Richards-style guitar.

The album is a two-person project--Cooley does all the singing, foreground and background, Harris does all the instruments and arranging--and it's amazing how much the duo sounds like a seasoned, well-rounded live band. Cooley owes much to Denise LaSalle, and Harris has absorbed all kinds of R&B influences without losing his gritty focus.

"I Don't Want To Lose Your Love" slows down the proceedings to mid-tempo, but the tune has a scorching guitar (reminiscent of The Ventures and Link Wray, no less) and organ-style keyboard.

Stacked one upon the other, these bluesy but melodic vehicles achieve a cumulative impact. Cooley also reprises Be A Man from Cougar.

"I Want To Make Up," yet another fine ballad to add to the rapidly-growing Cooley catalogue, sounds more like a Cougar out-take in atmosphere and its emphasis on melody, but Harris adapts well to the change in pace with a fitting arrangement.

"I Want To Make Up" and "Be A Man" offer a welcome respite from the furious pace of the album as a whole before the album's finale, "Dirt Road Double Wide (Remix)," closes it out with a return to funky, ferocious fun.

Talking To You threw your Daddy B. Nice a curve and will likely dust other Cooley fans off their comfortable stance at home plate. The album defies expectations and renders the usual generalizations meaningless.

To wit, its ostensible Southern Soul cut, "Talking To You," is weaker than its 12-bar-blues tracks, and your Daddy in Soul is more than willing to say, "Bring it on." This is blues with tempo and melody and plenty of funk: in a word, Southern Soul the way we haven't heard it in awhile.

--Daddy B. Nice

Bargain-Priced Talking To You CD, MP3's.

Comparison-Priced Talking To You CD, MP3's

Browse through all of Pat Cooley's CD's in Daddy B. Nice's CD Store.

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


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Candi Staton's "I'm A Prisoner," you'll love Pat Cooley's "Older Woman Younger Man."




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

"Be A Man"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Older Woman, Younger Man by Pat Cooley
Older Woman, Younger Man


CD: Blues, Soul & Old School
Label: Bigg Robb/Over 25 Sound

Sample or Buy
Blues, Soul & Old School


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Be A Man by Pat Cooley
Be A Man


CD: Cougar
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Cougar


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Dirt Road Double Wide by Pat Cooley
Dirt Road Double Wide


CD: Talking To You
Label: L & L



4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Don't Wanna Lose Your Love by Pat Cooley
Don't Wanna Lose Your Love


CD: Talking To You
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Talking To You


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Get Out by Pat Cooley
Get Out


CD: Cougar
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Cougar


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Ain't Going Where You Go        by Pat Cooley
I Ain't Going Where You Go


CD: Real Thing
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Real Thing


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Let You Get Over by Pat Cooley
I Let You Get Over


CD: Boy Toy
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Boy Toy


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Want To Make Up by Pat Cooley
I Want To Make Up


CD: Talking To You
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Talking To You


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Like Me (w/ Simeo) by Pat Cooley
Like Me (w/ Simeo)


CD: Slammin Southern Soul: Remixes And Dance Jams
Label: CDS

Sample or Buy
Slammin Southern Soul: Remixes And Dance Jams


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Boy Toy by Pat Cooley
Boy Toy


CD: Boy Toy
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Boy Toy


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Bring It Baby by Pat Cooley
Bring It Baby


CD: Talking To You
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Talking To You


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Hold Still by Pat Cooley
Hold Still


CD: Cougar
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Cougar


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Hypnotized by Pat Cooley
Hypnotized


CD: Boy Toy
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Boy Toy


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Talking To You by Pat Cooley
Talking To You


CD: Talking To You
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Talking To You


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Use Me by Pat Cooley
Use Me


CD: Cougar
Label: L & L

Sample or Buy
Cougar


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