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"Boom Boom Boom"
Willie Clayton (21st Century)
Composed by Willie Clayton and Mike Snoddy
February 1, 2016: 2015 Southern Soul Music Multi-Award Winner
Best Song By Longtime Veteran: "Your Man Is Home Tonight" by Willie Clayton Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Your Man Is Home Tonight" on YouTube.
Best Cover Song: "Your Man Is Home Tonight" by Willie Clayton Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Your Man Is Home Tonight" on YouTube.
See Daddy B. Nice’s Best of 2015
10-11-15: NEW ALBUM ALERT!: Sample/Buy Willie Clayton's new HEART AND SOUL CD at iTunes.
Sample/Buy Willie Clayton's new HEART AND SOUL CD at Soul Blues Music.
See "Your Man Is Home Tonight," Daddy B. Nice's #1 "Breaking" Southern Soul Single for October 2015.
April 18, 2015: NEW SINGLE & VIDEO ALERT!
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Come On And Rock Me" (Official Album Version) on YouTube.
See Daddy B. Nice's #5-ranked Southern Soul Single for April 2015.
Still not officially released, this ditty is gathering the most buzz of any Willie Clayton single in memory. Sweet, mid-tempo, "Rocking Chair"-like, "Rock Me, Baby," will also remind veteran Clayton fans of the wondrous "Wiggle In The Middle," one of the great early, slow-tempo dance jams of contemporary southern soul.
Note: Willie Clayton also appears on Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). The "21st Century" after Willie Clayton's name in the headline is to distinguish his artist-guide entries on this page from his artist-guide page on Daddy B. Nice's original chart.
To automatically link to Willie Clayton's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and many other references on the website, go to "Clayton, Willie" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
October 30, 2014: NEW ALBUM ALERT!
Sample/Buy Willie Clayton's new UNTAMABLE CD.
January 1, 2014:
From Daddy B. Nice's Corner: Willie Clayton-related pieces: Scroll down this page to TIDBITS #2. (WILLIE CLAYTON DISPARAGES SOUTHERN SOUL SINGERS: DADDY B NICE RESPONDS.)
Daddy B. Nice's Updated Guide to Willie Clayton:
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Boom Boom Boom" on YouTube while you read.
September 1, 2013:
Little Willie Clayton?
I sometimes wonder if Willie Clayton's career would have taken off much sooner, and with much more fanfare, with the blues-friendly "L'il" moniker in front of his name, like Little Milton or Little Stevie Wonder. He was always the kid, the precocious "young-un," the "little brother," dazzling in turn Ernie Johnson, Pervis Spann, Otis Clay, Willie Mitchell--all these older guys--as he worked his way up the ranks to be mentioned with the Southern Soul greats: Johnnie Taylor, Tyrone Davis, Marvin Sease, J. Blackfoot, Little Milton Campbell, Bobby "Blue" Bland.
And even today, it's hard to believe Willie Clayton is still on the fresh side of sixty. He really straddles two worlds, from the sumptuous, old-school music of the Al Green era to the hiphop-tinged contemporary Southern Soul of, say, Nellie Tiger Travis's (Floyd Hamberlin-written) "Sexy Man."
With one stylistic foot in Memphis deep soul and the other in modern-day electronica, and with its brilliant layering of sounds yet relentless melody, a song like Clayton's "Boom Boom Boom" is to 21st Southern Soul music what The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds or the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band were to popular music in the sixties: a work of art that makes the jaws if not knees of fellow recording artists drop.
Willie Clayton's music is to the male vocalists of the present day what Shirley Brown's music is to the divas: the most technically brilliant, the most sophisticated, the most textured.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Willie Clayton (21st Century)
Somewhat younger than the older generation of Southern Soul stars (Johnnie Taylor, Tyrone Davis, Little Milton Campbell, J. Blackfoot, Marvin Sease) who have passed away since the turn of the century, while somewhat older than the younger generation of stars (Sir Charles Jones, T. K. Soul, Reggie P., etc.), Willie Clayton is considered the vocalist "to whom virtually all male singers in the field are compared," according to David Whiteis, whose exhaustive account of Clayton's life in his new book, SOUTHERN SOUL-BLUES, is the best biography to date of the performer.
For example, in awarding Vick Allen's "Soul Music" the number-one Southern Soul song of 2012 (the "Soul Music" album also was #1 in Blues Critic's Annual Readers' Poll), Daddy B. Nice described the song as "This sleek, Willie Claytonesque ballad... ," using an adjective--"Claytonesque"--that has become a routine part of his critical vocabulary, pertaining to both Clayton's craftily-seasoned vocal outings and his scintillating, state-of-the-art arrangements.
Willie Clayton was born near Indianola in 1955 in the unincorporated hamlet of Fansonia along the Indianola-Leland-Greenville corridor in north-central Mississippi. A singing prodigy, Willie was escorted surreptitiously by an older brother and sisters to local venues to sing at a very early age, leading to singing gigs with local bandleader Leon Wright and Texas Southern Soul legend Ernie Johnson, among others.
Around 1970 Clayton followed his sisters to Chicago, where he quickly impressed local deejay (WVON) and black music promoter Pervis Spann, who showcased him in all the landmark Chicago venues. His tutelage under Spann led to recording opportunities with Willie Mitchell of Memphis's Hi Records, where Al Green was the reigning soul music king. Hi issued a series of Clayton singles on its Pawn subsidiary, including "I Must Be Losin' You," "It's Time You Made Up Your Mind," and "Baby You're Ready."
In 1984 Clayton scored his first regional hits with "Tell Me" and "What a Way to Put It". Picked up by Polygram, the song "Tell Me" charted on Billboard's R&B at #74. Other singles followed on various indie labels without much success.
Clayton signed with respected Southern Soul label Ichiban in the early 90's, then--in 1993--he finally found his "metier" with Johnny Vincent's Ace Records back in Jackson, Mississippi.
After almost ten previous LP's, Clayton's third Ace outing, Ace In The Hole (Ace, 1996), including the smash chitlin' circuit singles "Three People Sleeping In My Bed" and "Equal Opportunity" (featuring Pat Brown) from two previous Ace collections, at last made Willie Clayton a bona fide star on the Southern Soul circuit.
Meanwhile, Clayton was also recording solid material on the Ichiban label, notably "(There Ain't) No Getting Over Me," which would become another chitlin' circuit standard, and "Meet Me Tonite," a cover of the Lee Fields original, both included on No Getting Over Me (Ichiban, 1996).
Clayton recorded a series of lesser albums on various indie labels throughout the late nineties, including two gospel stints on the respected Avanti label and a "greatest hits" collection, the out-of-print Midnight Doctor: Willie Clayton's Greatest Hits (Blueside 1998).
In 2000 Clayton incorporated his own label, Claytown, and began the most productive stage of his career to date. For Call Me Mr. C (Claytown 2000) and Little Giant Of Soul (Claytown 2001), Clayton enlisted the aid of an unknown writer/producer, Terrence Kimble, who would go on to become the Southern Soul performer T. K. Soul. The collaboration resulted in two hit singles, "Party Like We Used To" and "Wiggle."
In 2002 Clayton released Last Man Standing on an updated personal label, EndZone Entertainment, bringing on another unknown talent, writer/producer (and former gospel singer) Vick Allen, who would also go on to become a younger-generation Southern Soul star, and notching solid radio singles with the Allen-written "Old-Fashioned Girl" and "I Love Me Some You."
The following year, Willie published a much more representative "greatest hits" collection, Classic Soul Vol. 1 (EndZone). The set included:
1. I Love Stealing It
2. I Love Me Some You - (Remix)
3. Won't You Be My Lollipop
4. Loving Each Other 4 Life
5. Party Like We Use to Do
7. Simply Beautiful
8. Tell Me
9. Three People
10. Let's Get Together
11. Good Enough to Keep Me
12. Blues, The
13. Love Is Something Beautiful
15. No Getting Over Me
Clayton was at the top of his form, and his next four albums--two on Endzone and two on Jackson, Mississippi's venerable Malaco Records--were the most influential of his career. Each was distinguished by a powerful hit single (the four in total comprising arguably the most powerful set of Southern soul singles by any performer over that four-year period) as follows:
Changing The Game (EndZone 2004), with the hit single:
"Love Mechanic" (also, "Whipped");
Full Circle (End Zone Ent./Malaco 2005), with the hit single:
Gifted (Malaco 2006), with the hit single:
"Boom Boom Boom"; (also, "Beautiful"); and....
My Tyme (Malaco 2008), with the hit single:
"A Woman Knows".
About "Going Crazy," Daddy B. Nice opined:
February, 2006. The hits just keep coming for Willie Clayton. If there was a Southern Soul deejay not playing Clayton's "Going Crazy" (Full Circle, Endzone) during the winter of 05-06, he or she must have been on vacation. Clayton is on an amazing roll--never off the Southern Soul playlists, always there with a sterling new track. He seems incapable of making a bad record.
And about "Boom Boom Boom," Daddy B. Nice wrote:
November 14, 2007:
"Boom Boom Boom" from the (Gifted CD) also scored high on Daddy B. Nice's year-end "best-of" list. The tag-line description:
"Could Willie come even close to replicating the success of "Going Crazy"? The answer is yes."
The two smash chitlin' circuit hits gave evidence of Willie Clayton's present-day dominance of the Southern Soul charts. Even better, both discs were devoid of filler, boasting above-average songs--songs that might have been centerpieces of CD's by other artists'--songs that far-flung chitlin-circuit deejays did not hesitate to play all through 2006 and 2007.
Clayton kept up a voluminous output over the succeeding five years on various (mostly personal) indie labels, but never repeated the successes of 2004-2008.
Here are some contemporaneous accounts from Daddy B. Nice's Corner that reflect the waning reaction to the latter-day product over that period, beginning with the still-euphoric 2008:
Update: April 21, 2008.
Willie's new CD My Tyme's first single, "A Woman Knows," is a unanimous hit across the chitlin' circuit. It's hit number one or close on just about every Southern Soul radio station out there. The song is distinguished not only by its smoking rhythm section and sterling vocal (achievements we take for granted with Willie Clayton) but a divergence of sorts in theme, at least in recent years. With Willie it's all about love, and it's been major helpings of the positive lately ("Going Crazy," "Boom Boom Boom," etc.). "A Woman Knows" is a walk on the "wild" side--the cheatin' side, the negative side. The good news is that Willie still knows how to negotiate that negative territory and produce a hit. DBN.
Update: September 3, 2008
Willie Clayton's My Tyme. is surprisingly absent from the Stations of the Deep South scene--other than "A Woman Knows," of course. Another Willie C. stunner, "A Woman Knows" (#2, Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles way back in December 2007) has saturated the chitlin' circuit scene for months, but with no sign of another single.
This may be a calculated strategy on the part of Willie and Malaco (his record company). And it has worked for them in the past, extending the "shelf lives" of Willie's recent CD's a year or more, based upon a strategy of holding back product long past the original release date and then carefully--slowly--releasing singles. My Tyme continues to sell well, but now that "A Woman Knows" has faded, it's nothing less than eerie not to hear any airplay for a new Willie Clayton CD.
(The above piece ran on Daddy B. Nice's Corner in August 2008 under the title "Speaking Of Albums Flying Under The Radar. . . Where's Willie?" DBN)
January 10, 2009: New CD Alert:
Soul And Blues
Daddy B. Nice notes: Sorry for the delay on this, Clayton fans, but nothing has jumped out and grabbed me--radio-wise--from this new one. Stay tuned. I'm beginning to think maybe Willie is "human" after all.
Bargain-Priced Soul And Blues CD
March 1, 2009
Updating the new CD alert below. . . "Another Man's Gain" appears to the the first breaking single from the new Soul And Blues album. It's a light-hearted, slightly revved-up, mid-tempo tune on the order of "A Little Bit More" from the phenomenal Gifted CD--in other words, not the very best Clayton has to offer, but good enough.
Another song garnering a little air time is the first cut from the CD: "I Feel A Cheatin' Comin' On."
"I Can't Stand The Rain" is receiving some air play on the Stations of the Deep South.
On a down note, "Your Body," the final cut, is an unsuccessful attempt to recreate the fabulous atmosphere, detail and poignancy of Willie's "Boom Boom Boom" from the Gifted CD.
5/31/09: Update: Add the memorable single "Strong Love" to the new Willie Clayton tracks making headway on the Stations of the Deep South. It's another strong single (DBN #4 Single, May 09) from the Soul And Blues album.
November 4, 2009
NEW ALBUM ALERT: Love, Romance & Respect
The CD contains the early-seventies-sounding, word-of-mouth underground single, "Dance The Night Away," and a rare "cut-up" Willie Clayton dance track called "Shake Your Money Maker" which will be featured on Daddy B. Nice's Top Ten "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles for November 2009.
Bargain-Priced Love, Romance & Respect CD
Comparison-Priced Love, Romance & Respect CD
January 6, 2011: NEW ALBUM ALERT:
Bargain-Priced The Voice CD
And watch for. . .
Willie Clayton's upcoming album: RELOADED
Pre-Order Bargain Priced Reloaded CD
May 8, 2011: NEW ALBUM ALERT:
Bargain-Priced If Your Loving Wasn't Good Enough To Keep Me... CD
Comparison-Priced If Your Loving Wasn't Good Enough to Keep Me... CD
Music critic Heikki Suosalo from Europe's "Soul Express," one of Clayton's most enthusiastic supporters over the years, complained regularly about the recycling of prior Clayton material during this "plateau" in Clayton's career. When I Am Rhythm & Blues (EndZone) arrived in 2012, Suosalo enthused:
Hooray! Willie has released a CD with mostly new songs on it!
"I Am Rhythm & Blues" on iTunes.
In fairness to Clayton, the artist had published CD's replete with old material throughout his career. In fact, it may have been the very successes of the mid-00's that raised expectations and invited more scrutiny.
Here is an approximately full Willie Clayton discography:
Forever (Timeless 1988)
Never Too Late (Mercury 1989)
Open The Door (About Time 1992)
Feels Like Love (Ichiban 1992)
Hi Records Presents Bobby McClure & Willie Clayton (Hi 1992)
Let's Get Together (Ace 1993)
Simply Beautiful (Ace 1994)
No Getting Over Me (Ichiban 1995)
At His Best (Ichiban 1995)
Willie Clayton & Otis Clay: Chicago Soul Greats (Hi Records 1995)
Ace In The Hole (Ace 1996)
Chapter One (Gamma 1997)
Something To Talk About (Avanti 1998)
Midnight Doctor: Willie Clayton's Greatest Hits (Blueside 1998)
God Has A Plan (Avanti 1999)
It's About Love (Sumthing Else 1999)
Best Years Of Our Life (Vivid 1999)
The Lost Tracks (Avanti 2000)1. Three People (Sleeping in My Bed)
Call Me Mr. C (Claytown 2000)
The Little Giant Of Soul (Claytown 2001)
Essential Love Songs (Bellmark 2002)
The Last Man Standing (EndZone 2002)
Classic Soul Vol. 1 (EndZone Ent. 2003)
Changing The Game, Endzone 2004)
Full Circle (End Zone Ent./Malaco 2005)
Gifted (Malaco 2006)
My Tyme (Malaco 2008)
Soul & Blues (Malaco 2008)
Love, Romance & Respect (C & C 2009)
The Voice (C & C 2010)
If Your Loving Wasn't Good Enough To Keep Me...How In The World Do You Think It Can Bring Me Back (S.D.E.G 2011)
Sings The Number Ones (Music Access 2011)
The Tribute: One Man, One Voice" (EMG 2011)
I Am Rhythm & Blues (EndZone 2012)
The Tribute Volume 2: One Man, One Voice (EMG 2013)
Untamable (Music Access 2014)
August 31, 2013: Willie Clayton on YouTube
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Wiggle" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "(There Ain't) No Getting Over Me" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Boom Boom Boom" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Love Mechanic" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton and Pat Brown singing "Equal Opportunity" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "I Love Me Some You" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "I Feel A Cheating Coming On" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Party Like We Used To Do" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Going Crazy" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Three People Sleeping In My Bed" Live Onstage on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Unconditionally" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing Live Onstage in Greenville, Mississippi on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Rocking Chair" on YouTube.
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "My Miss America" on YouTube.
Willie Clayton vs. Daddy B. Nice Re: Southern Soul Singers; Postscript with J-Wonn....
Posted here... 12/31/13
September 21, 2013:
Listen to Willie Clayton singing "Can We Talk" on YouTube while you read.
WILLIE CLAYTON DISPARAGES SOUTHERN SOUL SINGERS: DADDY B NICE RESPONDS One of the things that came up while writing the new Willie Clayton Artist Guide was Willie's disparaging remarks about Southern Soul singers, reported in the new David Whiteis book, Southern Soul Blues. Two or three people have asked your Daddy B. Nice what he thinks, and (to mimic Bobby Rush in "Bare Mouth Woman") here's what I told 'em.
First, here's what Willie had to say in the book:
Not to discredit anyone who wants to be called "Southern Soul"; that's them. I'm not that. Never have been, never will be. I'm old school, bro. I'm not tootin' my own horn, but the great singers--the Johnnie Taylors, Tyrone Davis, them guys, I miss 'em. Because you don't hear that type of good singing no more. Marvin Sease--Marvin Sease was a SOUL singer. J. Blackfoot, cats like that--we're not "southern soul." You think about it. There's no "southern soul" category in the Academy (which sponsors the Grammys); so why would I want to be called something that don't even really exist in the Academy?
...Can the Southern Soul singers sing blues? So once again, don't get me wrong; it's not to discredit anyone that wanna be called southern soul. But listen to the production, and listen to the vocals. Then you find me some Johnnie Taylor...some Tyrone Davis, J. Blackfoot, some Marvin Sease, some Otis Clay, even some Shirley Brown, Denise LaSalle--note, now, I didn't put myself in it--and tell me: what artist that call themself (sic) southern soul can sing like that?
Here's what I told 'em.
This is really nothing new. Virtually all of the older artists have said similar things about the relatively recent re-introduction of the term "southern soul," and Willie is trying to make a legitimate point that the music of the Johnnie Taylor generation had a depth and rich tradition that seems to be impossible to recreate any more.
The comments do seem like a slap in the face to Clayton proteges like T. K. Soul, Vick Allen, and Andre' Lee, as does the singling out of singing itself, one of the commonly-perceived strengths of the southern soul genre.
My response has been something like this. Look, I'm an old guy--an original baby-boomer (born in '46)--so I understand guys my age and the changes we've seen, and what we've been through. By that I'm including the guys who are mostly dead now: Marvin Sease (also born in '46), Tyrone Davis, Little Milton Campbell and so on.
These guys (still alive in my mind), my peers in age (although Willie's a little younger) have nothing to prove to me or anyone. So it never bothered me that they didn't want to hitch their horses to the "southern soul" bandwagon. They'd seen too many musical fads come and go over the years, over the decades of changes, frustrations, successes, failures, highs and lows. They (including Willie) have a right to any terminology their careers have forced or (shall we say) MOLDED them into displaying.
It was the younger generation of singers who readily took up the term "southern soul" as spread primarily by Sir Charles Jones (among artists), Senator Jones (among promoters/producers) and your Daddy B. Nice (among media). And that's about the time Southern Soul really took off as a 21st-century genre.
Which brings up the younger generation of southern soul singers....What about Sir Charles? Mel Waiters? O. B. Buchana? Reggie P.? Wendell B.? Omar Cunningham? The aforementioned T. K. Soul and Vick Allen?
For that matter, what about Clayton's own overlooked generation of minor stars? Roy C, Carl Marshall, Rue Davis, Billy "Soul" Bonds, David Brinston, Theodis Ealey?
And let's not forget the emerging generation of singers: L. J. Echols, LaMorris Williams, Ms. Jody, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Tre' Williams...
And the even newer generation, the artists and producers listed in the current song charts on the opposite side of this page. When I think of all the artists Willie would have me eliminate from a list of great soul singers, your Daddy B. Nice just has to say no. That's my favorite people.
Southern Soul has taken on a life of its own, leaving old men like me and Willie far behind. I understand his stubbornness because I see it in myself, in my refusal to tweet or to facebook. Why can't people just e-mail me? My constant refrain every time I get an "invitation".
The young people I'm talking to while searching out these new singles like J-Wonn's "I Got This Record" aren't aware of my website or any of the normal insider/industry stuff. They live in a universe of facebook and twitter and are as unaware of our "older" world--and what we respect and cherish--as we are of theirs. And yet these same young people are making southern soul music as good as it ever was.
I truly believe that, or I wouldn't still be tracking the stuff. And J-Wonn...as a pure singer? Whew! Off the charts!
It's what I live for. And that's what I told 'em.
--Daddy B. Nice
Listen to J-Wonn singing "I Got This Record" Live Onstage on YouTube.
Listen to Bobby Rush singing "Bare Mouth Woman" on YouTube.
December 1, 2013:
News & Notes:
In a late September "Corner" article responding to a comment Willie Clayton made about the current generation of singers not being "true soul singers" (scroll down this column), your Daddy B. Nice summed up his belief in the current generation by offering as an example a young Jackson artist, J-Wonn, who had just recorded a hot song, brimming with sensitivity, called "I Got This Record." It was, in fact, his first real Southern Soul record.
Instant Reaction....Is This A Small World Or What? J-Wonn On The Same Bill With Willie Clayton!
What to my surprise, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, only two months later then, to hear the late-breaking announcement for a Thanksgiving-eve concert at the Evers Tri-County Center in Pickens, Mississippi.
The bill: Willie Clayton and J-Wonn.
Is this a small world or what?
--Daddy B. Nice
August 31, 2013: ALBUM ALERT
Daddy B. Nice notes: This is
a new compilation album from Willie Clayton.
The Tribute Volume 2: One Man, One Voice (EMG 2013)
Sample/Buy Willie Clayton's The Tribute One Man One Voice, Vol. II CD.
Honorary "B" Side
Boom Boom Boom
CD: Little Giant Of Soul
A Woman Knows
CD: My Tyme
CD: Full Circle
Label: End Zone/Malaco
I Love Me Some You
CD: Last Man Standing
CD: Changing The Game
Loving Each Other For Life
CD: I Am Rhythm & Blues
No Getting Over Me
CD: Classic Soul Vol. 1
CD: Changing The Game
Your Man Is Home Tonight
CD: Heart And Soul
Can We Talk (About It?)
CD: Full Circle
Come On And Rock Me
CD: Heart And Soul
Equal Opportunity (w/ Pat Brown)
CD: Ace In The Hole
I Feel A Cheating Coming
CD: Soul And Blues
Party Like We Used To Do
CD: Call Me Mr. C
|Sample or Buy
Call Me Mr. C
She's Holding Back
Three People Sleeping In My Bed
CD: Ace In The Hole
We Both Grown (w/ Dave Hollister)
CD: Love, Romance & Respect
Label: C & C
A Little Bit More
Label: Music Access
My Miss America
Old Fashioned Girl
CD: Last Man Standing
CD: Soul And Blues