James Payne

Daddy B. Nice's #92 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of James Payne by Daddy B. Nice
 



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"Fat Woman (Ain't Gonna Bump No More)"

James Payne

Composed by Buddy Killen and Bennie Lee McGinty


This is one of the most inspired and infectious vocals your Daddy B. Nice has heard in quite some time--so direct, so comfortable, so funny.

Joe Tex did the original three decades ago: "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)." Tex's version had that boogie-down rhythm de rigueur in the seventies, and it was a hit on both the R&B and pop charts, but James Payne's version, a fairly faithful rendition, sounds as contemporary and as "right" for Southern Soul today as Tex's disc did back then.

One of the "loosest" soul artists of his era, Joe Tex was merely following in the tradition of all the best novelty song performers from Cab Calloway to The Coasters up through present-day rappers like Busta Rhymes and Ludacris. What these artists have in common is a sense of humor and an aesthetic recognition of the insatiable appetite for humor in their fans. That's why Tex, long after his prime, was able to defy the odds and keep coming back with out-of-nowhere hits like "I Gotcha" and "Ain't Gonna Bump No More."

James Payne wisely slows "Fat Woman (Ain't Gonna Bump No More") down for today's Southern Soul audience (the mellow horn charts add immeasurably), but "Fat Woman" still swings and, in Payne's modest but credible treatment, eventually ingratiates.

It's deceptively simple. But that relaxed, "tossed-off" effect James Payne achieves takes a ton of talent. The arrangement is crisper than the original, but never strays far from the original in tone or message.

"Ain't gonna bump no more,
With no big fat woman."

(English teachers beware: the couplet packs in more double negatives than an NBA player doing a post-game interview.)

"Fat Woman" has an easy-going rhythm that will appeal to fans of Theodis Ealey's "Stand Up In It" or (going further back in time) to "boomers" still infatuated with Dave Mason's under-rated classic, "Feeling All Right" (later covered by Joe Cocker).

Nobody has heard the Tex original in years anyway, so listening to Fat Woman is like hearing a brand new song. And the best part is that, in the time-honored tradition of many Southern Soul hits (the aforementioned Theo Ealey's "Stand Up In It" and its many spin-offs, for instance), "Fat Woman" has spawned a "response" song,

"Tazz" Calhoun is a new female vocalist with a lot of R&B chops, and her song, "Broke Down Man," retaliates on behalf of the big women of the world with the refrain: "I ain't gonna bump no more/ With no broke-down man." She even sings:

"James Payne and Joe Tex,
Y'all fellas started this mess."

And how about the sarcasm in:

"You're the one who came over here in your
High-water, bell-bottom pants."

Listeners love to hear songs that feed off one another. In the glory days of Top 40 radio--the fifties and early sixties--"copycat" and "response" songs were common, and the surest way for an artist to know whether his material had entered the musical consciousness was to hear a song on the radio that had been inspired by his or her work.

"Said she knock me down once.
She hurt my hip.
Got my backbone, yeah,
Got it in a slip."

"Fat Woman," although critical of over-sized women, presumes the kind of familiarity with big ladies that betrays affection. In that sense it's very closely influenced by Bobby Rush's "Big Fat Woman," in which Rush wavers hilariously between affection and hostility for his full-bodied lady. Rush's song provides the biggest clue to why this theme is such a universal predicament.

Bobby Rush: "Well, I've been sit on, but not by a woman as big as you."

Big Fat Woman: "You got sit on last night." (Rush laughs.) "You didn't say that to me last night, Bobby."

Bobby Rush: "Well, last night you were doing things I couldn't resist. You know how to make a man feel good. You got it going on. . . Now don't rub up on me like that. Now look what you done--you done made me change my mind."

James Payne's "Fat Woman" is also a close relative to Big Cynthia's "Freaky With You" and "If You Wana Get It." However, the legacy of "fat" (not to mention "skinny") songs goes back through more artists and eras than can be covered in a brief review. The point is that James Payne rocks out in this tradition with as much swing and swagger as any artist ever has.

"The beautiful-lest (sic) thing
I ever seen,
But I'm here to tell you,
She's too much for me."

Love that "beautiful-est." It's a barometer of the song's insouciance. Let's hope that young James Payne, who is just getting started in his professional career, stays true to his lighter-side instincts.

--Daddy B. Nice


About James Payne

From Theodore, Alabama, a Gulf-coast suburb of Mobile, James Payne grew up singing gospel. He sang with various gospel groups, and toured extensively while still a teen, then formed or joined various secular bands based in the Mobile-Pensacola area, at one point touring with David Brinston.

His debut CD, Show Love, appeared on Mr. Tee Records in 2002. Buoyed by the success on the chitlin' circuit of the single, "Fat Woman (Ain"t Gonna Bump No More With No Big Fat Woman)," Payne made a name for himself as an up-and-coming Southern Soul vocalist.

For Real, Payne's second CD, appeared in 2003, under the Walter Thomas/James Payne imprint.


Song's Transcendent Moment

"Ain't gonna bump no more,
With no big fat woman."


Tidbits

1.

James Payne grew up playing the alto saxophone, which accounts for the three saxophone-based instrumental tracks on the Show Love CD.

2.

June 12, 2006. I've just received a promo copy of a new James Payne song, "Two Places At The Same Time," so a new album is likely just around the bend. The song is in a very different style from "Ain't Gonna Bump." It's. . . well. . .serious. But it works. The vocal is impassioned, and the arrangement has a regal-sounding horn arrangement that meshes well. Stay tuned.

3.

February 26, 2007. Well, the answer to the question above, so far, is that "serious" doesn't work. James Payne's "Two Places At The Same Time" hasn't made a dent in chitlin' circuit playlists--and in fact, I've seen no notice of a CD. For now, at least, fans will have to be content with replaying "Fat Woman," which sounds as good now as it did when it first came out. DBN.

4.

Author's Forward, November 30, 2008:

This prologue isn't so much a nod to the artist James Payne as it is a tribute to the song, "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With A Big Fat Woman)", originally done by Joe Tex.

This year--2008--marked the appearance on the chitlin' circuit of yet another wildly popular version of the "Ain't Gonna Bump" classic, this time called "I Wanna Bump" by new Southern Soul artist John Haley.

By your Daddy B. Nice's addition, that's a total of at least three versions of the Joe Tex classic to be recorded in the last five years, making "Ain't Gonna Bump" one of the key classic songs of the contemporary Southern Soul catalog.

Here's the list of songs that picnic on the novelty-song lyrics and delectable, mid-tempo melody of "Bump," a tempo--it would only be fair to mention--that James Payne achieved by slowing down the Tex original. (The list doesn't include "Big Fat Woman" songs such as Bobby Rush's that have a different melody.)

"Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)" by Joe Tex
(the original)

"Fat Woman (Ain't Gonna Bump No More) by James Payne
(the rocking Southern Soul version that brought the song back to the contemporary chitlin' circuit)

"Broke Down Man (Ain't Gonna Bump No More)" by Tazz
(Tazz Calhoun's charming answer-song to James Payne's "Fat Woman, in which she sings:")

"Now Joe Tex and James Payne,
You all started this mess.
Now it's my time to clown.
Yes, I knocked you down."

(. . . and finally, in 2008 "Bump" re-emerged with its melody intact, including a fine, seductive female back-up:)

"I Wanna Bump (With Somebody's Woman)" by John Haley


Note that Tazz's (Theresa Calhoun's) "Broke Down Man" from the It's All Good CD (Mardi Gras 2005) is out of print. However, used copies can be obtained (currently $9-$18) by clicking the link.

Note also (when clicking the Joe Tex links) that a used copy of Joe Tex's "Greatest Hits" is selling for more than $300!

--Daddy B. Nice


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Bobby Rush's "Big Fat Woman," you'll love James Payne's "Fat Woman."


Honorary "B" Side

"Fat Woman/Sax "



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Fat Woman (Ain't Gonna Bump No More) by James Payne
Fat Woman (Ain't Gonna Bump No More)


CD: Show Love
Label: Mr. Tee

Sample or Buy
Show Love


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Fat Woman/Sax  by James Payne
Fat Woman/Sax


CD: Show Love
Label: Mr. Tee

Sample or Buy
Show Love


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Dancing And Swinging by James Payne
Dancing And Swinging


CD: For Real
Label: Walter Thomas/James Payne

Sample or Buy
For Real


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy I'm A Fool by James Payne
I'm A Fool


CD: Show Love
Label: Mr. Tee

Sample or Buy
Show Love


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Treat Her Right by James Payne
Treat Her Right


CD: Show Love
Label: Mr. Tee

Sample or Buy
Show Love


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy What's Going On by James Payne
What's Going On


CD: For Real
Label: Walter Thomas/James Payne

Sample or Buy
For Real


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Hold On by James Payne
Hold On


CD: Show Love
Label: Mr. Tee

Sample or Buy
Show Love


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Show Love by James Payne
Show Love


CD: Show Love
Label: Mr. Tee

Sample or Buy
Show Love


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Skinny Legs And All by James Payne
Skinny Legs And All


CD: For Real
Label: Walter Thomas/James Payne

Sample or Buy
For Real


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