Maurice Wynn

Daddy B. Nice's #54 ranked Southern Soul Artist



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"What She Don't Know (Won't Hurt Her)"

Maurice Wynn

Composed by Maurice Wynn


October 1, 2010:

Here is yet another Southern Soul classic, long out of print and unavailable, and now just a click away on the flourishing musical world-wide web.

"What She Don't Know (Won't Hurt Her)" by Maurice Wynn

For years, only a handful of people had copies of this song, and it was so frustrating to attempt to describe something which no one else could hear. YouTube and other music-streaming sites are changing the way we listen to music, and it all bodes well for the long-marginalized Southern Soul genre.

--Daddy B. Nice

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(Scroll down to "Tidbits" section for the latest updates on Maurice Wynn.)

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Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique:

"What She Don't Know" can stand beside the best music that Southern Soul has to offer and not break a blush. Its simple yet powerful melody has remained impervious to repetition. Even now, years after its 2000 release (Better Safe Than Sorry), its understated arrangement and super-credible vocal are a model of everything a rhythm and blues classic should be.

Maurice Wynn is one of those unfortunate artists-- David Brinston also comes to mind--signed to small label Suzie Q Records and stuck in a kind of recording and distribution limbo. The studio had an ear for talent. Wynn and Brinston and O. B. Buchana were major talents and potential stars who might never have come to light had it not been for Suzie Q and its producer Marshall Jones. Donnie Ray recorded his classic, "A Letter To My Baby" during the halcyon years.

For a brief time in the early 00's, Suzie Q purveyed a cutting-edge Southern Soul sound, best exemplified by Brinston's "Party 'Til The Lights Go Out" and "Kick It" and O. B. Buchana's "Let's Get Drunk" that electrified the chitlin' circuit. "What She Don't Know (Won't Hurt Her)" is the closest the label came to ultimate R&B bliss with Maurice Wynn.

"How can I explain
You in my life?
To my children,
And mainly to my wife?"

The emotional directness in "What She Don't Know" bespeaks a country song, and country artist Gene Watson did record a hit (no resemblance to Wynn's) called "What She Don't Know Won't Hurt Her" in the 80's.

The arrangement, too, echoes the country feeling. A keyboard with a high-pitched, bagpipe sound dominates the record, giving it a distinct, south-of-the-Mason-Dixon-line atmosphere. One can imagine Johnny Horton looking down from the clouds in a Reb uniform, playing a flute.

"This kind of thing
Was wrong from the start.
But telling her
Will surely break her heart."

But "What She Don't Know" is all about rhythm and blues. You know it when Maurice Wynn sings about the self-contradictions inherent in his man-cheating-on-his-wife predicament.

"But it was all over
The second we made love.
What on earth
Was I thinking of?"

The song's seductive melody and Wynn's affecting delivery are an irresistible combination.

"I love my children,
My wife I adore.
I never had a woman
Quite like you before."

Much to the consternation of his fans, Maurice Wynn has not been heard from since his great, turn-of-the-century single. "What She Don't Know" has become a staple of Southern Soul--one of those hits that define the very form--yet it remains a brilliant anomaly, like a comet streaking across the sky. And Wynn remains, whether by choice or circumstance, the proverbial one-hit wonder.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Maurice Wynn

Maurice Wynn performed, produced, arranged, engineered and wrote all the material for his debut CD, Better Safe Than Sorry (Suzie Q, 2000). The CD was generally dismissed, but the radio single, "What She Don't Know," caught on with deejays of the Deep South and proved amazingly durable, evolving over the space of a few years into a classic "golden oldie" of chitlin' circuit R&B.

Five years after the release of "What She Don't Know," Hardway Connection, the first bona fide Southern Soul R&B group of the new era, recorded a cover version of Maurice Wynn's song (Hot Ticket, Wilbe, 2005), giving composer credit to Stacy P. Yook. The song was by and large faithful to the original, substituting a muted violin section for the keyboard, yet the Hardway vocal couldn't hold a candle to the focus and intensity of the Wynn original.

(Coincidentally, the same album by Hardway Connection reprised fellow Suzie Q artist David Brinston's "Party 'Til The Lights Go Out" with similar results.)

Wynn remains one of the most obscure of Southern Soul performers.


Song's Transcendent Moment

"What she don't know
Won't hurt her,
It won't hurt her,
Or hurt me."


Tidbits

1. Author's Update:April 26, 2008.

Maurice Wynn's first and only album, Better Safe Than Sorry, remains out of print, but earlier this year I was contacted by Chessboy Records CEO Shelia Cauthen on Wynn's behalf. It was the first and only communication on this obscure Southern Soul artist I have ever received.

She had one interesting piece of biographical information on the shadowy performer: namely, that Maurice Wynn attended Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music, an unlikely destination for such a chitlin' circuit-sounding artist.

But the more significant news was that after an absence of eight years Wynn was scheduled to release a second CD entitled--aptly enough--Better Safe Than Sorry II.

Anticipation sometimes approaches dread when an artist "comes back" after such a long absence. Will it be something really great and unique, yet distinctly Maurice Wynn-sounding? Or will it be weak, derivative, imitative, a letdown?

We shouldn't have to wait long. Better Safe Than Sorry, according to Cauthen, is scheduled for a Spring 2008 release.

DBN.

1. Author's Update: October 1, 2010.

This item of interest to fans of Maurice Wynn came through e-mail not long ago and was posted in Daddy B. Nice's "Mailbag":

RE: OMITTING MAURICE WYNN

Dear Daddy B Nice,

You surely omitted a great southern soul artist when you did not list Mr. Maurice Wynn, out of North Carolina. Please post his concert dates, for I want to see his show many many more times. He is a must see.

I'm new here and I really love your site.

Much thanks,

DJ from Raleigh, NC

Daddy B. Nice replies:

Thanks, DJ, I'm glad you found me.

I'm not sure what you mean by "omitting" Maurice Wynn. I presume you're aware he's the subject of a Daddy B. Nice Artist Guide--Maurice Wynn--and his "What She Don't Know (Won't Hurt Her)" the number 54-ranked song on the Top 100 Southern Soul Song chart.

But your letter reminded me that I had been contacted by his people awhile back regarding an upcoming album (see the artist guide), which never came out, I guess. It's been two years since.

In doing a little research I did find a new Maurice Wynn website, and that's where I discovered Wynn is playing--quote--"every Thursday night at Gwendolyn's night club in Raleigh NC."
Understand, DJ, that in order to put the dates in the Concert Calendar (which I think is your real question) I'd still have to get some advance notice that the dates were really going to be played.

That would have to come from some source, Maurice or his people, a news media outlet, or--if you had all the facts: date, time, venue, address, city/state--even yourself, should you decide to take on that function.

(Other fans have.)

Sometimes I'll put an artist's "regular" function in a small section underneath the regular Calendar. (I did this with Nellie Travis and a couple of other acts last year.)

I believe more artists should take advantage of publicizing their local gigs and I'm more than willing to do it.

Hope this helps clarify things,

Daddy B. Nice

Postscript: No response ever arrived.


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you loved Ray Charles's country-blues classic, "I Can't Stop Loving You," you'll appreciate Maurice Wynn's "What She Don't Know (Won't Hurt Her)."


Honorary "B" Side

"Can't Stop Loving You"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy What She Don't Know (Won't Hurt Her) by Maurice Wynn
What She Don't Know (Won't Hurt Her)


CD: Better Safe Than Sorry
Label: Suzie Q

Sample or Buy
Better Safe Than Sorry


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Can't Stop Loving You by Maurice Wynn
Can't Stop Loving You


CD: Better Safe Than Sorry
Label: Suzie Q

Sample or Buy
Better Safe Than Sorry


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy The Part Of Making Love by Maurice Wynn
The Part Of Making Love


CD: Better Safe Than Sorry
Label: Suzie Q

Sample or Buy
Better Safe Than Sorry


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Better Safe Than Sorry by Maurice Wynn
Better Safe Than Sorry


CD: Better Safe Than Sorry
Label: Suzie Q

Sample or Buy
Better Safe Than Sorry


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