Wendell B.

Daddy B. Nice's #45 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Wendell B. by Daddy B. Nice
 


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"Just Don't Understand You"

Wendell B.

Composed by Wendell Brown


March 16, 2013: NEW ALBUM ALERT

Sample/Buy Wendell B.'s new GET TO KNOW ME CD.

**********

All the great Southern Soul songs have catch phrases that dominate the music and resonate in the minds of fans. Wendell B.'s "Just Don't Understand You" is one such great song, and every Southern Soul fan knows and loves this phrase:

"Mama taught me my ABC's.
Daddy taught me how to 1, 2, 3.
Went to school and got a college degree,
But I just don't understand you."

Wendell is often compared to Barry White and Luther Vandross, among other great crooners of yesteryear, and with justification, but it's high time all comparisons were dropped, at least amongst the Southern Soul audience.

For Southern Soul fans, Wendell B. has already surpassed his influences. In less than a decade, and in the space of only a handful of CD's, he has recorded a dozen to two dozen classic songs that already overshadow the work of his mentors and have far more relevance to contemporary fans.

These are songs that unashamedly bask in melody and traditional arrangements, songs that are buoyed by the vocal briliance of the greatest all-around crooner to arrive on the scene since Sir Charles Jones.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Just Don't Understand You" on YouTube while you read.

In a perfect world, these songs would be dominating the national R&B and even Pop charts. The fact that they don't isn't of any great concern, because--thanks to today's media--Wendell's soul is available for anyone who appreciates the finest in composition and execution.

"Just Don't Understand You" begins with a supple rhythm section, reverential strings and Wendell scat-singing, "Ooh nah nah nah nah nahhhh" over and over. In just a few bars, before he has even sung any lyrics, the listener is transported to the heavenly regions Vandross achieved in "Think About You"--

"Bought a pillow for my room.
Heard Alicia sing a tune.
Sends my rocket to the moon.
Happens every time I think about you."

--But Wendell is only getting started.

"It's time we get it together
Or leave it alone."

--He tells his loved one, who has him between a rock and a hard place. "Just Don't Understand You" is the story of a good man--and a deep man--married to a "woman who just won't do right."

"Been round the world, crossed the seven seas,
Swam the deepest oceans, highest trees,
Went back to school and got a Masters degree,
But I just don't understand you."

By the last stanza, when he's got his Ph.D, Wendell's still searching for his loved one's commitment. He doesn't complain; he doesn't list transgressions. He reminds her that they've been together a long time and he still loves her.

"Now here I go again
Trying to make you understand
All the pain I go through
Trying to be a strong man."

"It's "time for me to smile," Wendell says, but "I'll keep my door open."

Although--

"If we can't get it together,
We should leave this thing alone."

"Just Don't Understand You" is probably the finest expression of a man's path to separation that exists in Southern Soul music.

Early in his career, after he had published the breakthrough album that included "Just Don't Understand You," Wendell B. let it be known that he didn't want to be considered "a Southern Soul artist."

The remark raised both some eyebrows and some hackles around the chitlin' circuit, even though many more established soul, r&b and blues artists than Wendell had made similar comments in the past. But Southern Soul as a genre continued to grow, and Southern Soul fans as a whole tended to let the statement pass based on the evidence in Good Times, which in addition to "Just Don't Understand You" contained such Southern Soul fare as "Y'all Ain't Ready," "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love," "Should We Break Up," "I Ain't Never Been Down Like That" and "Heaven Sent Me An Angel." Many peers and fans put it down to Wendell's own misconceptions and too-limited definition of what Southern Soul music was.

And sure enough, after a very good transitional album called Time To Relax...Love, Life & Relationships, Wendell returned with two separate albums in 2010, one of which was called In Touch With My Southern Soul.

In this album Wendell made sure his fans knew that he knew all about the Delta and travelling down "Highway 55" (Interstate 55 between Memphis and Jackson) in such songs as "Mississippi Girl," "The Best Time I Ever Had In My Life," "I Can Deal With The Leaks," "Working On The Building" and "Everything Gone Be All Right."

Finally, early in 2012 (at the time of this writing), Wendell B. released his "Good Man" Single, a sweet, pure Southern Soul ballad harking back to "Just Don't Understand You" in its melodic originality and lucid expression of stalwart male character.

"Just a simple man," Wendell asks only for "the strength to go after" a new woman for whom he has feelings.

"Said I ain't perfect,
But I'm damn good.
Said I work hard every day
Said I'm pushing like a good man should."

See Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Review For. . .MARCH 2012. . .1. "Good Man"-----------Wendell B.

Admirably, Wendell B. has never recorded an uptempo song. How many solo artists can one say that about? Your Daddy B. Nice can't think of another. In fact, serenity is the touchstone of Wendell B.'s music, and Wendell's comfort in his own artistic personality infuses his work with a rare rootedness and inner peace.

It's not the generic "wisdom" of New Age music--and there's nothing "spacey" about it. The framework is always the male/female yin/yang, the context is always the conflict between love and loss. There is plenty of real-world grit in the hidden spaces of the lyrics. With his star steadily rising, Wendell B. has secured himself an important niche in contemporary Southern Soul. Transforming the joys and pains of daily life into songs of beauty has seldom had a more accomplished advocate.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Wendell B.

Wendell Brown, aka Wendell B., was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His parents were from the South, and as a child Brown attended family reunions in Mississippi and Alabama, where he soaked up the blues and gospel culture. He also sang in family-oriented gospel groups, where he inevitably became the lead singer.

In his teens Wendell Brown met Oliver Sain, the St. Louis-based R&B legend (Ike Turner's sax player) who had also been instrumental in St. Louis-born Barbara Carr's career. Brown began supplementing his gospel work with performances in local secular bands, playing with and learning from such local singers as Marvin Rice (Masters Touch) and Carl Holmes (Vision Band). He later became lead singer of the Vision Band and recorded a single in Minneapolis with Jesse Johnson (of The Time). Brown also worked in advertising singing jingles.

Brown's debut solo CD was released by Atlanta label Raw Deal in 1998 under the name Wendell Brown. Roger Troutman was featured on one of the tracks. Now out of print, Make It Good For Ya did not appear in chitlin' circuit venues.

Wendell Brown returned to St. Louis in 1999, upon his father's passing, and with his cousin, NBA player Jahidi White, started his own label, Cuzzo. The label released Good Times, Wendell's solo debut under the name "Wendell B.," in 2005.

Anchored by its oft-played single, "Just Don't Understand You," the album became a "signature" work, gaining air play and fans throughout the South and beyond.

Wendell's deep, rich, variable baritone drew comparisons with mainstream R&B crooners like Luther Vandross, Will Downing and Barry White. Southern Soul fans, however, flocked to the music because Brown infused his ballads, produced by Mike "360" Brooks, with a gritty, gospel-influenced sound.

Wendell changed the record label's name to Smoothway for his next CD, Time To Relax...Love, Life & Relationships in 2007. The CD featured the singles "This Ain't Livin'" and "She Didn't Have To Treat Ya Boy Like That."

The same year, Wendell released a Christmas CD entitled Save A Little Room For Me.

In 2010 Brown released a pair of CD's, one which he designated as Southern Soul (In Touch With My Southern Soul) and one which he characterized as R&B (Back Ta Bid'ness). The Southern Soul disc was a favorite on the chitlin' circuit, spawning popular singles such as "Mississippi Girl," "The Best Time I Ever Had In My Life," "I Can Deal With The Leaks" and "Working On The Building."

Smoothway released three Wendell B. singles over the same period, including:

Heaven Sent Me and Angel Steppers (Remix Single)

That's What Christmas Means To Me Single

Good Man Single

The "Good Man" single appeared in 2012 as a precursor to an upcoming album called Get To Know Me. A DVD to be called Who Is Wendell B? was also in the works at the time of this writing.


Song's Transcendent Moment

"So tell me,
What do I do?
Cause I'm on my last mile.
I don't want to lose
The love we had,
But it's time
For me to smile again.
But I'll keep my door open, babe,
I just want a happy home."


Tidbits

1.

April 15, 2012: Wendell B.'s tunes are well-represented on YouTube:

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Just Don't Understand You" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "She Didn't Have To Hurt Ya Boy Like That" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. Singing Live Onstage in Arkansas on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "The Best Time I Ever Had In My Life" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "I Can Deal With The Leaks" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Mississippi Girl" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Everything Gone Be All Right" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Heaven Sent Me An Angel" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Save A Little Room For Me" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. and Stacie Kaid singing "Should We Break Up" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Bounce" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Sing A Song For You" featuring Roger Troutman on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Working On The Building" on YouTube.

2.

April 15, 2012:

To automatically link to Wendell B.'s numerous awards, charted singles and other citations on this website, go to "Wendell B" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensie Index.


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Luther Vandross's "Think Of You," you'll love Wendell B.'s "Just Don't Understand You."


Honorary "B" Side

"Good Man"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Just Don't Understand You by  Wendell B.
Just Don't Understand You


CD: Good Times
Label: Cuzzo

Sample or Buy
Good Times


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Good Man by  Wendell B.
Good Man


CD: Get To Know Me
Label: Wendell Brown/Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Get To Know Me


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy This Ain't Livin' by  Wendell B.
This Ain't Livin'


CD: Time To Relax...Life, Love & Relationships
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Time To Relax...Love, Life & Relationships


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Ain't Never Been Down Like That by  Wendell B.
I Ain't Never Been Down Like That


CD: Good Times
Label: Cuzzo

Sample or Buy
Good Times


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy She Didn't Have To Hurt Ya Boy Like That by  Wendell B.
She Didn't Have To Hurt Ya Boy Like That


CD: Time To Relax...Life, Love & Relationships
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Time To Relax...Love, Life & Relationships


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy The Best Time I Ever Had In My Life by  Wendell B.
The Best Time I Ever Had In My Life


CD: In Touch With My Southern Soul
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
In Touch With My Southern Soul
Sample or Buy
In Touch With My Southern Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Working On The Building by  Wendell B.
Working On The Building


CD: In Touch With My Southern Soul
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
In Touch With My Southern Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Y'All Ain't Ready by  Wendell B.
Y'All Ain't Ready


CD: Good Times
Label: Cuzzo

Sample or Buy
Good Times


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Bounce by  Wendell B.
Bounce


CD: Time To Relax...Life, Love & Relationships
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Time To Relax...Love, Life & Relationships


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Can't Get Enough Of Your Love by  Wendell B.
Can't Get Enough Of Your Love


CD: Good Times
Label: Cuzzo

Sample or Buy
Good Times


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Everything Is Gone Be All Right by  Wendell B.
Everything Is Gone Be All Right


CD: In Touch With My Southern Soul
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
In Touch With My Southern Soul


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Heaven Sent Me An Angel by  Wendell B.
Heaven Sent Me An Angel


CD: Good Times
Label: Cuzzo

Sample or Buy
Good Times


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Heaven Sent Me And Angel Steppers (Remix)     by  Wendell B.
Heaven Sent Me And Angel Steppers (Remix)


CD: Heaven Sent Me and Angel Steppers (Remix Single)
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Heaven Sent Me and Angel Steppers (Remix Single)


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Can Deal With The Leaks by  Wendell B.
I Can Deal With The Leaks


CD: In Touch With My Southern Soul
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
In Touch With My Southern Soul


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Mississippi Girl by  Wendell B.
Mississippi Girl


CD: In Touch With My Southern Soul
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
In Touch With My Southern Soul


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy She Was An Angel by  Wendell B.
She Was An Angel


CD: Back Ta Bid'ness
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Back Ta Bid'ness
Sample or Buy
Back Ta Bid'ness


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Should We Break Up w/ Stacey Kaid by  Wendell B.
Should We Break Up w/ Stacey Kaid


CD: Good Times
Label: Cuzzo

Sample or Buy
Good Times


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Step (w/ Diggy) by  Wendell B.
Step (w/ Diggy)


CD: Time To Relax...Life, Love & Relationships
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Time To Relax...Love, Life & Relationships


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Wrong Place, Wrong Time (under Wendell Brown)      by  Wendell B.
Wrong Place, Wrong Time (under Wendell Brown)


CD: Make It Good For Ya
Label: Raw Deal

Sample or Buy
Make It Good For Ya


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Back Ta Bid'ness by  Wendell B.
Back Ta Bid'ness


CD: Back Ta Bid'ness
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Back Ta Bid'ness


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Put 'Em Down On The Table by  Wendell B.
Put 'Em Down On The Table


CD: In Touch With My Southern Soul
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
In Touch With My Southern Soul


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