Daddy B. Nice’s Corner 2021 – news and opinion on Southern Soul RnB music and artists
December 26, 2021
DADDY B. NICE’S TOP 25 SONGS OF 2021
1. “Take Your Time”—–Joe Nice feat. Sean Dolby
Sean Dolby soulfully singing “Take your time…sweet baby… and love me right” was my go-to “upper” all year, the perfect concoction of casual and carefree to balance my stress and exhaustion. Nice captured magic on this collaboration with Dolby, and along with Narvel Echols’ rap-infused blues last year it moves Southern Soul-hiphop from the fringes to the mainstream. It just sounds like it belongs in today’s southern soul, and beckons a whole new direction for those inclined.
2. “Dukes And Boots”—–Avail Hollywood
The finest vocal of Avail Hollywood’s career, and the finest lead-guitar accompaniment in a southern soul song this year.
3. “Chicken Wang”—–Klay Redd
An irresistable dance jam by a “complete unknown,” sung with the authority and guile of a veteran.
4. “Love You Down”—–Jeter Jones feat. JD
Jeter follows up last year’s smashing cover of “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” with a remake of Ready For The World’s “Love You Down,” featuring a new young singer with a voice like chapel chimes for whom the lyrics were apparently written. His name: JD.
5. “Drink Of You”—–The Night Affair Band
Here’s one that will thrill the old school…From the pride of Greenville, South Carolina: a live band and lead vocalist so talented they’re bound for greater glory.
6. “Down In The Kuntry”—–Stan Butler feat. West Love
With his longtime guitarist/producer Ron G by his side and budding-star, gospel-drenched West Love now in the fold, watch out—Stan Butler is ready to make his mark and fulfill his promise.
7. “I Don’t Play Them Games”—–Mister Cotton feat. Nore Cross
What makes this duet so extraordinary (beyond the gorgeous chords courtesy of ConFunkShun) is the exaggerated and stylized approach to the couple’s differences, which makes it funny and devastatingly likable.
8. “Bone Of My Bone”—–James Bryant
Now this is old school. Don’t let a programmed instrumental track deter you from the soulfulness this song will shower down upon you after a few familiarizing listens.
9. “Grown Man Shhh”—–Bigg Robb
Not many recording artists have the stones to sing “what I go through being a dark-skinned man”—Syl Johnson maybe.
10. “SupaWoman”—–Volton Wright feat. JD & Jeter Jones
It’s JD from “Love U Down” again (#4 above) transfixing with the purest young voice since J-Wonn sang “I Got This Record”. From a great new album by Volton Wright.
11. “Come Go With Me”—–T-Lyons feat. Tanji Emmeni
From young visionaries R&B Pooh through JD to T-Lyons, it’s a full-fledged, southern-soul youth movement at Slacktraxx Records.
12. “Plain Ole Country Boy”—–Jeter Jones
Sure, Jeter’s a “plain ole country boy,” but then again, he’s not just a “plain ole country boy”—he’s much more—and it’s that ambivalent message that gives “Plain Ole Country Boy” its special power and reverberating meanings.
13. “I’m Gonna Win”—–T.K. Soul
The Jay Morris Group wasn’t the first southern soul act to delve deeply into personal relationships.
14. “For Your Love”—–Hisyde
This is what they mean when they say a song “swings”.
15. “The Chosen One”—–Sir Charles Jones
This short self-testimonial chronicles Charles’ rise from humble beginnings to rapper-like peaks of self-importance and arrogance and from phrase to phrase you wince or cheer depending on which corner of Charles’ complex personality is being exposed as well as what you think of “fronting” itself and whether Charles is using it in a satirical way. It marks a fascinating waypost in Charles’ career.
16. “Rush”—–Hummin’ Boy feat. Neicy Redd
The Mississippi Hummin’ Boy follows up his debut single “What I Like” with another sensual, swirling, cotton-candy-like ballad.
17. “Ride It”—–Ra’Shad The Blues Kid
The young Delta bluesman put out not one but two albums this year, one of blues and one of southern soul.
18. “I’ll Leave The Light On”—–Karen Wolfe
Karen’s “Motel 6” vehicle allows her to stretch out vocally with all of her trademark “Wolfe-isms,” reminding us what a real southern soul anthem sounds like.
19. “Just Love Me”—–DeMond Crump
One of southern soul’s unsung and under-appreciated veterans drops the finest ballad of his career.
20. “Drinking My Problems Away”—–O.B. Buchana
O.B. Buchana did the previously unthinkable in leaving his longtime label Ecko Records for Music Access. However, his first release, written by J-Wonn, is one of his finest songs in years and true to his legacy in every way.
21. “Somebody’s Been Talking Too Much”—–Gerod Rayborn
The longtime Ecko Records singer/songwriter released one of the finest albums of 2021, his first in a decade.
22. “My Baby”—–Nellie “Tiger” Travis feat. O.B. Buchana
As smooth as an unfurling roll of Japanese silk, this tuneful ballad unites two of southern soul’s most prestigious vocalists for a first-time duet, assisted by the equally legendary Omar Cunningham.
23. “I Ain’t Giving Up My Love”—–Mizz Lowe feat. Bobby Rush
Bobby Rush’s most infamous, booty-rolling dancer shines on this funny and tuneful collaboration.
24. “Good Booty Judy”—–Arthur Young
Has TV-binging ever netted such a bounty of witty lyrics?
25. “Kick Out”—–Mr. Fredlo feat. Omar Cunningham
A stepping song by Mr. Fredlo, one of the best new artists of the year, with an assist from the “godfather,” Omar Cunningham, who seems to be involved in every southern soul song recorded.
December 12, 2021
The “To-Do” in Henderson TX, Around Southern Soul Nation…
NEWS & NOTES:
The commotion in Henderson, Texas at the “All Hail Queen Dee” concert November 13th raced across the chitlin’ circuit’s social media in the days following the gig, with the promoter (Annissa Ward) and the headline performer (L.J. Echols) accusing each other of misbehavior—an all-too-familiar, artist/promoter conflict as ageless as the first Neanderthal drummers fighting over renting a cave. It marked your Daddy B. Nice’s first concert since the onset of Covid, and I happened to be in the hotel lobby that afternon as Tyson from Tony Toni Tone (“Feel Good”)—a late add, as it worked out, for LJ—was checking in while the promoter and hotel staff were casting aspersions on Echols and the “wheres” and “whys” of his being dropped from the night’s line-up.
I didn’t get the Echols perspective until days later, by accident, on his Facebook page, and I’ve never seen the normally placid and easy-going LJ so worked up, pacing the hall and grounds of the venue and back into the building again with video-phone in hand, castigating the promoter’s misconduct while she yelled counter-attacks in the background. I showed up at the venue in the afternoon to hang out with artists while they were doing sound checks, (as it happened) not long after the big blow-up between Ward and Echols took place and Echols had decamped. (And not knowing it had even happened.) However, Dee Dee Simon, whose b-day and new Christmas sampler were the impetetus for the gig, was particularly engaged and passionate, going over blistering segments of what was to come later in the evening with none other than Ronald “Slack” Jefferson of Slacktraxx responding on the mixing board. Possibly shaken by the day’s events—not to mention losing LJ, with whom she’d been scheduled to unveil a new duet—Dee Dee wouldn’t be seen again until the evening’s final act, in spite of (or maybe because of) being the focal guest of honor.
But the show went on, as shows always do, and for the most part was highly successful, beginning with a sit-down dinner in a room so filled with tables the audience had to dance in what little room there was between them. Kenne’ Wayne kicked off the show, 2 Buck Chuck and Hummin’ Boy did sets, but it was Donnie Ray who connected best and got all the folks dancing. It was an evening, above all, by and for women: specifically, Dee Dee Simon and the group of singers featured on “Winter Is Coming: Queen’s Christmas”, all of whom took the stage for brief sets: Carletta Bush, Donna Renae, Tara Keith, Sassy D, Jessi Terrell, Jinda (Lady Songbird) Harris (who was a revelation) and Sojo The Ladies Champ.
Indeed, if anything the show tried to do too much. Fatigue set in, and in the wee hours Tyson (who did not really belong in front of this thoroughly southern soul audience) was lucky not to get booed when the host announced he (and still not Dee Dee Simon) was up and coming. When he asked if the audience wanted to hear an extra tune, a hurtful “No!” filled the otherwise quiet room. And perhaps disappointed in seeing half the audience gone by the time she took the stage, Dee Dee, who closed out the night, gave a more muted and abbreviated set than anyone who had watched her afternoon sound check would have expected. The next morning over breakfast, Dee Dee and I had a chat. Not about the concert—about her career, her future. The Henderson event, however rockily executed, was already in the rear view mirror. If we thought about it at all, it was probably that what had made it all happen was Annissa Ward’s enthusiastic belief in Dee Dee Simon.
Around Southern Soul Nation…
You may notice the name Melvia “Chick” Rodgers popping up again and again on major tour venues with headliners like Tucka and Big Pokey Bear and wonder “Who’s she? Never heard anything recorded by her.” You’d be right. Nevertheless, the Memphis native with a “powerfully churchy voice” has gained a national reputation for spectacular stage performances. Read more in a David Whiteis review of one of her appearances at the Chicago Blues Festival.
In the early hours of Saturday, December 4th Lomax Spaulding lost his home and possessions in a fire. His family escaped unscathed but he incurred third degree burns and a head injury. Peers and fans who want to help Lomax rebuild and regroup can donate to a gofundme fund-raising account set up by music publicist Jenni Weber. Music columnist Heikki Suosalo presents a typically exhaustive account of Willie Clayton’s early years (1956-1992) in the latest issue of Soul Express. Pokey Bear is ripping up the chitlin’ circuit as few performers have ever done. The demand to see Pokey is insatiable—he could perform every night if he wanted to. Only one other southern soul artist draws equal if not more tour prestige, and that would be Tucka. Love Machine, the album that made Sir Charles Jones a star, is now available in vinyl. Young Delta singer Isaac Lindsey, whose set of southern soul cover songs (“The Chokin’ Kind,” “Sho’ Wasn’t Me,” etc.) brightened up the charts this last year, will release his first original single, “Workout At Home,” this coming spring. Frank O. Johnson wrote the tune and Castro Coleman (Mr. Sipp) produced. Jeter Jones has announced his 2nd Annual Country Boy Lovin’ Cruise, departing Galveston, Texas for Cosa Maya and Cozumel October 10-15, 2022. The package includes DJ Trucker, Arthur Young, Tasha Mac, R&B Pooh, Volton Wright, DeShay, Audi Yo and more. Angel Faye Russell has signed a new contract with Lenny Williams’ management company and has a new project in the works with Binky Womack, Bobby Womack’s nephew. Finally, three new songs from the upcoming album by The Jay Morris Group are circulating through deejay studios, serving notice (if any were needed) that the phenomenal success of the group (Jay Morris, Zee Brownlow and KMonique) was no fluke. The singles are “Knee Deep Part II,” “How Can You Love Me?” and “My Baby Don’t Love Me No More”. Soulful, original, seemingly without antecedent, this music sounds like nothing less than a new blues for the younger generation.
–Daddy B. Nice
December 1, 2021
DECEMBER TOP TEN “SPILLOVER”: Top 40 Southern Soul Singles
An expanded list of the songs vying for “Top Ten Singles” in December 2021.
1. “Come Go With Me”—T-Lyons feat. Tanji Emmeni
2. “I Don’t Play Them Games”—Mr. Cotton feat. Nore Cross
3. “Can I Ride?”—Nadia Thee Primadonna feat. Jeter Jones
4. “Drinking My Problems Away”—O.B. Buchana
5. “Can’t Keep No Secret”—Fat Daddy feat. Tucka
6. “Push It Up”—Radio Rasheed feat. Poo Coo
7. “Zydeco With Me”—T-Lyons
8. “Love You Better”—Ronnie Bell
9. “When The Tables Turn”—Terrence Davis
10. “So Good”—Sojo The Ladies Champ
11. “Pay To Ride”—Lady Q
12. “Good Time”—Shelton D. Richardson & Demetrius Green
13. “Use To Be Mine”—Johnny Kroon feat. JR Blu
14. “Turn That Dick Loose”—Mr. Lyve
15. “Take You Home”—El’ Willie
16. “Oil Change”—Rico Baby
17. “My Kind Of Girl”—T-Lyons
18. “Them Jeans”—Al Davis
19. “Green Light”—LaMorris Williams
20. “Cheating Woman”—Night Affair Band
21. “My Lady”—C-Wright
22. “Get On Down”—Rico Baby
23. “Hands Up High”—Freaky B
24. “Sticky Situation”—Ms. Kida
25. “He Can’t Do It”—Bigg Robb
26. “Rock Me Baby”—Mr. Rodger feat. Big Yayo
27. “Long Live The Queen”—Bro Bro
28. “Ain’t Right”—Gold Gillis
29. “Enough”—Roosevelt Wade
30. “It’s My Time To Party On The Weekend”—Al Davis
31. “Dirty South Blues”—Stephanie McDee feat Raful Neal
32. “Head To My Toes”—Roi Anthony
33. “I Know You Miss Me”—Binky Womack feat. Angel Faye Russell
34. “How Can You Love Me”—Jay Morris Group
35. “You Don’t Want A Good Woman”—J-Cenae
36. “Good One”—Bigg Robb
37. “Kick Out”—Mr Fredlo feat. Omar Cunningham
38. “You Still Got It”—Magic One
39. “Reason Why”—Volton Wright
40. “Merry Christmas Baby”—Stevie J. Blues