X-Man Parker

Daddy B. Nice's #98 ranked Southern Soul Artist

Portrait of X-Man Parker  by Daddy B. Nice

"Been Such A Long Time (w/ Karen Brown)"

X-Man Parker

Composed by X. Parker and Karen Brown

April 28, 2022: X-Man Parker---How NOT To Market

This commentary went out in Daddy B Nice's Newsletter for April 2022:

Southern Soul fans,

The biggest, behind-the-scenes secret in southern soul is its woeful lack of marketing. Early contemporary southern soul artists (roughly 1995 to 2010) spent money on studio time and little else, catering to a tiny audience of diehards. Albums dropped like stressed saplings in the middle of a gigantic musical forest without anyone noticing. These artists fought bootlegging out of car trunks, sound samples over 30 seconds, and the idea of putting their music out for free on YouTube.

Now no one believes selling bootlegs out of car trunks is or was the legal or the right thing to do. But let's face it. Bootlegging was never more than a nuisance, a very small fraction of a tiny sliver of the southern soul audience. But exposing new music through internet deejay mixes and YouTube, the defacto "national radio" of our day, has affected benefitted everyone.

Your Daddy B. Nice fought tooth-and-nail with industry types over whether it was more profitable to go for a big audience via YouTube or maintain the old, stunted vision of southern soul for the precious few. That battle is already over and is now history. It has been conquered by a new generation accustomed to media advertising that has generated sales the vintage artists never dreamed of---artists who now look on with envy as the youngsters reap the vast financial rewards they didn’t believe were possible.

I was reminded of this dynamic recently when one of those little-known “stars” of yesteryear sent in a fantastic new song which I planned to bolster with YouTube links, banner advertising and even a spot on “Featured Artists.” But no. No YouTube. No banner advertising. And no “featured artist” spot, in which he would have been one of a handful of prominent write-ups for the month. In effect, the artist didn’t believe in the power of his own music to attract fans. Why did he even record it?

--- Daddy B Nice

(End of newsletter.)

Now comes the time to reveal who the artist was and what mistakes were made in marketing his music. It was X-Man Parker, one of the artists from Daddy B. Nice's Original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists, compiled in the early 00's and first published in 2005. X-Man goes back to the golden days of Ace Records (circa 90's) and he is managed by Lee Parker of Brimstone Music Group. Apologies for the 20-year-old caricature: X-Man has filled out in the intervening years.

Now I am not here to scold X-Man and his management, but I am here to point out the errors both are making as a case study in what NOT to do when marketing a record. Basically, X-Man has done pretty close to nothing, and this is a feature of his entire career. He goes into the studio and sends out a few copies to people like your Daddy B. Nice who promote. And even in his "glory" days he did not really market at all, as you'll see by the absence of any YouTube or similar audio platform to publicise even his top-ranked single for the last two decades in this very artist guide, "Been Such A Long Time" featuring Karen Brown. A search on the Web garners nothing. You would not know it even exists, or once existed, except for its lone reference to this artist guide in Google Search.

Flash forward to the present day. Daddy B. Nice receives a submission from Lee Parker promoting four different versions of a tune called "Crown Royal," all of which are essentially updated versions in different genre styles of an old tune from Parker's repertoire. The "Quiet Storm" version, which sounds like something I would never like, is actually the best of the lot, charting in April of 2022.

6. "Crown Royal (Quiet Storm Mix)"------ X-Man Parker

This is a stunning record and very atypical. X-Man has toyed with the title and melody in different versions over the years, but this is by far the best. "Quiet Storm" implies a sound most southern soul fans aren't interested in, but this isn't "smooth". It's vanguard---edgy---thanks to the superb, higher-register vocal and unique production. No YouTube yet!

I get frustrated when I cannot give my audience (the biggest in southern souldom) a YouTube link, which makes all the difference in the world in terms of marketing and capturing fan interest, so I follow up the publication (free promotion!) with an urgent note to X-Man and Lee Parker to get the song on YouTube. And...this is a first. They acknowledge that it's not on YouTube (another version is). But here's the stunning part. Heaped with praise for the record and the opportunity to gain audience and sales, they still do not acknowledge my request to put it on YouTube. And this, readers, is a first. I've never had an artist NOT put a possible hit single on YouTube via my request. And even with further promotional enticements---an artist-guide featured promotion for the month of April and a discounted banner ad (if they wanted it) X-Man and Lee Parker in effect shrugged their shoulders and declined. And it was free! My time, my website expense!

So it brings me back to the question concluding my April newsletter. Why did X-Man even record it? Why did he send it out as a promotional solicitation? What, finally, is the point of recording a song and soliciting promotion if you're not really serious about it? And as you probably already guessed, it's not for sale.

---Daddy B. Nice

See response in Daddy B. Nice's Mailbag.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

October 2, 2016: NEW SINGLE ALERT!

Listen to X-Man Parker singing "Boo Thang" (the official video) on YouTube.

See Daddy B. Nice's #3-ranked Southern Soul Single for October 2016.

After a long absence, X-Man Parker, who was both part of the traditional nineties' southern soul scene with Willie Clayton and Bobby Jonz, and a key contributor to the revolutionary Mardi Gras Records album, Ultimate Southern Soul, that ushered in the new southern soul of Sir Charles Jones and The Love Doctor in the early aughts, has returned.

X-Man's "Boo Thang" is receiving air play predominantly in the Delta area of Jackson-Vicksburg. It's a quality song, with another single's official video, "Crown Royal" (from 2013), reportedly on the way. Parker has also worked as a musician and producer in the hiphop and reggae genres. "Boo Thang" was produced by D.C. Cooper.

F.Y.I. to X-Man fans:

Parker has still not posted his award-winning duet with Karen Brown, "Been Down So Long," on YouTube. See #98 position on Daddy B. Nice's Top 100 Southern Soul Songs.

Listen to X-Man Parker singing "Boo Thang" (the official video) on YouTube.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Listen to X-Man Parker singing "Two Birds" on YouTube.

Daddy B. Nice's Original Profile:

Your Daddy B. Nice first became acquainted with X-Man (X. Parker) via Mardi Gras Records' influential 2003 Ultimate Southern Soul sampler, the compilation that introduced The Love Doctor's "Slow Roll It" and "Lies," Sir Charles Jones' "Friday," Big Ike's "Teddy Bear" and Cicero Blake's "Waiting On You" to the Southern Soul audience. X-Man's "Two Birds" didn't initially stand out among a lineup of the finest work ever by such peaking Southern Soul luminaries as The Love Doctor and Sir Charles Jones (whom fans would soon be calling the "King of Southern Soul"). Nevertheless, X-Man's "2 Birds" quietly anchored the disc.

A ballad sung by a cuckolded man more preoccupied with his own foolhardiness than the double-dealing and one-upsmanship of his wife, his lover, and his best friend, X-Man's "2 Birds" was an unusually deep and detailed account of a man shaking his head at his own amatory blindness. And when he found out how blind he really was, the "two birds" of the title took on an entirely new meaning.

"I wondered why my business
Was always in the street.
Seems like whatever I did,
Someone was always watching me."

You see, everything X-Man did with his "woman," his wife found out about it. And everything he did with his wife, his "woman" found out about it. And one day he realized his best friend was fooling around, too. "2 Birds" touched the jealousy button of male hormonal fury with unerring precision, all the time expressing it within the calm-before-the-storm, awakening self-discovery on the part of X-Man's singer/hero. And yet there was still one final, Hitchcockian twist to the plot.

"But then I doubled back,
To catch him with my spouse,
And there was a familiar car
In the driveway of my house.

I bust through the bedroom door,
And surprise, surprise,
My wife and my woman
Was making love inside."

A quivering, lover-not-a-fighter vocalist in the lineage of Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, X-Man possessed an unusually polished technique for a young performer. "2 Birds," which subsequently anchored X-Man's finest album, Next Level (Mardi Gras, 2003), was soon joined by another chitlin' circuit favorite from the album, "Gotta Good Woman," also a delicate ballad with plenty of space for X-Man to showcase his Al Green chops. X-Man pulled down the writing credits on both songs, collaborating with L. Parker on "2 Birds" and with R. Burks on "Gotta Good Woman."

The Next Level CD had been preceded by Love Potion (Mardi Gras, 2002), whose title cut--also written by the R. Burks/X. Parker team--was more noteworthy for its distinctive lead guitar work (reminiscent of Ronnie Lovejoy's "Sho' Wasn't Me") than X-Man's competent but less original vocal. But as these tunes occasionally popped up on Southern Soul Radio, another X-Man song from an earlier era was also surfacing from time to time.

A majestic melody, tender and affecting vocals, inspiring backup singers, a rap verse for spice and contrast: "Been Such A Long Time," with its full-blown, old-fashioned arrangement sounded like something that might have been made in the 60's or early 70's. In a tidal-pull rhythm that rocked back and forth like a sailboat on a white-capped sea, X. Parker (as he called himself then) joined with the unashamedly vintage-sounding Karen Brown to produce a song that recalled some of the best duets by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, or--for chitlin' circuit insiders--J. Blackfoot and Ann Hines.

X-Man: "Been such a long time
Since I saw you.
How long has it been?
I'm so glad to see you,
'Cause you are my only friend."

Karen Brown: "Been such a long time.
Boy, I still love you,
And I guess I always will.
But in my soul at night,
I love to hold you tight,
'Cause it's you that I really need."

A rap verse followed, but if ever a spoken verse reinforced the "throwback" thrust of a melody, this one did. The long, almost wailing notes of X-Man, Karen Brown and the gospel-like chorus resumed and washed over the rap verse like a hurricane-force gale blowing over a flimsy beach palapa.

X-Man: "I've been missing you, baby.
And here's what you gotta do for me.
I got to understand you.
You got to understand me.
We got to hang on in there, baby."

"Been Such A Long Time" (Mr. 69, X. Parker, Ace 1997) has taken its place as one of those great, overlooked Southern Soul songs: a classic that has fallen through the cracks of the intervening years. Yes, it sounds "retro"--out of style, somehow--and yet, it sticks to the soul long after more contemporary songs have faded away. It is a magnificent aural vehicle, a veritable "cathedral" of sound that never fails to lift one's spirits.

--Daddy B. Nice

About X-Man Parker

X-Man began his recording career in the 90's as X. Parker and changed to just X-Man in the 00's. Parker cut his teeth on a number of hiphop and rap records in the nineties, garnering producer, arranger, and performer credits on discs by TLC, Kriss Kross, and the Set It Off soundtrack, among others.

He also produced Southern Soul material, including Willie Clayton's Ace In The Hole album (Ace, 1996) and Bobby Jonz' signature album, In The Mood For Love, for Ace in 1997. He's continued to do studio work in the 21st century (5C Soldjaz, Percy X, etc.) while pursuing his solo recording career.

Rap comprised a verse in X-Man's first radio-friendly, R&B-steeped single, "Been Such A Long Time," from the CD Mr. 69 (Ace, 1997) under the name X, Parker. The song was a duet with Karen Brown, who also shared writing credits on the tune.

X-Man dropped his last name when, almost six years later, he released his first CD on Mardi Gras Records, Love Potion. The title cut, composed by R. Burks and Parker, was the only song to gain substantial chitlin' circuit airplay.

New Orleans-based Mardi Gras released X-Man's CD Next Level in November of 2003. It contained the single "2 Birds," which had already become a chitlin' circuit hit thanks to its inclusion in the popular Mardi Gras compilation, Ultimate Southern Soul, earlier in the year. "Gotta Good Woman," another song from the CD, also received Deep South radio rotation.

Song's Transcendent Moment

"It's been so long
Since we've been together, baby.
It's been so long
Since we've been together, baby."


1. Sheba Potts-Wright ("Slow Roll It," "Lipstick On His Pants") performs a duet with X-Man on the track, "Common Ground," from the Next Level CD.

2. X-Man released a "response" song to Syleena Johnson's popular "Guess What" radio single (Chapter 2: The Voice, Jive). The song, "Know What," was featured on the Hot New Southern Soul Vol. 2 sampler from Mardi Gras Records.

If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Your Precious Love," you'll love X-Man Parker and Karen Brown's "Been Such A Long Time."

Honorary "B" Side

"Gotta Good Woman"

5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Been Such A Long Time (w/ Karen Brown) by X-Man Parker
Been Such A Long Time (w/ Karen Brown)

CD: Mr. 69
Label: Ace

Sample or Buy
Mr. 69

4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Gotta Good Woman by X-Man Parker
Gotta Good Woman

CD: Next Level
Label: Mardi Gras

Sample or Buy
Next Level

4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy 2 Birds by X-Man Parker
2 Birds

CD: Ultimate Southern Soul
Label: Mardi Gras

Sample or Buy
Next Level

3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Know What by X-Man Parker
Know What

CD: Next Level
Label: Mardi Gras

Sample or Buy
Next Level

3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Love Potion by X-Man Parker
Love Potion

CD: Love Potion
Label: Mardi Gras

Sample or Buy
Love Potion

2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Kiss It by X-Man Parker
Kiss It

CD: Love Potion
Label: Mardi Gras

Sample or Buy
Love Potion

2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy She's My Lollipop by X-Man Parker
She's My Lollipop

CD: Kings & Queens Of Ace
Label: Ace

Sample or Buy
Kings & Queens Of Ace

2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Take Me To Heaven (w/ Willie Clayton & Pat Brown) by X-Man Parker
Take Me To Heaven (w/ Willie Clayton & Pat Brown)

CD: Mr. 69
Label: Ace

Sample or Buy
Mr. 69

Browse Through
Daddy B. Nice's
'Bargain CD' Store

©2005-2022 SouthernSoulRnB.com

All material--written or visual--on this website is copyrighted and the exclusive property of SouthernSoulRnB.com, LLC. Any use or reproduction of the material outside the website is strictly forbidden, unless expressly authorized by SouthernSoulRnB.com. (Material up to 300 words may be quoted without permission if "Daddy B. Nice's Southern Soul RnB.com" is listed as the source and a link to http://www.southernsoulrnb.com/ is provided.)