Daddy B. Nice’s Corner October 2019 – news and opinion on Southern Soul RnB music and artists
October 6, 2019:
Calvin Richardson, Denise LaSalle, DJ Sir Rockinghood, DJ Mr. Melvin, DJ Ragman, DJ Handyman, DJ Big Money, DJ Stormy
News & Notes
When, many years ago, I was constructing the original Top 100 Southern Soulchart, I considered including two artists who eventually didn’t make the cut: Anthony Hamilton and Calvin Richardson. Hamilton channeled, as I suspected he would, into “smooth” urban r&b. Calvin Richardson did not, ultimately becoming a veteran headliner on the southern soul circuit. I imagine Calvin more than goes into some of these career changes in his new 130-page paperback, “Do You, Without Them,” just published by Sunbury Press.
Don’t forget….Also, coming up in 2020, the new autobiography of Denise LaSalle by David Whiteis, the author of Southern Soul Blues.
It’s long past time to praise two of the internet’s best mixtape deejays. I’ve often recommended William Bell (not the recording artist, the other William Bell known as DJ Sir Rockinghood), and he has put out a mixtape that literally had your Daddy B. Nice groaning with pleasure, track after track, the past couple of months. Imagine the best–the very best–of Daddy B. Nice’s Original Top 100 Southern Soul and Top 100 21st Century Southern Soul, and that’s what DJ Rockinghood’s fabulous mixtape, “Ain’t No Stopping Me Now,” surveys. If I had tried to make a mixtape of the best of the best of those two charts, the songs that married me to southern soul music–time and materials, without recompense or reimbursement–for the last two decades, I couldn’t have done better.
Beautiful song after beautiful song crashes onto this aural southern soul beach for the listener’s appreciation: Bobby Rush singing his best ballad, “Crazy ‘Bout You,” Jackie Neal singing “That’s The Way We Roll,” Floyd Taylor singing “Old School Style” and “I Love Being In Love With You,” Wilson Meadows singing “Let’s Cut Out This Game,” Bigg Robb and Carl Marshall singing the “Good Loving Will Make Your Cry (Remix),” Roy C. singing “Living For The Weekend” and “Slow Roll It (Remix),” T.K. Soul singing “Try Me”…The set never flags. Just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any better, Sir Rockinghood hits you with Robert “The Duke” Tillman’s “I Found Love,” sounding as precious and ethereal as a sun-speckled spring rain after a month of drought, and follows it up with another cavalcade of out-of-this-world material: Little Milton’s “Guitar Man,” Johnnie Taylor’s “Soul Heaven,” Willie Clayton’s “Wiggle In The Middle,” Carl Sims’ “Seventeen Days Of Loving,” Vick Allen’s “Soul Music”.
Actually, I’ve been quoting from the part-two installment of DJ Sir Rockinghood’s “Ain’t No Stopping Me Now”. The first installment, if you can believe it, is even more outstanding, featuring the very best of the best: David Brinston’s “Party Till The Lights Go Out,” Little Milton’s “What Do You Do When You Love Somebody?”, Marvin Sease’s “Do You Qualify,” Jeff Floyd’s “I Found Love On A Lonely Highway,” Johnnie Taylor’s “Big Head Hundreds,” Artie “Blues Boy” White’s “Your Man Is Home Tonight,” and on and on. Southern Soul Heaven” descends when DJ Sir Rockinghood fades from Stan Mosley’s “Anybody Seen My Boo” into David Brinston’s “Kick It”. Also when Bobby Rush’s “Bare Mouth Woman” fades into Theodis Ealey’s “Please Let Me In”.
This is truly the heart and soul of southern soul. Thank you, William Bell!
I don’t talk about DJ Mr. Melvin as much as DJ Sir Rockinghood, but his mixtape, Super Southern Soul Blues, is exactly what southern soul “junkies” like your Daddy B. Nice are looking for: the hot new stuff by the hottest new artists, including (at this particular moment in time) the Marquee Of Soul, Choppa Law, Mr. Smoke, Kami Cole, Chrissy Luv, Hisyde, Narvel Echols, Sassy D., Dee Dee Simon and many more. DJ Sir Melvin even features an intriguing new artist who no one else in the southern soul community has had the privilege of receiving product from: a guy named Brazil (that’s right, like the country–try finding him on your search engine) with an equally inaccessible-slash-unintelligible title, “Sho Da Hell Dam Did”.
One caveat amidst the praise. YouTube deejays are increasingly succumbing to the pressure to play ads. Some of these ads now break up the ongoing sequence, which is a bummer. But money (even little trickles of it) still makes the world go round. And, along with the requirements to publish copyright information of available songs, there is also a creeping tendency not to publish full lists of the playlists–again a bummer for hungry fellow deejays, critics and fans eager to find the background information on every new tune by every new artist.
3. RADIO STATIONS…
Shout-outs to DJ Ragman and DJ Handyman at WMPR in Jackson, Mississippi and DJ Big Money at WAGR in Lexington, Mississippi. They’re still fighting the good fight in their traditional airtime spots, “Rag” on weekday afternoons (the only southern soul station to do so in that time period), “Handy” during the commuting hours of late afternoon, and Big Money on Saturdays. DJ Stormy is still holding down the Saturday afternoon spots at WDLT in Mobile, Alabama, although the advertisements in this bastion of “smooth” r&b can be pretty brutal. Back in Jackson, everything is much the same, with ads for spiritual help advisers like the Reverend Mother Walker (the chitlin’ circuit equivalent of big-city psychiatrists). There are ads, always interesting, for southern soul concerts–even gospel concerts. And I was happily surprised to hear “The Suit Store” (in a new location) advertising on WMPR. This is where you would go if you wanted to dress up as a flamboyant black entertainer (or a pimp). Truthfully, I’ve bought a lot of great clothes at The Suit Store, clothes you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. These private-sector enterprises are the cultural flowers of the black community, and I love hearing these ads.
Meanwhile, over in Lexington and Tchula (remember “Tchula Mississippi” in the Love Doctor/Thomisene Anderson song, “You Said It! No I Didn’t”?) Alfonso “Big Money” Greer is running his own political ads for Holmes County Supervisor to add to his many other community duties.
Thank you, deejays, for being there, year after year. And if Ragman attenuates that signature “Awwww-ight” any more, he’s going to sound like he’s choking on a taffy-ed apple. L.J. Echols may have to Call 911.