David Brinston (21st Century)
Daddy B. Nice's #15 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Party Till The Lights Go Out (Nothing But A Party)"
David Brinston (21st Century)
December 7, 2017: Originally posted in Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews.
May 22, 2017:
DAVID BRINSTON: Sidepiece Motel (Ecko) Four Stars **** Distinguished Effort. Should please old fans and gain new.
David Brinston sounds refreshed and energized from the opening bars of his new CD, SIDEPIECE MOTEL. Faithful readers have become familiar with the less than stellar pattern of recent Brinston CD's and the Daddy B. Nice reviews which--in response--have hopscotched between present-day disappointment and rousing memorials to Brinston's early achievements.
Marking David's first original album on Ecko Records since 2010's Beat It Up, SIDEPIECE MOTEL will quickly remind die-hard Brinston fans of one of his more fondly-remembered, mid-career albums, the self-published MISSISSIPPI BOY, in its attention to and celebration of Delta blues and chitlin' circuit culture.
The first single from the album to chart here (May 2017) is a smashing return to artistic form and evocation of Deep South ennui and coping entitled "I Drinks (sic) My Whiskey":
Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .
3."I Drinks My Whiskey"-----David Brinston.
Ohhh, David. My-oh-myyy. You haven't sounded this "wasted" in years, and it is a beautiful thing to hear. And just so readers don't get the wrong impression...It takes supreme alertness and the technique of a star to pull off this kind of authentic "oneness" with a song. From Brinston's new album, SIDEPIECE MOTEL.
Listen to David Brinston singing "I Drinks My Whiskey" on YouTube.
"I Drinks My Whiskey" may be the finest and "bluesiest" ballad Brinston has recorded since the durable "Somebody's Cutting My Cake". Written by James Jackson, one of the most inspired composers to come out of the Memphis area in recent years, "I Drinks My Whiskey" is a heart-breaking piece of T.R.U.T.H. any man can relate to. After a litany of miseries including "they turned my cell phone off," David sings:
"Whenever my life gets rough,
I get into my pickup truck,
And turn the radio on,
And hear me some blues.
And I drinks my whiskey.
Everything's going to be all right,
...For a little while."
It's the "for a little while"--and the pregnant pause that precedes it--that sinks like a hook in the vulnerable soul of any self-medicating man, fearful of substance abuse yet desperate for inner peace. It's the "for awhile" that hurts--that gives the song "bite".
"My Outside Woman," on the other hand, is one of those familiar-sounding, mid-tempo, Ecko records that a southern soul devotee instantly associates with Brinston, O.B. Buchana or Ms. Jody. Written by Raymond Moore and John Ward, who have penned hundreds of like-sounding songs, it nevertheless detours around outright cliche by virtue of its impeccable execution and Brinston's inspired vocal, putting the same listener on notice that even the borderline-trite content on this LP is rendered with fortitude and commitment. That belief in executing detail informs the entire CD. And when David sings--
"Now I'm married to a woman
Who put my love on a shelf.
I didn't want to
But I had to
Find me somebody else..."
--you have the perfect explanation--and the best I've encountered in recent lyrics--why a man is driven to finding a "sidepiece."
SIDEPIECE MOTEL neither avoids the historical David Brinston catalog nor retreads it in banal re-do's. But it does till up familiar ground, so that to a cynically-inclined, onetime Brinston fan, a song like "Southern Soul Party" from the new set can be seen as yet another attempt to bask in the nostalgia of David's justifiably celebrated "Party 'Til The Lights Go Out." But I believe fans will keep returning to "Southern Soul Party," as I did, once the aforesaid commitment to excellence sinks in.
"Southern Soul Party" is self-contained and simple, with an insistent little hook minimized from the old "Party" by composer John Ward, and Brinston brings it off with such insouciance and
southern-soul-insider wit that any thought of "Party" becomes secondary to the "southern soul party" going on right here and right now.
"Sidepiece Motel," the title tune, is fascinating in spite of its melodic familiarity as well. Brinston lets out a "Wooooooo..." near the end of the song that is so intimate it may raise a couple of hairs on your neck.
The album cover art shows a sign emblazoned with "SIDEPIECE MOTEL ("Low Hourly Rate")". Who would come to such suspiciously-named lodgings? Brinston stands underneath, leaning against the motel's front facade. Now where did they shoot that picture? Was it the home of the Louisiana Blues Brothas (and Big Pokey Bear), or was it Adobe photo-shopped? In any case the lyrics remind you of those abortive tourist stays in motels from hell, and let's not even mention the condition of the coverlets.
"You may not have a working TV." (David warns.)
"This ain't no five-star."
David, however, is preoccupied with explaining the "why's" and "where-for's" of one or two-hour trysts at places where--
"If you got your money right
No words will be exchanged."
"She's A Freak" is a re-tuned version of "You're So Freak, Girl" from the classic Brinston album, FLY RIGHT, with "Party 'Til The Lights Go Out (Nothing But A Party)" and "Kick It").
Similarly, this album's "echo" of Brinston's iconic "Kick It," a tune called "I Ain't Goin' Anywhere Tonight," stands on its (modest) own while still relating to the former via its contrarian message. Brinston's vocal here and throughout is inspired. Other songs from the set, like the splendid ballad "I Got You" and the slow-but-steady-rocking "Dance With Me," fit in well.
Who sings like this? Nobody. Strike that. A handful... Robert "The Duke" Tillman. LaMorris Williams, at times. Also young disciple "King" Fred Hicks. Speaking of which, Robert "The Duke" Tillman and David Brinston were peers in the late 90's and early 00's; David's career has been much more productive since then. But if you want to hear David sounding so much like Tillman you'd think it was Tillman (and even more so since we associate Tillman with ballads), listen to "Give Me All Your Love" from this new set by Brinston.
Ecko's track record with publishing David Brinston (approximately 2007-2010) has been mixed. Surely, it never achieved the kind of success both parties envisioned, resulting in a sequence of CD's we associate in retrospect with lone singles (good singles)--"Too Many Women," "Dirty Woman," "Beat It Up," "I Just Love Women"--nevertheless surrounded by a lot of "here-today, gone-tomorrow" material.
SIDEPIECE MOTEL defies all those expectations. Instead of delivering a "knock-out" single and little else--as did past albums--it offers a real, album-like tapestry of music to be enjoyed from beginning to end, a slice-of-life in which no one cut stands head-and-shoulders above the rest (with the possible exception of "I Drinks My Whiskey"), and all are produced to their ultimate fulfillment, with David's vocals providing the crucial fulcrum.
In a very real sense, this new album on Ecko restores Brinston's reputation and unique niche among contemporary southern soul singers as a countrified version of the legendary Al Green. It's one of the highest compliments one can give a southern soul vocalist, but one Brinston richly deserves as he reminds us in track after track what a laser-precise and poignantly-pirouetting vocal instrument can do.
Strong contributors to the CD include Big John Cummings, who did much of the songwriting, and stalwart partners with long Brinston histories, Morris J. Williams and Marshall Jones. Longtime Brinston writer/background singer Linda Stokes isn't listed in the credits, but her background singing--or right-on approximations of it by the Ecko crew of Ward, Cummings, Williams & Terry "Smooth" Johnson--can be heard in "Dance With Me and "She's A Freak".
--Daddy B. Nice
Sample/Buy David Brinston's new SIDEPIECE MOTEL CD at Amazon.
March 26, 2017:
New Album Alert!
Sample/Buy David Brinston's new SIDEPIECE MOTEL album at Amazon.
1 Dance with Me
2 I Drinks My Whiskey
3 My Outside Woman
4 I Got You
5 Southern Soul Party
6 Sidepiece Motel
7 I Ain't Goin' Nowhere Tonight
8 She's a Freak
9 Give Me All Your Love
10 You Got to Make a Change
Daddy B. Nice notes: This is David's first album published by Ecko Records since 2010's BEAT IT UP.
Note: David Brinston also appears on Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). The "21st Century" after David Brinston's 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.
To read Daddy B. Nice's review of David Brinston's latest CD, BACK SEAT RIDER, go to New CD Reviews. (Now contained in "Tidbits" #5--scroll down. DBN)
David Brinston is now the #15-ranked artist on Daddy B. Nice's Top 100 Countdown: 21st Century Southern Soul Artists.
See the chart.
See "Tidbits" below for the latest updates on David Brinston, including recent CD reviews by Daddy B. Nice.
To automatically link to David Brinston's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and many other references on the website, go to "Brinston, David" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
March 3, 2013:
Daddy B. Nice's Updated ProfileThis 21st Century Countdown Artist Guide to David Brinston features a number of new additions. Along with the YouTube presentations of David Brinston music now available by Internet link (scroll down to Tidbits #1), the About Artist section contains a greatly-expanded account of Brinston's once-murky, pre-Fly Right resume, not to mention extensive new reportage on David Brinston's career over the last decade.
Also, I've been writing tributes to Brinston's "Kick It" for years without managing to lift its profile in the slightest. The praise is always buried in the text. So I've decided, at least at this point in time, to use my "bully pulpit" to feature "Kick It" with "Party" on The Top 100 21st Century Southern Soul Countdown.
Maybe, between its placement in the Artist Guide headline and its propitious presence on YouTube, available for fans to hear in full at last, this masterpiece of Southern Soul will begin to get some of its due, not least from the artist himself. "Kick It" boasts the best hook, the best instrumental track and the most passionate vocal of David Brinston's career.
Listen to David Brinston singing "Kick It" on YouTube while you read.
An Appreciation of "Kick It" by David Brinston:
Excerpted from Daddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to David Brinston (90's-00's).
The near-perfect song. The perfect recording. The perfect, if also perfectly obscure, artist.
There is really no defensible reason, other than that David Brinston is one of the most under-appreciated performers in contemporary rhythm and blues, to deny that "Kick It" can stand right along such standards as "Big Head Hundreds" by Johnnie Taylor as a dance floor jam of the first order.
The bass pounds the bottom of "Kick It" like there's no tomorrow. If you don't hear the rhythm track and it's not shaking you, you've got to play it louder. And, as if to accentuate how good the groove is--that's the effect, at any rate--Brinston holds off for a few bars and in a low voice-over summarizes the situation.
A few of the old pals--now married or otherwise tied down--want to get together again, and there's just no way David Brinston's everyday hero can bear to miss the occasion.
"I know I've got to go home,
And face this woman of mine.
But right now I got to kick it, y'all,
Just one more time."
Meanwhile, a metronomic chord change--normally the province of a guitar but here a Spector-like wash of sound--has welded symbiotically onto the chugging rhythm track, making a monster of a dance floor groove that only a couple of other Southern Soul singles in recent memory (Stan Mosley's "Anybody Seen My Boo," O. B. Buchana's "Let's Get Drunk") have come close to matching.
It would be mind-blowing if it were only an instrumental, but the lyrics--happily for us fans--are infused with uncommon particularity and charm.
"My old lady's getting tired,
Tired of my past.
She already told me
She was going to leave my ass."
Songwriter Linda Stokes, who wrote both "Kick It" and "Party," producer Marshall Jones and Brinston make for a creative trio of unusual skill and originality. But the key is Brinston's unique tenor and syncopated rhythms as perfected in "Kick It." If Sam Cooke or Smokey Robinson were recording today, their work might sound like this.
--Daddy B. Nice
Listen to David Brinston's "Party Till The Lights Go Out" on YouTube while you read.
From Daddy B. Nice's May 1, 2010 Commentary: "Party 'Till The Lights Go Out" Never Grows Old,"
Out on the chitlin' circuit's smokey dance floors and sun-drenched lawns, hips sway, arms spread, pelvises roll and smiles abound. And those first beads of sweet sweat pop out on upper lips.
"You might be with someone's woman
Or somebody's man.
We ain't here to knock it.
We just want to dance."
This is the song that countless chitlin' circuit club advertisements have used as their background music on Deep South radio stations for going on ten years. Its effortless-sounding rhythm section has never been equaled. Brinston's sugary vocal is one of the most winning performances in the history of contemporary Southern Soul.
To read Daddy B. Nice's May 1, 2010 Commentary: "Party 'Till The Lights Go Out" Never Grows Old," go to Daddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to David Brinston.
--Daddy B. Nice
About David Brinston (21st Century)
David Brinston was born in Marks, Mississippi--near blues hub Clarksdale--in 1959, and spent much of his formative years in Clarksdale. In the early nineties Brinston moved to Memphis and began performing on Beale Street and other chitlin' circuit venues.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"Me and my friends
March 30, 2014: NEW ALBUM ALERT!
Sample/Buy David Brinston's new BACK ON TRACK CD.
Daddy B. Nice notes: Just when you think the genre has exhausted all the possibilities for sexual double entendres (i.e. "stand up in it," "rock that man in the boat," "beat it up,"), another source of southern soul creativity surprises us with yet another.
"My baby's got a diamond in the middle.
She knows how to make that thing wiggle."
From "Diamond In The Middle," the opening track of David Brinston's new BACK ON TRACK CD.
April 19, 2014:
DAVID BRINSTON: Back On Track (Delta Down) Three Stars *** Solid. The artist's fans will enjoy. Three songs from David Brinston's new album BACK ON TRACK have already wormed their way into my head so far I may never get them out. Normally, that would be cause for recommendation and celebration, but the collection as a whole--praiseworthy though it assuredly is--does have flaws that throw up a "yellow" flag for fans not already under Brinston's thrall.
As with all of David's latter-day albums, your Daddy B. Nice stacks BACK ON TRACK against his first two CD's (now long out of print), the ones that had Stan & Lenny Lewis and Marshall Jones at the helm.
Notwithstanding the many great Brinston songs recorded since ("I Just Love Women," for example), it's hard to describe to today's fans how much the early-century David Brinston charmed fans, attracting them to the new southern soul music coming out of the Deep South. The songs, arrangements and vocals were close to full-blown masterpieces. The songs from that era generally regarded as most representative of David's since-somewhat-eroded "southern soul stardom" are:
Listen to David Brinston singing "Two Way Love Affair" on YouTube.
Listen to David Brinston singing "Party 'Til The Lights Go Out" on YouTube.
Listen to David Brinston singing "Kick It" on YouTube.
Listen to David Brinston singing "Hit & Run" on YouTube.
Like their illustrious forbears, the attention-getting songs on the new Brinston LP have the same strong songwriting base and the same ability to take over a corner of your mind usually reserved for commercial jingles.
I first encountered "Tragic Love" via the radio: Nikki DeMarks in Mobile, Alabama. From...
Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Review For. . .
10. “Tragic Love”----------David Brinston
This is brand new David Brinston getting back to his roots, vocally-speaking. Like an old Fredrick Brinson. (That’s a joke.) But there’s truth in the fact that at their best, both the young artist and the old artist convey weathered wisdom and strafed vulnerability. Thumbs up for the (some-might-say-amateurish) female background: it fits in with the overall strangeness.
Then I received the hard copy of the album and instantly began humming the first track, "Diamond In The Middle," with its right-on, naughty couplet:
"My baby's got a diamond in the middle.
She knows how to make that thing wiggle."
Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Review For. . .
4. ”Diamond In The Middle” ------------David Brinston
Just when you think the genre has exhausted all the possibilities for sexual double entendres (i.e. "stand up in it," "rock that man in the boat," "beat it up,"), we’re surprised with yet another: "diamond in the middle," which certainly strikes your Daddy B. Nice as both apt and vivid. If David Brinston’s one-of-a-kind vocal were any more tattered, it'd blow away in the wind.
Finally, I've succumbed to "911," a contagious, "Kick It"-style dance track with an ambience reminiscent of Donnie Ray's "Who's Rocking You?"
Other tunes with underlying strength and promise are "One Way" (with a hint of "Hit & Run") and "Your Love," with That Stokes Girl filling in on female background, as she does on "Tragic Love."
What separates the early classics from the new tracks? It's easy to name the culprit--production, lack of budget--but it's harder to put a finger on the specifics. The participants on this close-knit CD are people your Daddy B. Nice cherishes: laborers in the musical vineyard who have given their lives to contemporary southern soul.
Morris Williams, longtime Ecko Records associate, has become the defacto producer on jobs Ecko CEO John Ward can't make "work" on his higher overhead. Williams, for instance, produced the latest John Cummings CD, BACK TO THE GRIND, also reviewed on this page. But muscular rhythm tracks (ala Bigg Robb or Big Yayo) are not Williams' talent.
Linda Stokes is Brinston's longtime songwriter ("Nothing But A Party," etc.) and in a very real sense his muse. She contributes background vocals, songwriting and general support to the CD, but sophisticated vocals are not her bailiwick.
David's brother Terry Brinston is executive producer and sound engineer. In sum, this is a "family" effort, straight from the source (meaning authentic southern soul), but lacking in the polish and panache that powered the early hits.
For veteran southern soul fans, the best songs on this set are too good to miss, yet even a Brinston-watcher can easily imagine better versions. Ultimately the difference may lie in Brinston himself.
The vocals which in David's earlier years seemed to pour out as effortlessly as syrup in August have grown less generous, even a bit pinched and grating. At times, even on the superb "Diamond In The Middle," David calls attention to his delivery (whether consciously or unconsciously), which shouldn't happen, and didn't happen in the old days when David mesmerized us with:
"You might be with someone else's woman
Or someone else's man.
We're not here to knock it,
We're just here to dance."
(from "Party 'Til the Lights Go out/Nothing But A Party").
--Daddy B. Nice
Sample/Buy David Brinston's BACK ON TRACK CD at CD Baby.
Read Daddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to David Brinston.
Read Daddy B. Nice's 21st Century Artist Guide to David Brinston.
To automatically link to all the awards, citations, chart-listings and other references to David Brinston on the website, go to Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
Re-posted from Daddy B. Nice's CD Reviews:
June 7, 2015:
DAVID BRINSTON: Back Seat Rider (David Brinston) Two Stars ** Dubious. Not much here.
David Brinston was one of the reasons your Daddy B. Nice left all the "other" music behind, and it's been uncomfortable watching the southern soul star slip a little, CD by CD, like a photograph fading to sepia in the sun.
I remember searching for the unknown artist who did a song called "Nothing But A Party." Back in those days, there was no one and no website to turn to for assistance. You searched through Napster and every other music avenue available, looking for these unknown artists and in many cases untitled songs you'd heard at random, often hampered by the wrong keywords, a process that took months and in some cases years. The David Brinston song was called simply "Party," or as it quickly became known, "Party 'Til The Lights Go Out," the fifteenth-ranked song on the Top 100
Southern Soul Songs: Daddy B. Nice's 21st Century Countdown
The song is magical. From the opening bars of the rhythm track, the music transports you to a beautiful place, a nirvana of love and dancing. Brinston's vocal is relaxed and confident, one of a kind. Brinston's longtime songwriter, Linda Stokes, who's always been humble about her singing abilities, can be heard in the background, just as she still can be heard today.
Ironically, there's a song on Brinston's new CD BACK SEAT RIDER that recapitulates "Party," and yet "Just Like Your Mama" is such a weak rendering by comparison that I didn't realize it was the "Party" background instrumental track until I heard the first few bars on the radio one afternoon.
That's the key to this album. If you don't have those fond memories of Brinston, there isn't much here. Brinston's unique high tenor was always fragile--at its best, vulnerable. Now it's downright weak. The voice literally disappears in the middle of notes. I was reminded of watching Bill Withers' acceptance into the 2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on TV the other night, when Bill had to let Stevie Wonder and John Legend sing his signature songs ("Lean On Me," "Use Me," etc.), and then, even Stevie Wonder, advancing in age, faltered. It was painfully obvious he was missing notes. The only singer left and able to carry the day was the youthful Legend.
I'm aware that I've been hard on Brinston CD's over the last decade, basically for the same reasons described above--nothing comes close to "Party" and the FLY RIGHT ("Party," "Kick It," etc.) album. And it's true there have been many great if idiosyncratic songs on those latter-year CD's, "Mississippi's Where It's At" for example--last year's excellent "Diamond In The Middle," for another, although the latter does sound like the voice of an old man. "911 (It's An Emergency"), from the same album Back On Track," has become another personal favorite.
Still, on this new set, with its nondescript material and production, I find nothing especially worthy of radio play: possibly, "Low Down, Dirty," "Just Like Your Mama," or "Back Seat Rider." Will your Daddy B. Nice be looking back a year later, wondering if I under-rated these songs, too? In my own defense, I was very complimentary of those songs in my review and gave the BACK ON TRACK album as a whole a much more positive three-star ranking.
I'd be interested in hearing from David's true fans. Is he meeting your expectations? Is he even relevant? In a new southern soul world of Bigg Robb, Tucka, J'Wonn and Pokey, does Brinston's tattered vocal sound still have appeal?
--Daddy B. Nice
Sample/Buy David Brinston's BACK SEAT RIDER CD at CD BABY.
6.August 8, 2015: RE-POSTED FROM DADDY B. NICE'S CORNER
July 23, 2015:
A DADDY B NICE SHOUT-OUT TO WDLT MOBILE, ALABAMA'S DJ STORMY FOR PLAYING DAVID BRINSTON'S "KICK IT"In a reversal of the usual male-dominated, streaming-radio scene, female deejays have long held a cabal on Southern Soul Saturdays at Mobile, Alabama's WDLT, where the esteemed Beverley McDowell has been succeeded by the lying-in-the-bushes, Saturday-morning charm of Nikki DeMarks, who has been cited frequently in Daddy B. Nice's Southern Soul Singles Previews over the years, not to mention memorialized in Unckle Eddie's (yes, that's how he spells it) paean to ornery husbands and brash daughters in "I'm Gone Tell Mama."
The possessor of a fine-tuned and extensive southern soul vocabulary, DJ Stormy fills the seat vacated by Nikki DeMarks in the early through late afternoon each Saturday, and last weekend she played David Brinston's five-minute-plus "Kick It" from his classic and long out-of-print album, FLY RIGHT.
Your Daddy B. Nice has been touting "Kick It" for years, even as the FLY RIGHT CD slipped further into oblivion. Johnny-come-lately fans of the current southern soul scene may find it hard to believe that turn-of-the-century songs like Stan Mosley's "Anybody Seen My Boo" and David Brinston's "Kick It" utilized hard-edged rhythm tracks as seductive as today's "Mr. Sexy Man" (Nellie "Tiger" Travis) or Big Yayo's "Cowgirl."
And when your Daddy B. Nice heard the Marshall Jones-produced rhythm track pounding from the stereo speakers last Saturday, it was with a mixture of awe and pleasure that simultaneously catered to my memory bank and my appreciation for the latest, cutting-edge sound. It was the first time in at least a decade I had heard the song on the radio. (Not posted on YouTube until 2011, the song has only received a meager 6,000-something plays.)
And yet--best of all--as "Kick It" was concluding with David Brinston's most passionate growls and yells on record, DJ Stormy exclaimed--
"That's my favorite David Brinston song."
To read Daddy B. Nice's exegesis of "Kick It", go to Dadddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to David Brinston and scroll down to Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique: In Praise of "Kick It".
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.)