11:30 pm, Friday, March 31, 2017. Bounce Boy Event Center, 5008 East 10th Ave., Tampa, Florida. Nellie "Tiger" Travis.
Friday, March 31, 2017. Southern Soul Lounge, 1605 Marshall St., Shreveport, Louisiana. The New Breed Tour. Rhomey, Tha Don, Magic One, C. La'Mont, Coupe DeVille. Doors open at 9 pm. 318-278-1287.
Friday, March 31, 2017. Chicago Theatre, 175 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois. Aretha Franklin. 312-462-6300.
10 pm, Friday, March 31, 2017. Grenada City Auditorium, 108 S. Main St., Grenada, Mississippi. T.K. Soul & Band. Doors open at 9 pm. 601-761-3566, 662-227-3448.
Saturday, April 1, 2017. Ladd-Peebles Stadium, 1621 Virginia St., Mobile, Alabama. Spring Fling. Tucka, Sir Charles Jones, T.K. Soul, Pokey Bear, Wendell B., Lebrado, O.B. Buchana, Jeff Floyd, L.J. Echols, Lacee, Nathaniel Kimble, Till 1, Will Easley, Tony Tatum, Summer Wolfe, Toia Jones, Lil' Jimmie and more. 251-379-8283. See Spring Fling website.
Saturday, April 1, 2017. Greater Gulf States Fairgrounds, 1035 Cody Road North, Mobile, Alabama. Spring Fling. Sir Charles Jones, Nathaniel Kimble, T.K. Soul, O.B. Buchana, Ra'Shad The Blues Kid, Pokey Bear, Tucka, Wendell B., Lebrado, Jeff Floyd, Toia Jones, Summer Wolfe, Tony Tatum, Will Easley, L.J. Echols, Lacee, Lil' Jimmie. 251-344-4573.
4 pm, Saturday, April 1, 2017. Water Works Park, 1710 N. Highland Ave., Tampa, Florida. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Calvin Richardson, Christopher Williams. Gates open at 3 pm. 813-244-7474.
Saturday, April 1, 2017. Bradfordville Blues Club, 7152 Moses Lane, Tallahassee, Florida. Mr. Sipp. 850-906-0766.
Saturday, April 1, 2017. Underground 119, 119 S. President St., Jackson, Mississippi. Jarekus Singleton. 601-352-2322. (Call first. Has been closed recently.)
Saturday, April 1, 2017. Paradise Entertainment Center, 645 East Georgia Ave., Memphis, Tennessee. Mr. Sam, Ms. Genii and more. Special Guest: Stacey Merino.
8 pm, Saturday, April 1, 2017. Ruston Civic Center, 401 N. Trenton St., Ruston, Louisiana. 7th Annual Celebrities B-Day Party. David Brinston, Bishop Bullwinkle, Donnie Ray, Ricky White, Emerson Hill. Doors open 7 pm. BYOB. 318-805-8609, 318-251-8613.
7 pm, Sunday, April 2, 2017. Palace Theatre, 34 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio. The Temptations, Lenny Williams. 614-469-9850.
Thursday, April 6, Friday April 7, & Saturday April 8, 2017. Wind Creek Casino, 303 Poarch Road, Atmore, Alabama. Lacee. 866-946-3360.
Friday, April 7, 2017. FeFe's Club, 124 Main St., Easton, Texas. Jeter Jones. Doors open 8pm. 318-344-7180, 903-331-6940.
7:15 pm, Friday, April 7, 2017. Abita Stage, Woldenberg Park, 1 Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. French Quarter Festival. Cupid. Free.
4 pm (Ride), 8 pm (Show), Friday, April 7, 2017. 921 CR 3673, Domino, Texas. Trail Ride/Free Fish Fry. Vick Allen, Avail Hollywood. 903-244-7517.
10:30 pm, Friday, April 7, & Saturday, April 8, 2017. Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis.
Saturday, April 8, 2017. Danny's Restaurant & Lounge, 405 Clinton St., Vidalia, Louisiana. Avail Hollywood, Ra'Shad The Blues Kid, Summer Wolfe, Klutcher. Doors open 8 pm.
Saturday, April 8, 2017. City Water and Light Park, Arkansas State University, 1123 South Culberhouse, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Roots Music Festival. Sweet Angel. 870-972-3043.
2 pm, Saturday, April 8, 2017. Cook's Lake, Memphis, Tennessee. Southern Soul Music Fest. Terry Wright, Mr. David, Karen Wolfe, J-Wonn, Lomax, O.B. Buchana, Mr. Campbell, J. Red, Mr. Sam, Ves.251-709-5583. Gates open 12 Noon.
Saturday, April 8, 2017. Toxic Bar & Grill, 307 Washington Avenue, Greenville, Mississippi. T.K. Soul.
Saturday, April 8, 2017. Club Paradise, 645 Georgia Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Sir Charles Jones. BYOB. 888-219-3936.
Saturday, April 8, 2017. Danny's Restaurant, 405 Clinton St., Vidalia, Louisiana. Ra'Shad The Blues Kid, Summer Wolfe, Klutcher.
Sunday, April 9, 2017. Bottleneck Blues Bar, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Mr. Sipp. 601-638-1000.
Saturday, April 9, 2017. Da Mixx, Tchula, Mississippi. DJ Big Money Birthday Celebration. J'Wonn, Thaddeus Matthew, Raw Sugar. 662-834-1025.
Sunday, April 10, 2017. Harvester's, Lexington, Mississippi. DJ Big Money Birthday Celebration. Nathaniel Kimble, Raw Sugar. 662-834-1025.
Thursday, April 13, 2017. Devos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Avenue Northwest, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Aretha Franklin. 616-742-6500.
8 pm, Friday, April 14, 2017. National Guard Armory, 515 Green St., Greensboro, Alabama. Tre' Williams, Lacee, J'Wonn, Ra'Shad The Blues Kid. Doors open 7 pm.
Friday, April 14, 2017. 360 Sports Bar & Grill, 3896 Lamar Ave., Memphis, Tennessee. Sweet Angel. 901-246-7545, 901-888-6700.
8 pm, Friday, April 14, 2017. National Guard Armory, 515 Green St., Greensboro, Alabama. Tre' Williams, Ra'Shad The Blues Kid, J-Wonn, Lacee. Doors open 7 pm.
Saturday, April 15, 2017. NRG Arena, 1 Reliant Park, Houston, Texas. Blues Is Alright Tour. Bishop Bullwinkle, Big Pokey Bear, Sir Charles Jones, Willie Clayton, T.K. Soul, Tucka, Tyree Neal.
Saturday, April 15, 2017. Terrace Theater, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, California. The Bar-Kays. 562-436-3636.
10 pm, Saturday, April 15, 2017. 240 Headland Drive, Atlanta, Georgia. Avail Hollywood, Melody Gold.
Saturday, April 15, 2017. Smith Hamilton Middleton Gym, 300 College St., Orangeburg, South Carolina. Theodis Ealey.
2 pm, Saturday, April 15, 2017. Hub City Drag Way, 331 Eatonville Road, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Shirley Brown, Clarence Carter, Steve Perry, Ms. Tabatha, Calvin Richardson, Tyler P., Nick Black, Cupid. Host: Doug E. Fresh. Gates open at 12 Noon.
CANCELLED!....8 pm, Saturday, April 15, 2017. The New Club Paradise, 645 East Georgia Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Bill Coday tribute. Karen Wolfe, Andre' Lee, JoJo Murray, Lomax, Willie White, Terry Wright. Hosts: Jazzi A, Bev Johnson. BYOB. 901-947-7144. BYOB. Doors open 7 pm....CANCELLED!
Saturday, April 15, 2017. Antone's, 305 East 5th St., Austin, Texas. Bigg Robb. 512-814-0361.
8 pm, Saturday, April 15, 2017. Bottleneck Blues Bar, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Eddie Cotton Jr. 601-638-1000. Doors open 7 pm.
8 pm, Saturday, April 15, 2017. 201 Alabama St., Columbus, Mississippi. Tre' Williams, Summer Wolfe, James Redd, Fat Daddy.
2 pm, Saturday, April 15, 2017. Inglewood City Hall, 1 West Manchester Blvd., Inglewood, California. Lenny Williams. 310-412-5111.
9 pm, Saturday, April 15, 2017. American Legion Post 248, 3070 FM 1398, Hooks, Texas. Jeff Floyd. Door open 6 pm. 903-547-7248.
9 pm, Saturday, April 15, 2017. Another Level, 700 Piney Wood Road, Newton, Mississippi.L.J. Echols.
9 pm, Friday, April 21, 2017. B.B. King's Club Ebony, 404 Hannah Ave., Indianola, Mississippi. L.J. Echols, Nathaniel Kimble, Jim Bennett, Jesi Terrell. Doors open 8 pm. 903-331-6940, 662-887-9539.
Friday, April 21 & Saturday, April 22, 2017. Perfect Note, 1845 Montgomery Hwy #201, Hoover, Alabama (Birmingham). Mr. Sipp. 205-986-7280.
Saturday, April 22, 2017. Tunica Roadhouse Casino, 1107 Casino Center Drive, Robinsonville, Mississippi. Denise LaSalle. 662-363-4900.
Saturday, April 22, 2017. Blues 24/7 Sports Bar, 708 County Road 208, Eutaw, Alabama. T.K. Soul. 205-246-6237.
Saturday, April 22, 2017. Henderson Pavillion, 200 S. Green Valley Pkwy., Henderson, Nevada. Jarekus Singleton, Victor Wainright and more.
9 pm, Saturday, April 22, 2017. Club Xtraordinaire, 308 S. 2nd St., Killeen, Texas. Lacee, J'Wonn, Fat Daddy. All live bands. 254-350-0353, 254-702-4028.
9 pm, Saturday, April 22, 2017. American Legion Post 248, 3070 FM 1398, Hooks, Texas. Calvin Richardson, Summer Wolfe. Door open 6 pm. 903-276-4876, 903-547-7248.
Saturday, April 22, 2017. Greenwood Civic Center, 200 Highway 7 South, Greenwood, Mississippi. Omar Cunningham, Bigg Robb, Terry Wright. Doors open 8 pm.
Saturday, April 22, 2017. City Grill, 260 West Palmetto, Florence, South Carolina. Big Pokey Bear, Cold Drank. 843-407-1519. Doors open 10 pm. Host: Uncle Buddah.
Sunday, April 23, 2017. Blind Willie's, 828 North Highland Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Sipp. 404-873-2583.
Monday, April 24, 2017. Capitol Oyster Bar, 617 Shady St., Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Sipp. 334-239-8958.
10:30 pm, Thursday, April 27, 2017. Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis.
Friday, April 28, 2017. Masonic Temple, 1072 John R. Lynch St., Jackson, Mississippi. John R. Lynch Street Festival. T.K. Soul. 601-354-1403. (Also see outdoor appearance on Saturday, April 29, 2017.)
7 pm, Friday, April 28 & 3 pm, Saturday, April 29, 2017. Greater Gulf States Fairgrounds, 1035 Cody Road North, Mobile, Alabama. Southern Soul Music Fest. Karen Wolfe, J. Red, Chris Ivy, J'Wonn, Vick Allen, Lomax, Big Yayo, Theodis Ealey, Alonzo Reid, Jaye Hammer, Miss Lady Blues, Mr. David, Ms. Jody, Ves. BYOB. 251-366-6880, 850-485-5755.
Saturday, April 29, 2017. Outdoors, John R. Lynch St., Jackson, Mississippi. Lynch Street Festival. (Also see April 28th appearance at Jackson's Masonic Temple.) T.K. Soul.
Saturday, April 29, 2017. Cowboy's Corner Amusement Park, 1993 Highway 51 South, Pickens, Mississippi. Omar Cunningham, Chris Ivy, Big Yayo, David J, Coco and more. Gates open 12 Noon. 601-421-2022.
Thursday, May 4, 2017. Hard Rock Cafe, 126 Beale St., Memphis, Tennessee. Big Lou's Hall of Fame Jam Charity Event. Mr. Sipp. 901-529-0007.
Friday, May 5, 2017. Washington County Convention Center Fairgrounds, 1040 S. Raceway Rd., Greenville, Mississippi. Tucka, L.J. Echols. 662-332-0488.
9:30pm, Friday, May 5, 2017. The Right Spot, 708 Ouachita Road 67, Camden, Arkansas. Nellie "Tiger" Travis.
Saturday, May 6, 2017. Little Rock Ampitheatre, 400 President Clinton Avenue,, Little Rock, Arkansas. Blues On The River. T.K. Soul, Theodis Ealey, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Vick Allen, Omar Cunningham, Mo B, Willie P, Urban Mystic and more. 501-779-4676.
9 pm, Saturday, May 6, 2017. Club Max, 905 Lester Road, Trinity, Texas. Avail Hollywood, Melody Gold.
7:30 pm, Saturday, May 6, 2017. West Memphis Civic Auditorium, West Memphis Civic Auditorium, 228 Polk Ave., West Memphis, Arkansas. Bobby Rush, O.B. Buchana, Sheba Potts-Wright, Larome Powers and more. 870-732-7595.
Saturday, May 6, 2017. Bottleneck Blues Bar, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Grady Champion. 601-638-1000.
3 pm, Saturday, May 6, 2017. National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds, 5622 US-231, Dothan, Alabama. Big Pokey Bear, Tucka, Lomax, Lacee, Doug E. Fresh. Gates open 12 Noon.
8 pm, Friday, May 12, 2017. Vicksburg City Auditorium, 901 Monroe St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. 11th Annual Mothers' Day Friday. Sheba Potts-Wright, Tucka, Emerson Hill, L.J. Echols, Projekt feat. Debora. Doors open 7 pm. 601-955-4894, 601-634-4511.
Friday, May 12, 2017. Stagga Lee's Goodtime Emporium, 1945 Moreland Avenue (across street from Starlight Drive In), Atlanta, Georgia. Black & White. Big "Ro" Williams, Kings of Soul, Jarvis Greene, Arthur Roland. 770-265-3023. (T.J. Hooker Taylor has been replaced by Big "Ro" Williams.)
8 pm, Friday, May 12, 2017. Ruston Civic Center, 401 N. Trenton St., Ruston, Louisiana. Jeter Jones, Nathaniel Kimble, Lacee, Kiko. Doors open 7 pm. 870-866-7441.
Saturday, May 13, 2017. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Road, Westbury, New York. Aretha Franklin. 516-334-0800.
Saturday, May 13, 2017. Thompson Place, 3453 West Hamilton Ave., Nashville, Tennessee. Wendell B, Big Pokey Bear, Karen Wolfe, Calvin Richardson, Sir Charles Jones. Host: Tyson Smith.
4 pm, Saturday, May 13, 2017. The Ark, Highway 61 South, Port Gibson, Mississippi. Lacee, Tre' Williams, J'Wonn, Katrenia Jefferson, Emerson Hill, J.J. Callier, O Flava Psi. 601-334-3247. Gates open 10 am.
Saturday, May 13, 2017. Club Paradise, 645 East Georgia Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. T.K. Soul. 901-947-7144.
Saturday, May 13, 2017. Beau Rivage Theatre, 875 Beach Boulevard, Biloxi, Mississippi. Smokey Robinson.
10:15 pm, Saturday, May 13, 2017. Riverfront Park, 100 Front Street, Albany, Georgia. Karen Wolfe, Sir Charles Jones, Wendell B., Big Pokey Bear, Calvin Richardson.
Saturday, May 13, 2017. Hilton Hotel Ballroom, 135 NW 2nd St., Lawton, Oklahoma. Lenny Williams. 580-280-2100.
Saturday, May 13, 2017. Columbus Civic Center, 400 4th Street, Columbus, Georgia. The Dramatics, Deniece Williams, Freddy Jackson and more.
Sunday, May 14, 2017. Laurel Fairgrounds, 1956 Ellisville Blvd., Laurel, Mississippi. Big Pokey Bear, L.J. Echols, T.K. Soul, Tucka, Ms. Jody, J'Wonn. 734-994-0138.
7 pm, Sunday, May 14, 2017. Marriott Hotel Ballroom, 1721 East Central Texas Expressway, Killeen, Texas. Lenny Williams.
Saturday, May 20, 2017. The Helena II, 1568 Stephens Road, Mobile, Alabama. Lacee, Jeff Floyd, Sergio Davis. 251-229-2856.
Saturday, May 20, 2017. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Belmont, North Carolina. Jarekus Singleton. 704-825-4490.
8 pm, Saturday, May 27, 2017. Attala County Coliseum, 550 MS-12, Kosciusko, Mississippi. Southern Soul Classic. Big Pokey Bear, Tyree Neal, Jeter Jones, Veronica, Cold Drank. BYOB. Doors open at 7 pm. 225-278-9401, 662-289-1618.
Saturday, May 27, 2017. The Huntsville Dragway, 502 Quarter Mountain Road, Harvest, Alabama. T.K. Soul & Band. 256-852-4505.
Saturday, May 27, 2017. Lloyd Pavilion, 2616 Gamble Road, I-10 East, Exit 217, Lloyd (Monticello), Florida. Jeff Floyd, Karen Wolfe, Bishop Bullwinkle, Cupid, Nellie "Tiger" Travis and more.
5 pm, Saturday, May 27, 2017. McIntosh Farm, 1606 Neely Town Road, De Kalb, Mississippi. O.B. Buchana, Tre' Williams, Lebrado, Klass Band Brotherhood, Krishunda Echols. Gates open at 2 pm. 601-934-3051.
11 pm, Sunday, May 28, 2017. Winfield Civic Center, 2000 South Jones St., Winnfield, Louisiana. Cupid.
Sunday, May 28, 2017. Sam Coopwood Park, Holly Springs, Mississippi. T.K. Soul & Band.
Sunday, May 28, 2017. Wall Hill Park, Byhalia, Mississippi. Willie Clayton.
4 pm, Saturday, June 3, 2017. Cook Family Park, 11712 N. Highway 79, Altheimer, Arkansas. L.J. Echols, T.K. Soul, Mo. B, Calvin Richardson, Karen Wolfe, Nathaniel Kimble, The Platinum Blues Band. Gates open at 4 pm.
Saturday, June 3, 2017, Microsoft Theater, 777 Chick Hearn Ct., Los Angeles, California. Shirley Brown, Barbara Mason, Betty Wright, The Emotions, Brenda Holloway. 213-763-6030.
10 pm, Saturday, June 3, 2017. Club Jade, 332 Freeman Drive, San Antonio, Texas. Avail Hollywood, Melody Gold.
9 pm, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Club Oscars, 195 East Texas St., Austin, Texas. Avail Hollywood, Melody Gold.
1 pm, Sunday, June 4, 2017. Tunica County River Park, One River Park Drive, Tunica, Mississippi. Blues On The River. Sweet Angel, Big Pokey Bear, Terry Wright, J'Wonn.
8 pm, Friday, June 9, 2017. Sam's Town Casino, 5111 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas, Nevada. Donnie Ray, T.K. Soul, Cold Drank, Pokey Bear, Benito. Doors open 7 pm. 702-456-7777.
Sunday, June 11, 2017. La Fontaine Reception Hall, Northwest Fwy., Houston, Texas. T.K. Soul. 713-466-2800.
8 pm, Friday, June 16, 2017. L.T. Ellis Center, 610 Munson St., Laurel, Mississippi. Fathers Day Kick Back. Mr. David, Ra'Shad The Blues Kid, Duchess Jureesa McBride, Summer Wolfe and more. Doors open 7 pm. BYOB. 601-935-0728.
2 pm, Saturday, June 17, 2017. Hub City Drag Way, 331 Eatonville Road, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Southern Soul Music Fest. Karen Wolfe, Wendell B., Shay Denise, O.B. Buchana, Lomax, Tucka, J. Red, Mr. David. Gates open 12 Noon. 251-709-5583.
Saturday, June 24, 2017. Outdoors, Downtown, Mansfield, Louisiana. Juneteenth Fest. T.K. Soul.
6 pm, Saturday, July 1, 2017. 9th annual Nolan Norman Day Celebration, Nolan Memorial Park (aka Ponderosa Park), Wisner, Louisiana. Nathaniel Kimble, T.K. Soul & Band, Rhomey, Lacee.
5 pm, Saturday, July 1, 2017. The Venue, 1119F Highway 49, Flora, Mississippi. Vick Allen, L.J. Echols, Big Yayo, J'Wonn, Tre' Williams and more. Gates open at 3 pm. 601-665-2731.
2:30 pm, Sunday, July 2, 2017. 3037 County Road 57, Verbena, Alabama. Pokey Bear, Cold Drank, J'Wonn, Adrian Bagher, Tyree Neal, Veronica Ra'elle. Doors open 12 Noon. BYOB. 205-217-6098.
7 pm, Friday, July 7, 2017. Collin Center, 1522 Caldwell St., Winnfield, Louisiana. Avail Hollywood & Band, Melody Gold.
3 pm, Saturday, July 8, 2017. Wilson County Fairgrounds, 2331 US-301, Wilson, North Carolina. Down East Music Festival. Sir Charles Jones, Vick Allen, Maurice Wynn, Roy C, Big Pokey Bear, Lacee, Black Diamond, Wilson Meadows, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, J. Red, 3 Staxx, Jus Once. Host: DJ Heavy, DJ Starchild. Gates open 1 pm. Rain or Shine. 919-827-2033.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017. Biscuits and Blues, 401 Mason St., San Francisco, California. Grady Champion. 415-292-2583.
7 pm, Saturday, July 15, 2017. Sumter Civic Center, 700 W. Liberty St., Sumter, South Carolina. Theodis Ealey, Roy C, Lebrado, Karen Wolfe, J. Red, Shay Denise. 404-308-3633. Doors open 5:30 pm.
9 pm, Saturday, July 22, 2017. 765 Marilyn Avenue, Lambert, Mississippi. Avail Hollywood & Band, Melody Gold.
7 pm, Saturday, August 5, 2017. Thunder Valley Casino Resort, 1200 Athens Avenue, Lincoln, California. Lenny Williams.
6 pm, Friday, August 18, and Saturday, August 19, 2017. Jackson Convention Complex, 105 East Pascagoula St., Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival. Calvin Richardson, Eddie Cotton, Jarekus Singleton, Jazmine Sullivan, Doug E. Fresh, Eric Benet and more. See festival website. 601-960-2321.
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Overflow From Daddy B. Nice's BEST OF 2015 page...
2015: THE YEAR IN SOUTHERN SOUL
January began without holiday hangover, as up-and-coming producer Big Yayo debuted as a performer with a piece of "southern soul electronica" called "Cowgirl" featuring his protege, "I Got This Record's" J'Wonn, the ultimate balladeer, singing an uptempo chorus on his first-ever club jam.
February ushered in a Valentine's Day weekend to be remembered with southern soul concerts across a broad spectrum of the South, from Hooks, Texas (Avail Hollywood) to Memphis (Bertha Payne) to south Atlanta (Lomax) to Greenville, Ms. (J'Wonn) to Canton, Ms. (L.J. Echols, Terry Wright, J-Wonn, Krishunda Echols, Bigg Robb, Napoleon) to Vicksburg (Shirley Brown, Carl Sims, Jaye Hammer, Wilson Meadows, Pat Brown, Adrena) to Corpus Christi (Mel Waiters) to Decatur, Ga. and Talladega, Alabama (T.J. Hooker Taylor) to Tuscaloosa (Tre' Williams, Jeff Floyd) to Panama City, Florida (Ms. Jody) to Germantown, Tenn. (Mavis Staples) to Montgomery (Bigg Robb, O.B. Buchana, Tucka, Lebrado, Lomax, Toia Jones) to Farmerville, La. (Avail Hollywood) to Mobile (L.J. Echols, Andre' Lee, James Payne, Geno Wesley) to Dallas and the annual Blues Is Alright Tour (T.K. Soul, Theodis Ealey, Mel Waiters, Clarence Carter, Latimore, Millie Jackson) to Shiner, Texas (Rue Davis) to Texarkana (Omar Cunningham, Wendell B) to Indianola, Ms., B.B. King's hometown (Chris Ivy, Lil' Jimmie) to Baytown, Texas (Kenne' Wayne, AP Heavy But Sweet) to East Tyler, Texas (R. Kelly, Avail Hollywood) and back to Memphis (Jarekus Singleton), setting the bar for a record-breaking year in Southern Soul clubs.
Mindful of the concert bonanza, Daddy B. Nice urged fans in March to get out of the airport hubs (Memphis, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans) and "walk on the wild side," visiting the "holes-in-the-walls" in the verdant countryside where the true contemporary blues reigns supreme. In Jackson, premier nineties' vocalist Robert "The Duke" Tillman (Ace, Ichiban) re-emerged, as did storied DJ Outlaw at WMPR, while young Jackson guitar-blues stars Jarekus Singleton, Grady Champion and Mr. Sipp parlayed their mass audience-friendly blues far beyond the Delta.
April saw the breakthrough collection THE LOUISIANA BLUES BROTHERS, explode in the southern soul demographic via its suddenly iconic single,
"My Sidepiece," featuring the powerful-piped, Reggie P.-like vocalist Pokey (or Big Pokey Bear), whose electric stage show featured the singer thrusting and gyrating with a passion not seen since Bobby Rush's twerking dancers.
The song's message that it was okay to have a "woman on the side" because it's in the "genes" alternately fascinated and disgusted listeners, and not always along gender lines, and the "sidepiece" theme became a motif in countless new southern soul songs. Meanwhile, Pokey et. al.'s new album, BEAT FLIPPA I GOT THE BLUES VOL. 1., released in February, shot up the charts, bringing a rock-and-roll-like energy, immediacy and accessibility to the southern soul scene that thrust its brilliant producer (Beat Flippa) and roster of talented artists (Pokey, Tyree Neal, Adrian Bagher, Vince Hutchinson, Mz. Pat, Veronica Ra'elle, Rosalyn Candy, etc.) into a level of popularity even southern soul's veteran artists had to envy.
Also in April, the great sixties' artist Percy Sledge, who recorded one of the most powerful southern soul songs of the last fifty years, "When A Man Loves A Woman," passed away with scant fanfare.
May was the worst month, the cruelest month... ....Mother's Day and Memorial Day weekends witnessed another slew of record-breaking fan-friendly southern soul concerts, but the nation and entire world mourned the passing of B.B. King, whose ties to Indianola and Jackson, Mississippi were real and renewed each summer, when B.B. always returned for the Medgar Evers Homecoming Celebration and played for his original chitlin' circuit fans in the Delta.
But for contemporary southern soul fans it was the passing of song-master Mel Waiters that really hurt. Unknown outside of blues circles (unlike the world-famous B.B. King), Waiters was an irreplaceable part of the southern soul pantheon of recording artists, having largely kicked off the contemporary scene with his "Hole In The Wall," fashioned in the late nineties in the tradition of Mel's inspirations, Z.Z. Hill and Buddy Ace. For many fans, Waiters was the number-one performer in the South, and Mel never shied away from the kudos. YouTube videos document his exciting "contests" with Sir Charles Jones, which did so much to enliven the concert scene.
June marked the appearance of a rapping preacher named Bishop Bullwinkle, whose "Hell Naw To The Naw Naw" continued a trend of unknown artists (like J'Wonn, Tucka, Pokey) eclipsing southern soul's veteran artists in notoriety-slash-popularity in one fell swoop (be it a single or album). Whereas J'Wonn had stunned the southern soul community a couple of years earlier with his straight-forward youth and sensitivity, the nearly seventy-something Bishop Bullwinkle simultaneously astonished and dumbfounded fans with his fearless, back-woods vision of the world compressed into a six-minute, no-holds-barred sermon castigating hypocrisy in the church and gangsterism in the hood.
While J'Wonn had seemingly thrust the entire world off his back with the momentous words, "I Got This Record," the grizzled Bullwinkle did the same with his proclamation, "My name is Bishop Bullwinkle / From the church of nothing but the truth..." ....In less than a month his YouTube video (there was no published record) had a million views--unheard-of for a southern soul song--and by the end of the year it was approaching ten million. Clearly, Bullwinkle's "Hell To The Naw Naw" had cut through layers of padding and pretension to strike a deeply-felt, common nerve with fans.
In August Tucka and T.K. Soul sold out the 3,000-seat Houston Arena Theatre, notching a new high in audience numbers for a pair of southern soul acts.
Jackson's own James "Hot Dog" Lewis, keyboardist, performer and producer, passed away in October.
Late summer sizzled with gigs--July 4th, Labor Day--the fans' thirst for the music couldn't be slaked--culminating in the biggest concert-venue weekend ever Thanksgiving.
From Thibodeaux, Louisiana (Cupid, Lebrado, Pokey) to Montgomery, Alabama (T.K. Soul) to Canton-Jackson, Ms. (J'Wonn, Big Yayo) to Opelika, Alabama (T.K. Soul) to Hattiesburg, Ms. (J'Wonn, Big Yayo) to Tchula, Ms. (Tre' Williams) to Grenada, Ms. (J'Wonn) to DC area Pomonkey, Md. (Jeff Floyd, J. Red, Hardway Connection) to Birmingham, Alabama (Calvin Richardson, Nellie "Tiger" Travis) and back to Hattiesburg (T.K. Soul) and way out to San Diego (Cupid) and back to Vicksburg (Bishop Bullwinkle, Terry Wright, Bigg Robb, Lacee, Stevie J) to New Orleans (T.K. Soul) to El Dorado, Arkansas (T.K. Soul, Ghetto Cowboy, Summer Wolfe) to Charlotte, North Carolina (Lenny Williams, Ann Nesby) and Wilson, North Carolina (Jeff Floyd, Wilson Meadows, Hardway Connection) down to Tampa, Florida (Clarence Carter, Bishop Bullwinkle, Betty Wright, Shirley Murdoch) and Sebring, Florida (Bobby Rush, Theodis Ealey) and way up to Gary, Indiana (Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Willie Clayton, Latimore, Otis Clay) and back to the Delta in Tchula, Mississippi (Big Yayo, J'Wonn) and Pickens, Ms. (The Love Doctor, Terry Wright, Sorrento Ussery, Pat Brown, Nathaniel Kimble, Doctor Dee, Lady Di) to Meridian, Ms. (Big Robb, Vick Allen, Lacee, JR Blu) and thence back north to St. Louis (Bobby Rush, David Dee) and Chicago (Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Willie Clayton, Otis Clay, Latimore) and back home to Jackson (Andre' Lee, T-Baby) and the re-opened Evers Blues Lounge on Pecan Park Circle next to WMPR (Roy C., LGB, Doctor Dee, Dennis Fountain).... From all of these venues, enthusiastic fans supplemented their turkey with southern soul music.
2016 marked Southern Soul's most serious forays into the mainstream yet, and Bishop Bullwinkle was southern soul's "Donald Trump," refreshingly candid, wildly off-the-wall. At year's end, Bigg Robb took down Bullwinkle's video for copyright infringement. Turns out the Bishop had used the instrumental track from Robb's "Looking For A Country Girl" for the backing track to "Naw Naw," but Bishop Bullwinkle was uncontrite, telling Daddy B. Nice in a profanity-laced interview that he "dared" Robb to take him to court. As one industry insider noted, it didn't matter that the song hadn't been published (as a record); its online streaming revenues alone amounted to the same thing. And so it went in the raucous, wild-west-like cradle of the musical universe--the Deep South--where the music is as primeval and super-sized as the SEC. (And still unknown nationally...Go figure!) And as Jaye Hammer (one of 2015's finest vocalists) says in his juking new ode to the Delta, "I Ain't Leaving Mississippi." ....
"You know, someone came up to me the other day and said, 'Hammer! They told me you had moved to Chicago."
I said, "What? Man! People are always spreading rumors. But let me say this. I ain't leaving Mississippi. Mississippi is my home. If you think I'm gonna leave Mississippi, you might as well leave me alone."
--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