Daddy B. Nice's #3 ranked Southern Soul Artist
July 1, 2018:
New Album Re-Issue Alert!
Sample/Buy Peggy Scott-Adams' TOO FAR GONE at CD Baby
TOO FAR GONE TRACK LIST:
1. Right Feeling at the Wrong Time
2. Same Folks
3. Long Way Home from Here
4. Before the Fire Dies
5. Too Far Gone
6. We'll Make It
7. I'm in Love by Myself
8. Make Me Yours
9. Oh How I Love You
10. Love Is What You Make It
Daddy B. Nice notes:TOO FAR GONE IS a reissue of the Peggy Scott-Adams/Jo Jo Benson album NOTHING CAN STAND IN OUR WAY from 1984. The original record was actually a reunification of Benson and Scott a decade after their heyday as an R&B duo. They were brought together by producer Wayne Blackmon, who recorded them at Wishbone Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. A couple of deviations from the original album--and perhaps the reason for the change of title--results mainly in the insertion of Peggy's 2017 comeback hit, "I'm In Love By Myself".
Listen to Peggy Scott-Adams singing "I'm In Love By Myself" on SoundCloud.
By the way, the title tune, "Too Far Gone," was co-written by Frank-O Johnson.
Jo Jo Benson died in 2014.
--Daddy B. Nice
Buy Peggy Scott-Adams' TOO FAR GONE at CD Baby.
...And here's our very own "Re-Issue"...Daddy B. Nice's amusing, exhaustive, landmark 2011 Interview with Peggy Scott-Adams...
September 5, 2011:
Daddy B. Nice Interviews PEGGY SCOTT-ADAMSDaddy, I want to thank you for this opportunity. I've followed your columns over the years and they've meant so much to me. You have my thanks and respect.
Peggy, I just want to say that you have my love and respect. You've been the top-rated female performer on my Top 100 Southern Soul Artists chart from the get-go. The chart covers the last twenty years. And on an even more personal level, you were a big part of my discovery of Southern Soul in the nineties--just driving through Mississippi and eastern Arkansas and eastern Louisiana. Hearing your gritty, powerful R&B vocals was a revelation.
Well, thank you so much, Daddy.
Before we catch up on what you're doing right now, Peggy, I was wondering if I could ask you a couple of questions about the past. You know-- some biographical stuff--for posterity.
Go ahead. If you ask me something I don't want to tell, I just won't tell it.
I was just going to say, "If you don't feel like answering, just 'clam up.' And you don't have to be self-conscious about your age. I think I have a couple of years on you now.
I'm 63. How old are you?
I'll be sixty-five in two months. I just got my Medicare card. What a milestone.
What a relief, huh Daddy?
Oh, don't you know it. And I'm old-school, Peggy. I'm not using a recorder, just scrawling with a pen as we go, so bear with me.
Old school is my school, sweetheart. I was at a gospel gathering last night, my church has a group, and I go out to show my support, and after all the others had sang their numbers--bless their hearts--this grandfather got up and blew them away. And I told him afterwards, "You can't top the old school."
I want to ask you some biographical questions, but I've just got to come out and ask you first: Was that run of great albums with Jimmy Lewis actually all done in California?
Yeah. It was in the Valley. We recorded Help Yourself, Undisputed Queen.
Live In Alabama?
Yeah. Portions of that were done in the studio there. The Alabama live parts--I wasn't even aware they were taping, and I wasn't exactly happy about it. I was extremely hoarse. They thought it was extraordinary, but I was dissatisfied.
It was extraordinary. So the studio was. . . where, exactly? L.A. somewhere?
Yeah, down in the Valley. Uhh, Van Nuys! Everything I did. "Bill" was recorded in the valley. Later on, Jimmy had a studio in his home.
It's just amazing to me that that music, which I imagined coming out of--I don't know where--I guess some 'hole in the wall' in New Orleans--actually came out of California.
That was Jimmy.
I mean, it's great. It just shows, the music can come from anywhere. Were you and Jimmy aware of how solid and lasting those songs would be?
No, sweetheart, that was Jimmy. He knew that Southern culture so well.
So I'm looking at the website and its says Peggy Stoutmeyer.
No, it's Stoutemire, Peggy Stoutemire. (She spells it.)
Okay, and it says "born in Alabama, according to unconfirmed reports. . . "
(Peggy laughs, joined in by Daddy B. Nice. . .)
So where exactly in Alabama. Where were you really born?
Opp. Opp, Alabama.
Yeah, Opp, you know, like Oops? But Opp. I often joke that the sign outside town that says "you're entering," you know? The town's so small, the other side of it says, "You're leaving." When I was four years old, we moved to Pensacola, and I was raised there.
No kidding? Pensacola was the destination point for all those trips I made through Mississippi when I first heard the music. My daughter was down there at Whiting Field, training to be a pilot. Of course, there was no Southern Soul radio in Pensacola. And, of course, that was many years after you left for California. No one even used the word "Southern Soul" in those days.
That's so true. It was new to me. When we did Help Yourself I considered it to be 60's R&B. I didn't know Southern Soul even existed. And I never considered myself to be a blues artist. You know, like B. B. King, or Little Milton, or Z. Z. Hill. And when I finished my first CD, Daddy, I thought, "It's kind of dated." Because all I knew of that kind of music was what I heard in the 60's when we were growing up. Little did I know that there was a market for this music. And Jimmy deserves the credit for that.
The other day I heard a DJ interviewing Bobby "Blue" Bland and he asked Bobby who was his favorite singer and Bobby replied, "Nat King Cole," and there was just the slightest pause--very small--on the part of the deejay, taken aback by such an old-school, almost pre-old-school, performer. What do you think of how far R&B has come from Nat King Cole to today's Southern Soul, and who are some of your favorites, or influences?
Oh yes, well I guess as far as favorites. . . Shirley Caesar. The Mighty Clouds of Joy. Mavis Staples. Gladys Knight. I just like real singers. As far as what they're calling Southern Soul, Daddy, it's just the latest version of R&B, whatever you want to call it.
I consider Southern Soul really rhythm and blues. That's my sentiment.
The same stuff that was on the radio in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. The same thing you were doing when you and Jo Jo Benson had your top-forty hits.
Yes. And I think that helped me to get air play for those Southern Soul albums. The fact that they could point to those hits with Jo Jo and say Peggy Scott-Adams had pedigree. I see Southern Soul as being distinct from the blues. I was never really into the blues. I was really into Gospel. You see, my mother was a gospel promoter, both in Alabama and Florida, so I got to see all the great acts--the Mighty Clouds of Joy, Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers. I think my days with Jo Jo--I think this type of music--is considered more of a pop music, having the hit records in the 60's. And I was disheartened by its passing. We're losing that culture. Even with the quote-unquote "blues." I'm an exception to the rule.
Your albums made such a powerful change in the perception of rhythm and blues, and of course the birth of contemporary Southern Soul.
Jimmy was an awesome writer, as you know. He wrote about everyday life. But this wasn't my story--like with "Bill." Especially, not "Bill." I mean, I can relate to deception, so I was able to sing about it convincingly. But people look at you and, you know, think it's YOUR story. It wasn't my story, but because I could relate, I was able to deliver.
"Sweaty Men." Uh! That was so powerful.
I didn't want to do "Sweaty Men." And it was just like with "Bill." I said, "I'm not singing it." It was offensive to some. It was about a certain people and their lifestyle that I didn't look forward to being associated with, you know? I thought about it for a couple of days and at last I said to myself, "They're not going to play it anyway, so I might as well go ahead."
(Daddy B. Nice laughs.)
I hate to say it, but I swear singers never know what their best work is, they always have to their arm twisted to record their classics, and the songs they like are often their worst.
That's awful but true. Just about every song Jimmy and I recorded, I started out not liking. I'd be real recalcitrant. At best, end up thinking, "It won't do very well." And then it would go on to become popular. But no, sweetheart, I didn't like "Sweaty Men." My husband said, "You're going to upset a lot of women." It's been a fun trip, though, and I miss Jimmy tremendously.
"Mr. Right Or Mr. Wrong"?
I loved that one. It's one of my personal favorites. I also like "I'll Take Care Of You." The Help Yourself CD, there's not a song I didn't like on that CD.
"Burning"? I was listening to that last night and relishing your licks towards the end of that.
Oh, yeah. I loved that.
And speaking of Bobby "Blue" Bland, I love your version of Jimmy's "I Intend To Take Your Place," which with all respect to Bland is eclipsed by your scorching version.
Oh, thank you, sweetheart. At the time Jimmy released that song on the compilation album (16 Hits), he was doing the God Can And Will gospel album. And between you and me I was a little annoyed at the time because I didn't know it was going to be part of the deal.
So "I Intend To Take Your Place" had been "in the can"?
Exactly! We'd already recorded it. You see, that's when I was getting burnt out with Southern Soul and ready for a change. At that point, I didn't want to be labeled. I was getting stuck in the Southern Soul circuit. It limited me as to the exposure I could get. I knew that I wanted to get into gospel. I'm a devout believer. But I'm not overbearing about it. I don't hit you across the head. The motivation for the gospel CD--both of them, including the new one, Back To The Roots--was divinely orchestrated.
What do you mean, "divinely orchestrated"?
I mean God gave me a vision. I went to Jimmy and told him, "I just feel compelled to do this." And I told him, "And I will pay for it." And I sought out help in how to make a gospel CD. Vick Allen--
Yeah, Vick Allen.
Why, he's a tremendous talent. His last album, I just gave a five-star review.
Yeah, he was kind of a godsend to me. He was here with the Canton Spirituals. The Cantons came to California. The manager said, "Come back and meet them." So I met Harvey Watkins (the lead singer), and down the stairs comes Vick. And I say, "Hi, Vick," and he says, "Pleased to meet you." And he took some instruments or equipment outside to the van and he came back in and he came back up to me and he said, "Did you say your name was Peggy Scott-Adams"?
(Daddy B. Nice laughs.)
Because this was back in, what, 2004, and Vick wanted to get into R&B, and I wanted to get into Gospel.
(Daddy B. Nice laughs again.)
That's when Jimmy got cancer. The R&B side was a very arrogant side of Jimmy. I've always tried to remain humble. Even out of high school, I wasn't into being a celebrity. I didn't have any dreams of being a popular singer. So that, I think, has allowed me to remain humble, because all of these things just kind of happened to me. When I discovered music was my profession I remained grounded. I give my mom all the credit. I don't drink. I don't do drugs. I do smoke cigarettes. I've had people come up to me at the show and put drugs in my hand, but God has always been with me and I resisted. Anyway, Jimmy formed a relationship.
What do you mean, a "relationship"?
I mean he formed a relationship with God. He found spirituality. Going through the experience with cancer changed him. So to come around to "I Intend To Take Your Place," I didn't know about it. I was so into the gospel thing by that point, and I hadn't done anything secular for awhile, so it didn't occur to me that "I Intend To Take Your Place" was even in the equation. Geez, Daddy. This is stuff I haven't told anyone.
I apologize for not knowing more about gospel, Peggy. Once in awhile I hear a great arrangement that "transcends" the gospel label in my mind. One of your songs that I just love, by the way, and consider one of your classics--and it may surprise you--is "I'm Willing To Be A Friend." That's a kind of stripped-down Gospel. That might be a direction to explore.
Listen to Peggy Scott-Adams singing a new YouTube version of "I'm Willing To Be A Friend" while you read. (Click here.) "I'm Willing To Be A Friend was formerly Daddy B. Nice's #1-ranked song (prior to "Bill") for Peggy Scott-Adams.
That does surprise me. I'm glad you like that because that is one of my personal favorites. That was on the God Can And Will album.
Oh, really? I didn't realize that. I remember it, of course, from Undisputed Queen.
We even used that on a commercial for our mortuary business, me and my late husband.
I remember when Oprah previewed "Bill" on the Oprah Show. She picked up on the gospel right away. Regardless of the lyrics, she said, "It sounds like gospel." It has the same sound, the same passion. As I look back on it, after Jimmy passed, and my brother, who was my road manager--he died in February of 2005--and eight days later my husband followed.
That had to be hard.
Yes. It was during this time I decided to start my own record label. God spoke very profoundly to me to do gospel. God knows I ain't got any money, but I'm so happy about my new gospel CD, Back To The Roots.
But what about your secular fans, your Southern Soul fans?
I've hooked up with Pete Peterson--his roots go back to Motown--and this new gospel CD is the best thing I've ever done. But we've got an R&B album in our plans, and Southern Soul fans won't want to miss it. By the first of the year we should be starting on that, and looking around for material. So I don't have any hang-ups. I know that singing "Bill" won't send me to hell, and I know singing a gospel song won't send me to heaven.
Can you get more remuneration from gospel than from Southern Soul?
I don't know, really, but maybe I'll find out. I will say this, that gospel music is holding up the music business to a large extent in these hard economic times. Now with the Southern Soul circuit--I've done a couple of concerts the last year or two--they've got to put up five or six acts to really get the people to come in numbers.
It's kind of like the early days of rock and roll.
Yeah, exactly. They can't make it as a solo act and draw enough to make it worthwhile. So I get a lot of people coming to me and asking, "When are you coming back?" Because they want me to draw more people and I have an audience out there that'll draw in those numbers.
Being in California, the promoters can't take the chance (on me alone), but about a year ago, in Vicksburg, and even before that, in Baton Rouge, they were glad I was back to draw a bigger audience.
Oh, yeah. I remember.
I was blessed to marry a mortician and politician. I came to California to take care of my sister originally, and then I meet my husband and. . . Are you out of your mind? Life gets you. My business is in Compton. It gives me options. You can't be totally dependent on the music business. I experienced that particular pain after me and Jo Jo weren't on the charts any more.
Well, you'll have to hook up with Vick Allen as you cast around for new material.
Oh yes, we've talked about that.
And his label mate, Omar Cunningham, is very good.
Yes, I've heard of him too.
Shirley Brown has come a long way.
Shirley is one of the better singers. You get some lyrics. I love singers, and Shirley is a singer.
And she's really found great material, especially on her last couple of albums.
Oh, really? I didn't know that. I'll have to check them out.
She does a lot of covers. She trolls around for the very best songs out there and redoes them in smashing fashion. And it makes you wonder why more people don't do that.
Well, I can't wait to get into secular music again, too. I really love both. I give myself four more years (here in California) and then back to Florida. I love the South. I'm tired of the rat race. All the crazy things. When I first came to California, I'm sitting there one day, and the couch starts to move. I get up and it moves again, and with my background, you know, I'm thinking "Ghosts!" So I go into my sister's bedroom and tell her the couch is jumping around, and she says, "Oh, it's just an earthquake." Anyway, that's my ultimate plan. To have a new rhythm and blues album in the works by early next year.
You know it's not easy. We get older, and it gets harder to scale those old peaks.
I won't do it, Daddy, unless I can exceed what I've done in the past. I refuse to go back. As far as the future, I don't want to get stuck. I want to have success in both genres.
Peggy, it has been so special.
Daddy, you have my number, call any time.
Likewise, Peggy. You take care, and thank you so much.
--Daddy B. Nice
July 2, 2017:
New Single Alert!
Listen to Peggy Scott-Adams singing "I'm In Love By Myself" on YouTube.
Daddy B. Nice notes:
After a long time away in Gospel, Peggy Scott-Adams was just getting her big toe wet in the southern soul ocean on her last album, the somewhat tentative comeback, Life After Bill.
With this single, "I'm In Love By Myself," she comes into her own again, immersing herself totally in the genre. The Queen of Southern Soul we all know and love is back.
Scroll down to "Tidbits" for the latest updates. To automatically link to Peggy Scott-Adams' charted southern soul singles, awards, CD's and other citations and references on the website, go to "Scott-Adams, Peggy" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique:
You can practically hear the guitars clucking like barnyard hens on "I'm Willing To Be A Friend." . Listening to this backyard reverie of a record, you're not that far away from the primal banjo in the movie "Deliverance." Peggy Scott-Adams' vocal approach is pure gospel--oozing strength, energy and fortitude. Longtime collaborator and legendary composer Jimmy Lewis sings modest back up in almost a whisper.
In fact, "I'm Willing To Be A Friend" is a secular sermonette, a wake-up call to the black audience to face up to its responsibilities. At the same time, it's a raucous, mid-tempo rocker, a juke-joint anthem made for dancing.
"Let me tell you now.
I'm willing to be a friend.
I'm willing to try.
And if I can't make you smile,
I won't make you cry."
Peggy Scott-Adams' voice is deep, husky and clear. No diva vibratos or note-bending affectations here. This gospel rant on the state of the world is delivered with a blistering toughness. It's like John Brown's jackhammer in the mine of Southern Soul, chipping away at the rock, breaking new territory, blazing the way for the followers to come.
"Our children know every song
That's played on the radio.
So why can't they learn in school?
I want to know, somebody tell me.
They do it so easy, they do it so quick.
Why can't they learn algebra and arithmetic?"
What aspiring R&B diva, hearing this track from the CD Undisputed Queen (Miss Butch), could ever again content herself with mere histrionics and technical fluff?
Titling a CD Undisputed Queen was a clever marketing idea, and one that Etta James, Shirley Brown, Denise LaSalle (who titled a CD Still The Queen), Barbara Carr and Irma Thomas (to mention only a few) might have something to say about. But they would be hard-pressed to disprove that Peggy Scott-Adams has earned her right to the title.
Undisputed Queen was in fact a rare occasion of public relations catching up with reality. Peggy Scott-Adams' string of original Southern Soul hits--"(I Don't Like) Sweaty Men," "Burning," "I'm Getting What I Want," "Mr. Right Or Mr. Wrong," "Your Divorce Has Been Denied" and countless others--has surpassed any other single female R&B artist over the late 90's and early 00's.
And Scott-Adams' collaboration with composer/producer Lewis has produced so many moments of musical catharsis that one would be hard-pressed to name any other performer/writer duo their equal. Jimmy Lewis' images are incendiary in their vividness. In "Sweaty Men" Scott-Adams proclaims:
"A working man sweats.
A sweaty man stinks.
You got to shower soon as you get in,
'Cause I don't like sweaty men."
Images like these literally defined the dimensions of Southern Soul subject matter over the last decade. R&B enthusiasts bored with the thin, smooth, never-take-chances formulas of urban contemporary performers fell on the Lewis/Scott-Adams' catalog like desert survivors stumbling upon water.
"Don't care how he looks,
But he gotta be clean.
No dirty bottoms,
Girls, you know what I mean."
In "I'm Getting What I Want," over the sweetest melody and guitar hook imaginable, Scott-Adams levels her typically fearless gaze on the subject of "using Mr. Wrong" while waiting for "Mr. Right."
"I'm in love with a man,
But that man loves somebody else.
But try to understand,
A woman must look out for herself.
My body's here with you,
But my mind is out there somewhere else.
But you know what they say,
In love and war all is fair."
And in an even more explicit examination of the subject, "Mr. Right Or Mr. Wrong," Scott-Adams begs a talk-show deejay (Jimmy Lewis) called "Mr. Jody" (Southern Soul's euphemism for the man-in-the-wings who aims to please) for emotional and physical help.
"What's the matter, baby? You getting insufficient love at home?" Lewis asks.
"Exactly," says Scott-Adams.
"Your old man isn't giving you what you need?"
"Nope," she snips.
"Now there's three other lonely ladies ahead of you, but I'll try and squeeze you in."
If Johnnie Taylor took the Motown route to Southern Soul heaven, Peggy Scott-Adams can be said to have taken the Delta's back roads. In fact, she may be a truer heir to Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett than any male artist on the scene today.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Peggy Scott-Adams
Peggy Stoutemire was born in Opp, Alabama, on June 25, 1948. Peggy Scott gained a foothold in the music business while still a teenager, touring with Ben E. King ("Stand By Me"). In 1968 she had three Top 40 hits --"Lover's Holiday," "Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries," and "Soulshake"--as part of the duo Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"Bill has been to my house a thousand times.
1.Late in 2004, after two relatively mediocre efforts (by Scott-Adams' standards), Peggy Scott-Adams returned to spectacular form with the release of the scathing, bluesy radio single, "I Intend To Take Your Place." The Jimmy Lewis composition was first recorded by Artie "Blues Boy" White in 1991.
2.May 30, 2007. The aforementioned "I Intend To Take Your Place" was included in a Scott-Adams' album for the first time with the release of 16 Hits: The Best Of Peggy Scott-Adams, (Miss Butch, 2004). The CD doesn't contain all of Scott-Adams' hits ("Sweaty Men," "I'm Willing To Be A Friend" and "Burning," for example, are absent), but it's a good approximation (of the best) for the price. DBN.
3.May 31, 2007. Peggy Scott-Adams' last solo project is a full-fledged gospel album: God Can...And He Will (Miss Butch, 2004). DBN.
4.May 31, 2009. Another gospel album, Back To The Roots, is in the works from Peggy Scott-Adams, this disc on a new private label named in honor of Peggy's mother, whose first name was Nora. Peggy also has a new website: Peggy Scott-Adams' Official Website.
5.September 5, 2011:
Daddy B. Nice Interviews
(The interview has been reproduced above. Scroll up this page.)
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