Rue Davis (21st Century)

Daddy B. Nice's #33 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Rue Davis (21st Century) by Daddy B. Nice
 


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"I'm Giving Up The Streets"

Rue Davis (21st Century)

Composed by Rue Davis


Note: Rue Davis also appears on Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). The "21st Century" after Rue Davis' name in the headline is to distinguish his artist-guide entries on this page from his artist-guide page on Daddy B. Nice's original chart.

***********

With small printings on minor independent labels, Rue Davis' music remains one of the most obscure of any singer/songwriter in Southern Soul.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "I'm Giving Up The Streets" on YouTube while you read.

Davis is one of that hardy band of Texas performers--among them Buddy Ace, R. L. Griffin, Carl Marshall, Little Buck, Gregg A. Smith, Lil' Jimmie, Lady Audrey & The Superior Band, Jabo, Captain Jack Watson and Larry Shannon Hargrove--who in one way or another trace their musical bloodlines back to Texas' contemporary blues master Z.Z. Hill.

All of them pledge their musical fealty to the Southern Soul of the Mississippi Delta and the old-school R&B traditions of Johnnie Taylor and Tyrone Davis--none more so than Rue Davis--and yet their work has more often than not remained invisible or even unavailable to the typical Southern Soul fan. Only Mel Waiters (from San Antonio) has truly broken out to become a quasi-national star.

Of all the other musicians cited, Rue Davis (still in middle-age) should hold the most allure for fans craving first-rate vocals and exceptional songwriting.

The recordings themselves, although artfully arranged, are nothing to write home about. Blues purists who only want to listen to the same blues riffs honed to the most sophisticated level of technique and production need not apply.

Rue Davis's work takes your Daddy B. Nice back to the early days (late nineties, turn-of-the-century) while traveling around Mississipi and the Gulf Coast, picking up the sounds of Southern Soul for the first time. The music had a programmed sound, but that didn't bother me because I was coming from a background in disco and funk and rap, where it was common. In fact, the word "programmed" didn't even occur to me.

I had a vague mental association between the poverty of this section of the country and the corresponding limitations to production. But none of that mattered because the "guts" of the music was so fresh, pure and original.

Here was real soul music, rediscovered, and I never looked back twice in choosing the "lite"
production in order to get to the soulful songs and the genuine soul singing. (And to this day I just shake my head and feel sorry for the blues fans in socks and sandals fixated on technique and blues liturgy.)

Rue Davis, as you get to know him, is like that. For years "Honey Poo" was one of the few Davis songs to get any airplay. It's a fairly light, almost minimalist number, even for Davis.

For the "real instrument" purist, the horns are the most obvious snag. And "Honey Poo" is such a humble, aw-shucks, "don't-notice-me" type of song it doesn't hint at the scope and sophistication of Rue Davis' overall catalog.

Recently, however--and in particular with the dawn of YouTube, where Rue Davis is surprisingly well-represented--the typical Southern Soul fan can hear Rue Davis singing full-length songs for the first time ever. The tracks memorialize a flawless soul singer at the peak of his powers.

Listening to this outpouring of new (although old) Rue Davis material on YouTube is like listening to a great new artist for the first time. (Scroll down to Tidbits #1 to link to Rue Davis' YouTube offerings.)

The only sobering thought in hearing these masterfully-sung tunes is that there are so few albums, a half-dozen or so, for more than half a lifetime of work. The songs whet the appetite for more.

Return Of The Legend, Davis' last album (Boom Town, 2008) is already four years old and out of print as this is being written in 2012.

Return Of The Legend did not, to be frank, get much airplay when it came out. In retrospect, the collection is a veritable primer of Southern Soul.

Dallas-based producer Carl Marshall does some of his finest background tracks ever. Fans who know him only from his more overbearing style on CDS-produced CD's will marvel at his tasteful and near-invisible handiwork here.

Davis is an arranger with few peers himself. Songs like "So Glad You're Mine" boast atmospheric-strings, Brian Eno-ish effects painted with the utmost delicacy; if he were a painter, Rue Davis would be a water-colorist.

The YouTube offerings span all the albums Rue Davis has birthed since his debut in the mid-nineties, and the seasoned quality of an artist fully arrived is remarkably consistent. Rue's vocal style is as nuanced as Willie Clayton, and the female background singing is always a delight, adding color and texture. The songs are substantial and the arrangements are frequently inspired.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Take Me Back To Farish Street" on YouTube.

With his ear for great melodies, his impeccable stylishness and timing, Rue Davis may bear more similarities to the late, great Johnnie Taylor than anyone alive today, including JT's many performing sons, and it's fervently hoped here that he finds the means to continue recording.

What this YouTube treasure trove of new, available Rue Davis material signifies is the presence in our midst of humble new star. Your Daddy B. Nice recommends readers to ALL of the YouTube links (something I wouldn't normal do) to the artist's work in the "Tidbits" section (scroll down) and to the sound samples in the "Recommended Tracks" (right-hand column). There's hardly a miss in all the selections.

What I like best about Rue Davis is that, whatever you think of him, he defines that sweet spot--that middle spot--of the Southern Soul sound, a sound that with the onrush of new young artists has become, in truth, a bit hard to find, a bit endangered. It's the sound of Johnnie Taylor, of Frank Mendenhall, of Quinn Golden, of Lee "Shot" Williams. It's the sound anyone who loves Southern Soul doesn't want to hear die.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Rue Davis (21st Century)

Rue Davis was born in Houston, Texas on June 24, 1955. His adopted mother, the gospel singer Ella Mae Davis, was his greatest childhood influence, and Rue became a child soloist for the Allen Gospel Singers.

He began his secular career in 1979, singing blues and recording for a local Houston label, Palladium Records. In the mid-eighties blues singer Trudy Lynn introduced Davis to producer Freddie Cole and he cut singles for Freko Records. Davis then recorded two of his first notable singles, "Hard To Live Without You" and "The Girl Next Door" for Houston producer Tom Neal.

In the early 90's Davis began working in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, where he met Estus and Lester Patterson, the owners of Kon-Kord Records. Davis bought back his early Houston singles and with the Pattersons as producers recorded his first album, I'm In Love With The Girl Next Door for Hollywood-based Kon-Kord. The album featured the singles "Heaven Has Sent Me Your Love" and "Honey Poo."

Davis added three tracks and re-released the record under the title You Are My Honey Poo on the Ichiban label in 1995. (Rue released it a third time under the Kon-Kord label in 2003--a big year for Davis, the same year Dap Daddy came out--under the title Heaven Has Sent Me Your Love.)

The albums Somebody Wants You and Rue Davis Sings With Friends followed in 1998 and 1999 on the Avanti label.

Candy Sweet (Off The Hook) and Dapp Daddy (Knock On Wood) followed in 2001 and 2003.

For Real appeared on Studio Showtime in 2005 amd Return Of The Legend on the Houston-based Boomtown in 2008.

In addition, Rue Davis has appeared on many other Southern Soul artists' discs over the years, perhaps most memorably on a duet (from the CD Bettin' On You, Kon-Kord) with Patti Sterling on a super-charged cover of Z.Z. Hill's "Love Is So Good When You're Stealing It."

Davis also collaborated with Little Buck (aka Floyd Green) on two albums issued under Little Buck?s name: Little Buck (featuring Rue Davis) "I'mma Stir It Up" (Studio Showtime 2005) and Little Buck (featuring Rue Davis) "I'mma Blues Man" (Studio Showtime 2006).

Rue Davis was honored as "The International Songwriter of the Year" at the Jackson Music Awards in 2005.

The Rue Davis Discography:

1998 Somebody Wants You (Avanti Records)

1998 Sings with Friends (Avanti Records)

2001 Candy Sweet (Off The Hook)

2003 You Are My Honey Poo (Ichiban)

2003 Dapp Daddy (Knock On Wood Records)

2005 For Real (Studio Showtime)

2008 Return of the Legend (Boomtown Records)


Song's Transcendent Moment

"She's the kind of woman
That a man can be proud of.
She's got real love.
She's simple and true.

One day I almost lost her.
The next time, I won't be a fool.
I'm giving up the streets.
I'm staying home with my baby."


Tidbits

July 15, 2012: YouTube offerings for Rue Davis:

Listen to Rue Davis singing "I Believe In You," "Giving Up The Streets" and "I Wanna Be Loved" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "When I Was Sad" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Somebody Wants You," "Candy Sweet" and "Tell Me When The Last Time" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Your Love Divine" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Perfect Combination" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Honey Poo" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Shelia The Wonder Girl" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Heaven Has Sent Me Your Love" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Take Me Back To Farish Street" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "I'm Giving Up The Streets" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis Interview in Houston, Texas on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Forgive Them" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Won't You Try Me" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "I'm In Love With The Girl Next Door" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Treat Her Like A Queen" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "Won't You Try Me" on YouTube.

Listen to Rue Davis singing "I Want More Of Your Love" on YouTube.

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2. July 14, 2012:

Want to hear someone heavily influenced by Rue Davis? Listen to The Rhythm All-Stars (with Geoff McBride) performing "I'll Work For You."


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Tyrone Davis' "I'm Leavin' (On The First Train Smokin'), you'll love Rue Davis' "I'm Giving Up The Streets."


Honorary "B" Side

"Take Me Back To Farish Street"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I'm Giving Up The Streets by Rue Davis (21st Century)
I'm Giving Up The Streets


CD: Return Of The Legend
Label: Boom Town

Sample or Buy
Return Of The Legend


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Take Me Back To Farish Street by Rue Davis (21st Century)
Take Me Back To Farish Street


CD: Dapp Daddy
Label: Knock On Wood

Sample or Buy
Dapp Daddy


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Believe In You by Rue Davis (21st Century)
I Believe In You


CD: Return Of The Legend
Label: Boom Town

Sample or Buy
Return Of The Legend


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Between The Sheets by Rue Davis (21st Century)
Between The Sheets


CD: I'mma Stir It Up
Label: Studio Showtime

Sample or Buy
I'mma Stir It Up


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Honey Poo by Rue Davis (21st Century)
Honey Poo


CD: Heaven Has Sent Me Your Love
Label: Kon-Kord

Sample or Buy
Heaven Has Sent Me Your Love


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I'm In Love With The Girl Next Door     by Rue Davis (21st Century)
I'm In Love With The Girl Next Door


CD: Heaven Has Sent Me Your Love
Label: Kon-Kord

Sample or Buy
Heaven Has Sent Me Your Love


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Tell Me When The Last Time by Rue Davis (21st Century)
Tell Me When The Last Time


CD: Return Of The Legend
Label: Boom Town

Sample or Buy
Return Of The Legend


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy We Got To Stay Together    by Rue Davis (21st Century)
We Got To Stay Together


CD: Return Of The Legend
Label: Boom Town

Sample or Buy
Return Of The Legend CD


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Want More Of Your Love by Rue Davis (21st Century)
I Want More Of Your Love


CD: Candy Sweet
Label: Off The Hook

Sample or Buy
Candy Sweet


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Shoopedoo by Rue Davis (21st Century)
Shoopedoo


CD: Somebody Wants You
Label: Avanti

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Somebody Wants You


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy So Glad You're Mine by Rue Davis (21st Century)
So Glad You're Mine


CD: For Real
Label: Studio Showtime

Sample or Buy
For Real


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Treat Her Like A Queen by Rue Davis (21st Century)
Treat Her Like A Queen


CD: For Real
Label: Studio Showtime

Sample or Buy
For Real


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy When I Was Sad by Rue Davis (21st Century)
When I Was Sad


CD: I'mma Stir It Up
Label: Studio Showtime

Sample or Buy
I'mma Stir It Up


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Won't You Try Me by Rue Davis (21st Century)
Won't You Try Me


CD: Somebody Wants You
Label: Avanti

Sample or Buy
Somebody Wants You


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy You're So Sweet    by Rue Davis (21st Century)
You're So Sweet


CD: For Real
Label: Studio Showtime

Sample or Buy
For Real


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