Vick Allen

Daddy B. Nice's #56 ranked Southern Soul Artist



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"If They Can Beat Me Rockin'"

Vick Allen

January 1, 2014: NEW ARTIST GUIDE ALERT


Vick Allen is now the #14-ranking Southern Soul artist on Daddy B. Nice's new 21st Century Top 100 Countdown.

Go to Daddy B. Nice's new 21st-Century Artist Guide to Vick Allen.


*********

December 18, 2012: NEW ALBUM ALERT

Sample or Buy Vick Allen's new SOUL MUSIC CD at CD Baby.

Listen to Vick Allen singing "Soul Music" on YouTube.

Sample or Buy Vick Allen's "Soul Music" on iTunes.

***************


See "Tidbits" below for the latest updates on Vick Allen.

To automatically link to Vick Allen's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other references, go to "Allen, Vick" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.



*********************

Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique:

Vick Allen's sweet rendition of Bobby and Cecil Womack's "Put Something Down On It" is a cover of a song made famous in R&B circles many years ago by the renowned Millie Jackson.

Allen is a sensitive, sophisticated singer in the style of Marvin Gaye and Al Green, and his version of "Put Something Down On It" blends the anthem-like hook from one of disco's greatest hits with the winsome melody of the Womack and Jackson originals to dazzling effect.

"There's a thing called love,
And it has no boundaries. . .
You seek and I promise you you'll find.
I think I'll make you my woman."

The full string-section background in Vick Allen's little-known classic is a slower version of the disco-violin hook from Rod Stewart's 80's dance-floor sensation, "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy." In retrospect, it's obvious that the writer of the Stewart standby, Carmen Appice, borrowed from the Womack brothers' "Put Something Down On It" in the first place, speeding up the hook for the club dancers who would make it so popular, but the hook remains exotic and musically intoxicating, especially when transported forward time-machine-style into a 21st-century R&B context.

And for anyone who wore out shoe leather dancing to "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" in the 80's, the sensitive yet solid rendition of "Put Something Down On It" by Vick Allen will double the pleasure by evoking not only early 70's soul but the best of the disco years.

"Let's Dance" is a similar, good-timey, pop-flavored hybrid, too subtle and delicate to really be called a dance track, yet possessing too much swing to be called a ballad. One can imagine doing the fox trot or the jitterbug to its breezy beat, and the vision of partners dancing together "old-style" is exactly the vein of nostalgia the recording is intended to tap.

"I went to a party late one night,
All the fellas were chipping,
Trying to start a fight.

All the ladies were sitting around
With their noses in the air.
They were pointing fingers,
And laughing at each other's hair.

I thought about leaving,
I thought about going home.
But I couldn't stop moving
To the beat of those bluesy songs."

Other Allen songs like "I Better Walk Away" and "Clean House" negotiated extended runs on chitlin' circuit radio in 2004 and 2005. "Clean House (You're So Ghetto)" is Allen's grittiest performance to date, showcasing his smooth tenor in a combative lyric about dumping a girlfriend.

"Three o'clock in the morning.
You come creeping in.
Girl, I think enough is enough.
It's time for me to clean house.
It's time for me to sweep the dirt off the floor."

Along with young stars such as Sir Charles Jones, Floyd Taylor and Patrick Green, Vick Allen represents a new, sophisticated vanguard in Southern Soul, combining the best of the old-school melody-makers (Tyrone Davis, Willie Clayton, Johnnie Taylor) with the younger cultural perspective and technical polish of today's music studios.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Vick Allen

Vick Allen was born in Jackson Mississippi, where he honed his skills in church and performed for family and friends at an early age. By the time he was in high school, he had self-produced a CD. After high school, he joined the Canton Spirituals, one of the South's most respected Gospel groups.

He released his solo R&B debut in 2002 (Let's Dance, Brown Hill). The title track entered Southern Soul rotations that year, quietly accumulating a fan base. As time went on, Deep South deejays showed no inclination to discard it, and when Allen issued his second LP, Old School...New Flava (Waldoxy, 2004) two years later, he reprised "Let's Dance" on the CD's final track.

The Old School...New Flava CD was well received. Allen scored chitlin' circuit hits with "Clean House" (a Charles Richard Cason song), "I Better Walk Away," and to a lesser extent "So Sweet, So Fine," a duet with the prolific Willie Clayton.

In addition to his behind-the-scenes work with Bobby Rush and other artists, the most telling fact about Allen has been his work composing, arranging and producing some of Willie Clayton's most recent and successful Southern Soul hits.

Allen wrote both "Old Fashioned Girl" and "I Love Me Some You," two of the most defining ballads from Clayton's CD The Last Man Standing. He also owns his own production company, Test-Mic Productions, and continues to do studio work for Clayton and others. Among Allen's most notable recent sessions was the keyboard work on Shirley Brown's landmark 2004 CD, Woman Enough.

The Vick Allen Discography

2002 Let's Dance (Brown Hill)

2004 Old School...New Flava (Waldoxy)

2005 Simply Soul (Waldoxy)

2007 Baby Come Back Home (Waldoxy)

2009 Truth Be Told (Soul 1st)


Song's Transcendent Moment

"So if you want this love I'm giving,
You've got to put something down on it.
Put something down on it.
Spend a little time on it."

(from "Put Something Down On It")


Tidbits

1.

A new Vick Allen single appeared on the Stations Of The Deep South in September 2005. "Who You Been Giving It To," from the upcoming CD, Simply Soul (Waldoxy), was projected for an October '05 release. Boasting one of Allen's best vocals ever, the song mined the "woman-gone-bad" theme of "Clean House," with an angry, high-energy beat and a catchy "Slipping Into Darkness"-like hook.

2.

March 30, 2006. After a strong run on the Stations of the Deep South, Vick Allen's "Who You Been Giving It To" (from the Simply Soul LP, has faded away. The two new tracks getting the most airplay appear to be the slow jams "Creepin' Ain't Easy" and "Why Don't You"--smooth, polished, languorous ballads.

3.

July 25, 2007. Vick Allen has a new single out: "Baby Come Back Home." What distinguishes the song is a bridge that slips into a minor key, giving the ballad an edge of sophistication and somberness, not unlike mid-period Beatles (think "Eleanor Rigby," "Strawberry Fields". The song has chitlin' circuit deejays in a swoon: lots of air play out there. You hear a lot of comparisons to Al Green. Allen has worked on his vocals, and the production is scintillating by Southern Soul standards. Waldoxy Records is keeping everything a little vague: they say it's from the upcoming CD, still untitled, due out this summer.

DBN.

4.

Update: July 18, 2008:

You've got to be in awe of Vick Allen's Baby Come Back Home EP--seven songs--the majority of them heavily-played radio singles on Southern Soul outlets. But it's just so "pop," so "lite," and in that regard it reminds me of T. K. Soul's equally popular "Undisputed" album.

As I write this, "When You Pack Your Bags" is culminating an extended hot streak of radio play. "Baby Come Back Home," the title cut, was a fixture before that. "Breakin' Me Down" and "New Way To Cheat" are other potential singles, already exposed in some markets. This smallish CD (and priced accordingly) is full of a lot more quality songs than many CD's twice the size.

But I'm still waiting for Allen to hit the musical bullseye: he's an artist whose best work--good as it now is--is still to come.

Vick Allen has done well in the few years since he first charted on the Top 100 Southern Soul (90's--00's) Chart. Allen's got a good record label, Waldoxy (a division of Malaco run by founder Tommy Couch's son, Tommy Couch, Jr.). He's a fine writer and arranger, besides having a charismatic presence. I sometimes wish he'd "stretch" a little, either by branching out in material, or by collaborating with other writers and musicians (beyond the occasional token track).

Then again, I say that about all Southern Soul artists, who are notorious for being "Lone Rangers." Can you imagine a group of Southern Soul musicians banding together to form a super-group like Cream or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young? (You know--like (T. K.) Soul, (Sir Charles) Jones, (Floyd) Taylor and (Vick) Allen?) I didn't think so. Neither can your Daddy B. Nice.

But credit has to be given. With relatively little material, Allen has nailed down a solid niche as a velvet-voiced Southern Soul ladies' man. He does it practically as well as his onetime mentor, Willie Clayton--no small chore.

What's really to appreciate about Vick Allen is where he doesn't go. He grooves, croons, and slow-jams, but he keeps it in a Southern Soul vein. He doesn't take it over the edge into "midnight urban" (what we old-schoolers used to call "makeout music"), nor does he slip into the too-slick, too-fast, neo/funk/hiphop sound. It helps to have grown up in Jackson: he's absorbed the tradition of Southern Soul.

--Daddy B. Nice

5.

May 30, 2009: New Album Alert!

Truth Be Told (Soul 1st Records)

Comparison-Priced Truth Be Told CD

Vick Allen has a new record label (Soul 1st), a new CD and a new single making the rounds: "Forbidden Love Affair (The Preacher Song)."

6.

March 27, 2011:

VICK ALLEN: Truth Be Told (Soul 1st) Five Stars ***** Can't Miss. Pure Southern Soul Heaven.

No, your Daddy B. Nice hasn't fallen into a time warp. This album-- Truth Be Told --came out in 2009. And its first single, "Forbidden Love Affair," was rocking the playlist of every deejay in Southern Soul already in late 2008, commencing a series of hit singles that have been fixtures on Southern Soul playlists ever since.

So this isn't as much a review as it is a celebration, a "toasting" (not "roasting") in honor of an achievement that has already transpired, much to the amazement of people who didn't think Vick Allen had it in him.

And lo and behold, Truth Be Told is still generating hit singles in 2011, the latest being the feet-thumping, piano-crushing "I Need Some Attention," a track accompanied by one of the hottest Southern Soul videos made to date.

I never had a chance to review the CD when it came out in 2009, and in a recent exchange with Vick Allen about new material (coming later this year), your Daddy B. Nice told Vick that it would be a pleasure and a service to readers to give Truth Be Told some of the belated praise and analysis it deserves.

Five years ago, I frequently heard Vick Allen disparaged. The knock on him was that he wasn't "bluesy" enough--an argument, by the way, that never held much water for your Daddy B. Nice.

You can always find umpteen gradations of blues purists--even in the chitlin' circuit scene--who can be counted on to disown Southern Soul on the grounds that it's too pop, too rock and roll, too hiphop or whatever, accompanied by dire predictions of the genre's imminent demise.

But the doubters' criticisms weren't entirely without merit. Vick Allen's music was professional, it was well-written and fairly well-performed, but like so many other singer/songwriters of today, the material was limited in its appeal. The musical territory it covered was pretty narrow. It wasn't the kind of "sound" you'd enjoy hearing song after song for any given length of time.

Baby Come Back Home (Waldoxy, 2007), was the pivotal point of the change, the harbinger of special things to come, the "next level" toward which Vick had been slowly but methodically building.

The CD (or EP) was unique in that it contained only seven songs, as if Allen was determined to avoid any filler--a risky statement of artistic integrity if ever there was one.

The atmosphere of the recordings was dense and unforgettable, like the strong scent of ocean to an inlander. Although the music was still in Allen's somewhat monotonous tenor register, Vick infused these songs with incredible, piercing details, both musical and lyrical.

"Breakin'" Me Down" made Daddy B. Nice's "Top Ten Singles" in December 2007. "Baby Come Back Home" was a nominee for Best Male Vocal in 2007. And "When You Pack Your Bag" was a candidate for Best Male Vocal of 2008.

Then, in 2009, came Truth Be Told.

"I'm Hooked" was actually the first single, and at that point I didn't think it was particularly special. A continuation of past work, "I'm Hooked" had that "pop" thing that Vick Allen was known for--or, in detractors' eyes--that labelled him.

"I'm Hooked" capsulated Vick Allen's career--like a Joey Ramone of Southern Soul--pumping out short, catchy, hard-hitting pop tunes, one after another, generous and bounteous to a fault. But on this CD, with all the firepower to come, the otherwise anchor hit "I'm Hooked" was just a minor piece.

"Forbidden Love Affair" was, by comparison, an event, one of the most popular Southern Soul songs of 2009. It played on Stations of the Deep South all through the year, so much so that it grew tiresome.

Its popularity was based not only on its musical succintness, which was really quite unprecedented, but its lyrics. The fair sex in particular loved this story of a blameless girl in seemingly innocent circumstances--church!--falling into temptation anyway.

If you can't find shelter from the storm in your house of worship, where can you be safe?

But. . .

"I made love to the preacher,
And he's got kids and a wife.
My friends all say I must be crazy.
I'm beginning to think they're right."

The fact that just about every Southern Soul performer started singing as a child on Sunday imbued the tune with a special resonance. By the end of "Forbidden Love Affair," Vick had completely turned the tables on the gospel & rhythm & blues yin-yang. He was preaching to the preacher:

"Don't bother mine,
And I won't bother yours.
Just stick to the good book.
That's what we come here for."

And yet, with all that "Forbidden Love Affair" had going for it, your Daddy B. Nice was still skeptical. Although I'm a "word guy," I put more weight in the music than I do the words. I always felt that I was standing on the sidelines, watching the panorama that was "Forbidden Love Affair," rather than actually on the bandwagon.

In "The Year In Southern Soul" for 2009, in recognition of its popularity, I wrote that "the enthusiastic, year-long response to Omar Cunningham's "The Beauty Shop" and Vick Allen's "Forbidden Love Affair" proved once again that the Southern Soul audience likes its music with a story line." And, based on that popularity (as opposed to any strong musical connection on my part), I likewise posted it as one of the Top 25 Southern Soul Songs of 2009.

Then came the song that lay your Daddy B. Nice to waste. "If They Can Beat Me Rockin'." You could have dropped me to my knees in front of Vick Allen like those two TV stoners do--can't think of their names right now--bowing like an Arab at prayers, repeating "I am not worthy, I am not worthy." Any and all resistance I ever had to calling Vick Allen a certifiable genius fell away faster than a bursting levee.

You didn't have to look far to find the formula to its success. Omar Cunningham was blended in. It was like Sam meeting Dave. It was like Simon meeting Garfunkel. It was like Crosby meeting Stills meeting fricking Nash.

"If They Can Beat Me Rockin'" was a fantastic song (written by Cunningham), a coming-of-age vocal by Allen, an indescribably rich rhythm track and a hootenanny-style chorus that blended their two voices to perfection.

When I first put my stamp of approval on it (Daddy B. Nice's #2 Single, April 2010), I really didn't think Southern Soul deejays would follow. Unlike "Forbidden Love Affair," its lyrics were secondary to its musical sound, and its musical sound was--well--original.

(It was the second song written by Omar Cunningham in the space of a year to achieve classic status, the other being Karen Wolfe's "Man Enough.")

You know the rest. "If They Can Beat Me Rockin'" went on to capture almost everyone's heart, and by the end of the year everyone was playing it as regularly as they had played "Forbidden Love Affair" the year before.

Make no secret about it. The song's luster and durability owed much to the collaboration (the baritone and bass tones Omar Cunningham brought to counter Vick Allen's tenor and falsetto tones), but it was Vick Allen's song: so much so that it has now become his "signature song."

(I heard "If They Can Beat Me Rockin'" played after Aretha Franklin's "Respect" the other day, and it didn't sound out of place or out of its league.)

Your Daddy B. Nice awarded it the #1 Southern Soul Song of The Year honors just three months ago. Also Best Mid-Tempo Song ( the most prestigious song category).

Now, again from out-of-the-blue (although it was there all the time), comes "I Need Some Attention," yet another "heat-seeking" (as "Billboard" would say) song with a "bullet." I posted the following just three months ago:

DADDY B. NICE'S TOP TEN SINGLES REVIEW: JANUARY 2011

3. "I Need Some Attention"------------------Vick Allen

This song is big. How big? We'll see. But you can watch--and hear--Vick Allen scratching his way to a new and rarefied level.


Three months later, that piano-driven hook from "I Need Some Attention" has sunk into your Daddy B. Nice the way a big catfish swallows stinkbait. Coming after "Forbidden Love Affair" and "If They Can Beat Me Rockin'," "I Need Some Attention" is the coup de grace, the piece de resistance of Allen's TRUTH BE TOLD CD, with a superlative introduction, a mesmerizing mid-tempo hook, a stupendous vocal (running the gamut of emotions) and an indelible chorus. And the happy pairing of the single with the video is flattering to Vick Allen--he comes across as not only attractive but interesting.

"I Need Some Attention" makes TRUTH BE TOLD as "current" as any new CD. It's hot, and the parade of former hits only makes it hotter.

As for the balance of Truth Be Told, I don't really think there are any more hits of the magnitude of the songs talked about here, although when an album has had as many "lives" as this one, one takes nothing for granted.

Of my notes from a few listenings, only two other songs merited comment.

"I'm Thankful (For My Woman On The Side)."

Ballad. You can't do it much better. Full of authentic detail. Not just the usual peremptory treatments of chitlin' circuit themes of lesser artists. Sung with feeling, arranged with precision.


And. . .

"You Stay On My Mind"

Allen's tribute to Tyrone Davis. Vick deepens his voice to sound more like Tyrone. And he emulates Davis's more monotone delivery and his extended notes at the end of phrases. In short, he make you aware of Tyrone Davis's style.


Suffice it to say none of the songs, however slight the role they play on the CD, embarrasses or detracts from the general excellence of the collection as a whole. And the set in its entirety is effectively the best lyrical Southern Soul album since Willie Clayton's FULL CIRCLE.

How rare it is--and what a joy it is--to witness an artist realizing himself as a greater artistic entity. And possessing the rock-hard self-appraisal to do it.

This is the parable of an artist growing by leaps and bounds, an artist taking a major step forward, an artist creating work that brings in more fans. Vick Allen's talents aren't significantly different from any number of formerly middle-level Southern Soul composers and performers striving to reach the highest level. This first-rate, top-of-the-heap disc gives hope and inspiration to all.

--Daddy B. Nice

Bargain-Priced Truth Be Told CD

Comparison-Priced Truth Be Told CD

Watch Video of Vick Allen's "Forbidden Love Affair"

Watch Video of Vick Allen's "I Need Some Attention"

Watch Video of Vick Allen's "If They Can Beat Me Rockin'"

See Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Vick Allen

See All of Vick Allen's CD's for sale in Daddy B. Nice's CD Store.

**********

7.


January 16, 2011:

Vick Allen's "If They Can Beat Me Rockin'" Wins BEST MID-TEMPO SONG OF THE YEAR And NUMBER-ONE SOUTHERN SOUL SINGLE OF THE YEAR: See 4th Annual "Daddies," Southern Soul Music Awards

*******************

See Daddy B. Nice's Breaking Southern Soul Single for January 2011: Vick Allen's "I Need Some Attention"

***************

January 16, 2011: Update

Close readers of this Vick Allen Artist Guide will immediately notice a new number-one recommended single: "If They Can Beat Me Rockin'".

The original critique, which focuses on the former Daddy B. Nice Vick Allen number one--"Put Something Down On It"--will remain the same. But the promise I had seen in Vick Allen via that song (which was somewhat borrowed) has come to fruition in "If They Can Beat Me Rocking'."

It's the corner I've been waiting for Vick Allen to turn, and the hopes expressed below--written years ago--have been realized.

I've only heard three tracks from the so-far marvelous--

Truth Be Told CD

--"Forbidden Love Affair" having been the first single. Both songs reflect an artist in full creative flower and in full command of his powers.

And remember, Truth Be Told came out way back in late '08! Now comes "I Need Some Attention"--a very good song--with a hot new video besides. (See Daddy B. Nice's Top Ten Singles.)


--Daddy B. Nice

**********


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked the sweet, slow groove of the Beatles' "Hey Jude," you're liable to love Vick Allen's "Put Something Down On It."


Honorary "B" Side

"Soul Music"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy If They Can Beat Me Rockin' by Vick Allen
If They Can Beat Me Rockin'


CD: Truth Be Told

Sample or Buy
Truth Be Told


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Soul Music by Vick Allen
Soul Music


CD: Soul Music
Label: Soul 1st

Sample or Buy
Soul Music


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Need Some Attention by Vick Allen
I Need Some Attention


CD: Truth Be Told
Label: Soul 1st

Sample or Buy
Truth Be Told


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Put Something Down On It by Vick Allen
Put Something Down On It


CD: Let's Dance
Label: Brown Hill

Sample or Buy
Let's Dance


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Clean House by Vick Allen
Clean House


CD: Old School... New Flava
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Old School....New Flava


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Forbidden Love Affair (The Preacher Song) by Vick Allen
Forbidden Love Affair (The Preacher Song)


CD: Truth Be Told
Label: Soul 1st

Sample or Buy
Truth Be Told


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Let's Dance by Vick Allen
Let's Dance


CD: Old School... New Flava
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Old School....New Flava


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy When You Pack Your Bags by Vick Allen
When You Pack Your Bags


CD: Baby Come Back Home
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Baby Come Back Home


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Baby Come Back Home by Vick Allen
Baby Come Back Home


CD: Baby Come Back Home
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Baby Come Back Home


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Breakin' Me Down by Vick Allen
Breakin' Me Down


CD: Baby Come Back Home
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Baby Come Back Home


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Better Walk Away by Vick Allen
I Better Walk Away


CD: Old School... New Flava
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Old School....New Flava


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy I'm Hooked by Vick Allen
I'm Hooked


CD: Truth Be Told
Label: Soul 1st

Sample or Buy
Truth Be Told


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy So Sweet, So Fine by Vick Allen
So Sweet, So Fine


CD: Old School... New Flava
Label: Wilbe

Sample or Buy
Old School....New Flava


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Who You Been Giving It To by Vick Allen
Who You Been Giving It To


CD: Simply Soul
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Simply Soul


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Why Don't You by Vick Allen
Why Don't You


CD: Simply Soul
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Simply Soul


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Hold On by Vick Allen
Hold On


CD: Old School... New Flava
Label: Waldoxy

Sample or Buy
Old School....New Flava


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