Daddy B. Nice’s Top 10 “BREAKING” Southern Soul Singles
TOP 10 May 2023
The first third of 2023 (already passed!) hasn’t been bad for new southern soul, but it doesn’t hold a candle to 2022 when the phenomenon that is King George came out of nowhere and hit the southern soul sweet spot. He’s had a couple of good singles since that initial explosion (since captured on Jook Joint Music), but nothing like the easy-going, slow-burning, mid-tempo, quintessentially southern-soul charm of “Night-time”. Fans, rejoice! This is King George in full flower, fulfilling his promise.
Listen to King George singing “Night-Time” on YouTube.
2. “Talk To Me”—–Arthur Young
Notice what’s different? Just what I’ve been harping on. The production! This is so good it sounds live. Robust bass and drums, a smoky soul organ, a bluesy lead guitar, even horns! This might be the most important record Arthur Young has made since “Funky Forty”. At last the finest up-and-coming vocalist in southern soul has a stage worthy of his unique pipes.
Listen to Arthur Young singing “Talk To Me” on YouTube.
3. “Brown Liquor”—–M. Cally
This is as close to an anthem as it gets for an artist breaking into the southern soul market. M. Cally has a sure artistic hand and a powerful voice, and he sounds like he’s found his one true home.
Listen to M. Cally singing “Brown Liquor” on YouTube.
4. “When I Stop Loving You”——William Bell
The national powers-that-be may call it “americana” but we know who William Bell is (a soul singer) and what it is (southern soul). Beautiful, live-instrument, southern soul. And how about those violins? Along with mouth harps, so sorely missed. From Bell’s One Step Closer To Home, the follow-up to his Grammy-winning THIS IS WHERE I LIVE album.
Listen to William Bell singing “When I Stop Loving You” on YouTube.
5. “Good Ole Lovin'”——Mr. Nelson
I discuss Mr. Nelson’s “Good Ole Lovin'” (and “my meat in her oven”) in my new CD review of Jaye Hammer’s BE HAPPY album, and it’s complimentary to Nelson, not Hammer. And when I say he’s less talented…well, that’s up to this point.
Listen to Mr. Nelson singing “Good Ole Lovin'” on YouTube.
6. “Won’t Be Your Fool”—–Teslanay
This is the promising young singer (and potential heartbreaker) who recorded “Red Beans And Rice”. Check out her photos at https://teslanay.com/
Listen to Teslanay singing “Won’t Be Your Fool” on YouTube.
7. “Just Came To Party”—–T. Howell
Debut artist T. Howell made Daddy B. Nice’s April “News & Notes” for confusing Sir Charles Jones and T.K. Soul. But that shouldn’t deter us from recognizing the fineness of his classic, throwback-sounding “Just Came To Party”.
Listen to T. Howell singing “Just Came To Party” on YouTube.
8. “Groove Together (Slide)”—–Uncle Gymini & Lady Jacquelyn (The Married Couple of Southern Soul)
This is a far-out song with a crazy, fizzy energy. At first I thought they were singing “the America of Southern Soul”. Then, after a few listenings, I began to hear it as “the miracle of Southern Soul”. Only later did I realize, “Oh yeah, it’s the married couple of southern soul”! It also uses the old disco-era “Boogie Shoes” horn riff that Nellie Travis lifted for “If I Back It Up”.
Listen to Uncle Gymini & Lady Jacquelyn singing “Groove Together (Slide)” on YouTube.
9. “Mz Connie’s Curvy Queens Slide”—–Mz Connie
Mz Connie’s the real deal. She’s already released a solid debut album and paired up with colleagues like L.J. Echols and Ciddy Boi P. Her new EP containing the zydeco/southern soul hybrid “CQ Slide” releases May 2nd. See Daddy B. Nice’s New Album Alert!
Listen to “Mz Connie singing Curvy Queens Slide” on YouTube.
10. TIE: DBN notes…Just could not leave either of these two songs off the Top 10 and there’s only one space left!
“My Own Party”—–C.J. Hill (Daddy C)
Been working its way up the charts for a while now, and deservedly so. By the way, based on two decades of doing this, I’d say C.J. Hill is a more unique name than “Daddy C”.
Listen to C.J. Hill singing “My Own Party” on YouTube.
“Hell WhenYou Well”—–Troy Murriel
You won’t be able to withstand the gravitational pull of this debut.
Listen to Troy Murriel singing “Hell WhenYou Well” on YouTube.
TOP 10 April 2023
1. “Let’s Chill”—–Carolyn Staten
Imagine the last dance before heading to the bedroom. Stepping beat. Plenty of hand-claps. Barefoot. Romantic. Rose petals on the floor. The kind of song that in the hands of most singers would dissolve into watery sentimentality. In Carolyn Staten’s hands, however, the words come across with surprising and realistic force. It’s all in the voice, which until now has transformed blues and funk-based jams. This is the first foray into love songs by the newest addition to Daddy B. Nice’s The New Generation Southern Soul, proving this trending artist can do it all.
Listen to Carolyn Staten singing “Let’s Chill” on YouTube.
2. “My Kinda Crazy”—–J-Wonn
J-Wonn has catapulted to a new high-altitude plateau with his last two albums. You’all know the kind of singer I’m talking about…My kinda crazy. From the new The Foundation album.
Listen to J-Wonn singing “My Kinda Crazy” on YouTube.
3. “Come Get Yo Shit”—–Queen Denae feat. M. Cally
Queen Denae hits the bullseye with this totally believable southern soul throwback. Whoever produced is a banger who knows his/her southern soul.
Listen to Queen Denae singing “Come Get Yo Shit” on YouTube.
4. “Get Out”——Sons Of Funk
Speed up the tempo a little, add a dancing groove, and presto! You have the male response to Queen Denae’s “Come Get Yo Shit”. Only the Sons of Funk put it like this: “I packed yo shit! / You gots to go!” Both debut singles just happened to collide this month.
Listen to the Sons Of Funk singing “Get Out” on YouTube.
5. “No Woman, No Cry”—–King Fred
What a long and winding road King Fred (Frederick Hicks) has taken in shaping his considerable mojo. Fred takes the title and chorus from Marley’s reggae classic but inserts an entirely new song and verses, reminding us of his brilliant debut, “Morning Delight,” which did something similar in taking off on another well-known pop tune of the time, “Afternoon Delight”.
Listen to King Fred singing “No Woman, No Cry” on YouTube.
6. “Lovin’ Me”—–Magic One
Magic One’s new Magic Show 3 continues his meteoric rise up the southern soul ranks with not only his usual singles-chart fare (“Henpecked,” “Super Fine”) but this short (only 2:40) and bittersweet, acapella-like bomb.
Listen to Magic One singing “Lovin’ Me” on YouTube.
7. “Just Like That” (DJ Calie Remix)”—–LaMarr Deuce Lubin
This song is soooo much fun, just like Lubin’s plaid pants in the dance-delirious, YouTube video. You can’t play this one loud enough.
Listen to LaMarr Deuce Lubin singing “Just Like That” on YouTube.
8. “The Cowboy Slide”—–Jeter Jones
Trailride stepping and sliding as only Jeter can do. Nifty synth line. Get up and party!
Listen to Jeter Jones singing “The Cowboy Slide” on YouTube.
9. “Super Fine”—–Magic One
Quintessential Magic One (pronounced Magic Juan) from his hit-laden Magic Show 3.
Listen to Magic One singing “Super Fine” on YouTube.
10. “Drink My Liquor”—–Big Mel
Ever run into a guy who’s mired in sadness, and you feel for him but don’t know what to say? “Don’t hold it against me,” Big Mel says, “if I seem to be holding my distance.”
Listen to Big Mel singing “Drink My Liquor” on YouTube.
TOP 10 March 2023
1. “Top Of The Line”—–Narvel Echols
Wild, rough, yet melodic and anthemic, it has just the right cocktail of ingredients to hit that fabled southern soul “sweet spot”. Remember “Pour Me A Drank”? Narvel has done it again. From his new For The Ladies album.
Listen to Narvel Echols singing “Top Of The Line” on You Tube.
2. “Take You Down Through There”—–J-Wonn
J-Wonn ambles through a two-stepping tempo with rock-star assurance. Love it. Do more dance jams, J-Wonn. From his new The Foundation album.
Listen to J-Wonn singing “Take You Down Through There” on YouTube.
3. “Mr. Big Stuff”—–Evette Busby
No one really knows how you get signed to Malaco Records (so many greats have tried and failed). But Evette Busby did it. Let’s hope she fares better than Grady Champion and Queen Emily, who sank faster than stones. One thing you can’t deny. When Malaco produces a record, it’s on a whole other level. Second great cover song of the year.
Listen to Evette Busby singing “Mr. Big Stuff” on YouTube.
4. “Good Time” ——Tyree Neal
I’ve often praised Tyree Neal’s guitar and instrumental work (none better than this very song) while remaining relatively unimpressed with his singing.”Good Time” holds your attention from start to end. It’s a great ballad and an impressive vocal, alluringly double-tracked at times and divided into separate harmony lines at others, with a dash of call and response, and all made more indelible by the song’s brevity (3 minutes).
Listen to Tyree Neal singing “Good Time” on YouTube.
5. “What’s Happening Now”—–Jeter Jones
Jeter Jones gets socially conscious. A good thang.
Listen to Jeter Jones singing “What’s Happening Now” on YouTube.
See Daddy B. Nice’s new 5-Star (“Southern Soul Heaven”) Review of Jeter Jones’ SUGAR HILL HIGHWAY 84 .
6. “Just A Man”—–Volton Wright
It’s getting damned hard not to consider Volton Wright a top-of-the-line playa. Produced (and marketed) by Slack (Ronald Jefferson).
Listen to Volton Wright singing “Just A Man” on YouTube.
7. “Pour Up”—–Neko G (Neko Grinday)
A strong debut by a new artist.
Listen to Neko G. singing “Pour Up” on YouTube.
8. “Good Country Girl”—–Freaky B 2.0
A strong debut by a new artist.
Listen to Freaky B 2.0 singing “Good Country Girl” on YouTube.
9. “Steppin’ Out”—–Tyronica “Badgir” Rawls feat. King George
Yet another solid debut—this one assisted by King George (as forty-four thousand YouTube viewers already know).
Listen to Tyronica Rawls & King George singing “Steppin’ Out” on YouTube.
Also check out Tyronica Rawls on TikTok.
10. “Still With Her”—–F.P.J.
This is a slow turn by the young artist who had the hit single “If You Gone Pop It” with J-Wonn.
Listen to F.P.J. singing “Still With Her” on YouTube.
TOP 10 February 2023
1. “I Found Love”—–Jeter Jones
It’s not Johnnie Taylor’s gospel-drenched “I Found Love,” nor Robert “The Duke” Tillman’s, nor Jeff Floyd’s on that lonely highway. Yet Jeter Jones’ “I Found Love” succeeds on the strength of its Hemi-engine rhythm track and alluring chorus. “Good loving in the morning / Good cooking in the kitchen!” Jones’ vocal on the choruses—especially the little moans and clicks on the off-notes—accentuates the timing, transforming “I Found Love” into a sneakily pleasurable club (or kitchen) jam.
Listen to Jeter Jones singing “I Found Love” on You Tube.
2. “Moving At Your Speed”—–J’Cenae feat. J-Wonn
As vocal partners J’Cenae and J-Wonn are right up there with the classic male/female duos of soul’s storied past. The song comes dripping in emotion (and commercial crossover potential), yet it’s not cloying or sentimental.
Listen to J’Cenae & J-Wonn singing “Moving At Your Speed” on YouTube.
3. “Messy”—–King George feat. Coldrank
This tune has already launched like a missile on YouTube and other outlets and for good reason. It’s got the purest KG pedigree of any single he’s recorded since his introductory run of classics. See Daddy B. Nice’s Best of 2022.
Listen to King George and Coldrank singing “Messy” on YouTube.
4. “Boy You Got It”—–Stephanie McDee
The first notable cover song of the year, by Daddy B. Nice’s Best Female Vocalist of 2022, redoing King George’s “Girl You Got It”. And the first time I heard Stephanie drawl, “Ooh girl, I could just sop him up with a biscuit,” I laughed out loud in the middle of the record. Expertly produced.
Listen to Stephanie McDee singing “Boy You Got It” on YouTube.
5. “Free”—–Jeter Jones
This song has been working its way up the chart despite its negativity. Yes, it’s bleak. And yes, it’s weird. But once you open yourself to the weirdness—the high-pitched yells and wails etc.—and think of it as “the blues” (and divorce is definitely the blues), it all falls into place. From Jeter’s new Sugar Hill Highway 84.
Listen to Jeter Jones singing “Free” on YouTube.
6. “Woman In Love”—–David Brinston
Sunniest song David Brinston’s recorded in years. You may dreamily wonder why the subject of women in love (one of life’s miracles) doesn’t come up in song more often. And yet it’s there in the history. Remember Brinston’s Party Til The Lights Go Out”?
Listen to David Brinston singing “Woman In Love” on YouTube.
7. “You Know I Love You”—–J. Rizo
A strong debut by a new artist.
Listen to J. Rizo singing “You Know I Love You” on YouTube.
8. “Lick It”—–David J feat. Solomon Thompson
These two make magic when they harmonize.
Listen to David J and Solomon Thompson” singing “Lick It” on YouTube.
9. “Ooh Wee Baby”—–Jeter Jones feat. Volton Wright
Another good one from Jeter’s hit-laden Sugar Hill Highway 84.
Listen to Jeter Jones & Volton Wright singing “Ooh Wee Baby” on YouTube.
10. “It’s A Southern Soul Thang”—–DJ Harvey
Ever wonder what Lou Reed would have sounded like singing southern soul?
Listen to DJ Harvey singing “It’s A Southern Soul Thang” on YouTube.
TOP 10 January 2023
1. “Highway 55” —– Sir Charles Jones
“I put the gun to my head/ On Highway 55″… Who has the courage, character and musical palette to even deal with turning this kind of painful personal drama into art? Only Sir Charles. How about, for instance, the quick, apt, soap-opera-like trill of the organ following “Somebody’s trying to poison me”? Highway 55, of course, is I-55, the main north/south artery through the Mississippi Delta. From the King of Southern Soul’s new quasi-gospel album, My Life’s Testimony.
Listen to Sir Charles Jones singing “Highway 55” on YouTube.
2. “The Mac” —– West Love feat. King George
This feisty little lady just keeps exceeding expectations in her quest to become the #1 diva in southern soul. The title “The Mac” is puzzling. Of course, one thinks of “Return of the Mack”. The chorus is unusually sophisticated (jazzy)—mixed, filtered, enhanced—with a touch of the superb Dinah Washington in West Love’s vocal, but the verses are reassuringly down-to-earth—some of the best southern soul vocalizing in memory. Even the great King George’s vocal gets the musical version of a “perm”. Irresistible.
Listen to West Love & King George singing “The Mac” on YouTube.
3. “Church Candy”—–Jeter Jones
“Church Candy” begins unassumingly, but it’s perfect in its simplicity. A church-style organ gives the instrumental track a refreshingly original identity, and the story told in its lyrics is not only a charming vignette but a triumph of compression.
Listen to Jeter Jones singing “Church Candy” on YouTube.
4. “I Ain’t Leaving My Lady” —– Jeter Jones
Jeter Jones’ bountiful, new double-album Sugar Hill Highway 84, of which “Church Candy” and “I Ain’t Leaving My Lady” are part, delves into the nasty subject of divorce in the powerful songs “Free” and “Gone,” but the melodic and hauntingly evocative “I Ain’t Leaving My Lady” provides an uplifting counterpoint.
Listen to Jeter Jones singing “I Ain’t Leaving My Lady” on YouTube.
5. “Bayou Classy Lady” —– Ciddy Boi P feat. Keyun & The Zydeco Masters
Here’s the best southern soul/zydeco hybrid to come out lately. It’s my man Ciddy Boi P (“Can I Get It?,” “My Corner Sto”) once again working his feel-good magic.
Listen to Ciddy Boi P & Keyun & The Zydeco Masters singing “Bayou Classy Lady”.
6. “Hallelujah & Amen” —– Avail Hollywood
No one in current southern soul is vocalizing better than Avail Hollywood. He’s a joy to listen to, and he’s got a great vehicle in “Hallelujah & Amen”.
Listen to Avail Hollywood singing “Hallelujah & Amen” on YouTube.
7. “Bet Yo Mama Like It” —– Carlin Taylor
The instrumental track rocks. Another snappy hit from the performer who brought you the Top-25 Best of 2022 single “Keep It 100”.
Listen to Carlin Taylor singing “Bet Yo Mama Like It” on YouTube.
8. “Ol Skool Game” —– Chris Ivy
It’s Mr. Ivy of “Turn Road” fame, sporting a fine melody composed by Omar Cunningham.
Listen to Chris Ivy singing “Ol Skool Game” on YouTube.
9. “We Be Acting Up” —– Jeter Jones
Despite (or maybe because of) its minimalist, piano-pounding arrangement, this tune burns with the intensity of Jeter’s scorching blues vocal.
Listen to Jeter Jones singing “We Be Acting Up” on YouTube.
10. “Shot Of Moonshine” —– Marcellus The Singer
“Toxic Love” has accrued three million views on its various You
Tube pages, and Marcellus will only add to that audience with this mature outing, which proves he’s got this balladeering thing down.
Listen to Marcellus The Singer singing “Shot Of Moonshine” on YouTube.
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