Thursday, May 24, 2018. Warehouse 535, 535 Garfield St., Lafayette, Louisiana. Keith Frank. 337-534-4507. Doors open 8 pm.
Friday, May 25, 2018. Mobile Lodge #108, 2671 Dauphin Island Parkway, Mobile, Alabama. Hot Boyz of Southern Soul Tour. Pokey Bear, Cold Drank, Calvin Richardson, Franky Soul. Host: Nikki DeMarks. 601-421-2022.
Friday, May 25, 2018. Botttleneck Blues Bar, Ameristar Casino Hotel, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Eddie Cotton, Jr. 601-638-1000.
Friday, May 25, 2018. Harlow's Casino & Resort, 4280 Harlows Blvd., Greenville, Mississippi. Bobby Rush. 662-335-9797
Saturday, May 26, 2018. North Florida Fairgrounds, 441 Paul Russell Road, Tallahassee, Florida. Lloyd Music Festival. Bishop Bullwinkle, Rosalyn Candy, Tucka, Kenne' Wayne, Wilson Meadows, Mr. Sam, Cupid, TNL. 850-322-6585.
Saturday, May 26, 2018. Attala Colliseum, 550 MS-12, Kosciusko, Mississippi. Pokey Bear, J-Wonn, Cold Drank, L.J. Echols, Chris Ivy. 662-289-1618.
Sunday, May 27, 2018. The Stadium, Holly Springs, Mississippi. Sir Charles Jones, Karen Wolfe, Bobby Rush, Tank and more. 901-355-7318.
6 pm, Sunday, May 27, 2018. Lucas Ball Park, Highway 84, Prentiss, Mississippi. Krishunda Echols, Omar Cunningham, Dave Mack, Terry Wright, Adrian Bagher, Coco. Gates open 10 am. 601-297-3949, 601-455-0598.
4 pm, Sunday, May 27, 2018. Wall Hill Park, 1930 Wall Hill Road, Byhalia, Mississippi. Sheba Potts-Wright, L.J. Echols, Theodis Ealey, Jaye Hammer, Pokey Bear, Grady Champion, King Fish. Gates open Noon, 12 pm. 901-268-7007.
5 pm, Sunday, May 27, 2018. B.B. King Blues Club, 1801 Eddie L. Tullis Road, Montgomery, Alabama. Willie Clayton. 334-514-5247.
10:30 pm, Thursday, May 31, 2018. Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 773-477-4647.
Saturday, June 2, 2018. Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St., Boston Massachusetts. Aretha Franklin. 617-482-9393.
Saturday, June 2, 2018. Desoto Multicultural Center, 1216 Old Jefferson Highway, Mansfield, Louisiana. Jeter Jones.
6 pm, Saturday, June 2, 2018. Greenwood Fairgrounds, Hwy. 221 South, Greenwood, South Carolina. Summer Blues Fest. Sir Charles Jones, Tucka, Bishop Bullwinkle, Ronnie Bell, Big Mucci. Gates open at 4 pm. BYOB. Rain or shine. 678-428-5159, 678-506-7744.
Saturday, June 2, 2018. Poor David's Pub, 1313 South Lamar St., Dallas, Texas. Bobby Rush. 214-565-1295.
2 pm, Sunday, June 3, 2018. Tunica River Park (Outside behind Fitz Casino), 1 River Park Drive, Robinsonville, Mississippi. Blues On The River.
T.K. Soul, J-Wonn, O.B. Buchana, Queen Ann Hines, Summer Wolfe, Kirby Smooth. 662-671-1230. Gates open 10 am.
Friday, June 8, Saturday, June 9 & Sunday, June 10, 2018. Chicago Blues Festival. L.J. Echols & The Neckbone Band (1:45 pm Friday, Mississippi Juke Joint Stage at North Chase Promenade); Mr. Sipp (3 pm, Friday, Mississippi Juke Joint Stage; Willie Clayton (6:45 pm, Saturday, Jay Pritzker Pavilion); Eddie Cotton Jr. (3 pm, Saturday, Mississippi Juke Joint Stage at North Chase Promenade); Kenny Neal (6:45 pm, Sunday, Jay Pritzker Pavilion); Mavis Staples (8 pm, Sunday, Jay Pritzker Pavilion); Nellie “Tiger” Travis (12:30 pm, Sunday, Mississippi Juke Joint Stage at North Chase Promenade); Johnny Rawls 1:45 pm, Sunday, Mississippi Juke Joint Stage); Ms. Jody (3 pm, Sunday, Mississippi Juke Joint Stage). FREE.
Thursday June 7, 2018. Razzoo's, 201 University Blvd #1300, Round Rock, Texas. Lady Songbird Jinda Harris. 512-255-2400.
Saturday, June 9, 2018. Andiamo Celebrity Showroom, 7096 East Fourteen Mile Road, Warren, Michigan. Millie Jackson. 586-268-3200.
7:15 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Downtown, Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Forward Fest, 2018: Blues, Batter & Brew. Bigg Robb, Angie Stone. Free.
9 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Pensacola State Fairgrounds, 6655 Mobile Hwy., Pensacola, Florida. Bike & Blues Festival. Ms. Jody, Jeff Floyd, L.J. Echols, Mose Stovall, Franky. 850-512-8981, 850-944-4500.
3:30 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Vance County Regional Fairgrounds, 1427 East Andrews Avenue, Hwy. 39, Henderson, North Carolina. Southern Soul Comedy Fest. Pokey Bear, T.K. Soul, Lebrado, Cold Drank, Black Diamond, Nellie "Tiger" Travis and many comedians. See festival website. Gates open 2 pm. Rain or Shine.
Saturday, June 9, 2018. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Road, Westbury, New York.Aretha Franklin. 516-247-5200.
8:30 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Wolf Pen Creek Amphitheater, 1015 Colgate Drive, College Station, Texas. Cupid & The Dance Party Express. 979-764-3486.
7 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Union County Fairgrounds, 1430 East 19th Street, El Dorado, Arkansas. South Arkansas Soul Fest. Wendell B., Avail Hollywood, Jeter Jones, Sweet Angel, Magic One, Mo' B, Chris Ivy, Royal D. Host: P2K. Gates open 6 pm. 870-866-7441.
7:30 pm, Thursday, June 14, 2018. Riley Center - MSU, 2200 5th St., Meridian, Mississippi. William Bell & Memphis Soul Revue.
8 pm, Friday, June 15, 2018. 410 Sand Street, Henderson, Texas. Pre-Juneteen Celebration: All White Affair. Bigg Robb. 713-256-5278.
Friday, June 15, 2018. The Fairgrounds, 810 S. Westover Blvd., Albany, Georgia. T.K. Soul. 229-436-8827.
Friday June 15, & Saturday, June 16, 2018. Mudfest Hester’s Place, Chatham, Louisiana. Lady Songbird Jinda Harris.
9 pm, Friday, June 15 & Saturday, June 16, 2018. Blue Chicago, 536 N. Clark St., Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 312-661-0100.
2 pm, Saturday, June 16, 2018. Lamont's Entertainment Complex, 4400 Livingston Road, PoMonkey, Maryland. Pre-Father's Day Event. J. Red The Nephew, L.J. Echols, Karen Wolfe, Shay Denise, NaCole. 252-702-5833.
7 pm, Saturday, June 16, 2018. The Ampitheater at Riverdale, 7210 Church St., Riverdale, Georgia (Atlanta). T.K. Soul, Pokey Bear, Sir Charles Jones. 770-909-5300. Gates open 6 pm.
Saturday, June 16, 2018. Botttleneck Blues Bar, Ameristar Casino Hotel, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Eddie Cotton, Jr. 601-638-1000.
Saturday, June 16, 2018. Wolf Creek Amphitheater, 3025 Merk Road SW, College Park, Georgia. Bobby Rush. 404-613-9653.
1 pm, Saturday, June 16, 2018. Hooper's Park, Highway 460E, Crewe, Virginia. Father's Day Weekend Blues Show. Big G, Wilson Meadows, Adrena, Sir Jonathan Burton, Katrenia Jefferson. Rain or shine. Gates open 11 am. 804-615-2196.
Sunday, June 17, 2018. Columbus Civic Center, 400 4th St., Columbus, Georgia. T.K. Soul, Tucka, Bishop Bullwinkle, Pokey Bear, Latimore, Sir Charles Jones, Calvin Richardson. 706-653-4482.
8 pm, Friday, June 22, 2018. Bottleneck Blues Bar At Ameristar, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Mr. Sipp. Doors open 7 pm. 601-638-1000.
Friday, June 22, 2018. The Roof Top, Meridian, Mississippi. T.K. Soul.
Friday, June 22, 2018. Cozy’s, 4018 Sames St., Waco, Texas. Lady Songbird Jinda Harris. 254-307-9311.
6 pm, Saturday, June 23, 2018. Humble Civic Center & Arena Complex, 8233 Will Clayton Parkway, Humble, Texas. 3rd Annual Blues and Zydeco Scholarship Fundraiser. Brian Jack & The Zydeco Gamblers, Big Pokey Bear, Cold Drank, Step Rideau & The Zydeco Outlaws. Pre-Party at 3 pm. See Fundraiser website.
7 pm, Sunday, June 24, 2018. R.L.'s Blues Palace, 3100 Lipscomb Way, Dallas, Texas. Super Soul Sunday. J-Wonn & Legacy Band, Ghetto Cowboy, Summer Wolfe. Doors open 6 pm. 870-866-7441.
Thursday, June 28, 2018. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Aretha Franklin. +1 416-368-6161.
Friday, June 29, 2018. Venom, 1700 Commerce Road, Athens, Georgia. Southern Soul Classic. Big Pokey Bear, Sunshine Anderson, Cold Drank. 706-427-2778.
Saturday, June 30, 2018. Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, 705 Elvis Presley Blvd., Shreveport, Louisiana. Willie Clayton, Tucka. 318-841-4000.
Saturday, June 30, 2018. One World Theater, 7701 Bee Caves Road, Austin, Texas. Chubby Checker. 512-330-9500.
Saturday, June 30, 2018. Miller Theater, 708 Broad St., Augusta, Georgia. Pokey Bear, Sunshine Anderson, Cold Drank, Rome. 706-842-4080.
Saturday, June 30, 2018. Empire Event Center, 4905 Clio Road, Flint, Michigan. T.K. Soul. 810-618-0944.
8 pm, Saturday, June 30, 2018. Center Stage at Pearl River Resorts, 13550 Hwy. 16 West, Choctaw, Mississippi. Bobby Rush. Doors open 7 pm. 866-447-3275.
Sunday, July 1, 2018. The Love Doctor's Club House, 2900 Queen Chapel Road, Sumter, South Carolina. T.K. Soul.
6:30 pm, Friday, July 6, & Saturday, July 7, 2018. Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 1500 Poydras St., New Orleans, Louisiana. Essence Festival. Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Kelly Price, Ledisi, Jill Scott, Doug E. Fresh, Dave Hollister, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and many more. 504-587-3822.
6 pm, Saturday, July 7, 2018. Nolan Memorial Park (aka Ponderosa Park), Wisner, Louisiana. 10th Annual Nolan Norman Day Celebration. Sir Charles Jones, T.K. Soul, Nathaniel Kimble, Avail Hollywood, Lacee.
Saturday, July 7, 2018. Cherry Street Pavillion, Downtown, Helena, Arkansas. L.J. Echols, Pokey Bear, Cold Drank. 870-995-4030.
Saturday, July 7, 2018. The Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St., Augusta, Georgia. The Real Southern Blues Jam. Nelson Curry, Theodis Ealey, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Latimore, Joe Nice and more. 706-722-3521.
7 pm, Saturday, July 7, 2018. The Breakroom Sports Bar, 261 Devereax (behind Popeye's), Natchez, Mississippi. The Love Doctor, Angel Faye Russell, Ricky White. Hosts & Guests: Lady Jay, DJ Southern Soul, Mr. D.
7 pm, Friday, July 13, 2018. Brown Auditorium, Nash Community College, 522 North Old Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Down East Music Festival Weekend. J-Wonn, Karen Wolfe, Black Diamond, Maurice Wynn, Wilson Meadows and more.
5 pm, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Rocky Mount Municipal Complex, Bishop Stadium, 600 Independence Drive, Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Down East Music Festival Weekend. Pokey Bear, Glenn Jones, Tucka, Sir Charles Jones, Theodis Ealey, Omar Cunningham, Maurice Wynn, Roy C, Sunshine Anderson, Lenny Williams, Lakeside, Big G, Lacee and more. Rain or shine. Gates open 4 pm. See festival website.
9 pm, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Jack's Place, 124 Church St. Jonestown, Mississippi. Southern Soul Summer Explosion. C. La'Mont, Jennifer Watts, Keri Carter. Host: DJ Stunna. Doors open 7 pm.
5 pm, Saturday, July 14, 2018. 70 Lake Ave., Rockland, Maine. North Atlantic Blues Festival.Bobby Rush. See festival website.
Sunday, July 15, 2018. The Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach, California. T.K. Soul. 310-937-6607.
Saturday, July 21, 2018. Raising Cane's River Center Arena, 275 South River Road Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Southern Soul Extravaganza. Tyree Neal, Tucka, Sir Charles Jones, Big Pokey Bear, Lebrado, Jeff Floyd, Lenny Williams, Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 225-389-4940.
8 pm, Saturday, July 21, 2018. Palace I, 6694 Antoine Drive, Houston, Texas. Kenne' Wayne, Ronnie Bell. 832-883-9072, 832-412-6572.
6 pm, Saturday, July 21, 2018. Promised Land Ball Field, Promised Land, South Carolina (Greenwood). Blues-N-The-Land. Theodis Ealey, Urban Mystic, Nelson Curry, Joe Nice and more. Gates open 4 pm. 864-980-7537.
Saturday, July 21, 2018. Municipal Auditorium, 2821 Washington St. Greenville, Texas. T.K. Soul. 903-457-3126.
12 Noon, Sunday, July 29, 2018. Cherubim Ranch, 622 Evergreen Road, Fresno, Texas. Martini Blu's 1st Annual Southern Soul, Blues & Zydeco Festival. Keith Frank, Willie Clayton, Sir Charles, Tucka, Brian Jack, Jeff Floyd. Gates open 10 am. See festival website.
Thursday, August 2, 2018. Horseshoe Casino & Hotel, 1021 Casino Center Drive, Robinsonville, Mississippi. Jus' Blues Dinner & Awards Show. Tribute to Denise LaSalle. Performances by Karen Wolfe, Ms. Jody, Chick Rodgers, Toni Green. Other Jus' Blues Honorees: Sir Charles Jones, Sheba Potts-Wright, Tyree Neal, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Dexter Allen and more. See Jus' Blues website. 678-403-1993, 800-303-7463.
3 pm, Saturday, August 4, 2018.Pitt County Fairgrounds, 3910 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard,Greenville, North Carolina. The Manhattans feat. Gerald Alston.
Saturday, August 11, 2018. Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, 14900-15000 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights, Michigan. Blues On The Hill. Lenny Williams, Sir Charles Jones, Bobby Rush, Millie Jackson, Latimore. 586-268-5100.
Saturday, August 18, 2018. Underground 119, 119 South President St., Jackson, Mississippi.Dexter Allen. 601-944-0907.
7 pm, Friday, August 24 and Saturday, August 25, 2018. Sheraton Suites Philadelphia Airport, 4101 B Island Ave., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 2018 Heritage Appreciation Award and/or Lifetime Achievement Award. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 215-365-6600.
Friday, August 31, 2018. Montgomery Performing Arts Centre, 201 Tallapoosa Street, Montgomery, Alabama. Calvin Richardson, Sir Charles Jones, MC Lightfoot.
Friday, August 31, Saturday, September 1 & Sunday, September 2, 2018. Texas Horse Park, 811 Pemberton Hill Road, Dallas, Texas. Riverfront Jazz Festival. Erykah Badu & more (Fri), Bobby Rush, Sir Charles Jones & more (Sat), T.K. Soul & more (Sun). See festival website.
Saturday, September 1, 2018. Cok Business Center, 100 Civic Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma. All White Southern Soul Classic. Pokey Bear, Cold Drank, Veronica Ra'elle, Calvin Richardson.
11 am, Saturday, September 1, 2018. Bonnie & Clyde Trade Days & RV Park, 20550 Highway 9, Arcadia, Louisiana. 1st Annual Blues & All Day Music Festival & Trail Ride. Donnie Ray, Dave Mack, Summer Wolfe, Avail Hollywood, Ves, Rhomey, Ghetto Cowboy, Luster Baker, Napoleon Demps, Crystal Thomas, O Flava Psi, M.P. Soul, Coupe DeVille, Coco, Kiko Pryor, Sweet Nay, C. La'Mont. 254-368-5574, 318-278-1287.
4 pm, Sunday, September 2, 2018. Ellis Field, 39 College St., Culloden, Georgia. 4th Annual Blues Festival. Bobby Rush, Stan Butler, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Stacii Adams and more. Host: MC Lightfoot. Rain or Shine. Gates open 2 pm. 404-386-2288.
12 Noon, Monday, September 17, 2018. Main Street (Outdoors), Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. SOS Fun Monday Shag Festival. Ms. Jody, Wall Street, The Magnificents Band.
Saturday, September 22, 2018. Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 East South St., Raleigh, North Carolina. No Pain No Gain Tour. Betty Wright, J. Red The Nephew, Lenny Williams. 919-996-8700, 252-578-3504.
Saturday, September 22, 2018. Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie, Texas. Maze feat. Frankie Beverly, Anthony Hamilton. 972-854-5050.
Saturday, September 29, 2018. Wolf Creek Amphitheater, 3025 Merk Road, College Park, Georgia. Willie Clayton, Tucka, J-Wonn. GA, US
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--Daddy B. Nice
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