Big Cynthia (In Memoriam)
Daddy B. Nice's #58 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Freaky With You"
Big Cynthia (In Memoriam)
Composed by Cynthia Walker
January 1, 2018:
Daddy B. Nice notes:
Big Cynthia passed away a year ago, almost to the day, and her passing still casts a shadow over Gulf-Coast southern soul. I can still remember reveling in "Get Freaky With You," the first Big Cynthia song I ever heard, in 2002 , and I'll never forget the impression made by (and the many times I watched) Big Cynthia's video for "She's Working That Nookie Thing" years later. She was responsible for a sizable pillar of the southern soul edifice. More than anyone else Big Cynthia pounded home the theme of the "big woman"--"deal with it"--and more than one man had to change his perception of what defined beauty in a woman. A tribute was just held in Big Cynthia's honor as follows:
3 pm, Sunday, December 17, 2017. Sheraton Hotel, 15700 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Houston, Texas. Tribute to Big Cynthia. ZBT Awards. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Cupid, Milton Patton, Ruben Morena, Gregory Saxxman Daniels, Lil' Darrall, DJ Jack Frost, Jazzie Redd.
Many more unannounced southern soul celebs attended the near one-year anniversary of her death. And... Still, it seems like she only left us yesterday... Daddy B. Nice
January 1, 2014:
NEW ARTIST GUIDE ALERT!
Big Cynthia is now the #41-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 Big Cynthia to read commentary on the latter part of her career.
February 1, 2017:
Big Cynthia Passes AwayBig Cynthia (Cynthia Walker) passed away on January 3, 2017. The southern soul performer, although only 47 years old, had recorded for Ace and Avanti in the 90's and a number of different southern soul labels through the first two decades of the 21st Century. The daughter of R&B pioneer Junior Walker, Houston native Cynthia was the quintessential "big woman" of southern soul, renowned for her girth and her many songs extolling the pleasures of being "big." Cynthia had just scored dual #1 Singles at SouthernSoulRnB in December of 2016, with the tunes "Come Saddle Up" and "Swing Out," a still-to-be-released duet with Big Pokey Bear.
--Daddy B. Nice
See more about Big Cynthia's death at Soul Tracks.
See more about Big Cynthia's death at the Big Cynthia Fan Club page.
February 1, 2014: NEW ARTIST GUIDE ALERT!
Big Cynthia is now the #41-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 Big Cynthia.
To automatically link to Big Cynthia's charted radio singles, awards and other citations on the website, go to "Big Cynthia" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
Listen to Big Cynthia singing "Freaky With You" on YouTube.
Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique
Big Cynthia's "(I Wanna Get) Freaky With You" is one of the best big-woman songs to hit the chitlin' circuit in recent years. With a funky, bouncing bass and a pedal steel guitar-like flourish that rides a jazzy arrangement like a silver surfer, "Freaky With You" is as unique and innovative in its execution as it is traditional in theme and subject.
"Can I get freaky with you?
Do you wanna get freaky with me?
I'll set the mood,
And take you to ecstasy."
Always the least politically correct of all regions, the Deep South is famous for its strong, confident, super-sized women. Moreover, rhythm and blues boasts a strong tradition of "big woman" songs going back at least as far as Joe Tex's "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)," recently redone to fine effect by Southern Soul artist James Payne.
And yet, swing era artist Roy Milton & His Solid Senders were singing about a "Big Fat Mama" long before that:
"I want a mama big and round,
Who can really go to town. . .
I want a big fat mama
Who knows just what to do."
And Milton, it should be warned, was merely bringing up the rear of a long jazz tradition extolling the virtues and beauty of large women. Sunny Ridell ("Big-Legged Woman"), Queen Isabella ("I Hear You Knocking"), and Little Milton ("Big Boned Woman") are just a few of the Southern Soul artists who have put out "big woman" songs.
And yet, the more you listen to the music, it's the implied acceptance of the beauty and sexiness of big women that impresses the outsider about these recordings.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Bobby Rush's wickedly funny "Big Fat Woman" (from the CD Lovin' A Big Fat Woman), wherein he lists the objections and irritations of having a woman of size.
"She was a big fat woman
In a little bitty bed.
When she sat on the side of it,
She almost sat on my head."
Bobby Rush swears again and again that he won't have anything to do with big women, but by the end of the record, approached by the lady in question, he's given in.
Actually, the lyrics in Big Cynthia's "Freaky With You"--composed by Big Cynthia herself--don't mention being a big woman, unless you count:
"I'll take it slow,
And I'll be polite.
I'll have you climbing walls,
Running all through the night.
What you do to me,
I'll do to you.
I'm gonna show you things
You never knew."
But the "bigness" is there in the song and the vocal, implied in Cynthia Walker's uncontrived bravado and the free-spirited arrangement. And there is the name itself, Big Cynthia, which in light of the long and fabled history only hinted at above, entailed a decision on Cynthia Walker's part to drop her last name, thereby underlining her commitment to market herself as a "big woman." Such decisions on the part of young artists are often momentous, shaping a career for years to come.
Big Cynthia's career is proceeding nicely, by the way. By mid-summer of 2005 it became apparent that Big Cynthia had scored another huge chitlin' circuit hit--red hot in the hottest month of July--entitled "If You Wanna Get It," from her CD Doing It Big.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Big Cynthia (In Memoriam)
Cynthia Walker (Big Cynthia) was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Junior Walker, of Junior Walker & The All Stars fame ("What Does It Take To Win Your Love"). She began singing in local clubs as a teenager and became the opening-act artist for Southern Soul headliners, including Johnnie Taylor and Peggy Scott-Adams, who came through town. Avanti Records issued her debut CD, currently unavailable.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"Come here, baby,
Jan. 24, 2006. Heard a great new tune from Big Cynthia today. It's from her upcoming album, You Didn't Take My Man, You Took My Problem, and the title is equally long-winded if equally apt: "This Song Is For Everybody's That Broke." Something tells me this won't be the featured single from the CD, but it combines a nice little hook with a timely message for these post-Katrina times.
July 29, 2007. Big Cynthia's treatment of the Ann Peebles classic, "I Feel Like Breaking Up Someone's Home," from an as-yet-to-be released CD of the same name, has percolated up into a few deejay playlists in the first half of '07. Big Cynthia's vocal is worthy of the tune, and the band punches through the arrangement with the requisite tightness.
October 31, 2008: NEW CD ALERT
Don't Hate (Hearon Records, 2008)
Bargain-Priced Don't Hate CD
First radio single: "I Didn't Lie, I Just Didn't Tell It All"
First impression: A solid CD--if you're a Big Cynthia fan--with Cynthia filling the shoes of a younger-generation Denise LaSalle as well or better than anyone else out there. And yet, the CD has received scant air play on the Stations of the Deep South. I note some deejays putting "I Didn't Lie" on their playlists but hardly ever playing it--in their defense, there is no sure-fire break-out hit here. That's what Big Cynthia needs. Still, it's nice to know someone is holding down the "big-and-rough" female division of Southern Soul.
--Daddy B. Nice
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
Honorary "B" Side
"If You Wanna Get It (w' Mr. David)"
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