Sir Jonathan Burton

Daddy B. Nice's #51 ranked Southern Soul Artist



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"Too Much Booty Shaking"

Sir Jonathan Burton

Composed by Jonathan Burton


"It's too much,
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'".

**********

Back To The Future: March 4, 2012

Nine months later, everything I wrote in 2011 still sounds sensible. I was a boy when rock and roll came on the scene in the late fifties, and I can distinctly remember certain songs, standard-bearers for the new genre, that weren't particularly compelling or capable of winning my loyalty, among them Bill Haley & The Comets' "Rock Around The Clock" and Chuck Berry's "Maybelline." They were workmanlike, eminently danceable tunes that were in the right place at the right time, and they were songs that succeeded in great measure because they didn't take themselves too seriously.

In a 2011 interview with Darrin on Grand Strand Syndicated Radio Top 40 Carolina Beach Music, Jonathan Burton had an amusing comment regarding the genesis of "Too Much Booty Shaking."

"After awhile, desperation will make you write a hit song," Burton said. (To laughter.) "I wasn't getting no calls for gigs, I wasn't getting no calls for appearances, and finally when I wrote "Too Much Booty Shaking," the phones started ringing again."

Burton's remark speaks to his past, and Burton does have history on the Southern Soul circuit. When your Daddy B. Nice was assembling the first grouping of Southern Soul stars that would become the Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's), Burton was one of a group of obscure, fringe artists--Fredrick Brinson, Stephanie McDee, Eric Perkins, Divine, Willie B., X-Man Parker--that in most cases were later bumped by newer, more viable artists from the chart.

Burton's credentials for the chart consisted of his song, "Funky House Party," released on the album of the same name on Frederick Knight's indie label, Juana, in 2002. Then, for all practical purposes, he disappeared from the Southern Soul scene for the better part of a decade.

In the same interview Burton explained the name change to "Sir" Jonothan Burton. Responding to Darrin's teasing question about being "knighted," Burton said:

"Well, you know, you have to step up the game, and sometimes--the artist--you know, you have to reinvent yourself. (Right.) I've found that there are so many "Jonothan Burtons" in the world. You know, we had a meeting about it. We did the name change to separate me, so now when you google "sir jonathan burton," only one "sir jonathan burton" comes up. (You get the real Jonathan Burton.) Exactly. You know, the one that knows you, and the one who knows all my people in Charlotte and the Carolinas. It's not an ego trip, man. I had to to do some things to re-invent myself. You know, like the "artist formerly known as Jonothan Burton." (Laughter.)

Your Daddy B. Nice first started taking "Too Much Booty Shaking" seriously as I came upon the preponderance of line-dance videos of the song on YouTube. One in particular, of two Asian-looking ladies working out the dance step to a boombox in an otherwise empty dance studio, spoke to the amazing connection the song made with women.

Watch Line Dance Moves while listening to Sir Jonothan Burton singing "Too Much Booty shaking" on YouTube.

Watch More Line Dance Moves while listening to Sir Jonothan Burton singing "Too Much Booty shaking" on YouTube.

Watch More Line Dance Moves while listening to Sir Jonothan Burton singing "Too Much Booty shaking" on YouTube.

Watch More Line Dance Moves while listening to Sir Jonothan Burton singing "Too Much Booty shaking" on YouTube.

When a previously risque practice such as booty-shaking is embraced by the rank and file of women, you're witnessing a culture change. (And if you have any doubt of booty-shaking's previously X-rated factor, check out live concert videos of Ms. Jody, Steve Perry and other X-rated grinders.)

One particular dancer, choreographer Sue Ann Ehmann, seems to have made a mission of popularizing "Too Much Booty Shaking" among aerobically-minded, non-threatening, women-next-door types who wouldn't be caught dead at a Southern Soul gig watching the same moves in intimate proximity with a man.

Is Jonathan Burton a one-hit artist? At this point, you couldn't fault someone for saying so. Ironically, Burton has been recording at intervals, underneath the radar, since 1993, almost twenty years ago as of this writing.

A new Sir Jonathan Burton single, "The Party Don't Stop 'Till I Get There," and a supporting album is due out shortly. I've heard the "The Party Don't Stop" and it's pretty good, in the same vein as "Too Much Booty Shaking."

Burton's best songs (other than "Booty Shaking") are ballads in the classic Motown style, with string and/or brass choruses and resounding male background vocals, such as "That's The Way I Feel About Cha'" and "The Best Time Of My Life," a legacy of his apprenticeship under Don Davis, the vintage producer who has influenced and worked with many Southern Soul musicians.

Burton, who has spent the bulk of his career working for others, needs to hone his solo singing skills, but his vocals are already enticing on a raw level. He has a keen eye for how to please people, recording songs that are simple and accessible, produced and performed with admirable efficiency and intensity.

Most heartening, he seems to be at a point in his career when he wants to get down to business and put all the pieces together. When, in "Too Much Booty Shaking," he sings, "Those people know how to party," the line has a power you don't hear in ordinary conversation. In one fell swoop Sir Jonathan Burton takes care of one of the qualifications for being a Southern Soul star. You have to know how to party.

--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.

Burton moved to North Carolina in the 90's, and his first solo CD, Undeniable (Kick-Quick), a derivative and rough effort, was released in 1993.

A Little Music With A Lotta Soul followed in 1997 on Three Gems, the longtime label of Carolinan Roy C.

Southern Soul diva Keisa Brown ("I've Been Lonely For So Long") met Jonathan Burton in the Carolinas and recommended him to Frederick Knight, the Malaco-associated writer/producer and author of many Southern Soul classics, who had recently started a label (Juana) that had released a Brown CD.

The result was Burton's third CD release, Funky House Party (Juana 2002). With the title tune and a ballad, "The Best Time Of My Life," leading the way, Burton crossed over from the beach music market to the chitlin' circuit market for the first time.

However, a fourth album, Cruise Control and the Best Yet (Slip A Mill, 2006), coming four years later, did not capitalize, passing without a ripple, at least in the Southern Soul market.

In 2011 Burton--under a new performing name, Sir Jonothan Burton--hooked up with Carolinas-based Aviara Records, who in partnership with Dylann DeAnna's California-based CDS Records released Burton's In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1, with the hit Southern Soul single "Too Much Booty Shaking (Up In Here)." The deal with CDS gave Burton (for the first time in his career) the publicity machine needed to push the single, and the rest is history. (Related above.)


Song's Transcendent Moment

"An old lady got on the grass.
She began to shake her ass.
DJ Crumple(?) said, "Let's get it started!"

A little boy jumped off the swings,
Threw down his chicken wings.
Said, 'Grandma!
That's just too much booty-shaking!'"


Tidbits

1.

March 3, 2012: YouTube offerings for Jonathan Burton:

Listen to Sir Jonathan Burton singing "Too Much Booty Shaking" on YouTube.

Listen to Jonathan Burton singing "It Took A Woman Like You" on YouTube.

Listen to Jonathan Burton singing "The Best Time Of My Life" on YouTube.

Listen to Jonathan Burton singing "She Poured It On" on YouTube.

Listen to Jonothan Burton interview with Darin Henley of Darin & Anita on Grand Strand on YouTube.


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Steve Perry's "Booty Roll," you'll love Sir Jonathan Burton's "Too Much Booty Shaking Up In Here."


Honorary "B" Side

"Can't Help The Way I Feel About You "



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Too Much Booty Shaking by Sir Jonathan Burton
Too Much Booty Shaking


CD: In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1
Label: Aviara

Sample or Buy
In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Can't Help The Way I Feel About You      by Sir Jonathan Burton
Can't Help The Way I Feel About You


CD: In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1
Label: Aviara

Sample or Buy
In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy After Loving You      by Sir Jonathan Burton
After Loving You


CD: Cruise Control and the Best Yet
Label: Slip A Mill

Sample or Buy
Cruise Control and the Best Yet


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Best Time Of My Life      by Sir Jonathan Burton
Best Time Of My Life


CD: Funky House Party
Label: Juana

Sample or Buy
Funky House Party


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Can't Say We Didn't Try by Sir Jonathan Burton
Can't Say We Didn't Try


CD: In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1
Label: Aviara

Sample or Buy
In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Everybody Step To the Steppin' Song by Sir Jonathan Burton
Everybody Step To the Steppin' Song


CD: In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1
Label: Aviara

Sample or Buy
In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Funky House Party by Sir Jonathan Burton
Funky House Party


CD: Funky House Party
Label: Juana

Sample or Buy
Funky House Party


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Steppin' All Night Long by Sir Jonathan Burton
Steppin' All Night Long


CD: Cruise Control and the Best Yet
Label: Slip A Mill

Sample or Buy
Cruise Control and the Best Yet


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy It Took A Woman Like You     by Sir Jonathan Burton
It Took A Woman Like You


CD: Cruise Control and the Best Yet
Label: Slip A Mill

Sample or Buy
Cruise Control and the Best Yet


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Not Just Any Old Love Song    by Sir Jonathan Burton
Not Just Any Old Love Song


CD: In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1
Label: Aviara

Sample or Buy
In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy She Poured It On by Sir Jonathan Burton
She Poured It On


CD: Cruise Control and the Best Yet
Label: Slip A Mill

Sample or Buy
Cruise Control and the Best Yet


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Sounds Like Karaoke     by Sir Jonathan Burton
Sounds Like Karaoke


CD: In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1
Label: Aviara

Sample or Buy
In The Zone: Southern Soul Style Volume 1


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy So Blue by Sir Jonathan Burton
So Blue


CD: Undeniable
Label: Kick-Quick



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