Daddy B. Nice’s New CD/Albums Reviews

November 12, 2023:

TUCKA: The Guy Your Man Can’t Stand (Hit Nation) 

Three Stars *** – Solid. The artist’s fans will enjoy.

The usual peerless vocals and confident, top-notch production combine with surprisingly suspect songwriting in Tucka’s new album The Guy Your Man Can’t Stand. The short, nine-track CD comes at a time when Tucka enjoys a career high in popularity and has recently ascended to the number-one position on Daddy B. Nice’s current Top 100 Southern Soul Artists Chart: The New Generation. Yet, reading the voluminous praise from half a million fans in the comment section of Tucka’s YouTube video for the hit single “Put It On Me,” I am reminded of the fairy tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

The story recounts a couple of scammers who convince a self-centered and style-conscious ruler that they can make him a set of clothes so magnificent that only the elite and smart among his populace will be able to see them. When the emperor displays his new raimant to the sycophants in his court, everyone effuses on his glorious atttire—this despite the fact that none of them (including the emperor himself) can see it. Only one dissenter—a child—blurts out, “The emperor has no clothes. He’s walking around in his drawers!”

The child, of course, is derided as an ignorant “hater,” and that’s how your Daddy B. Nice feels as he listens to Tucka and Fat Daddy, who accompanies him on the song, as they smugly congratulate themselves on “another hit single” at the end of the record. They may be right, and their fans may be right (the numbers support them), but I’d caution Tucka to retain a bit of humility and self-scrutiny in the aftermath of the tune’s success.

“Put It On Me” would be considered a marginal record published by any other artist. Evaluated in strictly musical terms, the melody is mediocre at best, the instrumental track is hook-less, the chorus line doesn’t shore up the blandness of the verses (although one wishes it did), and there’s not a new or novel sound to be heard. As a successor to the the brilliant originality of last year’s “Jukebox Lover,” it’s a definite drop-off.

I would contend that “Put It On Me” is “successful” in larger part because Tucka is at the pinnacle of his popularity than on any musical merits of the song itself. Put another way, I believe it is the songs prior to this album (“Jukebox Lover,” “Big Train,” “Won’t Disapprove,” etc.) that are feeding the song’s popularity, a dynamic long familiar to popular music artists. And there’s nothing wrong with that unless Tucka doesn’t remain rooted and alert to the inspirational sources that catalyzed his original mojo.

In my New Album Alert last month I remarked that the King of Swing is tracking toward a more mainstream southern soul sound, as can be seen not only in “Put It On Me” but in his other previously released single, “Party People,” either of which could have graced any traditional Ecko Records album of the last two decades. That’s a far cry from the early, out-of-left-field classics that made Tucka a star: “Sweet Shop,” “Touch Your Spot,” “Book Of Love,” “Til The Morning Comes” and “Candy Land”.

It is eye-opening, on the other hand, to witness Tucka, long ambivalent about being labeled a “southern soul” artist, embracing the most generic compositions, structures and tempos of the genre. With the exception of two tracks (which I’ll get to in a minute) he’s content to be one of the “boys” on this album. As well he should, I suppose, plying the familiar sounds of southern soul with Pokey Bear, Sir Charles, King George and the other stars on southern soul’s ongoing, unflagging, biggest stage, the Blues Is Alright tour.

The Guy Your Man Can’t Stand may be as much an experiment as his early singles were. Yet I now find myself—contrary fella that I am—attracted to the two songs in this set that hark back to Tucka’s more unique, early sound: Fly Me To The Moon” and “Do You Wanna Go”.

Is that fickle? Maybe. What’s a guy like Tucka gonna do?

—Daddy B. Nice.




October 1, 2023:

ADRIAN BAGHER: ISM (Shoebox Money Entertainment)

Five Stars ***** – Can’t Miss. Pure Southern Soul Heaven.

The Louisiana Blues Brothas’ Love On The Bayou was published in 2014, almost a decade ago. The Brothas were Big Pokey Bear, Tyree Neal and Adrian Bagher. The album spawned “My Sidepiece,” one of the most extraordinary singles in the genre’s history, and Pokey Bear took it to the bank as a single artist. (The group broke up after their only album.)

Meanwhile, “Around The Corner,” Adrian Bagher’s first single, debuted in 2013, and Grown Folks Business, his first album, was released in 2015. Since then Bagher has done nothing but steadily hone his craft, releasing quality singles—“Around The Corner,” “Don’t Blame It On Jody,” “Willing And Able,” “Dirty,” “Let Me Take Care Of You,” “If You Want To Leave,” “Ride With Me”—routinely amassing millions of views on YouTube and making Bagher a southern soul touring star, albeit with far less fanfare than his more famous Brotha Pokey Bear. His burgeoning catalog has also made Adrian the 24th-ranked artist on Daddy B. Nice’s latest top one-hundred artist chart, The New Generation of Southern Soul.

All of the effort has paid off. Adrian’s third full-length release, ISM (an acronym for “I’m soul music” as Bagher explains in the disc’s intro) is splendid. This is a collection that’s extremely easy to listen to, with an astonishing lack of filler for what amounts to a double album (17 tracks).

Melodies abound. Production is sure-handed—never repetitive or boring—and the variety is impressive. One minute you’re enthralled with a tune like “Fallin’ For You,” a mid-tempo gem given extra “edge” with a bounce-style, voice-over. The next minute you’re in the celestial ether with a tune like “If Heaven Had A Phone” (shortened to “Heaven Phone” in the credits), a tribute to Bagher’s deceased mother done with eyebrow-raising sensitivity and universality. “Out Of Space” is so melodious one can’t resist singing along.

The set showcases a contemplative and romantic—also parental—Bagher, arguably reaching its apex in the uplifting “If This World Were Mine,” an anthem to the family complete with Lenny Williams-style “Oh-oh-oh-oh-ohhhs”. But there are also sexual romps like “Hittin’ It Right” and club-style fare like “Woman And My Whiskey”. The thread uniting all of the music, whether upbeat or down-low, is the attention to musical detail. Whether the head-turning balladS “Privacy” or “You’re Mine” or the bounce-inflected mid-tempo excursion “Falling For You,” the mix of outstanding production and personable, guy-next-door vocalizing offers a scintillating primer in a new-and-better, “clean” and “fresh” southern soul sound.

–Daddy B. Nice

Listen to all the tracks from ISM on YouTube.

Buy Adrian Bagher’s new ISM album at Apple.




August 1, 2023:

JETER JONES: Mufassa II (Jonez Boy Entertainment Worldwide)

Five Stars ***** – Can’t Miss. Pure Southern Soul Heaven.

Little more than six months after the release of his five-star, acclaimed SUGAR HILL HIGHWAY 84 album (also reviewed on this page), Jeter Jones’s back with a new set called Mufassa II, his twelfth studio album. This new CD drops almost six months to the day after its predecessor, maintaining Jeter’s hectic, two-albums-per-year recording pace even as Jones himself continues to drop hints that he may not be able to keep his boot to the metal much longer. (See Daddy B. Nice’s back-up story on JETER’S EXIT from “News & Notes” in the Jeter Jones Artist Guide posted July 13, 2023.)

“I don’t know how many more Cd’s I got left in me,” Jeter notes in introducing the 14-track Mufassa II, “but I do know that this has been a fun and exciting journey in music with you all.”

My first impressions of the album were similarly doubtful. The selections seemed wildly experimental, the songwriting sketchy, and the guest artists (with a couple of exceptions) not as deserving as in the past. But by my second or third listen many of those same songs—a few of them familiar to Jones enthusiasts as recent promotional radio singles—were busting out and overflowing with personality.

”Her Sneaky Link” is a perfect example. It may seem unsuccessful at first, and it is a bit odd, but true to its title it sneaks up on you and ultimately captivates with both its musical and lyrical hook:

“If you don’t treat her right,” Jeter sings, “She’s gonna find herself a sneaky link / And that sneaky link / Just might be me.”

The same goes for “Trailride Anthem,” which initially seems suspect due to its minimal soundtrack but with familiarity becomes an irresistable rhythmic treat enlivened by DJ Tony, the shouter/toaster who lent so much excitement to such mid-career, Jeter Jones tunes as “Single Footin'”. He’s also featured on “Trailride Train”.

“Meet Me (In The Back Of My Truck)” is a country-flavored song complete with banjo accompaniment celebrating truckers and the amenities of their big rigs. You either bask in the genre-bending soundtrack or you do not, but after preliminary waffling I’ve decided that trysting in a semi sounds like fun.

“Quarter In The Jukebox” may or may not have been inspired by Tucka’s 2022 smash single “Jukebox Lover”. The video features Jeter juking in front of a brick wall covered from floor to ceiling with gold records. The song is written by Squirt Kelly, who also collaborates as writer and singer on “Ball In High Grass”.

“Good Ole Boyz,” with the couplet, “I’ve been wearing this hat and boots / Since the day I was born,” ambles along on the most recognizable of chord progressions, yet the set picks up a notch when it queues.

Another song with originality and considerable depth features Jake Carter. “Most Wanted” has a chorus that runs, “I’m a cowboy / On this horse I ride / I’m wanted / Dead or alive.” Carter and Jones take turns filling in the theme with seemingly autobiographical details, and the result is surprisingly resonant.

Other interesting tracks are “Come Home With Me” featuring LaMorris Williams and Volton Wright, “My Turn,” “Da Jook Joint” and “Your Style” featuring Shannon “Scoop” Jones.“Your Style” pre-dates Jeter’s southern soul career, its original YouTube posting dated 2012.

One person you do not hear on Mufassa II is Jeter Jone’s longtime producer and collaborator, Ronald “Slack” Jefferson. Slack’s absence was also noted at times in SUGAR HILL HIGHWAY 84. “I want to hear a song from Slack,” Jeter sings in “Da Jook Joint,” and one wonders if a parting between these two creative geniuses, however amicable, took place recently. That would certainly account for some of Jeter’s trepidation about the future. But no worries, as Jeter would say. He keeps turning musical experiments into southern soul etouffee.

—Daddy B. Nice


MUFASSA II Track List:

1 Intro
2 Trailride Anthem (feat. DJ Big Tony)
3 Meet Me
4 Quarter In The Jukebox
5 Her Sneaky Link
6 Let Her Geaux
7 Ball In High Grass (feat. Squirt Kelly)
8 It’s Your Style (feat. Shannon “Scoop” Jones)
9 Good Ole Boyz
10 Most Wanted (feat. Jake Carter)
11 Da Juke Joint
12 Come Home With Me (feat. LaMorris Williams and Volton Wright)
13 Trailride Train (feat. DJ Big Tony)
14 My Turn

Buy Jeter Jones’ new Mufassa II album at Apple.

Listen to all the tracks from Jeter Jones’ new MUFASSA II album on YouTube.


July 29, 2023:

MS. JODY: A Night To Remember (Ecko Records)

Five Stars ***** – Can’t Miss. Pure Southern Soul Heaven.

Ms. Jody took some time off during the pandemic, her first interlude in a routine of annual album recordings at Ecko Records in Memphis that go back more years than I’d care to remember. So it was only natural to wonder, “What’s up with Ms. Jody? What’s on her mind these days? You know?…With all that time to think about things?”

The answer tickles me so much I want to withold it like a parent teasing a jumping toddler with a treat. It’s the last thing you’d guess: PARTY! Yes, A Night To Remember is definitively the best party record Ms. Jody has ever put out. She’s in a Jaye Hammer-like party mood, milking the funk out of the damn thang, churning those elbows, working those vocal cords.

There’s a duo of remixed Ms. Jody jams from the past—a souped-up, faster-tempoed remix of “Get It! Get It!” from her second-last CD and a more faithful remix of “Southern Soul Bounce” first recorded on her 2018 “Doin’ My Thang” album. The most accomplished—or at least most familiar—tracks on the album, this pair of tunes sets the tone, and if they were the only club-friendly numbers, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER might merit the description of a typical Ms. Jody album.

…And in some respects Ms. Jody does hew to time-honored formulas. There’s a “cat” song depicting Jody’s superiority over rival “cats” (aka women)—“The Best Cat Won”—and there’s a sermonizing, “relationship” song in the mode of the venerable “When Your Give A Damn Don’t Give A Damn” in “If He Don’t Wanna Love You”.

But A Night To Remember quickly plunges like a cannonball into serious club territory with an uninterrupted trio of brand new, uncompromising, funk-heavy tracks: “Mr. Beast Master” (one of Ms. Jody’s personal favorites), “Burger King” and the title tune, “Let’s Party Right (A Night To Remember)”. Add Ms. Jody’s 2022 hit single “I’m Gonna Ride That Black Horse,” and push them together with “Southern Soul Bounce” and “Get It! Get It!” and you’ve got a bonafide party album.

The tender ballad “I Still Love You” and the the opening track, “Good Man,” are the only outliers. (Ms. Jody tackles the same subject as “Good Man” with much better results in “A Man Like That” and “All True Man”.) And when Ms. Jody returns to uptempo fare with “I’d Rather Wait Till He’s Hittin’ It,” it’s a wrap. Intentionally or not, A Night To Remember is a concept album, and the concept is dancing—moving your body!—be it in the club or the kitchen. And it’s rare for a performer of the female persuasion to lavish us with something this generously and consistently uptempo and one-of-a-kind. Cheers!

—Daddy B. Nice


1 Good Man
2 I’m Gonna Ride That Black Horse
3 Southern Soul Bounce (Remix)
4 If He Don’t Wanna Love You
5 Get It! Get It! Pt. 2
6 The Best Cat Won
7 Let’s Party Right (A Night To Remember)
8 Mr. Beast Master
9 Burger King
10 I Still Love You
11 I’d Rather Wait Till He’s Hittin’ It

—Daddy B. Nice

Buy Ms. Jody’s new A Night To Remember album at Blues Critic.

Listen to all the tracks from Ms. Jody’s new A NIGHT TO REMEMBER album on YouTube.


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June 1, 2023:

BIGG ROBB: Vintage (BiggRobb)

Four Stars **** – Distinguished effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

Twenty-some years ago singer/humorist Unckle Eddie had a novelty hit with a song named “Black Magic Woman”. Probably not many people remember that these days, but the B-I-G-G man does. Only Bigg Robb reverses the wording for his “Black Woman Magic,” a much more sophisticated and self-reflective production. And as the song from Bigg Robb’s new Vintage album evolves Robb adds instrumental depth and vocal enhancements—not to mention a mid-song, talking voice-over—that will remind longtime fans of his early masterpiece “Good Lovin’ Will Make You Cry”.

Songs like the title tune and “Too Old For The Bullshit” place this generous, 19-track set squarely in the mode of Bigg Robb’s latter-day, mid-career form: less pretentious subjects, effortless lead singing. I can remember when lead-singing was Robb’s only handicap, an acquired skill rife with potential hazard. Now it’s second nature, Robb having so thoroughly grafted his southern soul persona to his funk and hiphop roots the song-making formula is one of the most unmistakeable brands in southern soul.

“Smiling And Crying,” with its sweet and welcoming guitar hook, and “Sipping And Thinking,” with its appropriation of the chords from the Jay Morris Group’s “Knee Deep,” typify Bigg Robb’s mature approach: contemplative, self-aware, family and home-oriented. Bigg Robb proselytizes for positivity—a wide-ranging, eyes-wide-open level of experience leavened with understanding, kindness and patience—in practically every tune: for example, “Backyard (Southern Soul Mix),” which is also given a “funky remix”.

And he does it pretty much all by himself. Charles Wilson and Charles “Gator” Moore do appear in guest vocal spots (“Get My Groove On” and “Bring Back The Love”), and an uncredited vocalist (at least it doesn’t sound like Robb) joins Bigg Robb on the chorus vocal of the locomoting “25 Again New Jack Swing,” mimicking the way Mr. Woo used to guest on Robb’s early records. But other than that it’s all Bigg Robb and his personal studio wizardry.

“Belly On Ya / Poppa (Medley)” recycles some Biggie (Notorious B.I.G.) But later in the set, Robb serves up the real “Belly On Ya,” the southern soul mix of “Belly On Ya” if you will. It’s one of the most provocative yet good-natured come-ons to a woman you’re ever going to hear, and one that will undoubtedly make the men who hear it jealous (it certainly did me), not because they necessarily want to be b-i-g-g like Bigg Robb but because they can’t summon, when the occasion arises, similarly ingenious arguments on their own behalf. And there’s history. This hilarity goes back to Robb’s early days holding forth on the virtues of big men vs. skinny men. (“A big man will even take care of that kid the skinny man gave you…”) And as in “Black Woman Magic,” Robb lets the song grow, giving it the instrumental equivalent of “some air” until it blossoms into a triumphant summation of not only this easy-going album but Robb’s entire career.

–Daddy B. Nice

Go to Bigg Robb’s Artist Guide to purchase or listen on Spotify or YouTube.


May 1, 2023:

JAYE HAMMER: Be Happy (Ecko)

Two Stars ** Dubious. Not much here.

The best cuts on Jaye Hammer’s BE HAPPY album are “That Power Grip” (lifted by its instrumental groove, detail and enthusiastic vocal), “I Got To Get Your Number” (ditto) and the previously-released single “Background Check” (redeemed by its simplicity).

What’s distinctive about this trio of tracks (coincidentally the best-written numbers) is the energy and enthusiasm of both the vocals and production. Assertive bass lines, additional percussive elements, treble-scale synth fillips, programmed but well-done horn lines, choruses buttressed with strong background vocals. For the most part, these songs do what good southern soul songs are supposed to do—make immediate impact—burnishing Hammer’s reputation as one of southern soul’s most gifted vocalists.

That’s not to say, however, these tunes are surprising, head-turning efforts or “top ten singles” candidates. I anticipate they’ll be welcomed by fans as contributions to Hammer’s catalog, worthy to stand in the shadows of classics like “Party Mood” and “I Ain’t Leaving Mississippi”.

Here’s a snapshot of the BE HAPPY tracks:

1 That Power Grip
2 Be Happy
3 I’m Trying To Bury My Bone
4. I Made A Good Woman Turn Bad
5. Background Check
6. He’s Got To Be A Fool To Leave A Woman Like You
7. You’re Cheatin’ On Me
8. That Kind Of Look
9. I Got To Get Your Number
10. It’s Friday
11. The Same Thing That Brought You Here Can Take You Out

The balance of Be Happy is unfortunately suspect. The title track is getting some initial response, and it may be intended as a “Party Mood”-like project, but it falls far short. Let’s face it. “Be happy” is kinda sappy. You have to be pretty good, pretty hip (you have to have a lot of chits built up with your audience) to get away with a sentiment like that.

“I Made A Good Woman Turn Bad” is compromised not only by a similarly perfunctory Hammer vocal but the minimalist clucking of a computer keyboard punctuating the irritatingly vanilla instrumental track. Where is the live John Ward lead guitar to spice up this otherwise flat-lining instrumental track? Where are the little musical surprises and details that give a song an identity? And without much background to enliven the proceedings, Hammer’s vocal just goes through the motions, displaying no contrasts, no moments of giddy exhilaration or genuine regret.

But no cut illustrates the lack of excitement contained in Be Happy than “I’m Trying To Bury My Bone”. The song title promises something salacious, gritty and unabashedly promiscuous, something “rowdy rowdy” as O.B. Buchana used to say. But Jaye Hammer could just as well be singing, “I’m trying to fold my napkin.”

I don’t believe for a minute Hammer’s really trying to “bury his bone”. He’s just singing the words. And that’s unforgivable. The whole point of southern soul is to be impactful, to be hyper-realistic, to be relevant and accessible, not to be prim and proper.

For contrast (and to understand what I’m talking about) listen to the far less well-known and less- talented Mr. Nelson singing “She wants my good ole lovin’ / She say she want my meat in her oven” from his new song, “Good Ole Loving”. The “meat in her oven” leaps out of the stereo speakers and screams “real life”. You can almost see the “boner” and the come-hither “pussy”. You have no doubt Mr. Nelson wants to “get it in there,” to “stand up in it” like Theodis Ealey.

And as “I’m Trying To Bury My Bone” goes so goes the bulk of BE HAPPY. One is left with the impression that southern soul for Hammer is homework, recitation, reiteration in the mode of soul-blues, neo-soul, or white blues regurgitating mid-twentieth century blues—that is, an academic exercise, or a satire, or an homage—in sum a musical treatment distanced from real life.

For a more sophisticated, albeit roundabout exposition of what I mean by southern soul’s immediacy, relevance and real-life impact vs. other current soul genres, read my recently re-posted, decade-old “Village Voice” article by Chuck Eddy on Mel Waiters, Sweet Angel and Luther Lackey (all sadly absent from today’s scene) in the Luther Lackey Artist Guide.

—Daddy B. Nice

Buy Jaye Hammer’s BE HAPPY album at Soul Blues Music.

Buy Jaye Hammer’s BE HAPPY album at Apple.

Read Daddy B. Nice’s Artist Guide to Jaye Hammer.

Listen to all the tracks from Jaye Hammer’s new BE HAPPY album on YouTube.


April 1, 2023:

STAN MOSLEY: No Soul, No Blues (Dialtone / P-Vine)

Four Stars **** Distinguished effort. Should please old fans and gain new.


Where is southern soul music going in this era of smart-phones and rampant media? The twin influences of blues and gospel appear to be eroding. The influx of aging hiphoppers is increasing and slowly and not so subtly changing the sound, although former rapper King George turned that idea on its head last year by inventing a southern soul sound so traditional it became more popular than anything else out there.

Now, into this Tower of Babel of southern soul styles, Chicagoan Stan Mosley re-emerges with a “live-instrument” album—No Soul, No Blues—brought to you by the same Austin folks who released Crystal Thomas’s straight-blues album two years ago. Which, of course, brings up the age-old argument that a significant portion of the music-loving public (read especially blues purists) will not listen to southern soul music because of its programming, and that (at the other extreme) certain southern soul deejays won’t play live-instrument records because (they say) it doesn’t sound like southern soul.

First, for those who may not know, or may not remember….Stan Mosley was one of the stars of early contemporary southern soul (90’s-00’s). His tender and heart-warming ballad “Rock Me” is as admired and beloved by the hardcore audience today as the ballads of Johnnie Taylor (JT just had more), and his groove-friendly jam “Anybody Seen My Boo?” played like an anthem through many a party and car trip. Stan sang the music of the finest composers: Floyd Hamberlin…Frederick Knight…Stan recorded for Malaco when Malaco was in full flower (and used live instruments)…

Still, Mosley’s largely forgotten. He was never the promotional type in the first place, and although he’s produced fairly regularly over the years, the albums have come in average intervals of three years, making it hard to keep a fan base. But Stan can still sing with the best of them. He hasn’t lost a step.

Which brings us to the music. I’m blown away by the title track “Bluesman (No Soul, No Blues),” and I’m not one of those fellas who won’t play “live-instrument” music. I don’t believe it violates the southern soul sound. Just the opposite. It reminds me of the best of traditional southern soul—big-boy stuff like Clarence Carter, Al Green, Brook Benton, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Picket, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke. I grew up on soul music played live. The problem in those days was the static. But we didn’t notice the ambient noise, whether from the turntable or the radio, so it really wasn’t a problem.

That’s precisely the way current southern soul fans regard programming, or mixing programming with live instruments. Who doesn’t program? It’s more or less ubiquitous. But when I do hear a great song like “No Soul, No Blues,” played with all-live instruments, I have to admit I’m ecstatic. The verses gallop along. The chorus chords are unforgettable. The sound is incredible, especially the horns, which always stand out when live. Stan’s vocal is more than up to the task. Hell, he sounds like he’s twenty years old.

I like all the accessible stuff on this set. “The Temps’ “Can’t Get Next To You” is a wondrous duet with the aforementioned Crystal Thomas, who collaborates throughout. Ditto for “Stomp” (obscure Wilson Pickett), “I Smell A Rat” and “Change of Heart”. There are three, four, maybe five songs on “No Soul, No Blues” that will thrill anyone who loves soul music. But I can’t give out YouTube links.

That’s another difference between the “live” folks and the “programming” folks. Because they pay for all those sidemen—the Moeller Brothers (guitar, drums), Mike Archer (bass), Anthony Farrell (organ) and Kaz Kazanoff, John Mills and Al Gomez (The Texas Horns)—and studio time, there is no YouTube presence. And by the way, this record has been out for over a year without anything but a “teaser” on YouTube, first with P-Vine through a Japanese release and now from Dialtone in Austin where the CD was created. I guess you could call it old-school marketing for an old-school sound.

Other tracks that stand out are “What You Need,” and by “accessible” I mean exactly what this tune has in spades—melody, pacing, soulfulness. “Right Next Door (Because Of Me)” is interesting. Not only does the historical antecedent totally escape me, but I can’t help hearing echoes of Stevie Johnson’s (aka Stevie J. Blues’) southern soul classic, “Because Of Me,” and wondering where Stevie picked up that riff.

The balance of the album is “da blues,” and as readers know, traditional blues is not my expertise nor passion. I have no doubt blues fans will be as impressed with the execution as I was by the songs of interest to the southern soul audience, however. “No Soul, No Blues” is old-school bluesy, maybe too much so for today’s market, but it would be unfortunate to say the least if this kind of incandescent southern soul music ever becomes “out of bounds”.

—Daddy B. Nice

Buy Stan Mosley’s new NO SOUL, NO BLUES album at Antone’s Record Shop.

Sample/Buy Stan Mosley’s new NO SOUL, NO BLUES album at Apple.


March 1, 2023:

JETER JONES: Sugar Hill Highway 84 (Jones Boyz Entertainment Worldwide)


Five Stars ***** Can’t Miss. Pure Southern Soul Heaven.

The only song I don’t like on this album is the song everyone else likes (according to social media), the first one, “Put It On Me”. It’s funny, because Tucka also just released a song called, “Put It On Me,” and I don’t like it either. In Tucka’s case, he goes to extraordinary lengths to dress up the pig, which makes it even worse. The “pig” is the melody. So many of the Ecko Records albums of the last decade started out with pigs for melodies. I call them “trying-to-please-everyone” songs. Middle-of-the-road stuff, more irritating to a fanatic like your Daddy B. Nice than out-and-out failures.

But I digress…The rest of the album is all one could ask for from the Kang of Trailride Blues, a sprawling cornucopia of musical delights, whether you’re listening to it “like a hawk” or merely in the background. I wrote about many of the songs already in my “New Album Alert” December 17th (see the Jeter Jones Artist Guide, or if there already scroll down), so enthused was I by the seamless execution, the daring variety, the sun-and-shadows contemplativeness brought to a vast range of experience.

Jeter gets into divorce, for example, with the wistful but underlyingly-romantic “Gone” and the wonderfully nightmarish “Free,” and as a close Jeter Jones watcher I can say that’s a first. But those songs are contrasted with the anthem-like “I Ain’t Leaving My Lady” and obliterated (at least for its three-minute duration) by the charming and witty “Church Candy”.

All have solid musical structures, as does the marvelously-produced and affectingly-sung “Come To The Trailride,” the #10-ranked single of 2022. Speaking of trailrides, “Trailride Certified 3” may surprise at first with its rapping verse but grows exponentially in allure as one listens again and again. One can say the same for the remix of “Old School,” more of a chant-and-rap with the melody assigned to the background, meeting current, increasingly melody-driven hiphop in the happy center of popular music.

“I Found Love,” exquisitely sung by Jeter, captured the #1 single spot in Daddy B. Nice’s Top 10 Singles for February ’23. “Ooh Wee Baby,” with the head-turning vocalist Volton Wright, is a bedroom ballad for the ages, and “We Be Acting Up” is a rousing, simultaneously minimalistic and futuristic blues hybrid unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

The abundance and bounty in this album is off the charts, and of the recent Jeter Jones collections (since the “Trailride Certifieds” era), I’d put Sugar Hill Highway 84 near the top, way above the “Jones Boyz: 2 Kings” and “Da Legend Of Sweet Jeter Jones” and right up there if not above “Mufassa,” “Fish Grease Friday” and “Dhis Him”. Enjoy!

—Daddy B. Nice

Read more commentary on SUGAR HILL HIGHWAY 84 in Daddy B. Nice’s New Album Alert!

Listen to all the tracks from SUGAR HILL HIGHWAY 84 on YouTube.

Buy Jeter Jones new SUGAR HILL HIGHWAY 84 at Blues Critic.


December 24, 2022:


Wilson Meadows, Willie Clayton, Arthur Young, Avail Hollywood, Volton Wright, Big G, LaMorris Williams, Jay Morris Group

JAY MORRIS GROUP: Tell My Story (William J. Morris)

With the phenomanal “Knee Deep” (now running at 32 million YouTube views) the Jay Morris Group was the hottest thing in southern soul music as 2022 began. Then the hurricane known as King George made landfall and they were blown away like the sand and the dunes, out into the ocean, out of sight, out of mind. Now, on Thanksgiving 2022, they return with their third studio album, Tell My Story. The dominant first impression of the set is more of the same. Every track is a ballad. The three-part harmonies (Jay, Zee & K-Monique) follow the formula of the group’s second album, Long Story Short: contemplative lyrics on personal relationships—melodies and tempos with scarcely any variation. Listening to the album is like listening to one huge, prolonged song.

“4 Fa 4,” the group’s more lively-tempoed original hit, would sound radical placed amongst these tunes set in the long, strong shadow of “Knee Deep”. Speaking of which, the group’s blockbuster gets yet another update in “Knee Deep Part 3,” where the lost loved one comes back only to be spurned by Zee, who has moved on. (Very lifelike.) The most promising potential single, “I Love It Here,” breaks some refreshing new ground production-wise. (Watch for it in Daddy B. Nice’s Top 10 Singles for December ’22.) “Wanna Be The Woman,” showcasing K-Monique, adds a little zest, and “Why,” the opening cut, appears to be the group’s bid for a new “Knee Deep”.

Listen to the Jay Morris Group singing “I Love It Here” on YouTube.

Listen to all the tracks from the Jay Morris Group’s new TELL MY STORY album on YouTube.

Listen to all the tracks from The Jay Morris Group’s new TELL MY STORY album at Spotify.

Buy The Jay Morris Group’s new TELL MY STORY album at Apple.


LAMORRIS WILLIAMS: Mutant: Stolen Dreams (Leonard M. Williams II)

Once again, LaMorris Williams has put out two albums in a year (2020)(scroll down). Not only has LaMorris released MUTANT: STOLEN DREAMS—strange title—but another album, Elephant In The Room appeared earlier. The only promotional heads-up I can remember was for the single “From The Country”.

LaMorris has opted for a “path less taken” approach to fame. His bookings are minimal, his promotional apparatus…well, there is none, and he may even be disillusioned with the southern soul scene. He may not be turning his back on southern soul, but he refuses to cater to it, and his creative stance carries over into his material. This is not a singer/songwriter searching desperately for a trendy, hit single. (With the possible exception of “For The Country”.) It’s an artist staying simple and true to himself, recording songs that pique his interest. “If My Girl Can’t Come” is a good example. “Best Friend For Life” is another.

“Piece Of Your Love” is the nastiest “grown-folks” song I’ve heard in awhile. The protagonist is cheating on a wife who “gets off at eleven”. “Bad Bitch” has this head-turner: “Wait a minute, baby, I didn’t call you nothing. You called yourself a bad bitch. I’m just agreeing with you.” LaMorris Williams is into his own world for sure, and more often than not it’s musically gorgeous.

Listen to all the tracks from LaMorris Williams’ new MUTANT: STOLEN DREAMS on YouTube.

Buy LaMorris Williams’ new MUTANT: STOLEN DREAMS album at Apple.


BIG G: My Lucky Day (Cynthia Vaughan)

This is something like Big G’s twenty-second or twenty-third album (not counting retrospective collections) spanning nearly a quarter-century. The most prominent track and also the first single is “My Lucky Day,” a part-bittersweet and part-vindictive lament addressed to a departing partner with lyrics like “Someone else has been getting your love/ It might be the next door neighbor” and “So you’re leaving me/ Go on and make my day”. The latter is from the chorus, a memorable and sweetly melodic phrase in which Big G is joined by his fine female back-up singer. (#9, Daddy B. Nice’s Top 10 Singles, October 2022.)

G dips into his extensive catalog to remix 2008’s Heart & Soul album’s “Mr. Do Right” without the rap sections and 2009’s Coming At You album’s “Love On The Beach” with a West Indies musical flair. The best lyric line is “Smell the fresh air/ No one cares what color your skin may be.”

Of the new songs, “Honey Love,” with voice-overs featuring arguing mates, stands out, as does the dance-tempoed “Everything And More”. Also worth checking out is “What About You,” a vivid account of lust and temptation, specifically a man after “the woman of my best friend”.

Listen to all the tracks from Big G’s MY LUCKY DAY album on YouTube.

Buy Big G’s MY LUCKY DAY album at Blues Critic.

Buy Big G’s new MY LUCKY DAY album at Apple.


VOLTON WRIGHT: Love Me Right (Jones Boyz Ent.)

Volton Wright’s pandemic-era album LOVE ON YOU was an impressive southern soul debut, all the more so because it kicked off with three hit-single-caliber tunes: “Southern Soul Girl” (feat. T.K. Soul), “Super Woman” (feat. J.D. & Jeter Jones) and “Circles”. “Super Woman’s” instrumental track, for example, harked back to Michael Jackson’s
“Human Nature,” with similar romantic ambience.

Wright’s new album LOVE ME RIGHT falls short of those auspicious beginnings but does not disappoint, offering even more songs (13 total) with its finest tracks buried within the body of the set. A superb ballad with a delicate melody, a self-contained instrumental track and convincing vocal, “Lost & Found” proves once again that the best southern soul insinuates rather than overwhelms. With the couplet “I was looking for a woman/ She was right there,” “She Was Right There” recounts the plaintive regrets of a would-be lover who overlooked the friend who might have been the answer. As they did with Volton’s first album, Jeter Jones and R&B Pooh contribute verses and harmonies, making a resounding vocal impression. And finally, “Don’t Go,” with a simple, climbing chord progression, plies that modest middle ground of southern soul, alternating a soft, caressing vocal style with aggressive, harder-hitting interludes, lifting this simple but memorable melody to the status of an anthem.

Listen to Volton Wright’s new LOVE ME RIGHT CD on YouTube.

Listen to Volton Wright’s new LOVE ME RIGHT CD on Spotify.

Buy Volton Wright’s new LOVE ME RIGHT CD at Apple.


AVAIL HOLLYWOOD: Love, Lies & Loyalty (Avail Hollywood)

“I Had To Lie” charted at #6 in Daddy B. Nice’s Top 10 Singles for September 2022.


6. “I Had To Lie”——Avail Hollywood

Ms. Jody did a song called “I Had To Lie” and this song by Avail Hollywood is almost as charming, with additional elements to recommend it: Avail’s vocal, a superb arrangement, scintillating production, and that super-tasty lead guitar used on 2021’s Best Mid-Tempo Song “Dukes & Boots”.

Listen to Avail Hollywood singing “I Had To Lie” on YouTube


“Be Careful” is the other major song of the set. Released as a single this past summer, I could find no oharting or commentary on it in my Top 10 Singles or Top 40 Singles, meaning I either didn’t think it had hit potential or simply missed it. “Be Careful” has a slow, languid tempo—possibly a reason for overlooking it—but in every other respect the ballad is first-rate, with a pristine instrumental track and typical, make-the-women-swoon, Hollywood vocal. Christopher Estell (aka Avail) has a style as powerful as the tides.

Of course, no Avail Hollywood album would be complete without his trademark theme, a “drinking-slash-wasted” song, and on LOVES, LIES & LOYALTY it’s “I Gotta Stop Drinking,” complete with the signature horn phrase from the chorus that’s been the backbone of “Drinking Again” and “Wasted” and their previously-recorded iterations. “Beautiful Sex” with Methrone is in the same vein, slow and bedroom-ready. All in all, this is a prototypical Avail Hollywood album, perhaps not as cutting-edge as BLACK LOCOMOTIVE but just as swinging, and executed with sophistication, attention to detail and lots of heart.

Listen to all the tracks from Avail Hollywood’s new LOVES, LIES & LOYALTY on YouTube.

Listen to all the tracks from Avail Hollywood’s LOVES, LIES & LOYALTY album at Spotify.

Sample/Buy Avail Hollywood’s new Loves, Lies & Loyalty album at Blues Critic.

Sample/Buy Avail Hollywood’s new Love, Lies & Loyalty album at Apple.


ARTHUR YOUNG: Back To The Blues (Summit Boy Ent.)

Wow. On first impression, there’s more substance in Back To The Blues than in the preceding Vols. 1 & 2 of “Trucker’s Blues” put together. At the very least, it’s an extremely interesting set, although it does start unassumingly. “It’s Friday” and “Bag It Up” are not remakes of Sir Charles Jones’ or Nathaniel Kimble’s classic singles. I scolded another singer/songwriter—J-Wonn, for using B.B. King’s “The Thrill Is Gone”—just last month, but Arthur evidently skipped that lecture. Speaking of classics, the record from “Back ToThe Blues” that turned my head was “This Time It Was Me,” #1 on Daddy B. Nice’s Top 10 Southern Soul Singles (October 2022):

1. “This Time It Was Me”—–Arthur Young

This insider’s delight muscled its way up the playlist by hook and by crook. Instrumentally, of course, it’s a downgrade from Ronnie Lovejoy’s magnificent “Sho’ Wasn’t Me,” and at first you’ll be fascinated by the relative drop-offs in production as Young faithfully renders the song right down to the legendary female back-up singers. But then, as you continue to hear it with other new music, it grows on you. Not only does Young throw his complete body and spirit into his most tremendous vocal ever. He gets so far into the lyrics he genuinely updates the classic “case of mistaken identity” for the new generation.

Listen to Arthur Young singing “This Time It Was Me” on YouTube.


Re-recording “Sho’ Wasn’t Me” was the equivalent of walking on sacrilegious ground, yet Arthur Young comes out smelling like a rose. “Back To The Blues” also features the return of “Catfishing,” recorded and released the way it should have been in the first place. (Scroll down for prior write-ups on that, and thank you, Arthur.) Two tracks have been solid radio singles this year: the memorable “Country Man” and “Mr. Bartender,” featuring Big Yayo, the lone guest artist on the CD.

Also watch for the catchy and libidinous “Chocolate Swirl” and “Can’t Be No Fool,” the latter with a jooking, “Good Booty Judy”-like rhythm track. There’s also a stepping song called “Just Another Friday” that is sure to gain fans. Don’t want to be premature, but Back To The Blues sure seems to fulfill the promise the “Trucker’s Blues” albums never quite delivered.

Listen to Arthur Young singing all the tracks from BACK TO THE BLUES on YouTube.

Listen to all the tracks from Arthur Young’s new BACK TO THE BLUES album at Spotify.

Buy Arthur Young’s new BACK TO THE BLUES album at Blues Critic.

Buy Arthur Young’s new BACK TO THE BLUES album at Apple.


WILLIE CLAYTON: Caesar Soul & Blues (Endzone Ent.)

“Don’t Make Me Beg” is the overriding reason to get this CD—or at least the MP3. What a song! While it may not be on the heavenly level of Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman,” it is close—a kind of lower-key version. Love, integrity, wisdom and heartache mingle with astonishing force. The vocal rendering never slips. Written by Christopher Forrest and Clayton and performed by an all live band, “Don’t Make Me Beg,” is exquisitely produced in tandem with Daryl Cooper.

Listen to Willie Clayton singing “Don’t Make Me Beg” on YouTube.

The remaining seven tracks (a large EP or small CD) aren’t as distinguished across-the-board as its predecessor, the 12-track Soul Caesar, but neither do they detract, buoyed as they are by Willie’s all-live band, including the aforementioned producer Cooper and composer Forrest. The mid-tempo “You Can’t Beat A Woman” is a potential single. Compositionally speaking, “Find My Way” is nothing to write home about, but Willie gives it one of his best and widest-ranging vocals. Also no great shakes from a writing perspective, “Part Time Lover” and “Oh What A Night” are nevertheless good enough to fill a dance floor.

–Daddy B. Nice

Listen to all the tracks from CAESAR SOUL & BLUES on YouTube.

Buy Willie Clayton’s new CAESAR SOUL & BLUES CD at Blues Critic.


WILSON MEADOWS: Wilson, Last Name Meadows (Music Access)

In May of this year Meadows published a five-song EP titled Wilson, Last Name Meadows. This new and expanded CD of the same name, Wilson, Last Name Meadows, bolsters the former EP with five additional tunes: two recent radio singles—“Just Hang Tonight” with Sir Charles Jones and “We Doin’ Alright” with Beat Flippa—and three formerly-recorded singles, “At-Ti-Tude”, “Lady Luck” and “Jump On It”.

“Just Hang Tonight” is a splendid Sir Charles production, and Meadows is both made to fit (by Charles) and does fit (all Wilson) seamlessly into the graceful fabric of the song. “We Doin’ Alright” is a dance jam with a funk edge, a perfect vehicle for the groove-master Meadows, and Beat Flippa wraps it all in a comforting blanket of horn fills that contrasts the song’s gritty rhythm track with a melodic hook that lingers long after listening.

These two singles highlight this new and expanded set. The only other track that comes close to their perfection is the Wilson Meadows classic, “Still My Love,” which Wilson has reprised on his last three long-play recordings and whose official video has drawn a jaw-dropping fourteen milllion views on YouTube in less than three years, an unheard-of number for a two-decade-old southern soul standard. (Note that the YouTube link above is not the re-tooled and skillfully-burnished version presented on Wilson, Last Name Meadows.)

Of the last three songs in the set, all taken from 2018’s The Facts Of Life, “Lady Luck” arguably best captures Wilson Meadows’ unique blend of vulnerability/sensitivity and penchant for smoking hooks.

Listen to Wilson Meadows singing the first five songs (beginning with “I’m Curious”) of his new WILSON LAST NAME MEADOWS CD on YouTube.

Buy Wilson Meadows’ new WILSON LAST NAME MEADOWS CD at Blues Critic.



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