Thursday, October 8, 2015. Downtown, Helena, Arkansas. Zac Harmon (4 pm), Bobby Rush (8:30 pm). 2015 King Biscuit Blues Festival. See Festival Website.
7:20 pm, Friday, October 9, 2015. Downtown, Helena, Arkansas. Sweet Angel. 2015 King Biscuit Blues Festival. See Festival Website.
8 pm, Friday, October 9, 2015. Club Oscars, 1503 HWY 82, Austin, Texas. Avail Hollywood. 903-908-0266.
9 pm, Friday, October 9, 2015. Sugar Shack, Choctaw, Mississippi. Grown Folks Night Out. Chris Ivy, J. Redd, Lacee, Lebrado, R.J. Scott, Dave Mack. 910-257-0258.
Friday, October 9, & Saturday, October 10, 2015. Bottleneck Blues Bar, AmeriStar Casino, 4116 Washington St, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Grady Champion. 601-638-1000.
10:30 pm, Friday, October 9 & Saturday, October 10, 2015. Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 773-477-4646.
9 pm, Saturday, October 10, 2015. The Forum Arena, 301 Tribune St., Rome, Georgia. Ms. Jody. 706-291-5281.
Saturday, October 10, 2015. Minglewood Hall, 1555 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Raheem DeVaughn, Leela James. 866-609-1744.
6 pm, Saturday, October 10, 2015. The Southern Soul Showdown. Union County Fairgrounds, 334 W. Hillsboro St., El Dorado, Arkansas. Wendell B., Avail Hollywood, Omar Cunningham, Rue Davis, Magic One, CTC Band. 870-866-7441, 870-864-0350. Gates open at 5 pm.
Saturday, October 10, 2015. Club Elevations, 7200 Colonel Glenn Rd, Little Rock, Arkansas. Calvin Richardson. 501-562-3317.
8 pm, Saturday, October 10, 2015. Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds, 1035 Cody Rd N, Mobile, Alabama. Benefit for Ms. Coco Williams. Billy "Soul" Bonds, Jureesa McBride and more.
251-344-4573. Doors open at 7 pm.
8 pm, Saturday, October 10, 2015. Alfred Blake Cultural Arts Center, 2920 Louberta St, Monroe, Louisiana. Fall Blues Fest. Lebrado, Tyree Neal, Jeter Jones, Ms. Charli, Real Lova Boy.
8 pm, Monday, October 12, 2015. Rum Boogie Cafe's Blues Hall, 182 Beale St., Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. "Feel Good" Potts & Band. 528-0150. (This is a regular gig on Monday nights.)
Friday, October 16, 2015. Bizzy B's, 405 Fonville St., Tuskegee, Alabama. T.K. Soul. 334-727-6625.
Friday, October 16, 2015. The Spot aka Club Central, 153 Westwood Road, Jonesboro, Louisiana.Avail Hollywood.
8:30 pm, Friday, October 16, 2015. Bradfordville Blues Club, 7152 Moses Lane, Tallahassee, Florida. Charles Wilson.
6 pm, Friday, October 16, 2015. Pigalle-Montmartre, Paris, France. Syl Johnson and many more.
Saturday, October 17, 2015. Beaumont Civic Center, 701 Main St., Beaumont, Texas. Tucka, Fantasia, Lyle Jennings, El DeBarge. 409-838-3435.
Saturday, October 17, 2015. Alabama Theatre, 4750 Highway 17 South, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Drifters feat. Clyde McPhatter, The Coasters, The Platters.
9 pm, Saturday, October 17, 2015. Resorts Casino Tunica, 1100 Casino Strip Resort Blvd., Robinsonville, Mississippi. Blue Jeans Blues Bash. Terry Wright. Doors open at 7 pm. 866-706-7070.
Saturday, October 17, 2015. The Orleans Arena, 4500 W. Tropicana Avenue, Las Vegas, Nevada. The Bar-Kays, Dazz Band, Mary Jane Girls, Lakeside and more. 702-284-7777.
8 pm, Saturday, October 17, 2015. Crossroads Lounge, 2649 Robinson Road, Jackson, Mississippi (new address). CD Release Party for Jaye Hammer. Doctor Dee, T-Baby, Will Jackson. Doors open at 6 pm. Host: WMPR DJ Ragman. 601-214-1725.
Saturday, October 17, 2015. Underground 119, 119 S. President St, Jackson, Mississippi. Jarekus Singleton. 601-352-2322.
Sunday, October 18, 2015. Cedar Park Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park, Texas. Tucka, Fantasia, El DeBarge and more.
7 pm, Sunday, October 18, 2015. The Alexandria Convention Center, 707 Main St., Alexandria, Louisiana. Calvin Richardson, Vick Allen, Omar Cunningham. 318-442-9546. Doors open at 6 pm.
Friday, October 23, 2015. World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rosie Ledet. 215-222-1400.
Friday, October 23, 2015. Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Fwy, Houston, Texas. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Willie Clayton, Pokey. 713-772-5900.
Saturday, October 24, 2015. U.N.O. Lakefront Arena, 6801 Franklin Ave., New Orleans, Louisiana. R. Kelly. (Rescheduled from June 19.)
5 pm, Saturday, October 24, 2015. Heritage Hall, 508 Bernard St., West Columbia, Texas. Tucka, Rue Davis, Jeff Floyd, Columbus Toy, J.J. Caillier. 979-709-2169.
6:30 pm, Sunday, October 25, 2014. Lamar Dixon Expo Center Trademark Building, 9039 S St. Landry Avenue, Gonzales, Louisiana. Tucka, Tyree Neal, Vince Hutchinson. 225-366-9095.
Sunday, October 25, 2015. Pepsi Center, 1000 Chopper Circle, Denver, Colorado. Janet Jackson. 303-405-1100.
7 pm, Thursday, October 29, 2015. Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 401 Douglas St #500, Sioux City, Iowa. Zac Harmon.
8 pm, Friday, October 30, 2015. Vicksburg Auditorium, 901 Monroe St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Boys' Night Out. Pokey, T.K. Soul, Jeff Floyd, Nathaniel Kimble, Mr. Jones. 601-634-4511.
9 pm, Friday, October 30, and Saturday, October 31, 2015. Ameristar Bottleneck Blues Bar, 4116 Washington St, Vicksburg, Mississippi. Eddie Cotton. 601-638-1000.
Friday, October 30, 2015. Uncle Bo's, 420 E 6th St, Valley Center, Kansas. Zac Harmon.
8 pm, Saturday, October 31, 2015. Medford Family Center, 620 N. Emerald Road, Greenwood, South Carolina. Ms. Jody.
8:30 pm, Saturday, October 31, 2015. Washington County Convention Complex, 1040 South Raceway Road, Greenville, Mississippi. T.K. Soul, Anthony Hamilton, JR Blu, Adrena, Mr. Jones. Doors open at 7:30 pm. 601-218-6343.
8 pm, Saturday, October 31, 2015. Evangeline Downs Event Center, 2235 Creswell Lane Extension, Opelousas, Louisiana. Cupid. 866-472-2466.
Saturday, October 31, 2015. Best Western Plus Chicago Hillside Hotel, 4400 Frontage Rd, Hillside, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 708-544-9300.
9 pm, Saturday, October 31, 2015. Village Club, Lexington, Mississippi. J'Wonn, Big Yayo. Doors open at 8 pm.
9 pm, Saturday, October 31, 2015. Pemberton Gymnasium, Wiley College, 711 Wiley Ave, Marshall, Texas. Homecoming Show & Dance. Sir Charles Jones, Vickie Baker. 903-927-3300. Doors open at 8:30 pm. 903-927-3207.
8 pm, Saturday, October 31, 2015. Ruston Civic Center, 401 N. Trenton St., Ruston, Louisiana. Tucka, Pokey. Doors open at 7 pm.
8 pm, Saturday, October 31, 2015. H.W. Pierce Memorial House, 400 Commerce St., Jackson, Alabama. L.J. Echols, Ann Devae Steele. Doors open at 6 pm. 251-589-1096.
Sunday, November 1, 2015. The Reggae Grill, 1004 Zimalcrest Drive, Columbia, South Carolina. Nellie "Tiger" Travis.
6 pm and 9 pm (two shows) Sunday, November 1, 2015. East Of The Ryan, 914 E. 79th St., Chicago, Illinois. Soul Heaven Concert (Honoring the southern soul "greats"). Denise LaSalle, Lil' Harvey, Ms. Reese, Black Ice Band, K.B. Evans, Sydney Jo Qualls, Jeannie Holiday, Westside Slick Rick. Info: contact Mr. Lee: 708-396-0998. Doors open at 4 pm.
Tuesday, November 3, 2015. Mississippi Coliseum, 1207 Mississippi St, Jackson, Mississippi. Mary J. Blige.
Thursday, November 5, 2015. House Of Blues, 225 Decatur St., New Orleans, Louisiana. Raheem DeVaughn, Leela James and more. 504-310-4999.
8 pm Friday, November 6, 2015. Vicksburg City Auditorium, 901 Monroe St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. 10th Annual Soul Blues Friday. Tucka, Tre' Williams, Steve Perry, Karen Brown, Ghetto Cowboy. 601-955-4894. BYOB.
Friday, November 6, 2015. Sunsetter Lodge, 3001 Rivers Avenue, North Charleston, South Carolina. Karen Wolfe & Band, Nelson Curry w/ Boi Wonder, Katrenia Jefferson. Doors open at 8 pm. 404-406-3087.
6 pm, Saturday, November 7, 2015. Scott County Coliseum, 151 Erle Johnston Drive, Forest, Mississippi (I-20, Exit 88). The 2nd Annual Cool Down 2K 15 Blues--Car--Bike--Big Truck Show. Big Pokey, J'Wonn, Big Yayo, Avail Hollywood (day), Andre' Lee, Krishunda Echols, Magic One, Show Stopper Girls. Vehicle shows begin 12 Noon. 601-469-2928.
8 pm, Saturday, November 7, 2015. Union County Fairgrounds, 334 W. Hillsboro St., El Dorado, Arkansas. Shakeita Hill's Blue & White Casual Birthday Affair. Avail Hollywood (night), Uncle Wayne, M.P. Soul and more.
9 pm, Saturday, November 7, 2015. Underground 119, 119 S. President St, Jackson, Mississippi. Eddie Cotton. 601-352-2322.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015. U.N.O. Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana. T.K. Soul, Betty Wright, Latimore, Tucka. 504-684-7562.
Friday, November 13, 2015. Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center, 2350 Beach Blvd, Biloxi, Mississippi. J'Wonn, Lenny Williams, Chris Ivy, Lacey, Stony Murphy, Shirley Jones and more. 228-594-3700.
Saturday, November 14, 2015. Travis County Exposition Center, 7311 Decker Lane, Austin, Texas. Clarence Carter, Millie Jackson, Cupid. 512-854-4900.
Saturday, November 14, 2015. City Hall Rotunda, 1200 Market St., St. Louis, Missouri. T.K. Soul. 314-622-4800.
9 pm, Saturday, November 14, 2015. The Old VFW Hall, Jasper, Texas. Pre-Thanksgiving Birthday Blow-Out. Avail Hollywood, Tha Don, Magic One. Pre-party at 3 pm, After-party until 2 am.
Saturday, November 14, 2015. The Hide Away, 5100 I-55, North Lena (Jackson), Mississippi. Vick Allen. 769-208-8283.
Thursday, November 19, 2015. Motorco Music Hall, 723 Rigsbee Ave, Durham, North Carolina. Gladys Knight & The Pips. 919-901-0875.
Friday, November 20, 2015. The Belle Of Baton Rouge, 103 France St, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. T.K. Soul & Band.
Saturday, November 21, 2015. Ballroom, Fort Worth Convention Center, 1201 Houston St., Fort Worth, Texas. Lenny Williams, Cupid, Millie Jackson. 817-392-6338.
Saturday, November 21, 2015. U.N.O. Lakefront Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana. Bayou Blues Fest. T.K. Soul, Betty Wright, Latimore, Tucka. 504-684-7562.
6 pm, Saturday, November 21, 2015. 6th Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Show. Landers Center, 4560 Venture Drive, Southaven, Mississippi (Memphis). Maze feat. Frankie Beverly, Bootsy Rubber Band feat. Bootsy Collins, Cameo, Kylmaxx, The Manhattans. Doors open at 5 pm. Hosted by MC Lightfoot and the Boogie Report. 662-280-9120.
9 pm, Saturday, November 21, 2015. Underground 119, 119 S. President St, Jackson, Mississippi. Dexter Allen. 601-352-2322.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015. Hoxton Bar & Kitchen Hoxton, 2-4 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NU, United Kingdom. Toni Green. +44 20 7613 0709.
8 pm, Wednesday, November 25, 2015. Canal Arena Event Center, 1614 Canal Blvd., Thibodeaux, Louisiana. Cupid, Lebrado, Pokey. Doors open at 7 pm. 504-559-2250.
8:45 pm, Friday, November 27, 2015. Lewis Johnson Complex, 299 MLK Blvd., Grenada, Mississippi. J'Wonn. Doors open at 7 pm. 662-417-8778.
9 pm, Friday, November 27, 2015. Lamonts' Entertainment Complex, 4400 Livingston Road, Pomonkey, Maryland. After-Thanksgiving Blast: The Heavy Hitters Of Soul. Jeff Floyd, J. Red, Hardway Connection. Doors open at 6 pm. 202-553-5723.
Friday, November 27, 2015. The Fair Pari Arena, 2231 Bessemer Road, Birmingham, Alabama. Calvin Richardson.
Saturday, November 28, 2015. McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St., Charlotte, North Carolina. Lenny Williams, Ann Nesby. 704-372-1000.
8:30 pm, Saturday, November 28, 2015. Bill Ellis Convention Center, 3007 Downing St, SW, Wilson, North Carolina. Heavy Hitters Of Soul. Jeff Floyd, Wilson Meadows, Hardway Connection. Doors open 6 pm. 919-827-2033.
Saturday, November 28, 2015. Water Works Park, 1710 N Highland Ave, Tampa, Florida. Southern Soul Music Festival. Clarence Carter, Bishop Bullwinkle, Betty Wright, Shirley Murdoch. 813-274-8615.
8:15 pm, Saturday, December 5, 2015. The Event Center, 3201 Navy Blvd., Pensacola, Florida. Billy "Soul" Bonds, Mr. Sam. BYOB. Doors open at 7:15 pm. 850-512-8981.
7 pm, Saturday, December 26, 2015. Mississippi Coliseum, 1207 Mississippi St., Jackson, Mississippi. T.K. Soul, Shirley Brown, Willie Clayton, Calvin Richardson, Pokey. Doors open at 6 pm. 678-322-8098.
Thursday, December 31, 2015 (New Year's Eve). Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport Hotel, 1325 Virginia Ave., Atlanta, Georgia. I-N-V Design’s New Years Eve All Black Affair. Mr. David & Band.
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To be published at the top and bottom of any reproduction of Daddy B. Nice’s Concert Calendar:
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
Daddy B. Nice
P.O. Box 19574
Boulder, Colorado 80308