Sheba Potts-Wright (21st Century)

Daddy B. Nice's #32 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Sheba Potts-Wright (21st Century) by Daddy B. Nice
 


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"Slow Roll It"

Sheba Potts-Wright (21st Century)

Composed by Charles Jones


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

***********

Few performers have contributed more to contemporary Southern Soul music than Sheba Potts-Wright. At the dawning of the 21st century, when Peggy Scott-Adams was the "undisputed queen," as one of her late-90's albums accurately proclaims, and the other R&B divas of Scott's generation--Shirley Brown, Denise LaSalle, Barbara Carr, Dorothy Moore, Millie Jackson, Betty Wright--were relatively subdued and even searching for new artistic directions, Sheba Potts-Wright arrived on the scene as the first and foremost talent of a younger generation of women (Jackie Neal, LaKeisha, Vickie Baker, An-Jay) intent on bringing Southern Soul into the future.

Her self-titled debut album Sheba (Ecko, 2001), with her signature singles "Slow Roll It" and "Lipstick On His Pants," had the slickness and immediacy of powerful, early one-time singles like "Monkey Talk" by Stephanie McDee and "Lately" by the female trio Divine.

But Sheba also had a depth and scope unrivaled at the time. Almost every song on the CD arrived radio-ready, melodically-rich and lyrically-accessible, and to this day the themes and topics of Sheba are the ongoing issues and fodder of new Southern Soul songs.

Sheba's popularity was founded on her rare combination of ingenue-like sweetness and seasoned toughness. The toughness and roughness--the qualities that made Scott-Adams such a legend--co-existed in Sheba with a sweet-young-thing, come-hither flirtatiousness (skillfully incorporated into her vocal technique) that was out of the question for most of the older divas of traditional R&B.

Thus, "Slow Roll It" and "Lipstick On His Pants" appealed to fans not only for their lusty sensuality (in the great tradition of Scott-Adams, Brown, LaSalle and Carr) but the heightened hormonal state of the much younger female's voice. Sheba Potts-Wright's Sheba instantly brought a younger audience for Southern Soul to the fore.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "Slow Roll It" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "Lipstick On His Pants" on YouTube.

It was this potent blend of youthful innocence and steaming sexuality that Jackie Neal would ultimately exploit best on her landmark album, Down In Da Club, released before her untimely death five years later. Between them, Jackie and Sheba mapped out the territory for the dozens of young female Southern Soul singer/songwriters to come.

"Slow Roll It" was the centerpiece. Sheba's version of the Sir Charles Jones-written song recorded by The Love Doctor solidified the song's reputation as Southern Soul's new direction, and Sheba's version became just as popular as The Love Doctor's.

"Lipstick On His Pants," which Sheba has admitted in later interviews was as successful--if not more--than "Slow Roll It," was the novelty song of the era, the precursor of later hits such as Mr. Jody's "Your Dog Is Killing My Cat" and the late Judi Brown Eyes' "Sam."

Both songs plied the leisurely style of Ronnie Lovejoy's "Sho' Wasn't Me," solidifying more or less permanently the heart and soul of Southern Soul's mid-tempo appeal.

Encouraged almost immediately upon her success to adhere to the bluesier traditions of her hometown of Memphis, Sheba Potts-Wright has never put out another album of such acutely-honed, radio-friendly material. And while Sheba has recorded five more albums to date and a "Best Of" collection including such career-defining singles as "Private Fishing Hole" and "I Can Bagg It Up," she has never been able to surpass the pop luminosity of "Slow Roll It," "Lipstick On His Pants" and "I Caught You" from her stunning debut.

*********

To read Daddy B. Nice's 5-star (Southern Soul Heaven) CD Review of THE BEST OF SHEBA POTTS-WRIGHT, scroll down this page to Tidbits #2.

To read Daddy B. Nice's Four-Star (Distinguished Effort) CD Review of Sheba Potts-Wright's LET YOUR MIND GO BACK (Ecko, 2011), go to Daddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to Sheba Potts-Wright and scroll down to the TIDBITS section.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright on iTunes.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Sheba Potts-Wright (21st Century)

From an early age, growing up in such blues hubs as Chicago, Detroit, and Greenwood, Mississippi, Sheba Potts-Wright displayed the talents of a musical prodigy. A budding singer and multi-instrumentalist by the time she entered college, she had already toured the South with her high school band, opening for various R&B acts.

While pursuing a college degree and career in hospital administration, a "day job" that she continues to the present day, Potts-Wright began touring the chitlin' circuit with her father ("Dr. Feelgood" Potts), often performing as an opening act, and along the way mixing and absorbing the influences of a "Who's Who" of contemporary Southern Soul, including Marvin Sease, Willie Clayton and Denise LaSalle.

Potts-Wright's debut CD, Sheba, arrived in 2001 (Ecko). Love Fest appeared in 2002, and I Need A Cowboy To Ride My Pony in 2004. Over the same period, Sheba's well-crafted singles were gaining her a near-continuous presence on Stations of the Deep South. In addition to the ubiquitous "Slow Roll It," upbeat tunes like "I Can Bagg It Up," "Lipstick On His Pants" and "Macaroni" were most popular.

In 2006 Sheba released the album "Big Hand Man," (Ecko) scoring singles with "Private Fishing Hole," "Don't Get Yours Before I Get Mine" and "I Don't Wanna Say Yes But I Can't Say No."

"I'm A Bluesman's Daughter," a tribute to her father, appeared in 2008 on Ecko, followed by a "Best Of" collection in 2010 and "Let Your Mind Go Back," a set of new material, in 2011.

Sheba Potts-Wright's Discography::

2001 Sheba (Ecko)

2002 Love Fest (Ecko)

2004 I Need a Cowboy to Ride My Pony (Ecko)

2006 Big Hand Man (Ecko)

2008 I'm a Bluesman's Daughter (Ecko)

2010 Best Of Sheba Potts-Wright (Ecko)

2011 Let Your Mind Go Back (Ecko)


Song's Transcendent Moment

"It ain't what you got,
It's how you use it.
To make her start moaning,
You sho' can't abuse it.

You got to kiss her
On the toes.
You got to kiss her
On the shoulder.

You got to kiss her
On the navel.
You got to get
A bit bolder.

Got to make her feel good.
Got to make her know it.
Got to make her say, 'Baby,
You can slow roll it.'"


Tidbits

1.

July 21, 2012: YouTube offerings for Sheba Potts-Wright


Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "Slow Roll It" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "Lipstick On His Pants" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "I Can Back It Up" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "Southern Guys" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "Cruise Control" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "I Need A Cowboy To Ride My Pony" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "I Don't Wanna Say Yes But I Can't Say No" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "I Just Can't Walk Away" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "I Know You're Missing Me" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "I've Done All I Can Do" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "Don't Get Yours Before I Get Mine" on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "I Caught You" on YouTube.

Listen to an interview with Sheba Potts-Wright on YouTube.

Listen to Sheba Potts-Wright singing "Just For The Night" on YouTube.

********

2.

November 7, 2010:


SHEBA POTTS-WRIGHT: The Best Of Sheba Potts-Wright (Ecko) Five Stars ***** Can't Miss. Pure Southern Soul Heaven.

In a male-dominated business where a woman has to fend twice as hard as a man to make a career of any duration--one CD after another, year after year--who has accomplished as much?

The onetime young diva who made such a chitlin' circuit sensation with "Slow Roll It" and "Lipstick On His Pants" is now a mature woman with a string of CD's spanning a decade, and The Best of Sheba-Potts Wright instantly becomes the definitive Sheba Potts-Wright album.

The compilation borrows most heavily (and tellingly) from Potts-Wright's debut disc, Sheba ("Slow Roll It," "Lipstick On His Pants," "Love Fest," "I Caught You") and proceeds to gather in just about every single and CD-headliner (with the exception of "I'm A Bluesman's Daughter") since.

There are fourteen tracks, at least a dozen of them worthy choices, in this generous CD. "Slow Roll It" starts things off and immediately takes one back to 2000-2001 and young Sir Charles Jones and The Love Doctor. Sheba's was always the most polished (not necessarily the best) of the many versions, and the commercial feel of Sheba's "Slow Roll It" is a revelation.

"I Need A Cowboy To Ride My Pony" (her best album photo, backing it up in red leather) is followed by one of Sheba's all-time rockers, "I Can Bagg It Up," a cover of the Nathaniel Kimble tune of the same name. "I Can Bagg It Up" is from Sheba's second album, when she was still doing the commercial-sounding covers of which "Slow Roll It" was the finest example--a formula she drifted away from in recent years.

"I Can Bagg It Up" sounds if anything better than it did back in the day. You find yourself humming along, tapping your foot and thinking, "They don't sing them like this any more."

Next up is one of the anthems of Southern Soul music, "Lipstick On His Pants," another one of those perfectly-produced classics from Sheba's early period and her first big "original" song (written by John Cummings and Morris J. Williams). This highly entertaining and popular single made Sheba's name as a purveyor of lascivious lyrics.

But the sexual innuendo to end all sexual innuendo is consumated in the next track, the under-rated, witty and hilarious bar blues, "Private Fishing Hole," originally a response to Bobby Rush's popular "Night Fishin'," with lines such as:

"I've got a private fishing hole
On a private piece of land.
I'm going to open it up
To the right good fisherman."

And. . .

"You see, I don't let just anyone
Fish in my hole.
You've got to have a real good pole."

And. . .

"My fishing hole ain't been fished
In a real long while.
And if you're really good,
I'll take my "No Fishing" sign down."

"Big Hand Man," a typically-hedonistic, mid-tempo rocker with a super-confident vocal by Sheba, boasts a great arrangement. According to the theory posited by Sheba, the size of the hands corrresponds to the size of "what's in the pants." Big feet are good, too. This is great stuff--musical and great fun--old wive's tales updated for contemporary Southern Soul folklore.

"Private Fishing Hole" and "Big Hand Man" represent the bluesy drift in Sheba's more recent recordings. Her father, of course, is the Memphis bluesman Dr. Robert "Feelgood" Potts.

"Cruise Control" jumps back to the early years--another take on the "Slow Roll It" melody--as does "Love Fest." Then Sheba moves into one of her finest mid-period hits, "I Can Hear Your Macaroni," which sounds even better in retrospect.

"Macaroni" doesn't have the polished sound of the early hits. It's more down-to-earth, but there's no doubt it rocks, illustrating Sheba's uncanny ability to make music that sounds casual and easy-going.

"Leave Me Alone" is a rare, straight-ahead ballad, very much like "I Caught You," and both are from the debut album. "I Caught You" has always been one of Sheba's most poignant songs. And yet, Sheba grabs hold of the subject--betrayal--and meets it with that unerring, unflinching confidence that makes even the hurt seem inconsequential.

"She May Be The One You Want" and "You Were Wrong" are journeyman tracks that close out the collection by bringing you back down to earth.

You'll have to look hard and long to find a better, more consistently-rocking, Southern Soul record than Sheba Potts'-Wright's Best Of CD

The finest examples of the bluesy years--hits like "Big Hand Man," "Private Fishing Hole," and "I Can Hear Your Macaroni"--are indispensable, but it's the clear-eyed, brilliant accessibility of Sheba's early work that still resounds the most.

--Daddy B. Nice

Bargain-Priced The Best of Sheba-Potts Wright CD


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked The Pointer Sisters' "Slow Hand," you'll love Sheba Potts-Wright's "Slow Roll It."


Honorary "B" Side

"Lipstick On His Pants"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Slow Roll It by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
Slow Roll It


CD: Sheba
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Sheba


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Lipstick On His Pants by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
Lipstick On His Pants


CD: Sheba
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Sheba


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Can Bagg It Up by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
I Can Bagg It Up


CD: Love Fest
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Love Fest


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Can Hear Your Macaroni by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
I Can Hear Your Macaroni


CD: I Need A Cowboy To Ride My Pony
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
I Can Hear Your Macaroni


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Caught You by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
I Caught You


CD: The Best Of Sheba Potts-Wright
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
The Best Of Sheba Potts-Wright


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I'm A Bluesman's Daughter by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
I'm A Bluesman's Daughter


CD: I'm A Bluesman's Daughter
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
I'm A Bluesman's Daughter


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy My Kind Of Man by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
My Kind Of Man


CD: Let Your Mind Go Back
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Let Your Mind Go Back


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Private Fishing Hole by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
Private Fishing Hole


CD: The Best Of Sheba Potts-Wright
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
The Best Of Sheba Potts-Wright


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Big Hand Man by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
Big Hand Man


CD: Big Hand Man
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Big Hand Man


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Cruise Control by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
Cruise Control


CD: Love Fest
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Love Fest


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Don't Wanna Say Yes But I Can't Say No by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
I Don't Wanna Say Yes But I Can't Say No


CD: Big Hand Man
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Big Hand Man


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy I've Done All I Can Do by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
I've Done All I Can Do


CD: Let Your Mind Go Back
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Let Your Mind Go Back


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Put Your Hands Up (w/ Mr. Sam) by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
Put Your Hands Up (w/ Mr. Sam)


CD: Let Your Mind Go Back
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Let Your Mind Go Back


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Southern Guys by Sheba  Potts-Wright (21st Century)
Southern Guys


CD: Love Fest
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Love Fest


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