8 pm, Monday, July 26, 2016. City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago, Illinois. Booker T.
Thursday, July 28, 2016. North Sea Jazz Club. Pazzanistraat 1, 1014, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Bobby Rush. 020-7220980.
9 pm, Friday, July 29, 2016. Manhattan Club, 2715 Meadow Street, Dallas, Texas. Avail Hollywood. Doors open at 7 pm. DJ/Host: Kurtis Blow/Louisiana Red.
Friday, July 29, 2016. Island View Casino, 3300 West Beach Boulevard, Gulfport, Mississippi. The Bar-Kays.
Friday, July 29, 2016. Bethel Woods Center For The Arts, 200 Hurd Road, Bethel, New York. Aretha Franklin. 800-745-3000. Daddy B. Nice notes: Bethel (a farm nearby) is actually where the original Woodstock (Jimi Hendrix, etc.) took place. The first night of the concert in 1969, your Daddy B. Nice and buddy slept on the outdoor porch of an unoccupied Bethel house after trekking miles from the abandoned car through a calvacade of bell-bottomed, rain-drenched hippies. Also see Smokey Robinson's appearance in Bethel on August 20th. The Drifters will perform at this same venue in November.
Friday, July 29 & Saturday, July 30, 2016. 2nd Ward Community Center, Highway 5, Gloster, Louisiana. Jeter Jones, BCam & The Zydeco Young Bucks, Leon Chavis & The Zydeco Flames, Dan'el, Crystal Thomas.
10:30 pm, Friday, July 29, & Saturday, July 30, 2016. Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 773-477-4646.
Saturday, July 30, 2016. Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. Maspalomas Costa Canaria Soul Festival. Bobby Rush.
Saturday, July 30, 2016. The Miller House, 301 East 5th St., Owensboro, Kentucky. Mr. Sipp. 270-685-5878.
8 pm, Saturday, July 30, 2016. Landers Center, 4660 Venture, Southaven, Mississippi (Memphis). Jill Scott. 662-280-9120.
8 pm, Saturday, July 30, 2016. Municipal Auditorium, 100 West 8th St., El Dorado, Arkansas. Brothers Making Changes. Zapp. Hosted by Omar Cunningham. Program includes special guest speakers. Doors open at 7 pm. 870-866-7441.
7 pm, Saturday, July 30, 2016. Big Brother's Lounge, Highway 70 East I-40 Exit 66, Bells, Tennessee (Brownsville). Karen Wolfe, Carl Sims, Terry Wright. Doors open at 6 pm. MC: Jazzii A. 901-679-4601.
10:30 pm, Saturday, July 30, 2016. Faye's Place, 305 NW Martin Luther King, Idabel, Oklahoma. Avail Hollywood.
August 1, 2016. Marriott Hotel, 200 East Amite St., Jackson, Mississippi. Eddie Levert, Alvin Jarrett, Tucka, Nathaniel Kimble, J.J. Thames, Ms. Jody. 601-969-5100.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd Street, New York, New York. Ruben Studdard. 212-997-4144.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016. Horseshoe Casino Hotel, Tunica, Mississippi. Jus' Blues Music Awards Show. Syl Johnson, Queen Ann Hines, Latimore, Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle, Grady Champion, Ruby Andres, Zac Harmon, Chick Rodgers, Eddie Cotton, King Edward, L.C. Cooke, Big Bill Morganfield, Mud Morganfield, Billy Branch. Hosts: Beverly Johnson, Calvin Richardson. See Jus' Blues website.
8 pm, Thursday, August 4, 2016. Tunica Roadhouse Casino, 1107 Casino Center Drive, Robinsonville, Mississippi. Jus' Blues Juke Joint Party & Fish Fry. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Uncle Fallay (formerly Lil' Fallay), JoJo Murray. 678-403-1993.
9 pm, Friday, August 5, 2016. Oasis Event Center, 1003 West Main Street, Haw River, North Carolina. Roy C, Willie Hill. Doors open at 8 pm. 919-827-2003, 919-308-6990.
Friday, August 5, 2016. Ferdinand's Place, 1803 Bear Fork Rd., Mobile, Alabama. T.K. Soul, Magic One. 251-457-0453.
8 pm, Saturday, August 6, 2016. Triple K Ranch, 505 Big Branch Road, Delco, North Carolina. Roy C's Birthday Bash. Roy C, Willie Hill, The Love Doctor and more. 919-827-2003. Gates open 6 pm, rain or shine.
2 pm, Saturday, August 6, 2016. St. Joseph Fairgrounds, 5117 Ironwood Rd., South Bend, Indiana. Soul Fest. Willie Clayton, O.B. Buchana, Karen Wolfe, J.D. Davis, Theo Huff, Chick Rodgers. Gates open at 12 Noon. 574-291-4870. MC: DJ Slamming Slick Smitty.
Saturday, August 6, 2016. Artesia Park, Artesia, Mississippi. Vick Allen.
8 pm, Saturday, August 6, 2016. Doris Miller Auditorium, 2300 Rosewood Ave., Austin, Texas. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Urban Mystic, Lady Audrey & The Superior Band, Ms. Rebekah, Ms. Dre & Daddy I & The Blue Blood Band. 512-568-2480.
Saturday, August 6, 2016. Pier 97, Hudson River Park, New York, New York. William Bell.
Saturday, August 6, 2016. Tunica Resorts Casino, 1100 Casino Strip Blvd., Tunica, Mississippi (Memphis). Sweet Angel, Carl Sims, Steve Perry. Doors open at 7 pm. 662-671-1230.
4 pm, August 6, 2016. Newton County Stockyards, 601 Coliseum Drive, Newton, Mississippi. Big Pokey Bear, Avail Hollywood, Krishaunda Echols. 601-606-4044.
Saturday, August 6, 2016. Doris Miller Recreation Center, 2300 Rosewood Ave., Austin, Texas. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 512-476-4118.
Sunday, August 7, 2016. Little Round Park, Hwy. 49 South, Greenwood, Mississippi. Vick Allen, Big Pokey Bear, J'Wonn, Sheba Potts-Wright. 662-299-0010.
Sunday, August 7, 2016. The Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria, Virginia. William Bell. 703-549-7500.
Friday, August 12, 2016. Dorchester Center, 1515 East 154th St., Dolton, Illinois. Bobby Rush, Denise LaSalle, Cicero Blake. 708-841-5560.
Friday, August 12, 2016. Duling Hall, 622 Duling Ave., Jackson, Mississippi. Concert and Video Taping. Grady Champion, Eddie Cotton.
Saturday, August 13, 2016. GC Park, Highway US 1, Louisville, Georgia. Theodis Ealey.
8 pm, Saturday, August 13, 2016. The Centre, Halifax Community College, 200 College Drive, Weldon, North Carolina. The Heavy Hitters Of Soul. Wilson Meadows, O.B. Buchana, Karen Wolfe, David Brinston, Hardway Connection. 919-827-2033.
9 pm, Saturday, August 13, 2016. National Guard Armory, 1255 Bluff Road (across from Williams-Brice Stadium), Columbia, South Carolina. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Terry Wright. Doors open at 8 pm. 803-386-6151. (DBN notes: This venue supersedes previous Kingstree Rec Center venue of same date.)
7 pm, Saturday, August 13, 2016. Hall Grove Ball Field, 1200 Campbell Road, Munford, Alabama. Blues In The Field. Vick Allen, Sir Charles Jones, L.J. Echols and more. Gates open at 2 pm.
Saturday, August 13, 2016. Ben Johnson Auditorium, 400 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Natchitoches, Natchitoches, Louisiana. T.K. Soul, Rhomey, Tha Don, Magic One. 318-238-2310.
Saturday, August 13, 2016. #10 Jack Brooks Park, Highway 6, Hitchcock, Texas. Lacee, Tucka, Step Rideau & The Zydeco Outlaws, Sergio Davis.
Sunday, August 14, 2016. Chapiteau
La Sape, 32230, Marciac, France. Toni Green, Malted Milk.
Friday, August 19, 2016. Jackson Convention Complex, 105 E. Pascagoula St., Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson Rhythm & Blues Festival. Bobby Rush, Jeff Floyd, Lalah Hathaway, Morris Day & The Time, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Jagged Edge and more. 601-960-2321.
Friday, August 19, 2016. Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana St., Houston, Texas. Majic Live After Five Concert Series (KMJQ-FM). Cupid & Dance Party Express.
Friday, August 19, 2016. Many Lumini Sabine Parrish Fairgrounds, Many, Louisiana. Jeter Jones, Summer Wolfe, Crystal Thomas.
Friday, August 19 & Saturday, August 20, 2016. Wind Creek Casino, 303 Poarch Rd., Atmore, Alabama. Lacee, Gina Brown. 866-946-3360.
Saturday, August 20, 2016. Jackson Convention Complex, 105 E. Pascagoula St., Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson Rhythm & Blues Festival. Latimore, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Jagged Edge, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Kindred The Family Soul. 601-960-2321.
August 20, 2016. Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center, 1600 Government St., Ocean Springs, Mississippi.Mr. Sipp. 228-818-2878.
Saturday, August 20, 2016. Bethel Woods Center For The Arts, 200 Hurd Road, Bethel, New York. Smokey Robinson. 800-745-3000.
Saturday, August 20, 2016. Shanklin Rodeo Field, 26 Shanklin Road, Isola, Mississippi. Blues Meets Southern Soul. Jesi Terrell, Nathaniel Kimble, Jim Bennett, Narvell Echols and many more. 903-331-6940.
Saturday, August 20, 2016. Terrace Theater, Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center, 300 East Ocean Blvdd., Long Beach, California. Barbara Mason. 562-436-3636.
6:30 pm, Saturday, August 20, 2016. Landers Center, 4560 Venture Drive, Southaven, Mississippi (Memphis). 14th Annual Memphis Tri-State Blues Festival. Shirley Brown, T.K. Soul, Bobby Rush, Bishop Bullwinkle, Sir Charles Jones, Lenny Williams, Calvin Richardson, Falisa (JaNaye), Terry Wright. 662-280-9120.
Friday, August 26, 2016. Lumiere Place, 999 N. 2nd St, St. Louis, Missouri. Betty Wright. 314-881-7777.
9 pm, Saturday, August 27, 2016. Buddy Guy’s Legends, 700 S. Wabash, Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 312-427-1190.
Saturday, August 27, 2016. Highline Ballroom, 431 West 16th St., New York, New York. Syleena Johnson. 212-414-5994.
Saturday, August 27, 2016. New Breeds Trail Ride, 425 Ruth Lane, Lufkin, Texas. Leon Chavis & The Zydeco Flames, Jeter Jones.
7:30 pm, Saturday, August 27, 2016. National Guard Armory, 924 Ritchie Avenue, Clarksdale, Mississippi. Lomax, JoJo Murray, Willie White.
10 am-10 pm, Saturday, August 27 & Sunday, August 28, 2016. Cook's Lake, 4249 North Watkins, Memphis, Tennessee. Blues Divas Festival. Millie Jackson, Ms. Jody, Sheba Potts-Wright, Anita Love, Toni Green, Karen Wolfe, Ann Hines, Ruby Wilson, Red Velvet and more.
9 pm, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, August 30, 31, & September 1, 2016. The D Hotel and Casino, 301 Fremont St., Las Vegas, Nevada. Women in Music Expo. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, BB Queen, Lady A., MC: Kattman.
Friday, September 2, 2016. James M. Trotter Convention Center, 402 2nd Ave. North, Columbus, Mississippi. Lenny Williams, Avant.
Friday, September 2, 2016. Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 North Greenwood Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma. T.K. Soul.
2 pm, Saturday, September 3, 2016. On The Green, Mound Bayou, Mississippi. 8th Annual Homecoming Festival. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, BB Queen and more.
8 pm, Saturday, September 3, 2016. Jackson Steele Community Center, 607 Freedom Road, Whitehall, Alabama. L.J. Echols, Tucka, Toia Jones and more. 3334-662-8208.
Saturday, September 3, 2016. Waterview Casino, 3990 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Willie Clayton. 601-636-5700.
Saturday, September 3, 2016. Downtown Bar & Grill, 520B Walnut St., West Helena, Arkansas. Vick Allen and Velvet Soul. 870-714-2940.
Saturday, September 3, 2016. Harlow's Casino, 4280 Harlows Blvd., Greenville, Mississippi. T.K. Soul. 662-335-9797
4 pm, Saturday, September 3, 2016. 1930 Wall Hill Road, Byhalia, Mississippi. Big Pokey Bear, J'Wonn, Karen Wolfe, Veronica Ra'elle. Gates open 12 Noon. 662-501-6163.
6 pm, Sunday, September 4, 2016. Mississippi Coast Coliseum, 2350 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, Mississippi. Southern Soul Explosion. Willie Clayton, Tucka, Jeff Floyd, Lebrado. Gates open at 4 pm, rain or shine. 228-594-3700. MC: Iceman.
Sunday, September 4, 2016. Q.V. Sykes Park, Meridian, Mississippi. T.K. Soul, Omar Cunningham, Bigg Robb, Ms. Jody.
Sunday, September 4, 2016. Copiah County Fairgrounds, Gallman (Hazlehurst), Mississippi. Copiah County Family Reunion. Vick Allen, Terry Wright, T.K. Soul, Equanya. 601-668-0160.
Sunday, September 4, 2016. Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 900 East Market St., San Antonio, Texas. Betty Wright. 210-207-8500.
Sunday, September 4, 2016. Metropolitan, 310 Andrew Higgins Drive, New Orleans, Louisiana. All White Affair. 504-473-2537. Tucka and more.
Thursday, September 8, 2016. Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. Isle Of Wight Festival 2016. Candi Staton, The Who, Adam Ant, Queen, Iggy Pop and many more. See festival website.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, September 8-11, 2016. Plaza Hotel & Casino, 1 South Main St., Las Vegas, Nevada. Big Blues Bender. Bobby Rush, Kenny Neal, Jarekus Singleton, Mr. Sipp, Keb' Mo', Delbert McClinton, Roy Rogers, Cyril Neville and many more. 800-634-6575. See festival website.
Friday, September 9, 2016. Yoshi's, Jack London Square, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland, California.Bobby Rush. 510-238-9200.
Friday, September 9, 2016. Six Shooters Ranch, 809 J.J. Lemmons, Hutchins, Texas. Jeter Jones & The Perfect Blend Band.
Saturday, September 10, 2016. Embarcadero Marina Park North, 400 Kettner Boulevard, Downtown Waterfront, San Diego, California. San Diego Blues Festival. Bobby Rush and more. See festival website.
Saturday, September 10, 2016. Union County Fairgrounds, 334 West Hillsboro St., El Dorado, Arkansas. T.K. Soul. 870-866-7441.
Thursday, September 15-Monday, September 19, 2016. Carnival Liberty, Galveston, Texas. Southern Soul 4-Day Cruise, Galveston-Cozumel-Galveston. Big Pokey Bear, Tucka, Cupid. 888-653-7461.
Friday, September 16, 2016. Southern Soul Lounge, 1605 Marshall Street, Shreveport, Louisiana. Jeter Jones.
Saturday, September 17, 2016. Hwy 70, Emerson, Arkansas. Sharon Hester's B-Day Bash. Jeter Jones, Crystal Thomas.
Friday, September 23, 2016. Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York. Aretha Franklin.
Friday, September 23, 2016. Belle of Baton Rouge, 103 France St., Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Theodis Ealey.
8 pm, Saturday, September 24, 2016. Durham Armory, 220 Foster Street, Durham, North Carolina. The Heavy Hitters of Soul. Ms. Jody, Sir Charles Jones, Lacee, Lenny Williams, J. Red. Doors open at 7 pm.
Saturday, September 24, 2016. Columbus Civic Center, 400 4th St. Columbus, Georgia. Betty Wright, Shirley Murdock, Shirley Brown, T.K. Soul.
Saturday, September 24, 2016.Carver Park, 2nd Avenue North, Bessemer, Alabama. Marvel City Soul Music Festival. Willie Clayton.
Saturday, September 24, 2016. Hangaround Trail Ride, Highway 171, South Mansfield, Louisiana. Jeter Jones.
7 pm, Sunday, September 25, 2016. Sanchez Multi-Purpose Center, 1616 Caffin Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. Black Sunday Line Dance Explosion. Cupid, Nicole Jackson, Lebrado, VIC, Lacee, Till 1, Yadonna West, O.G. Los, DJ Jubilee. 504-994-5189.
Friday, September 30, 2016. Federal City Auditorium, 2485 Guadalcanal St., New Orleans, Louisiana. New Orleans Views Awards Show. Jeter Jones, Big Pokey Bear, Tyree Neal, Veronica (Ra'elle). 504-217-5003.
8 pm, Saturday, October 1, 2016. The Centre, Halifax Community College, 200 College Drive, Weldon, North Carolina. The Down East Southern Soul Concert featuring The Heavy Hitters Of Soul. Vick Allen, T.K. Soul, Sir Charles Jones, Kenne' Wayne, Lacee. Doors open at 7 pm. 919-827-2033.
12 pm, Noon, October 1, 2016. Cook Family Park, Highway 79 Between Pine Bluff & Altheimer, Altheimer, Arkansas. Ms. Jody, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Bobby Rush, Jaye Hammer, Bishop Bullwinkle, Willie P., Diedra. 501-413-7683.
Saturday, October 1, 2016. Leflore County Civic Center, 200 Highway 7 North, Greenwood, Mississippi. Theodis Ealey.
Saturday, October 22, 2016. Peabody Opera House, 1400 Market St., St. Louis, Missouri. Aretha Franklin. 314-499-7600.
E-mail concert listings and corrections to:
ATTENTION: DADDY B. NICE'S CONCERT CALENDAR IS THE MOST PIRATED PAGE IN THE SOUTHERN SOUL MEDIA. THIS FEATURE REQUIRES PAINSTAKING WORK AND RESEARCH AND HOURS OF TIME TO COMPILE. DO NOT COPY THIS CONCERT CALENDAR WITHOUT READING THE FOLLOWING:
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--Daddy B. Nice
From Daddy B. Nice's BEST OF 2014 page...
2014: THE YEAR IN SOUTHERN SOUL
The year did not begin auspiciously. Floyd Taylor, son of the late great Johnnie Taylor and a contemporary southern soul headliner in his own right, passed away on February 21st, causing his stepbrother TJ to remark, "He died pretty much the way my dad died: a heart attack (at too young an age)." A masterful and discerning vocal interpreter, Taylor's career was notable for spanning southern soul's two generations of songwriters, from the best of Charles Richard Cason and Lawrence Harper (of his father's generation) to Simeo Overall of the new.
A few days later Eddie Holloway, a lesser-known but seminal figure renowned for contemporary southern soul classics like "I Had A Good Time," "Poor Boy" and "My Mind's Too Strong," passed away in obscurity, without fanfare.
A young recording artist (Jeter Jones) trying to break into the southern soul market released an album whose instrumental tracks Daddy B. Nice--in a CD review--recognized as identical to certain Bobby Jones and Chuck Roberson songs of the recent past, setting off a firestorm of litigation between Desert Sounds CEO Charles Peterson and his former producer, Eric "Smidi" Smith.
Daddy B. Nice himself underwent a lung cancer scare and finally had surgery in May, returning successfully after two bouts in the hospital to discover that "Funky" Larry Jones, owner of the Soul & Blues Report, a monthly compendium and summary of southern soul deejay playlists and a vital niche in the southern soul internet community, had died. Other websites (Boogie, Blues Critic) made attempts to provide the same function, but at year's end the loss was still felt and seemed irrevocable.
That, along with the June death of Don Davis (the producing genius behind Johnnie Taylor) and the early-September passing of Joe Poonanny, the Weird Al Yankovich of the chitlin' circuit and the last of a dying breed of blues parodists, was the bad news.
The good news was that, stimulated by an invitation to Kim Cole's Celebrity Birthday Bash in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in July, your Daddy B. Nice rebounded to attend (and chronicle) three multi-act southern soul concerts in thirty hours, including getting out on the dance floor.
There was cause. Southern Soul stars were appearing everywhere across the Deep South, from Texas to the Carolinas. A month later, Southern Soul Labor Day concerts and associated sales would surpass a million, and the concerts continued to proliferate, populating weekends throughout the calendar that would have been few and far between ten years ago.
But what really uncorked the euphoria in 2014 was the return to recording of southern soul's younger-generation leading lights, Sir Charles Jones and T.K. Soul. After long absences (especially in Sir Charles' case), both performers produced sets of significant material with fresh yet authentic sounds, in T.K.'s case stripped-down, acoustic-dominated arrangements.
The two CD's, combined with the much-anticipated debut by J'Wonn (I GOT THIS RECORD) and the latest drop from O.B. Buchana, made it a banner year for male vocalists.
Women, not so much. For the second year in a row Denise LaSalle and Shirley Brown were sorely missed. Both appeared only rarely, and neither released new product. Ms. Jody and Nellie "Tiger" Travis were relatively quiet after big years in 2013. Sweet Angel reposed and, as expected, Peggy Scott-Adams (whose early partner, JoJo Benson, died just before Christmas) failed to follow up on her 2012 return to southern soul. Candi Staton and Uvee Hayes returned with new CD's, however.
Some of the major male stars--known for productivity--were also MIA in 2014. Mel Waiters, Theodis Ealey, Latimore and Bobby Rush produced little new studio work, and in pursuit of an elusive Grammy that even the late Johnnie Taylor and Tyrone Davis never won, Willie Clayton's new album disconcerted some longtime fans with its slide into atmospheric, Isley-style soul.
Young Grady Champion was the year's sensation (following fellow Jacksonian J'Wonn in 2013). Champion drew a cover story in "Living Blues" magazine after signing with Malaco Records for his new album BOOTLEG WHISKEY. Rare for a Delta artist, Champion drew national interest and crossover appeal.
Waiting in the wings, and getting no respect, was Chicago phenomenon Theo Huff, whose "It's A Good Thing I Met You" drew high praise (#5 for the year) from Daddy B. Nice for its approximation of--you guessed it--vintage Willie Clayton.
Lil' Jimmie's dance jam "She Was Twerkin'" was the underground sensation of the year, the subject of constant fan queries on where to buy--the answer was always, "Nowhere." Which reminded your Daddy B. Nice of an old Lil' Jimmie song called "I'm Not Going Nowhere," a song so full of double-negatives you're not sure what he means.
A young artist named Wood redid Nellie "Tiger" Travis's "Mr. Sexy Man" with a lounge-band sound ("Foxy Lady"), drawing copyright ire.
Tyree Neal, Pokey and Adrian Bagher formed a group called The Louisiana Blues Brothers.
Memphis-based Anita Love (Humphrey), former back-up singer for Sweet Angel, had an out-of-left-field smash with "Keep Knockin'", while Memphis-based songwriter John Cummings continued his transformation into a first-rate recording artist.
Vick Allen was in a stage play in Jackson, Mississippi, while singles ("Crazy Over You," "True To Me") continued to spit out of his going-on-three-year-old SOUL MUSIC album like candy from a child's Christmas wind-up toy.
Steve Perry of "Booty Roll" fame thought better of his name change to Prince Mekl and became good old Steve Perry again.
WAGR in Lexington, Mississippi and its colorful deejay, Big Money, became the exciting new southern soul station to stream on the Internet.
And last but not least, storied DJ Ragman returned in December to WMPR in Jackson, Mississippi--also on the Web--doling out southern soul music in the afternoons with his trademark, champagne-fizz optimism.
By the end of the year, life in Southern Soul was good.
--Daddy B. Nice
From Daddy B. Nice's BEST OF 2013 :
SOUTHERN SOUL MUSIC: THE YEAR IN REVIEW Despite the usual attrition 2013 was a fantastic year for the last "segregated music" in America (as singer/songwriter Luther Lackey called Southern Soul music in an insightful "farewell" interview with Daddy B. Nice in January), with steady output from veterans and buzz-filled epiphanies seemingly on a monthly basis by a parade of bright new and/or little-known performers.
Not to be mistaken for your mama's southern soul, 2013 was the year of Nellie "Tiger" Travis's "Mr. Sexy Man," called in many quarters the "number-one song" in America. Even Medea (aka comedian Tyler Perry), boasted that the song--the result of Travis' reunion with writer/producer Floyd Hamberlin--was her favorite during a guest stint on The Steve Harvey show.
One of the keys to the song's popularity was the line in the chorus, "what-yo-name-is?" (which Medea mimicked perfectly), proving once again that good English grammar ("What is your name?") just doesn't (don't?) make sense in the world of blues.
Like a 100-year flood, "Mr. Sexy Man" crept into media outlets long known for eschewing southern soul music, but close in its wake, especially throughout the established chitlin' circuit, was Ms. Jody's "Just Let Me Ride," in which the fiercely competitive diva "saved the horse and rode the cowboy," in the process notching her finest club song to date.
And Ms. Jody also took the music beyond its roots, winning (and triumphantly performing) at the Carolina Beach Music Awards for her single "Still Strokin'," the title tune from the same CD featuring "Just Let Me Ride."
The successes of Nellie "Tiger" Travis and Ms. Jody marked the ascension of a new generation of divas: both had started out as the best of a class of newcomers around 2005.
But the ultimate southern soul high of the year, at least for the insiders fortunate enough to hear his debut in the Delta (Jackson, Mississippi, the heart of the music), was the Big Yayo-tutored singer J-Wonn's "I Got This Record."
With only word-of-mouth, local air-play and one meagerly-recorded live-with-boombox YouTube video on the sidewalk of Farish Street (remember the Rue Davis song?), J-Wonn became an overnight sensation, the charisma and sensitivity of his vocal compelling your Daddy B. Nice to call his coming-out party "dramatic enough to recall Sir Charles Jones' 'Friday' or LaMorris Williams' 'We Can Do It (Impala)'."
Deejays called this song "the #1 song in the WORLD," (How's that, Nellie Travis?), but it was really the #1 Song in the Delta, where its popularity thrust J-Wonn on stage with Willie Clayton and subsequently led to headlining gigs with the likes of respected Southern Soul veterans Wilson Meadows and Dave Mack.
J-Wonn's lightning-speed acceptance--without a published CD--wasn't unique. Only a few months earlier, during the heat of the summer, a young performer whose only claim to fame was being the little sister of singer/songwriter L. J. Echols, put out a single called "Mad Dog 20-20."
An anthem to low-budget, country-style inebriation, with brother L.J.'s admirably rustic guitar picking for background, Krishaunda Echols' "Mad Dog" (which your Daddy B. Nice called "the best thing since the late Jackie Neal") broke with only a YouTube video, without the benefit of distributed single or CD.
In the span of two months, Ms. Echols became a feted headliner at Mississippi southern soul concerts, most exceptionally headlining a show at the Laurel, Mississippi fairgrounds with the greatest divas in Southern Soul (Peggy Scott-Adams, Denise LaSalle and Shirley Brown), with the radio spot featuring Krishunda's "Mad Dog 20-20" exclusively in the commercial.
So fast did events unfold, there was often a disconnect between the day-to-day Southern Soul media, which catered to and supported the small but vital network of established Southern Soul artists, and the emerging younger generation of new acts, largely introduced by Daddy B. Nice, often with little distributed product--J-Wonn, Krishunda Echols, T-Baby, Fredrick (King Fred) Hicks, Adrian Bagher among them--who more often than not had little access to the chitlin' circuit network of the older generation.
Unheralded, young, Delta-based producer Big Yayo (Stevie J's "Because Of Me," LaMorris Williams' "Impala"), was again at the heart of the action, producing not only T-Baby's "The Swag" but J-Wonn's resplendently-arranged ballad, "I Got This Record." And Big Yayo's 2012 success with the disco-edged, Dave Mack-sung, club anthem "Booty Talking" presaged the success of Nellie Travis' similarly-driven "Mr. Sexy Man" in 2013.
Another vital stream of new southern soul music came from a traditional bastion of the genre, southern Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, where--with the demise of the once-invaluable Chico's Radio--WDLT Mobile's deejay Nikki DeMarks fought the good fight, championing artists like Stephanie McDee, Cupid and Tucka, whose "Sweet Shop" seduced listeners.
"Twerking" finally hit the mainstream. Hey, America: Louisiana's Jackie Neal was doing it and singing about it a dozen years ago.
And Jackie Neal's little brother Tyree finally moved out of her shadow, producing Big Cynthia's best work in years, not to mention producing fellow Louisianan Pokey and providing the irrepressible guitar lick in the Louisiana-based, "return-of-the-southern-soul-queen" Stephanie McDee's instant classic, "When I Step In The Club."
2013 was noteworthy for the publication of David Whiteis's monumental primer to contemporary Southern Soul: Southern Soul Blues (University of Illinois Press).
The overwhelmingly-accurate, exhaustively-researched tome was the first up-to-date analysis of contemporary Southern Soul in cloth and paper, lending further credence (in the mainstream) to the genre's still obscure existence.
Whiteis wrote (and confirmed with your Daddy B. Nice) that the term "southern soul blues" was a compromise--that the phrases "southern soul," "soul-blues" and "southern soul blues" were all used interchangeably in the book. Yet, such was the heft of the book's influence that respected European online critic Heikki Suosalo wrote that:
“Soul-Blues” is now in the U.S.A. the common term for the music we used to call and still call in Europe “southern soul.” Even though some artists like Willie Clayton don’t like the phrase “southern soul” in terms of describing his music – and Chicago isn’t very south, I agree – I’ll still use it anyhow, because it’s an established, respectable term, going all the way to the 60s. Among European soul music lovers, it’s a positive term and it conjures up an image of certain kind of music, highly emotional and powerful. It’s not necessarily tied up with geography, but purely sound. We also have “northern soul”, and every black music fan and club-goer in Europe understands what we’re talking about."
In the critical sphere, 2013 was also the year Daddy B. Nice completed his Top 100 21st Century Countdown, two and a half years in the making, and the first ranking of southern soul artists since his Top 100 Southern Soul Artists a decade earlier, with Sir Charles Jones replacing the late Johnnie Taylor as the #1 Southern Soul Artist. Mel Waiters, Willie Clayton, T.K. Soul, Bobby Rush, Ms. Jody, Shirley Brown, Theodis Ealey, O.B. Buchana and Bigg Robb rounded out the top ten.
A vocalist some industry people doubted existed emerged from anonymity in an interview with Daddy B. Nice: Will T., the mysterious singer of the original "Mississippi Boy," (often attributed to Charles Wilson), one of the most iconic and oft-covered songs in contemporary Southern Soul. It was written by the same Floyd Hamberlin of this year's "Mr. Sexy Man" fame and most recently covered by Sir Charles Jones under the title "Country Boy."
2013 posted outstanding CD's by some of Southern Soul's banner artists: Theodis Ealey, Vick Allen, Mel Waiters, Ms. Jody, O.B. Buchana, Klass Band Brotherhood and Donnie Ray, to cite only a few.
2013 witnessed the passing of some of the music's most beloved practitioners: Artie "Blues Boy" White, Gus Geeter (of Alabama's King Tutt Band) and Tina Diamond. And in December, to the consternation of the blues community, Robert "Chick" Willis--in his heyday one of the most risque of performers--passed on to Soul Heaven.
Onetime enfants terribles Bobby Rush and Willie Clayton found themselves the elder statesmen of traditional rhythm and blues, with old classics like Rush's "Hard Feelin' With Me" (from Blind Snake)...
For different folks.
Special kind of stroke
For the soulful folks."
...and Clayton's "Can We Talk" (from Full Circle), dressed up with reggae dancehall trimmings, rematerializing in current air play and wowing a new generation.
Lyrical highlights that made 2013 a little more distinctive:
"Hey mista sexy man,
What yo name is?"
Nellie "Tiger" Travis, "Mr. Sexy Man"
"Everyone's watching you throughout this room,
Women watching men watching you.
Jealousy is kicking in."
Mel Waiters, "Hottest Thing"
"Tonight we're eating perch with tartar sauce."
Big "Ro" Williams, "Good Love Muscle"
"They conversated (sic) for awhile."
Vick Allen, "My Baby's Phone"
"Just like Al Green said,
'I'm tired of being alone,'
Thank God for the men
That made these smart phones."
Billy "Soul" Bonds, "Get Her With My Twitter"
"They call me Pokey,
Big pokey bear,
Anytime you need me, baby,
I'll be there."
Pokey, "They Call Me Pokey"
(from an album entitled JOSEPHINE SON POKEY)
"We didn't know a damn thing about bills.
Thought we were living it up like in Beverly Hills.
Plenty of Kool-Aid and government cheese,
Collard greens and black-eyed peas.
Man, those were the good old days."
Vick Allen, "I'm Tired Of Being Grown"
"I'll tell you what.
Stop giving up the cookie
And see how long he stays around."
Nellie "Tiger" Travis to Adrena in "Another Woman's Man"
And, from the debut of the year...
"I caught 'em at the grocery store.
I caught 'em in the Mall.
Saw 'em at the casino,
But my grandma even caught 'em at bingo."
J-Wonn, "I Got This Record"
--Daddy B. Nice