Lebrado

Daddy B. Nice's #62 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Lebrado by Daddy B. Nice
 


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"I'm Missin' You Babe"

Lebrado

Composed by Bruce Billups, Theodis Ealey & Gregory P. Jones


When people ask me for a definition of Southern Soul music, I often start out by saying, "It's just rock and roll," another way of saying it's soul music for the popular market. Few contemporary Southern Soul singles illustrate the far-reaching charisma of vintage rock and roll better than Lebrado's "I'm Missin' You Babe." Musically, the song defies customary genre boundaries. It could be folk. It could be alternative. It could be pop. It could be said to derive from just about anything in popular music, but the one thing this pure Southern Soul song does not sound like is urban.

The chord progressions are of a simplicity to conjure amateur guitar-pickers hanging out in a dowdy living room with book shelves on concrete blocks or around a fire on a college-kid "woodsy," strumming away between slugs of beer or tokes on a pipe.

The words are likewise standard fare, the most basic and generic of emotional issues, namely. . . "I'm missing you, babe."

What, then, is the secret to this song's incredible magic and its firm hold on the imaginations of Southern Soul fans since it first came out in the mid-00's? What makes this song any different or better than "Kumbaya" or "Michael row the boat ashore"?

Listen to Lebrado singing "I'm Missing You Babe" on YouTube while you read.

The answer is that "I'm Missing You, Babe" isn't any better, necessarily. Both "Kumbaya" and "Michael Rows" were based on what used to be called traditional black "spirituals," only their pop distillations became so familiarized over the years that their religious themes became invisible, trite. They no longer carried any underlying weight or power.

"I'm Missing You, Babe" taps into those same, near-invisible roots in the religious aspirations of early Black Americans. The framework of the song may sound like pure, folkish pop, but that's only because the form has become such an integral part of our culture, homogenized for mass consumption.

But the secret of the song is in that tenuous tie to a simpler time, when people of great character sang elemental ballads that provided salve for the spirit.

The other key to the song's popularity is Lebrado's one-of-a-kind vocal. Few songs ingratiate themselves with a listener on the first sung note, but that is exactly what Lebrado does when he croons the opening words, "Ohhh girl...."

It's a voice that has a certain huskiness to go along with a modest casualness. Tone is everything, and those first notes are guaranteed to win over all but the most recalcitrant. And as the song progresses Lebrado stretches out, ratcheting up the power and emotion, throwing out gospel licks in a way that would do Stevie Wonder (in his prime) proud.

But it all begins with that perfect, guy-next-door sound, that disarming mixture of the every-day and the heavenly. It's one thing to be middle-of-the-pack. It's quite another to stake out "middle ground" with the authority of a master, which is what young Lebrado does.

"Ohhh, girl,
When I first saw your face,
I knew I'd never find another
That would ever take your place."

In Lebrado's singing, the phrase is rich with impressions--you can almost reach out and touch the woman.

Later, Lebrado sings the chorus:

"I'm missing you, babe
Is it true, babe?
I miss those good old days
When love was okay."

By the time he sings--

"Can you give me just one more chance?"

--Lebrado has taken his vocal to a level that threatens to blow the roof off.

Of no little assistance is the fine guitar work of Theodis Ealey, Southern Soul's pre-eminent guitarist, who at the time of Lebrado's recording was at his "Stand Up In It"/"Please Let Me In"-picking pinnacle. The background, choreographed by Ealey and talented producer Bruce Billups, is a thing of beauty, a tapestry of delectable musical elements.

You can really hear this tapestry in the last stanza before the fade-out, which is all instrumental. The rhythm section and a generous helping of strings do the rest, but it's Lebrado himself who transforms the whole. His vocal is equal to the task, and the result is one of one of the sweetest, gentlest love songs in 20th Century Southern Soul.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Lebrado

Lebrado Wilson, aka Lebrado, is a native of the Charlotte suburb of Wingate, North Carolina. Lebrado made his musical debut as a back-up singer on the single "Suicide" by Jodeci from their 2000 album, X.

The members of Jodeci, Cedric "K-Ci" Hailey and his brother Joel "JoJo" Hailey (who went on to perform as the duo K-Ci & JoJo), are Lebrado's older brothers.

Lebrado's first turn as a solo artist occurred after meeting Atlanta-based producer Bruce Billups and Southern Soul singer Theodis Ealey. "I'm Missing You, Babe," his first single, appeared on the Ifgam sampler, Let Me Put The Head In It, with a number of other artists in 2006.

Ealey, whose X-rated title tune anchored the album, also contributed guitar work on Lebrado's "I'm Missing You, Babe." Billups produced.

The same year, Ealey's label Ifgam (the acronym is an abbreviation for "I Feel Good About Myself") published Lebrado's debut album, Try Me, which featured "I'm Missing You, Babe" in addition to the singles "Coffee," "Let Me Be Your Daddy," "Dancin'" and "Come Back Home," all of which received favorable notice and air play throughout the Stations of the Deep South.

Fire, Lebrado's second CD, was released in 2009 on the indie label Makes Cents/Majama Entertainment. K-Ci joined Lebrado on the title tune.

Fire also showcased the uptempo ballad "You're So Sexy" and the Zydeco-influenced "Lebrado Like It Like That," both of which joined "Fire" as staples on Southern Soul stations in 2009.


Song's Transcendent Moment

"I knew from the first minute I met you, babe,
I wanted you to be my wife,
but when you packed up and walked away, babe,
I felt that was the end of my life."


Tidbits

1.

December 28, 2011:

Here are some YouTube offerings for Lebrado:

Listen to Lebrado singing "I'm Missin' You Babe" on YouTube.

Listen to Lebrado singing DJB-Sharp's New Orleans Bounce Mix of "I'm Missing You Babe."

Listen to Lebrado singing "Fire" on YouTube.

Listen to Lebrado singing "Let Me Be Your Daddy" on YouTube.

Listen to Lebrado singing "You're So Sexy" on YouTube.

Listen to Lebrado singing "Beautiful" on YouTube.

Listen to Lebrado singing "Try Me" on YouTube.


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Ollie Nightingale's "She's In A Midnight Mood (In The Middle Of The Day)," you'll love Lebrado's "I'm Missin' You, Babe."





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

"Coffee"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I'm Missin' You Babe by  Lebrado
I'm Missin' You Babe


CD: Try Me
Label: Ifgam

Sample or Buy
Try Me


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Coffee by  Lebrado
Coffee


CD: Try Me
Label: Ifgam

Sample or Buy
Try Me


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy You're So Sexy by  Lebrado
You're So Sexy


CD: Fire
Label: Makes Cents/Majama Ent.

Sample or Buy
Fire


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Dancin' by  Lebrado
Dancin'


CD: Try Me
Label: Ifgam

Sample or Buy
Try Me


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Lebrado Like It Like That by  Lebrado
Lebrado Like It Like That


CD: Fire
Label: Makes Cents/Majama Ent.

Sample or Buy
Fire


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Let Me Be Your Daddy by  Lebrado
Let Me Be Your Daddy


CD: Try Me
Label: Ifgam

Sample or Buy
Try Me


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Beautiful by  Lebrado
Beautiful


CD: Fire
Label: Makes Cents/Majama Ent.

Sample or Buy
Fire


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Come Back Home by  Lebrado
Come Back Home


CD: Try Me
Label: Ifgam

Sample or Buy
Try Me


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Fire by  Lebrado
Fire


CD: Fire
Label: Makes Cents/Majama Ent.

Sample or Buy
Fire


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Angel by  Lebrado
Angel


CD: Fire
Label: Makes Cents/Majama Ent.

Sample or Buy
Fire


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