Unckle Eddie

Daddy B. Nice's #98 ranked Southern Soul Artist

Portrait of Unckle Eddie by Daddy B. Nice

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"I'm Gone Tell Momma w/ Crystal Dylite"

Unckle Eddie

Composed by Eddie Wilson

Crystal Dylite: "Momma, Momma, we home! And I got something to tell you."

Unckle Eddie: "Crystal Dylite, keep your mouth shut."

"I'm Gone Tell Momma" is a duet-slash-dialogue between Unckle Eddie, playing a beleaguered father, and Crystal Dylite, who sounds like a precocious six-year-old but is actually a grown woman, or at least, a full-grown girl. I say that because I've seen her picture, and it's good to know that Unckle Eddie won't be pulling a toddler onstage with him to perform the song at one in the morning in some hole in the wall on the Gulf Coast.

Crystal Dylite: "Momma, wait 'till I tell you what we done today."

Unckle Eddie: "Don't be worrying your Momma with that now."

Crystal Dylite: "We went a whole lot of places."

Unckle Eddie: "What we done today is just our-our-our little secret, you hear?"

Crystal Dylite: "Daddy say he gonna give me five dollars if I say I didn't see him kissing that woman. And Momma, I didn't see him kissing that woman. And Daddy, where's my money?"

Daddy and daughter have just returned from doing some suspicious domestic errands, and the little tattletale, Crystal Dylite, recounts every misstep--from the off-limits music to the brown-bag liquor to the tryst with a woman in the park--with a zest that verges on the sadistic, all born of the little girl's complete confidence in her command of her audience (her Momma) and her understanding of her unique power over her Daddy in this domestic situation.

Meanwhile, Unckle Eddie as her Daddy--in a voice halfway-between Red Foxx and Amos & Andy--moans and demurs.

"You know you can't be making up all these stories in front of your Momma."

But Crystal Dylite is bubbling over with information.

"We went by this house, and Daddy told me to stay in the car. He say, 'I'll be right back.' When he knocked on the door, a woman opened the door. And I said, 'Ooooh, I'm gonna tell my Momma!' And Daddy said he didn't care."

The chorus--

"Stop telling
Everything you know.
The next time
I leave the house,
You can believe
That you won't go!"

--is uptempo, not especially hummable or memorable, but the wonderfully-nuanced dialogue in the verses, anchored by the fine walking guitar line of sideman Ron Vincent, burns itself into the brain with its familial vividness. "I'm Gone Tell Momma" is destined to be a classic Southern Soul novelty song or there's no justice in the world, even in the small and humble confines of the chitlin' circuit.

Eddie Wilson started out as a rapper named EZ in a group called the HBO Crew in the late-nineties, Pensacola-Mobile-Biloxi swathe of the Gulf Coast, which unlike today (take it from your Daddy B. Nice) was a wasteland for Southern Soul.

Somewhere along the line, Eddie got "religion" and decided to graduate to "grown folks music," fashioning himself in the novelty-blues tradition of Jimmy Lewis and Poonanny and Southern oral-tradition storytellers such as Willie P. Richardson, whose "phone pranks" albums have entertained listeners in the Deep South for two decades.

Another musical inspiration for Unckle Eddie was undoubtedly Bobby Rush. You can hear echoes of the hilarious Bobby Rush/Vickie Baker duet, "I Don't Want You To Leave Your Wife" in the equally funny verses of "I'm Gone Tell Momma."

It's interesting to remember that Bobby Rush, in his first decade of recording, also plied a unique and hard-to-categorize blues he called "folk-funk" or something similar, and his style made him--like Unckle Eddie today--something of an outsider.

Unckle Eddie's "jump blues" doesn't sound like anything currently on the Southern Soul charts. As often as not, it recalls inspired white interpreters of the blues like Canned Heat, Dr. John, Leon Redbone, The Band (especially vocalist Levon Helm) and even Australian alternative/popster Nick Cave.

Unckle Eddie's first album, Party Tonight, which came out in 2004, went largely unnoticed. But its centerpiece, "Black Magic Woman," was the most-requested song on the now-defunct, Pensacola-based Southern Soul website named Chitlin' Circuit for what seemed the better part of two years (2004-2005) and became so popular along that stretch of the Gulf Coast that it was played as a Mardi Gras song.

I could only hear a sample in those days, and the sound quality of "Black Magic Woman" and its equally fascinating partner-single, "Taking Applications," left much to be desired.

"I'm Gone Tell Momma" and the rest of the songs from Unckle Eddie's 2009 Shake The Dust Off CD represented a quantum leap forward in terms of production, and yet those early, rudimentary songs were in many ways a more accurate barometer of Unckle Eddie's ouevre than the more streamlined, novelty Southern Soul of "I'm Gone Tell Momma."

If you like crazy, tinny, garage-band, swamp-and-bayou Southern Soul the way the late Big Ike used to do it in a song like "Teddy Bear," then you'll love Unckle Eddie, and you'll absolutely revel in the bird calls, hoots and hollers, and every conceivable other jungle-noise diversion in "Black Magic Woman."

Listen to Unckle Eddie singing "Black Magic Woman" Live at an outdoor, lawn-chair and cooler concert on YouTube.

"Black Magic Woman--
The root doctor--
Put a spell on me.

She took my footloose
And stole my fancy free."

The best approach for a fan new to Unckle Eddie is to get used to "I'm Gone Tell Momma" and the other great singles from Shake The Dust Off--about which more in a minute--before travelling backward into the unpolished roughness of the first CD. Once you've gotten used to Unckle Eddie's backwoods folklore in a slightly more slicked-up fashion, you'll wade into the old, crude stuff--"Black Magic Woman," "Taking Applications" and "You Pulled Me Back" from the Party Tonight CD--with an enthusiasm that overlooks any and all technical flaws.

"Taking Applications" in particular foreshadowed some of the finest cuts on Shake The Dust Off, introducing fans to an uptempo, high-energy, propulsive rhythmic texture that has been largely lacking from Southern Soul of late.

You can hear it on the new album in "I'm Gone Tell Momma" and "This Old Bull," a tune in which the guitar work of Vincent recalls some of the best moments from Norman Greenbaum's gospel-rock classic, "Spirit In The Sky." The tinkling piano riff that commences "This Old Bull" is a master stroke, although the programmed horns in the song's mid-section are an unfortunate flaw.

"Butch Didn't Attack"--about a cuckolded husband who is so snake-bit even his trusted dog betrays him--is one of the finest tracks on Shake The Dust Off. The terrific lyrics are buttressed by a fine, country-tinged Unckle Eddie vocal. At five minutes plus, "Butch Didn't Attack" is a little too long, but it's unique.

"At The Cabaret," Unckle Eddie's club anthem, has less flavor than "Butch Didn't Attack" or "This Old Bull." For Unckle Eddie, its about as generic and conservative as you're going to get, but it too has a distinct verve.

Listen to Unckle Eddie singing "At The Cabaret" on YouTube.

Your Daddy B. Nice gave Shake The Dust Off a five-star, "Southern Soul heaven" rating and review when it came out. The album is a breath of fresh air. Unckle Eddie is a true original. He imitates no one. And once you understand this and succumb to his songs, you'll be returning to "Black Magic Woman" and "Taking Applications," ready to rock and roll like back in the day, the technique be damned.

--Daddy B. Nice

About Unckle Eddie

Eddie James Wilson, Jr. (aka Unckle Eddie) was born in Chicago, Illinois. "I was immediately shipped South," Unckle Eddie told an interviewer. "I got off the boat in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and I've spent most of my adult life in the Mississippi area around Moss Point and Pascagoula." (The Gulf Coast west of Mobile, Alabama.)

Eddie started out in rap music in the nineties with a group called the HBO crew. He started his own label, Toljadol Records, and debuted as a Southern Soul artist in 2004 with the Party Tonight album, featuring his "signature" single, "Black Magic Woman." The album cast Wilson as performer, composer, arranger and producer.

Shake The Dust Off (Toljadol, 2009) followed five years later, featuring a popular novelty song, "I'm Gone Tell Momma," with Crystal Dylite, and noteworthy singles including "Butch Didn't Attack," "At The Cabaret," "This Old Bull" and others.

With the exception of the ballad "Treat Her Like A Lady," starring Steve Griffin as lead vocalist, Wilson again wrote, sang and produced all tracks in his patented "jump blues" style, the overall effort executed much more professionally than his debut.

Although the horns on Shake The Dust Off were programmed, "live" instruments were used on most other background tracks, utilizing Ernie Vincent, Vertis Lucas and James "Chip" Mercadel on lead guitars, Darryl Hammond and DJ Handy on keyboards, Herbert Conaway on bass and Eddie Wilson, Johnnie Reeves, Steve Griffin and Donna Renae on background vocals.

Note that live "horns," Mardi Gras-style, were utilized to great effect on Unckle Eddie's "Black Magic Woman" from the Party Tonight CD.

Unckle Eddie released a Christmas album called Christmas Blues (Toljadol, 2009).

Unckle Eddie released a compilation album entitled Mardi Gras Party in 2011.

Another Unckle Eddie compilation album, The Casino Is Calling Me, also appeared on I-Tunes only in 2011.

Unckle Eddie presently resides in Gautier, Mississippi.

Song's Transcendent Moment

Crystal Dylite:

"Momma, he (Daddy) bought a package.
'Cause he stopped at the package store.
And the package was in a brown paper bag.
And Momma, it wasn't long after that,
Daddy was acting real funny.

And I said,
'Oooh, I'm gonna tell my momma.'

And he told me that was Kool-Aid.
I ain't never known Kool-Aid
To make you act like that.

Momma, Momma,
He was listening to the radio station
You said we couldn't listen to.
I told him,
'Momma's gonna get you
For changing that station
From the gospel station.'

And he told me
He ain't worried about you.
I told him I was gone tell Momma,
And he say he didn't care."



October 22, 2011: The "K" in Uncle

The first thing a fan notices about Unckle Eddie is the "k" in "Uncle." Was it originally a typo that became a brand?

And when you try to spell "uncle" Eddie's way-- the wrong way--you can't get it right. Where in the hell to put the "k"?

All I can say is that once you're seduced by Unckle Eddie's music you get over it.


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you liked Jimmy Lewis's "Don't Send A Girl To Do A Woman's Job," you'll love Unckle Eddie's "I'm Gone Tell Momma."


Over the last year I've been dropping hints to the younger musicians.

"Be watching because there's going to be something coming on the site that'll be a real blessing for the younger people."

And I've also been telling a lot of deserving new artists to bide their time, that their day to be featured in a Daddy B. Nice Artist Guide was coming, and long overdue.

Now, at last, the day has come.

The great Southern Soul stars are mostly gone. There's a new generation clamoring to be heard.

Rather than waiting years to go online as I did with the original Top 100, this chart will be a work-in-progress.

Each month five new and never-before-featured artists will be showcased, starting at #100 and counting down to #1.

I estimate 50-75 new Artist Guides will be created by the time I finish. The other 25-50 Guides will feature artists from the old chart who are holding their own or scaling the peaks in the 21st Century.

Absent will be the masters who have wandered off to Soul Heaven. And missing will be the older artists who for one reason or another have slowed down, become inactive or left the scene.

The older generation's contributions to Southern Soul music, however, will not be forgotten.

That is why it was so important to your Daddy B. Nice to maintain the integrity of the original Top 100 and not continue updating it indefinitely.

(Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul covered the period from 1990-2010. Daddy B. Nice's new 21st Century Southern Soul will cover the period from 2000-2020.)

When I constructed the first chart, I wanted to preserve a piece of musical history. I heard a cultural phenomenon I was afraid might be lost forever unless I wrote about it.

There will be no more changes to the original chart. Those performers' place in Southern Soul music will stand.

But I see a new scene today, a scene just as starved for publicity and definition, a scene missing only a mirror to reflect back its reality.

The prospect of a grueling schedule of five new artist pages a month will be daunting, and I hope readers will bear with me as I gradually fill out what may seem at first inadequate Artist Guides.

Information from readers will always be welcome. That's how I learn. That's how I add to the data.

I'm excited to get started. I have been thinking about this for a long time. I've already done the bulk of the drawings.

In a funny way, the most rewarding thing has been getting back to doing the drawings, and imagining what recording artists are going to feel like when they see their mugs in a black and white cartoon. Hopefully----high! An artist hasn't really "made it" until he or she's been caricatured by Daddy B. Nice.

In the beginning months, the suspense will be in what new stars make the chart. In the final months, the suspense will be in who amongst the big dogs and the new stars is in the top twenty, the top ten, and finally. . . the top spot.

I'm not tellin'.

Not yet.

--Daddy B. Nice

Go to Top 100 Countdown: 21st Century Southern Soul

Honorary "B" Side

"Black Magic Woman"

5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I'm Gone Tell Momma w/ Crystal Dylite by  Unckle Eddie
I'm Gone Tell Momma w/ Crystal Dylite

CD: Shake The Dust Off
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Shake The Dust Off

5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Black Magic Woman by  Unckle Eddie
Black Magic Woman

CD: Party Tonight
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Party Tonight

5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Butch Didn't Attack by  Unckle Eddie
Butch Didn't Attack

CD: Shake The Dust Off
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Shake The Dust Off

5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Taking Applications by  Unckle Eddie
Taking Applications

CD: Party Tonight
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Party Tonight

4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy At The Cabaret by  Unckle Eddie
At The Cabaret

CD: Shake The Dust Off
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Shake The Dust Off

4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Don't Take My Blues by  Unckle Eddie
Don't Take My Blues

CD: Shake The Dust Off
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Shake The Dust Off

4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy This Old Bull by  Unckle Eddie
This Old Bull

CD: Shake The Dust Off
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Shake The Dust Off

4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy You Pulled Me Back by  Unckle Eddie
You Pulled Me Back

CD: Party Tonight
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Party Tonight

3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Guitar Cry With Me by  Unckle Eddie
Guitar Cry With Me
Label: (Single)

3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Mardi Gras City (Mobile) by  Unckle Eddie
Mardi Gras City (Mobile)

CD: Mardi Gras Party
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Mardi Gras Party

3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Shake The Dust Off by  Unckle Eddie
Shake The Dust Off

CD: Shake The Dust Off
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Shake The Dust Off

2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Christmas Blues by  Unckle Eddie
Christmas Blues

CD: Christmas Blues
Label: Toljadol

Sample or Buy
Christmas Blues

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