Daddy B. Nice's #35 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"I Had A Good Time"
Composed by Eddie Holloway
February 27, 2014: (3/4/14 Update: Death confirmed.)
Southern Soul Legend Eddie Holloway Reported To Have Passed AwayOn February 24, 2014 The Southern Soul Belle posted a notice on the Southern Soul Zone. The Belle reported that Todd Little, a "close friend" of Eddie Hollway's, informed her that the Southern Soul singer passed away due to complications after suffering a stroke. If the report is confirmed, contemporary Southern Soul music will have lost one of its quintessential "B-side" pioneers.
DBN notes: Eddie Holloway's death has been confirmed on Jackson, Mississippi's WMPR, 3/4/14.
Obscure yet renowned as a seminal figure, Holloway was the #35-ranked performer on Daddy B. Nice's Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). Holloway's most beloved singles include "Poor Boy," "I Had A Good Time," "Shake 'N Bump" and "My Mind Is Too Strong."
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Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique:
"Once I was up,
And I had so much good love,
Oh, but when I started falling down,
No one wanted to help me stay up.
Even though I'm down today,
All I can say is
I had a good time
And now I'm down."
One of the chitlin' circuit's most obscure yet revered artists (he's the kind of guy who says "women folks" without a trace of irony) Eddie Holloway is a throwback to such performers as Clarence Carter, Joe Simon, and--yes--even Hank Williams. He's just the kind of artist a newcomer to Southern Soul should become enthralled with: the epitome of the brilliant unknown.
No amount of sophisticated "urban" arranging can diminish the "country" in Holloway's masterful vocals, but Holloway is a much more effervescent personality than Simon. His melodies and chafing, mesmerizing rhythms brim with optimism and promise. It's a good thing, too, because when Holloway does sing a sad song (like Simon's "Nine Pound Steel") his voice evokes a misery that's almost unbearable.
Holloway's "I Had A Good Time" (from I Had A Good Time,Gucci, 1991) never fails to engage the listener on one or another levels, be it humorous, bemused, paranoid or tragic. There is something universal in the fear--so succinctly memorialized in "I Had A Good Time"-- of being kicked off "easy street" by Father Fortune.
Yet even more deeply embedded in the song's message is a conflict in philosophies of life: especially the live-for-the-moment philosophy of which "I Had A Good Time" is the chitlin' circuit's supreme specimen. The core of the song is:
"I'm down now,
But that's okay."
Also the composer of the majority of his tunes, Holloway's spare words express a benign resignation--of being at peace with one's spendthrift ways, be they of a sexual, spiritual or material nature. And one of the ways to that peace is remembering the good times.
"Once I had friends.
I was so proud.
My friends look at me today,
With a smile.
But that's all right."
And if you want to take "I Had A Good Time's" message to its ultimate level, it's a description of aging. We all must experience losing what we once had--youth, looks, love, money, mobility.
But "I Had A Good Time" isn't Holloway's only achievement. Launched by a mighty, high-flying, horn-and-synth arrangement, a precocious bass line, and Holloway's take-no-prisoners vocal, "Poor Boy" (also from I Had A Good Time) sounds as dynamic today as it did in the nineties.
"I was just a poor boy
Until you came along.
Your love made me richer
Than any man I've known.
You made me love you, woman,
And now you're gone."
Holloway's hero tells his woman to "keep on walking"--he's irate--and he keeps repeating the phrase. In fact, the energy level of the record seems to bubble up from the marital vengeance running through the verse. Whatever the source, the record motivates, and the musical symbiosis between the heavenly horns and the yelping, earthbound vocal make it one of the most unique recordings in Southern Soul.
"My Mind Is Too Strong" is yet another Holloway song that has taken a permanent place in the Southern Soul catalog. The arrangement is old-fashioned and orchestral, yet charmingly so. The energy is tremendous, springing from Holloway's great sense of tempo. Embellished with his whip-and-leather vocal, "My Mind Is Too Strong" becomes a foot-stomping anthem of the first order, and yet another reason to search for Holloway's hard to find I Had A Good Time disc.
Nearly invisible in the more obscure bayou mists of Southern Soul, yet never quite seeming to go away, Eddie Holloway has never captured the lightning-in-a-bottle magic of the music on his landmark 1991 LP. But the material on that album still burns with an intensity that anyone who loves rhythm and blues can't ignore.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Eddie Holloway
So many talented Southern Soul performers have made their debuts in the new millennium that one tends to forget the ground-breaking efforts in the early 90's of artists like Eddie Holloway, whom time has not treated so kindly. Holloway's seminal CD, I Had A Good Time (Gucci/Hot Productions, 1991) was an early precursor of the adult R&B revival to come.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"Even though I'm down today,
1. A "greatest hits" collection of Eddie Holloway's music appeared in 2005--"Soul N' The Blues: The Greatest Hits" (Empire Musicwerks)--although, like Holloway's other discs, it will take some tracking down.
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
Honorary "B" Side
"Poor Boy "
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