Ms. Jody (21st Century)

Daddy B. Nice's #6 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Ms. Jody (21st Century) by Daddy B. Nice
 



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"When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn Any.."

Ms. Jody (21st Century)

Composed by Joanne Delapaz & John Ward




November 1, 2017: Re-Posted From Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews

October 30, 2017:

MS. JODY: Thunder Under Yonder (Ecko Records) Four Stars **** Distinguished Effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

Your Daddy B. Nice was listening to a National Public Radio interview with an African-American educator from Memphis, Tennessee (coincidentally the home of Ecko Records) the other day. She was bemoaning the divide between the rural culture of the black Deep South and the urbanized, sophisticated and socially-progressive culture of the cities--Memphis, Atlanta, etc. I was taken aback by her total antipathy and denigration of the country and small-town folks--not to mention lower-income strata of the cities--who make up the audience for southern soul music. According to her, the culture of the African-American Delta, with its "sins" of sexual profligacy, single parenthood, economic hardship, poor diet, alcoholism and the like should be eradicated for the betterment of all.

While most people would agree that her list of the black community's woes are problematic, I couldn't help thinking how elitist her comments sounded. Exactly like the urban white progressives' writing-off of rural, white middle-America that brought Donald Trump to power. As with the divide between white urban techies and white, mid-American common folk, the black educator had absolutely no feeling for the underlying work ethic, stalwart spirit or old-fashioned virtues of friendliness, loyalty, religiosity, humility, humor and respect for tradition that make the black Deep South one of the most fertile and cohesive cultural matrixes in the world. And yet, this is the social prejudice that excludes southern soul music from its own largest potential market, the urbanized African-Americans and their urban children, for whom anything less hard-edged and cynical than hiphop is somehow outdated and embarrassing.

Enter Ms. Jody. What better avatar for the traditional culture of the Delta?

"I see all the mens (sic)
Undressing me with their eyes,
They want to jump this pony
And ride, ride, ride.


(from "Ms. Jody's Energizer Slide")

Every song on Ms. Jody's new album, Thunder Under Yonder, embraces the social "incorrectness" of life and times in the Delta, and does so with a brio worthy of illustrious forbears like the just-passed Fats Domino. We need our outlaws. And where are they going to come from?

Ms. Jody's very name appropriates the traditionally male social outlaw, "Jody". Ms. Jody is the larger-than-life "Stagolee" of southern soul in this gender-equal age, and all of us, her fans--the mens and womens--get off on her breathtaking composure in "life situations" we'd much rather experience in our music than in our real lives.

I quote at length from Ms. Jody's "I Had To Lie":

"I got a friend who's a so-and so,
I been knowing him for quite some while.
I stopped by his house one day,
And things got a little wild.

After we were through making love,
I grabbed my clothes and got out of bed.
He said he wanted me to leave my husband
And be with him instead.

When I got home, y'all,
My husband met me at the door.
I just received a phone call
From old "so-and-so."

I had to lie to my husband,
I couldn't tell the truth.
I had to lie. Yes I did.
I did what I had to do.

"Baby, baby, just listen to me, please.
Because I wouldn't sleep with old so and so,
He got upset with me.
I told him I got a man at home
Who loves me and treats me kind,
And to cheat on him would never enter my mind."


Observe the upfront eroticism of Ms. Jody's narrator, the Spock-like objectivity in her telling, the lack of guilt in her act of deceiving. "Outlaw" stuff. You can be a woman who goes to church and is faithful to her husband and still chuckle, laugh and maybe even admire Ms. Jody's calculation and chutzpah.

Ms. Jody--Joanne Delapaz--wrote the lyrics, by the way, along with John Ward.

"I Had To Lie" topped the charts at #1 on Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 Southern Soul Singles in October, 2017 for reasons more musical than lyrical.

Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .

-------OCTOBER 2017-------

1. "I Had To Lie"------Ms. Jody

This Ms. Jody-written tune has it all: the Ms. Jody brand (naughty gal that she is) and a terrific, layered production from 2016 Arranger/Producer of the Year John Ward, incorporating a surging rhythm track, the horn riff from Nellie Travis' "If I Back It Up" and--the pièce de résistance--a beguiling background chorus. From Ms. Jody's new album, Thunder Under Yonder.


*******

The month prior, the album's title cut, "I Got That Thunder Under Yonder," charted:

Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .

-------SEPTEMBER 2017-------

9. "I Got That Thunder Under Yonder"------Ms. Jody

Listening to Ms. Jody's pristine voice as she lingers on the "R's" in "thunder" and "yonder" from the title cut of her new album is like quaffing long gulps of San Pellegrino with ice and lime wedges after going through a long bout drinking farm pond water infested with herbicides, carp and suckers.


*******

Fueled by buzzing, button-accordion fills and the occasional trickling of a deep-soul organ, the mid-tempo "Thunder Under Yonder" personifies both the musicality and universality of this CD. All the songs on Thunder Under Yonder are meant to please--and for the most part, they do.

"Ms. Jody's Energizer Slide, for example, is a techno dance number, and yet with Ms. Jody singing it, it's southern soul. "Booty Strut," which charted here in August 2017 after appearing on Ecko's Blues Mix 23 Ultimate Southern Soul, is another straight-out disco-oriented jam, complete with background vocal enhancement. At times, one has to pinch oneself to remember this is Ecko Records, the current "keeper of the flame" for traditional southern soul.

But Ms. Jody holds it all together. That's the beauty of it. As differing styles ping-pong back and forth within the set, her "swag" is effortless and constant. All these influences--and there are many more--are just spice in her southern soul gumbo, like Sam Cooke and the Latin influences back in the day. Speaking of which, there's the calypso influence of "Stir It Up," which Ms. Jody brings off with typical aplomb (as did label-mate O.B. Buchana with "Tip It Up," on his second-last Ecko album.)

Ms. Jody sums it up in her near-acapella, acoustic blues, "Where I Come From," transporting us back to the "Mississippi Boy" and "Turn Road" Delta culture that so pains the city sophisticates:

"When the work-day's done he picks me up,
And we go riding in a pickup truck.
Sometimes we start out moving slow,
Then we find that country-road mojo.

Spotlight shining all in the woods,
'Till we find that place where it's all good.
Now our friends all know where to be found,
On the pickup truck, we get down.

That's how we do it where I come from,
Me and my baby have a whole lot of fun
In a pickup truck on an old country road.
It's a party, y'all, wherever we go."


While there may be no single song of the significance of "When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn" or the iconic sexual swagger of "Just Let Me Ride," two of her latest hits, the generous dozen cuts from Thunder Under Yonder span a carnival of styles with remarkable energy, consistency and attention to detail.

--Daddy B. Nice

(Sorry. No YouTube for this album's songs, as of this posting.)

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's THUNDER UNDER YONDER CD at Amazon.

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's THUNDER UNDER YONDER CD at iTunes.

See Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Ms. Jody.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

September 1, 2017: New Album Alert!


Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's new THUNDER UNDER YONDER at iTunes.

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's new THUNDER UNDER YONDER CD at CD Universe.

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's new THUNDER UNDER YONDER CD at Amazon.

Ms. Jody's Thunder Under Yonder Track List:


1
I'm so Confused

2
Power Stroke

3
Ms. Jody's Energizer Slide

4
Another Other Woman

5
Stir It Up

6
Booty Strut

7
Let It Flow

8
Party

9
I Got That Thunder Under Yonder

10
Where I Come From

11
I Had to Lie

12
You're Letting a Good Man's Lovin' Go to Waste

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Booty Strut" on YouTube.

Daddy B. Nice notes:

No YouTube versions of songs from Ms. Jody's twelfth CD from Ecko Records were available as of this posting. "Booty Strut" was featured on the early summer Ecko compilation: Blues Mix 23: Ultimate Southern Soul.

Some of the notable tracks from Thunder Under Yonder look to be "Ms. Jody's Energizer Slide," "Stir It Up," "I Got That Thunder Under Yonder" and "Where I Come From". John Ward plays guitar and B3 organ and writer/producer James Jackson joins Ward on rhythm tracks and mixing. Ms. Jody wrote many of the set's songs, with writer Henderson Thigpen also a major contributor.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide
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Note: Ms. Jody also appears on Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). The "21st Century" after Ms. Jody's name in the headline is to distinguish her artist-guide entries on this page from her artist-guide page on Daddy B. Nice's original chart.

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To automatically link to Ms. Jody's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations and references on the website, go to "Ms. Jody" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.

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Scroll down to "Tidbits" below for the latest updates of Ms. Jody, including CD Reviews of her latest albums.

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SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Daddy B. Nice's Updated Profile:

July 18, 2013

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn Any More" on YouTube.

Can Ms. Jody, who's being touted as the new Queen of Southern Soul, have been with us only seven years? It's hard to believe but true. The sweet-singing, hard-working performer has released eight full-length CD's in that time span (2006-2013).

In 2005, when Ms. Jody was just getting started, Southern Soul's greatest hope--Jackie Neal--had just died. A slew of new female performers were making their debuts between 2004 and 2006, including Nellie "Tiger" Travis ("If I Back It Up"), Little Kim Stewart ("Bootleg Baby"), Tazz Calhoun ("Stroke It Easy"), Miz B. ("My Name Is $$$$$$"), Renea Mitchell ("Seventeen Days Of Loving"), Betty Padgett ("Never Coming Home"), and Pat Cooley (who had both recorded in the 90's but had just returned to performing). Sweet Angel would break out a year later.

Yet of all these artists, many of whom arguably possessed greater talent, it was Ms. Jody who out-hustled and out-performed all, filling a niche in Southern Soul's diva ranks that nobody--not even pioneer super-divas Peggy Scott-Adams, Shirley Brown and Denise LaSalle--were willing or able to fill.

Today Ms. Jody stands atop the charts with a recording and touring regimen no other Southern Soul diva comes close to matching. Ms. Jody's albums--especially her last two--spawn hit single after hit single, and her concerts--complete with risque onstage skits--delight her fans.

What makes a good artist great? Perhaps an indomitable character and spirit. In his just-published book, "Southern Soul Blues," author David Whiteis recounts how John Ward, CEO of Memphis' Ecko Records, although intrigued by Ms. Jody, declined to sign her.

That would have been "end-of-story" for most artists. When you're turned down, you leave with your tail between your legs. A "no" is a "no." But Ms. Jody wouldn't take "no" for an answer. She kept pestering Ward until he finally relented and signed her.

If your Daddy B. Nice had picked the plum of the crop of that mid-decade group of talented divas--the female artist who had the highest chances of future success--it would have been Nellie "Tiger" Travis, based not only on her phenomenally strong and gritty vocal prowess but for her seemingly close relationship with one of the premier songwriters in the genre, Floyd Hamberlin.

But history, fate, and life's twists and turns have a way of washing away talent, contacts, genealogy and good fortune. The one constant of success--the one bedrock trumping all others--is "want-to," and Ms. Jody had "want-to." This woman of steadfast character and diligent habits refused to consider failure or pause. She forged a career and an astounding musical legacy without once looking back or resting on her laurels of the moment. And today, even though it still sounds a little strange tripping off the tongue, Ms. Jody is indeed the "Queen"--the every-day queen, the working-class queen, the humble queen, the default queen, the queen-by-any-qualifier-you-want-to-attach-to-queen--of Southern Soul music.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Ms. Jody (21st Century)

Vertie Joanne Delapaz (aka Ms. Jody) was born on November 10th in Chicago, Illinois. Two years after she was born, her parents--contractors in the Chicago area--returned to their former home in Bay Springs, Mississippi, a farm about 65 miles southeast of Jackson, where they continued to live (and listen to a lot of R&B around the house) through Ms. Jody's childhood. 

In 2005 Vertie's brother, Dale Pickens, took her to her first blues show--Denise LaSalle--and the experience inspired Ms. Jody to consider performing herself. "I can do that," she remembers thinking. 

That fall in 2005, O. B. Buchana and his band, Total Control, were celebrating a CD Release Party in Meridian, Mississippi, just up the road from Bay Springs. Pickens knew some of the band members, and he introduced Ms. Jody to them and the band's manager, William Day. 

Day was so enamored of Ms. Jody's talent that he asked her if she'd like to travel to Memphis and meet John Ward and Morris "J" of Ecko Records. Ecko released Ms. Jody's first album, You're My Angel, in March of 2006. 

The first single from the album--at any rate the track that first played in central Mississippi--was a Lillie Pickens-composed song entitled, aptly enough. "Ms. Jody." At the time, no one had ever heard of Ms. Jody, and the upbeat number, although diverting, wasn't strong enough to make an impression. Soon after, however, critics and deejays discovered a country-influenced song on the album called "I Never Take A Day Off (From Loving My Baby)." 

"I Never Take A Day Off," with Ms. Jody's unaffected, Nashville-inflected vocal riffing over the solid, soul-blues Ecko house band, sounded almost revolutionary in a soul context, and the record soon caught on across the South. 

Ms. Jody's What You Gonna Do When the Rent Is Due, a more than adequate sophomore effort, came out surprisingly soon, on Ecko in November of 2006. The new disk also featured an against-the-grain, novel-sounding single, "Your Dog's About To Kill My Cat," with a vintage, throwback-sounding, string section-drenched arrangement. 

Once again, the Stations of the Deep South loved the track, with its "you're-wearing-me-out" lyrics from Ms. Jody's protagonist, a sexually-beleaguered woman saddled with a man with unquenchable appetites. 

The album was fuller and more professional overall than her debut, with tracks such as "Big Daddy Don't You Come," "One Way Love" (with O. B. Buchana), and "You Got To Know How To Work It" showcasing Ms. Jody's unique vocal qualities. 

The songs carried Ms. Jody through 2007 on virtually all Southern Soul play lists and served notice that the artist wouldn't "fade" as do so many female performers in the hard-to-crack, male-dominated Southern Soul market.
 
I Never Take A Day Off, Ms. Jody's third album, brought the title cut (the gem from her debut) to a larger audience while recycling the previous year's success with "Your Dog Is Killing My Cat" (2007 "Daddy" for Best Female Southern Soul Vocal) into the less original, more overtly formulaic "Energizer Bunny."

Amongst other radio singles--"It's The Weekend," "I'm So Thankful" and "Lonely Housewife"--the most compelling song from the album, according to Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles for March 2008, was "Ms. Jody's Thing," with the Ecko rhythm section in "a groove as tight as a condom on a stud bull."

And It's a Ms. Jody Thang, Ms. Jody's fourth release on Ecko Records, followed in 2009. Besides a "Ms. Jody's Thang (Remix)," however, the CD lacked the spectacular song that anchored the three previous Ms. Jody albums.

Ms. Jody's In The Streets Again (Ecko, 2010) returned Ms. Jody to the top of the Southern Soul singles charts with the throwback-sounding, mid-tempo "The Bop," but there was little else of enduring value on the set, and the follow-up, Ms. Jody's Keepin' It Real (Ecko 2011), failed to generate much enthusiasm, gaining a rare two-star rating from Daddy B. Nice.

Over time the frequency of Ms. Jody's roughly-annual CD issuing--while keeping her highly visible in the Southern Soul market--had leached away much of the depth and quality.

Give Ms. Jody and Ecko's John Ward credit for recognizing the problem. 2011's Ms. Jody's In The House righted the ship in resounding fashion, showcasing a revitalized Ms. Jody negotiating some of the finest material since her early CD's. In actuality, the music was even better.

The centerpiece of Ms. Jody's In The House was a song that both broadened and amplified the musical virtues of Ms. Jody's signature hit, "I Never Take A Day Off." The song, recorded in both a radio version and a long, voice-over (talking) version spanning over six minutes, was "When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn Any More."

The album represented a career-defining pinnacle for Ms. Jody, with almost every selection garnering airplay and acclaim. Memorable singles included: "Southern Soul Dip," "I Did It," "I Never Knew Good Love Could Hurt So Bad," "Something I Want" (a duet with David Brinston), "Just A Little Bit Won't Get It," plus excellent covers of her own hits ("Ms. Jody's Thang Zydeco Remix") and others (Lorraine Turner's "You Lost A Fortune" and Brenda Williams' "Let Me Be The Shoulder").

Still Strokin', Ms. Jody's eighth consecutive Ecko-published CD, arrived in 2013. While not quite as strong a set as MS. JODY'S IN THE HOUSE, Still Strokin' was nevertheless a disc of very high quality, notching another series of popular radio singles, led by the propulsive "Just Let Me Ride," closely followed by the title tune, "Still Strokin'," "Another Get Drunk Party" (a remake of an early Ms. Jody tune), "Where Can I Find A Good Man," "You Didn't Appreciate What You Had When You Had It," "Good Love," and two more well-executed cover songs, "Ms Jody Don't Mind Breaking Up Somebody's Home" (from the Ann Peebles standard) and "Dance Party" (from the Quinn Golden standard).

Ms. Jody Discography:

You're My Angel (Ecko, 2006)

What You Gonna Do When The Rent Is Due (Ecko, 2006)

I Never Take A Day Off (Ecko, 2008)

It's A Ms. Jody Thang (Ecko, 2009)

Ms. Jody's In The Streets Again (Ecko, 2010)

Ms. Jody's Keeping It Real (Ecko, 2011)

Ms. Jody's In The House (Ecko, 2011)

Still Strokin' (Ecko 2013)

It's All About Me (Ecko 2013)

Talkin' Bout My Good Thang! (Ecko 2015)

The Best Of Ms. Jody (Ecko 2015)

I GOT THE FEELING (Ecko 2016)

THUNDER UNDER YONDER (Ecko 2017)

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Go to Daddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to Ms. Jody.


Tidbits

1.


July 16, 2013...Updated May 1, 2016: Ms. Jody on YouTube:

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Just Let Me Ride" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Your Dog's About To Kill My Cat" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody live onstage, singing "Looking For A Sugar Daddy Lover" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody live onstage, singing "Big Daddy Don't You Come" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn Any More" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Your Dog's About To Kill My Cat" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "The Bop" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Big Daddy Don't You Come" Live Onstage with an audience participant on YouTube. (aka "The Healing Power of Hoochie.")

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Let Me Ride" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody and O. B. Buchana singing "One Way Love" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "It's The Weekend" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "The Bop" Live Onstage at the Carolina Beach Music Awards at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on YouTube. (Excellent sound quality.)

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "The Spank" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Ms. Jody's Thang (Zydeco Remix)" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Still Strokin'" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Good Love" on YouTube.

2.

July 19, 2013:


Daddy B. Nice has reviewed all of Ms. Jody's CD's. To read the reviews, go to Daddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to Ms. Jody and scroll down to the "Tidbits" section.

3.

Posted to this page: July 20, 2013


January 29, 2013:

MS. JODY: Still Strokin' (Ecko) Four Stars **** Distinguished Effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

Coming after the career pinnacle reached with Ms. Jody's In The House (Ecko, late 2011) and its crowning achievement, the song "When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn Anymore," I'll admit to having low expectations for this new Ms. Jody album, with the probability of B-sides, out-takes and miscellaneous tunes.

And in truth, Jody's new collection--Still Strokin'--does represent a step down from the dizzying heights of Ms. Jody's In The House. But the good news is that it's a positive step forward, not a pratfall, with plenty of energetic if not superhuman signs of Southern Soul life.

The musicianship is very much in the classic Ecko mold, with all the usual suspects--John Ward, Raymond Moore, Morris Williams, John Cummings, Gerod Rayburn, Sherilena Banks, not to mention JoAnne Delapaz (Ms. Jody) herself--contributing to a sound which compared to classic Stax and Hi tracks of yesteryear could best be described as Memphis Lite.

The ace in the hole is Ms. Jody herself, constantly making things work and just as tirelessly making sure they remain interesting.

The chorus of "Still Strokin'," the mid-tempo title song, is the highlight of the CD, trumpeting the Southern Soul way. One can imagine fans singing along to these verses through the coming year:

'Cause Clarence Carter's still strokin',
And Bobby Rush is still wearing it out.

Theodis Ealey is still standing up in it,
And Ms. Jody is still in the house.

Mel Waiters still got his whiskey,
And Bobby Womack's still looking for a love.

And Denise, she's still trapped, y'all
And Sheba just keeps bagging it up.

We're still strokin',
We're still strokin'...."

The get-out-of-your-chair jam from the CD is the catchy "Just Let Me Ride," with a riptide-pulling bass line and a drum-tight arrangement.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Just Let Me Ride" on YouTube while you read.

"Just Let Me Ride" was the #2 song in Daddy B. Nice's Top Ten "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles for September 2012 as follows:

2. "Just Let Me Ride"-----Ms. Jody

Killer hook. Think "The Bop" with a 426 Hemi engine. The only element missing is a spectacular crescendo with full brass section and background chorus. But be warned, the band's in overdrive from the first bars.

Buy Ms. Jody's "Just Let Me Ride" on Ecko Records' Blues Mix Vol. 8, Juke Joint Soul CD.


Quinn Golden's "Dance Party," one of the classics of contemporary Southern Soul, is given a new spin via Ms. Jody, with the distinctive guitar hook from the original (also recorded at Ecko) buried in the mix. Ms. Jody doesn't surpass the original with her version, but she does bring it back to life.

The sleeper from the album is the modest but melodic "Another Get Drunk Party," which dives straight into the appealing chorus, with Ms. Jody singing dual harmony lines.

Ms. Jody dips back further into the vaults of soul for "Ms. Jody Don't Mind Breakin' Up Somebody's Home," an homage to Ann Peebles' "Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home."

I had to look hard for "Shake Your Booty," given a
remix to close out the CD. Ms. Jody recorded it way back in 2006, on her debut album, You're My Angel.

Of the remaining original songs on the album--"It's A Reunion," "Good Love," "You Didn't Appreciate What You Had When You Had It," "Where Can I Find A Good Man" and "Your Man Was looking For That Good Thang"--I'll give the nod to the anthemic "Where Can I Find A Good Man" as the most promising single, beating out by a nose the tongue-exhausting "Your Man Was looking For That Good Thang (While You Were Out Somewhere Looking For That Good Thang Man)" and the generic but tantalizingly-sung "Good Love."

"I won't let another man in my door,"

Ms. Jody sings in "Where Can I Find A Good Man,"

"Until I find what I'm looking for."

At its finest moments, "Where Can I Find A Good Man" achieves the country-western simplicity of Ms. Jody's seminal "I Never Take A Day Off."

--Daddy B. Nice

Sample or Buy Ms. Jody's Still Strokin' at iTunes.

Sample or Buy Ms. Jody's Still Strokin' at CD Universe.

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3.



Posted to this page: July 20, 2013

December 28, 2013:
 

MS. JODY: It's All About Me! (Ecko) Three Stars *** Solid. The artist's fans will enjoy.

The centerpiece of Ms. Jody's new album, It's All About Me!--the song "The Rock," which takes up where "The Bop" and "The Southern Soul Dip" and other short and catchy Ms. Jody songs left off--reminds your Daddy B. Nice of 1954's "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley & The Comets, the jitterbugging tune most often credited for igniting the rock and roll era in America.

"Rock Around The Clock" never had the pizzaz of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" or Jerry Lee Lewis's "Whole Lotta Shakin'," but it did have a mainstream-friendly fluidity that early rock-and-roll dancers craved.

There's nothing your Daddy B. Nice would like to see more than Ms. Jody taking Southern Soul into the mainstream of American popular music. Her extended work-out on "The Rock" has some of the same mainstream-denominator qualities of Bill Haley's classic, but your Daddy B. Nice doubts it will stimulate a similar breakthrough for southern soul music.

Admittedly never an expert in mainstream tastes, and with the caveat that nothing can be taken for granted when it comes to Ms. Jody's "break-out" appeal, I'd still rate this song tepid and this album as a whole a rare let-down for the southern soul diva who has gone from an unknown to top chitlin' circuit draw in just a few years.

There's nothing on the disc that comes close to the spectacular ballad sounds of 2011-12's "When Your Give A Damn Just Doesn't Give A Damn Any More" (from the Ms. Jody's In The House CD) or 2013's "Just Let Me Ride" (from the Still Strokin' CD), which dominated radio air play across Southern Soul-land on the way to becoming Ms. Jody's all-time classic club song over the year just ending.

The title track of the new CD ("It's All About Me") sounds arrogant at first glance, but it's actually a song of female empowerment with a voice-over similar to "When Your Give A Damn..." However, it too has a generic and derivative quality that lessens its allure.

In the mold of Jody's excellent "Your Dog's About To Kill My Cat," the arrangement to "I'm Not A Cougar" walks a razor-thin line between sugary and cloying, while the background to "I Apologize" explores a deep relationship theme with a passion more peremptory than deep-seated.

My favorite tracks are a duet with Donnie Ray, "I'm Gonna Keep My Love At Home," which brims over with an authenticity lacking on the previous tracks, and "Every Woman For Herself," an electric walking blues in which Ms. Jody sounds refreshingly real and convincing casting away her kindly, empathic, "Ms. Jody-how-is-it-you-can-give-so-much-advice?" role from "When Your Give A Damn" for a worldly, expedient, selfish persona. After all, her name is Jody.

In addition, the anthem-like "I'm Gonna Stand By You"is a solid addition to Ms. Jody's rapidly accumulating stack of mid-tempo keepers.

Unfortunately, most of the cuts on It's All About Me! fall into the "left-overs"-like sound of "Ms. Jody's Boogie Slide"--a song you know you've heard before, in slightly different guises, on practically every Ms. Jody album.

Hardcore fans will find enough to like to buy this (and any) Ms. Jody CD, but fans unfamiliar with Southern Soul's new top diva and wondering what all the fuss is about will want to steer directly towards 2011's monumental Ms. Jody's in the House and early 2013's equally outstanding "Still Strokin," whose title tune won the Carolina Beach Music Award's Top Single of the year.

--Daddy B. Nice

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's It's All About Me! at CD Universe.

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's It's All About Me at iTunes.

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4.


May 2, 2015: NEW ALBUM ALERT!

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's new TALKIN' BOUT MY GOOD THANG CD.

See Ms. Jody's new single on Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 'Breaking' Southern Soul Singles (April 2015): "If He Knew What I Was Thinking" (#8).

5.


April 10, 2014: Re-Posted from Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews:

May 13, 2015:

MS. JODY: Talkin' Bout My Good Thang (Ecko) Three Stars *** Solid. The artist's fans will enjoy.



In the finale of her new album, a duet with John Cummings called "When The Show Is Over," Ms. Jody interjects at one point with some passion: "Have you forgotten? My name's Ms. Jody." By coincidence, I was listening to some old music the other day and happened upon "I'm Ms. Jody," the song that started it all for Ms. Jody, although few people were listening at the time. In it the singer introduces herself as "I'm Ms. Jody /I'm the new freak in town," which sounds delightfully retro in light of the nine redoubtable CD's Ms. Jody has served up since 2006.

Overall, the new CD, Talkin' Bout My Good Thang,
has a country influence, as if Ms. Jody has been listening to a lot of country music, which is a good thing--Ms. Jody has always drawn inspiration from county and done some of her best southern soul in the country vein--but also a bad thing, because the better-financed, contemporary country one hears on the radio across the broad swathe of the nation has a sophisticated, robust production that makes the Ecko house band (80% John Ward on rhythm tracks, guitar and organ with Leo Johnston on bass and Gerod Rayburn on guitar) sound thin by direct comparison.

But as one delves into the album in detail, the variety and range of the material becomes evident. There's a "sidepiece" song (i.e. Pokey, etc.), "A Piece On The Side," done from Ms. Jody's fresh perspective, which is to say the point of view of all intelligent and sensitive women.

"Talkin' Bout My Good Thang," the title tune, has a jazz feel that couldn't be more different from the country and blues that run through the rest of the set. The catchy "Talkin'" works, too. Subtle and low-key, it may be a surprise hit for Ms. Jody.

And yet, the biggest buzz your Daddy B. Nice got from the album was the first few bars of the first song on the CD, "I Ain't Gonna Lie This Time," so familiar....It turned out to be Omar Cunningham's much-admired bass line and percussion track from "Man Enough," and for a minute I was actually hoping Ms. Jody would do a straight-on version of the Karen Wolfe classic. However, the tune quickly veers down a new path and direction.

There are a couple of strong blues numbers. "If He Knew What I Was Thinking" charted on Daddy B. Nice's "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles at #8 in April 2015. Here's what your Daddy B. Nice wrote:

8. "If He Knew What I Was Thinking"------Ms. Jody

And more great blues, this time from Ms. Jody, in the tradition of "Every Woman For Herself," from her upcoming album, TALKIN' BOUT MY GOOD THANG. One reservation: Ms. Jody dilutes the immediacy of the lyrics by attributing the story to a "young lady who gave me a phone call the other day...and this is what she said." Although this third-person technique worked to perfection with "When Your Give A Damn (Just Don't Give A Damn)," here the lyrics would be more intense--more powerful--coming straight from Ms. Jody. Can you imagine Etta James attributing "I'd Rather Go Blind" to someone who called her?


Less spectacular but more satisfyingly authentic, the bluesy "I"m Gathering Up The Trash" is a fine number with antecedents in Ann Peebles' "I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home" and Pat Brown's "I'm Taking Out The Trash."

"Shake Your Tail Feather" is a "Bop"-like ditty that should easily score on the beach music circuit.

However, "Just Let Me Ride Again," the title that jumps out from the album credits (based on Ms. Jody's popular dance jam "Just Let Me Ride," from her last CD), doesn't follow the enticing hook of the original and ultimately disappoints.

"I'm Gonna Take It Lying Down" returns Ms. Jody to top form, though, with the important refrain to the song title.... "In another man's bed," repeated often enough to make any man not only crazy but sorry.

Neither her best nor worst collection, Talkin' Bout My Good Thang is a smorgasbord of Ms. Jody's interests and styles.

--Daddy B. Nice

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's Talkin' Bout My Good Thang CD at Amazon.

See Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Ms. Jody.

************

6.


May 1, 2016: New Album Alert!


Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's THE BEST OF MS. JODY at iTunes.

List of Tracks:

Ms. Jody's Thang (Remix)
The Bop
Still Strokin'
Your Dog's About to Kill My Cat
It's the Weekend
Energizer Bunny
Sugar Daddy
Ms. Jody
The Rock
Ms. Jody
Just Let Me Ride
Ms. Jody
When Your Give a Damn Just Don't Give a Damn Anymore
Big Daddy Don't You Come
The First Time
I Did It
Shake Your Booty
Weekend Lovin'


Listen to Ms. Jody singing "Just Let Me Ride" on YouTube.

7.



August 1, 2016: New Album Alert!



Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's new I GOT THE FEELING CD at Amazon.

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's new I GOT THE FEELING CD at iTunes.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "There's A Party Going On" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "I Got The Feeling" on YouTube.

Listen to Ms. Jody singing "This Place Is Hot" on YouTube.

8.


April 20, 2017: Re-posted from Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews.

August 7, 2016:

MS. JODY: I Got The Feeling (Ecko) Five Stars ***** Can't Miss. Pure Southern Soul Heaven.

Is there any sight in southern soul more rewarding and reassuring than Ms. Jody slipping out of her shoes and singing and dancing barefoot onstage? How lucky are we fans to have such a natural woman at the helm of our musical ship? Earthy, sexy, unfailingly scandalous yet somehow not obscene, Ms. Jody accommodates all the onstage, "grown-folks-only" shtick that LaMorris Williams and other male artists indulge in to make the audience howl--flirting, lap-dancing, grinding and rolling with a member of the opposite sex beckoned onstage for the fans' vicarious delight--and yet she endures as a country girl, humble and practical, an "every-woman" whom all women and even the "mens" can identify with.

Ten years ago--she's only been with us that long-- your Daddy B. Nice picked Ms. Jody and Nellie "Tiger" Travis out of batch of new divas to be the most likely to succeed over the long term, and time has born out the prediction. The exceedingly talented and flashier Travis has had more career ups and downs--thankfully "up" since her single smash, "Mr. Sexy Man" of a couple of years ago--but Ms. Jody, bolstered by her affiliation with John Ward and Ecko Records--has been the more productive and consistent diva, as reflected in her lofty position (#6) on the Top 100 21st Century Southern Soul Countdown. Ward once confided to me that he turned Ms. Jody down (to join the label) more than once. Thankfully for us fans, she just wouldn't take "no" for an answer.

I was surprised how many people I ran into over the last year assumed (or interpreted from my 3-star review) that I "didn't like" Ms. Jody's last CD, Talkin' Bout My Good Thang. The tag accompanying the three stars clearly says, "Solid. The artist's fans will enjoy," but I do understand the competitiveness of artists and their fans who find anything less than a perfect (5 stars) rating a disappointment.

Talkin' Bout My Good Thang was clearly a transitional album. It had some good things and some not-so-good things; overall it was a potpourri. This becomes readily evident while listening to Ms. Jody's new CD, I GOT THE FEELING, which traverses the same varied musical styles and themes but delivers them with a much bigger punch. From the audience-friendly, past-hit-referencing, show-opening lyrics of "Come On" to the insistent hook of "Don't Back Up Off It," I GOT THE FEELING showcases Ms. Jody at her most effective.

The aforesaid "Don't Back Up Off It," is the sexual equivalent of fishing near the shoreline and getting your hook snagged. In this case, the snag is the woman's G-spot. "Keep it right where I want it," Ms. Jody insists.

"Doggettes," although lyrically novel, will remind longtime fans of one of Ms. Jody's most beloved classics, "Your Dog Is Killing My Cat." "Doggettes" expands "dawg-ness" to the fair sex.

"She's a female version
Of a male canine
And she's as much a dawg
As a man is any time."

This trio of songs, however, doesn't even crack the top tier of this album's potential blockbuster singles. The mid-tempo "There's A Party Going On" is quintessential Ms. Jody and Ecko Records, the style and the sound tooling along at its most gratifying level. This track has programmed horns, which in recent Daddy B. Nice columns and reviews has undergone withering scrutiny, but in this case they're not distracting. They aren't the "lowest-common-denominator" sound we remember from southern soul a decade ago (or in some cases today).

The title track, "I Got The Feeling," with a great bass line and overall rhythm section and another nifty, vocally-enhanced chorus embracing Ms. Jody's straightforward vocal, is an absolute smash. The real guitar work by John Ward (the multi-instrumentalist/programmer who essentially does everything on this album) adds invaluable texture.

"This Place Is Hot," #2 on this month's Daddy B. Nice "Breaking" Singles, takes no prisoners. This is the kind of scorching number you might think more in the purview of a Stephanie McDee, but Ms. Jody rides and tames the "bucking bronco" of a jam without a hint of doubt or hesitation. The arrangement is singular, with a terrific rhythm track and rhythm guitar.

In the more mellow yet briskly-paced "It's Too Late To Do Right Now," Ms. Jody returns to her bailiwick, catchy and melodic hooks in the mid-tempo range. This might be the single that catches on--simple, confrontational, but eternally optimistic in the Ms. Jody way. Even as we hear echoes of songs like "I Did It" or "Just Let Me Ride" in the folds of its melody and rhythm, we're taken aback by how original the new song sounds.

Which brings up the supporting cast. The level of songwriting on this disc is exemplary thanks to John Ward, Vertie Joanne Delapaz (Ms. Jody), Henderson Thigpen, John Cummings, and Leo Johnson. Consequently, the aptly-named I Got The Feeling radiates authentic feeling. Even the ballads in the set possess an urgency that belie their tempo. Witness the humble and endearing hook of "All True Man," which floats by as easily as an afternoon cloud overhead. Ms. Jody's vocal is resplendent throughout.

Ms. Jody's "Zydeco Rodeo" and "Making Love Is Always Better When The Bills Are Paid" also disarm with their easy-going sound and execution, while the stately "I'm Tired Of Being A Secret" constitutes Ms. Jody's latest take on "the sidepiece" theme still obsessing southern soul.

The only overtly derivative song on I GOT THE FEELING is "You Got To Leave Me, Baby," a rock-and-rolling piece of nostalgia with a walking-blues line played (redeemingly) by a traditional piano, which actually sounds unique in a southern soul setting.

If the measure of a great CD is the number of potential hit singles which can be culled from it, I GOT THE FEELING is eligible for greatness, and your Daddy B. Nice looks forward to an enjoyable year discovering which of these songs resonate most with the fans. With this outing Ms. Jody consolidates her claim to being contemporary southern soul's number-one diva.

--Daddy B. Nice

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's I GOT THE FEELING CD at Amazon.

Sample/Buy Ms. Jody's I GOT THE FEELING CD at iTunes.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide


Honorary "B" Side

"Just Let Me Ride"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn Any.. by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn Any..


CD: Ms. Jody's In The House
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Ms. Jody's In The House


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Just Let Me Ride by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Just Let Me Ride


CD: Still Strokin'
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Still Strokin'


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Never Knew Good Love Could Hurt So Bad by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
I Never Knew Good Love Could Hurt So Bad


CD: Ms. Jody's In The House
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Ms. Jody's In The House


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Never Take A Day Off (From Loving My Baby) by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
I Never Take A Day Off (From Loving My Baby)


CD: You’re My Angel
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
You’re My Angel


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I'm Gonna Keep My Love At Home (w/ Donnie Ray) by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
I'm Gonna Keep My Love At Home (w/ Donnie Ray)


CD: It's All About Me
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
It's All About Me


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Ms. Jody's Thing by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Ms. Jody's Thing


CD: I Never Take A Day Off
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
I Never Take A Day Off


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Your Dog's About To Kill My Cat by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Your Dog's About To Kill My Cat


CD: What You Gonna Do When the Rent Is Due
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
What You Gonna Do When the Rent Is Due


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Another Get Drunk Party by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Another Get Drunk Party


CD: Still Strokin'
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Still Strokin'


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Every Woman For Herself by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Every Woman For Herself


CD: It's All About Me
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
It's All About Me


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Did It by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
I Did It


CD: Ms. Jody's In The House
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Ms. Jody's In The House


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy It's The Weekend by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
It's The Weekend


CD: I Never Take A Day Off
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
I Never Take A Day Off


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Ms. Jody's Thang (Remix) by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Ms. Jody's Thang (Remix)


CD: It's A Ms. Jody Thang
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
It's a Ms. Jody Thang


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy One Way Love (w/ O. B. Buchana by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
One Way Love (w/ O. B. Buchana


CD: What You Gonna Do When the Rent Is Due
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
What You Gonna Do When the Rent Is Due


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Something I Want (w/ David Brinston) by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Something I Want (w/ David Brinston)


CD: Ms. Jody's In The House
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Ms. Jody's In The House


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Still Strokin' by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Still Strokin'


CD: Still Strokin'
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Still Strokin'


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Where Can I Find A Good Man by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Where Can I Find A Good Man


CD: Still Strokin'
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Still Strokin'


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Big Daddy Don't You Come by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Big Daddy Don't You Come


CD: What You Gonna Do When the Rent Is Due
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
What You Gonna Do When the Rent Is Due


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Cheatin' Comes With A Price by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
Cheatin' Comes With A Price


CD: It's A Ms. Jody Thang
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
It's a Ms. Jody Thang


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy I've Got The Strength To Walk Away by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
I've Got The Strength To Walk Away


CD: Ms. Jody's In The Streets Again
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Ms. Jody's In The Streets Again


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy If He Knew What I Was Thinking by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
If He Knew What I Was Thinking


CD: Talkin' Bout My Good Thang
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Talkin' Bout My Good Thang


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy The Jody Juke by Ms. Jody (21st Century)
The Jody Juke


CD: Ms. Jody's Keeping It Real
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Ms. Jody's Keepin' It Real


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