Sir Jonathan Burton
Daddy B. Nice's #51 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Too Much Booty Shaking"
Sir Jonathan Burton
Composed by Jonathan Burton
August 9, 2015:
RE-POSTED FROM NEW CD REVIEWS: DADDY B NICE'S "DUBIOUS" REVIEW OF SIR JONATHAN BURTON'S NEW SWING SOUL CD (SCROLL DOWN THIS PAGE)
April 18, 2015:
Sir Jonathan's Latest: See Daddy B. Nice's CD Reviews
March 31, 2015: NEW ALBUM ALERT!
Sample/Buy Sir Jonathan Burton's NEW SWING SOUL CD.
To automatically link to Sir Jonathan Burton's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations and references on the website, go to "Burton, Sir Jonathan" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
April 18, 2015:
SIR JONATHAN BURTON: New Swing Soul (CDS/Music Access) Two Stars ** Dubious. Not much here.Jonathan Burton is an arranger/producer, not a songwriter, and it finally catches up with him on his latest CD, New Swing Soul.
Is your Daddy B. Nice the only one who sees the emperor wearing no clothes here? There are no songs on this album, although a couple of tracks towards the end of the set hint at being songs.
Burton doesn't have the wherewithal to construct chord changes. When great writers like Chris Mabry (Big Yayo) or Omar Cunningham sit down to write a song, they punch out a series of unique (or at least fresh) chords (notes) that constitute the structure of the entire tune. Listen to the first couple of bars of LaMorris Williams' "Impala" (written by Mabry) or J'Wonn's "I Got This Record" (written by JWonn & Mabry) and you'll hear these chords, naked and upfront. They're so beautiful and enticing they instantly grab your attention.
"Too Much Booty-Shaking" transcended Sir Jonathan's usual fare with just a hint more melody and a once-in-a-lifetime arrangement, one that built up so much suspense it became irresistible. Burton has basically been trying to repeat the "Booty-Shaking" formula ever since. On this set alone the signature tune is emulated with "Southern Soul Got A New Swing," "The Hole Inside The Hole In The Wall," "Southern Soul Showdown," "My Baby Can't Dance" and more.
But the formula was always weak: heavy on arrangements and bells and whistles, light on substance. It's not that it can't work. It's that it so much more often doesn't. All frosting, no cake. The inclusion of the best single from the album (with a wondrous arrangement), "Can't Touch This (Remix)" is apropos because Hammer's "Can't Touch This" was itself a chordless strip-down of Rick James much more musically phenomenal "Super Freak." And "Beachosity," which concludes the set, is yet another raiding of the Young Rascals' "Groovin'," the same bass line, the same treble-clef chords, the same tempo. "New Swing Soul," the title cut, isn't new at all. It came to the fore in the eighties and it's called funk.
Burton could accomplish so much more with a bona fide composer as collaborator. And yet, the self-written "Full Time Man," in which "the woman wants a full-time man," indicates that Jonathan can do more and do it well. There is actually a musical hook to this mid-tempo keeper. "Mind Your Business," too, has the hint of a melody, but it seems more like an after-thought in the overall package of the album.
Lest the artist and readers think your Daddy B. Nice is twisting Jonathan's arm, trying to make him slow down and write ballads, that's not my intent. Like Sir Jonathan, Bigg Robb specializes in club-friendly, fast-tempo tunes, but they don't sound alike. Robb--a great writer--has absorbed enough Clarence Carter to transcend his early funk roots, and he always finds a unique musical hook.
I've called Burton's songs "washing-machine beats" in the past to point up this utter lack of melody.
It may work in the club--there's furious energy here--and I love the guy to death for his enthusiastic embrace of southern soul. But even as he toasts southern soul music and shouts out to chitlin' circuit artists in one track after another, Burton himself is not really playing southern soul but an offshoot of beach music.
--Daddy B. Nice
Sample/Buy Sir Jonathon Burton's NEW SWING SOUL CD at Amazon.
Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile:
"It's too much,
Too much booty shaking
Up in here."
Your Daddy B. Nice begins this Artist Guide with a column I wrote for DBN's Corner about Sir Jonathan Burton and "Too Much Booty Shaking" at the height of the song's popularity in the summer of 2011.
June 25, 2011: "Too Much Booty Head Shakin'"
Many years ago, Jerry "Boogie" Mason told your Daddy B. Nice how surprised he was by the success of Theodis Ealey's single, "Stand Up In It." "I never saw that one coming," he said.
That's the way I've been feeling recently about Sir Jonathan Burton's surprisingly resilient single, "Too Much Booty Shakin'."
I've been scratching my head wondering how in the hell this simple, basically one-chord-plus-harmonies ditty by the formerly Sir-less producer/singer/songwriter has captured so much attention and love. I never really warmed to the tune, but I sure do acknowledge its success.
Listen to Jonothan Burton's "Too Much Booty Shakin' Up In Here" on YouTube while you read on.
A recent press release from CDS Records proclaims "Too Much Booty Shakin'"'s dominance of Southern Soul radio as follows:
#1 Soul And Blues Report
#1 Southern Soul Top 20
#1 Blues Critic Radio
#1 American Blues Network
Granted that these internet radio sites aren't exactly the equivalent of Billboard's Top 100, this is still a pretty compelling consensus. And Soul & Blues Report--the first site mentioned--actually represents an entire legion of indie Southern Soul stations across the land.
So the verdict is in, and has been coming in consistently for at least three months: "Too Much Booty Shakin'" is the most popular Southern Soul single in a long time.
What's not to like? Hard to say. It's all a matter of taste. When a Southern Soul musician goes mainstream, he may mimic Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry (Theodis Ealey's "Stand Up In It"); or he may be influenced by James Taylor (L. J. Echol's "From The Back") or any number of mainstream types.
"Too Much Booty Shakin'" reminds me a lot of Lebrado's "Fire," another song I was never crazy about. My favorite Lebrado single is his first: "I'm Missing You, Babe." It's a real song, with a sinuous texture.
"Fire," on the other hand, is--like Burton's "Too Much Booty Shakin'"--more of a chant, with lots of shouting and minimal harmonic chord changes.
If you're going for the mainstream, I prefer--say--a sinuous, swamp-rhythmed, Creedence Clearwater-type sound (of which "I'm Missing You, Babe is a folkish example) over the marching-band, bombastic style of Bruce Stringsteen, of which Lebrado's "Fire" and Sir Jonathan Burton's "Too Much Booty Shakin'" are prime examples.
Again, it's a matter of taste.
But in searching for the secret ingredients to "Booty Shakin'"'s success, I've found one explanation that seldom is considered, probably because it's so obvious.
Very much like "Stand Up In It" (written by William Travis, aka El' Willie), "Too Much Booty Shakin'" has strong and memorable lyrics.
"Stand Up In It," you'll remember, played on the never-before-utilized metaphor that once you're inside a woman, you can't just curl up and go to sleep on the sofa. You can't just go limp and soft. You have to get up. You have to stand up in it.
This fascinating mental play on words--never really taken to X-rated lengths--caught on with listeners, including recording artists, who couldn't resist referring to the phrase in their own songs.
A Southern Soul metaphor was born and became a part of the musical canon.
We writers are such a downtrodden species we tend to downplay the worth of the lyrics in favor of what we justifiably see as the predominance of the raw music. The raw music is like the body--the Halle Berry physical essentials--of the song. The lyrics are just the brains. They're important, but in the instinctual world of music not as important as the musical substance underneath. Or so we poor wretches who only write about the music think.
Songs like "Too Much Booty Shakin'" and "Stand Up In it" remind us that to the ordinary music lover, lyrics mean a lot. In the minds of the typical music fan, the music itself may even be "invisible." The music--like a lovely actress--may draw the listener in, but what is said (the lyrics) is what hooks the imagination and keys the hit-making process.
In truth, "Too Much Booty Shakin'" has just a fraction of the wit of Theodis' "Stand Up In It." What it does have in spades is "booty" talk, and anyone who has been watching the longevity of Steve Perry's "Booty Roll" over the last year or attended Southern Soul concerts over the last couple of years has seen the phenomenon: hips and pelvis grinding and thrusting in metronome-like fashion.
And "booty-rolling" isn't restricted to the soul music or hiphop audience. I saw a movie the other night--"The Wild & Wonderful Whites Of West Virginia"--in which modern-day descendants of the Appalachian Hatfields and McCoys booty-roll it with as much obscene savagery as any big mama on a Southern Soul stage.
And if you really want to go back in time, you could catch blue-eyed soul brother Peter Gabriel onstage singing "Sledgehammer" with a big cod piece some twenty-five years ago.
But "booty-rollin'" is perhaps at its zenith right now in 2011, and Sir Jonathan Burton's "Too Much Booty Shakin'" is the consummate expression, its minimal wit contained in its purely superficial denial: "too much."
Yesterday, in the shower, with the day's troubles sliding away with the water down my back and legs, I couldn't get the darned tune out of my head. I was smiling, getting off on its champagne-like fizz and enthusiasm.
That's what a popular song does. No matter how much you resist it at first, it eventually wears you down until you join the rest of the crowd in saying. "I give up. I like it. I surrender."
--Daddy B. Nice
Watch Line-Dance Video of "Too Much Booty Shakin'".
--Daddy B. Nice
About Sir Jonathan Burton
A native a New Brunswick, New Jersey, Jonathan Burton got his start in the music business playing guitar and other instruments for The Manhattans ("Shining Star"). On a trip to Detroit with the band Burton met Don Davis, a legendary producer who had worked with Johnnie Taylor and many others. Soon Burton went to work for Davis (who was producing The Dramatics at the time) and became an in-demand session musician and producer, working with a "who's who" of R&B artists.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"An old lady got on the grass.
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.)