Daddy B. Nice's #28 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Money Can't Buy Me Love"
February 1, 2014: NEW ARTIST GUIDE ALERT!
Jackie Neal is now the #28-ranking Southern Soul artist on Daddy B. Nice's new 21st Century Top 100 Countdown.
Go to Daddy B. Nice's new 21st-Century Artist Guide to Jackie Neal.
April 1, 2010: Daddy B. Nice's Forward
As a recent posting of Southern Soul statistics on Daddy B. Nice's Corner made clear, interest in the late Southern Soul singer Jackie Neal remains uncommonly strong, although much of the attention pertains to the abrupt ending of her life and career at the hands of a disgruntled boyfriend.
Readers looking for details of Jackie's death and funeral will not find much here on those topics. Our focus has always been and will continue to be on her music, in particular her great ballad "Money Can't Buy Me Love," which proved her ability to record a ballad epitomizing the essence of Southern Soul music.
The tragedy of Jackie Neal was that she was cut down at such a young age, before she could build an oeuvre that would remain for posterity. However, the album she recorded right before her death--Down In Da Club--was an especially tantalizing and original first step in that career that might have been.
It's instructive to listen to it now and compare it to all the new divas that have appeared in just the few years since Jackie passed. One is left with a sigh and a rueful shaking of the head at the senselessness of the death that we must somehow work into our moral framework.
In the meantime, let's never forget that Jackie Neal was no prima donna. Here's a passage from "Money Can't Buy Me Love" to remind you of how daring and controversial she really was.
"I don't want to talk about what's between your legs,
Because, babe, that don't mean that much to me."
--Daddy B. Nice
See "Tidbits" below for the latest updates on Jackie Neal.
To automatically link to Jackie Neal's appearances on other pages of the website, go to "Neal, Jackie" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique:
The great songs grab you from the first note and don't let go. Jackie Neal doesn't have exceptional pipes, and if she had to perform in a musical version of the NFL draft combine, or perhaps TV's "American Idol," she likely wouldn't score very high. But when she sings a song of substance such as this one, full of straight-ahead common sense and sly double-entendres, she's a "gamer".
Before she has uttered much more than a "Yay-yay-yayyy" and the first few words, "Sometimes women can feel so alone in this world," Jackie has your undivided attention. You know she's young. You can hear it in her yearning and hopefulness, yet her singing is infused with a gritty wisdom beyond her years.
"Money Can't Buy Me Love" focuses on marriage and commitment. Never blinking, Neal sings:
"You should provide for me,
And I should nurture you."
She sings it with a tender, drawn-out passion that conjures a breathtaking mirage of marital bliss. But in the next moment, she's challenging her guy:
"So before you go expecting
More than I'm giving,
Here's a mirror.
Take a look in it."
Against a subtle, swirling backdrop of organ, horns and chorus, Neal's vocal stands as naked as Isabella Rossellini on the porch in David Lynch's Blue Velvet. Her sandpaper-tough voice emanates with streetwise vibes--by turns coaxing, fidgeting, scolding and soothing--sometimes in the midst of a single, extended syllable. And with each eye-opening, technically-surprising phrase, the listener marvels at her sheer virtuosity. In "Money Can't Buy Me Love" Jackie Neal delivers a clinic in how to sing rhythm and blues.
And just when you think you've plumbed the depths of her demons, Neal goes deeper.
"What I'm talking about,
Instead of proposing,
I'll be your wife,
I'll continue to be one of your women,
Because the woman
Gets most of the giving."
Your Daddy B. Nice isn't going to pretend he knows what that's all about. Is Jackie resigning herself to being just one of her man's "women"? And what does she mean by, "the woman gets most of the giving"?
Finally, after cataloging all the insults she's suffered at the hands of her guy, not to mention doing "the cooking and cleaning, too," Neal growls--really growls:
"Jackie ain't nobody's fool!"
That instant telescopes the song's heroine into a thumbnail of unlimited possibilities. You can imagine Jackie Neal in a soiled dress, barefooted, yelling at a houseful of rowdy older brothers, or you can imagine her in a slinky black dress, flashing a diamond and standing next to her midnight man and a glittering black Navigator. Her voice contains it all.
As startling as life can be, the announcement of Jackie Neal's death in mid-March, 2005 was difficult for anyone aware of her contributions to Southern Soul to comprehend. She was--as they say--"so young". She had just released a new CD that had deejays across the Deep South enthralled. She was a headliner in a March concert in Mississippi.
"Money can't buy me love,
But it sho' nuff
A good down payment."
Her funeral took place on March 15th in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Jackie Neal
The little sister of the respected blues singer and Louisiana-based Alligator recording artist, Kenny ("I'm A Blues Man") Neal, Jackie is a member of a musical family parented by Raful and Shirley Neal that includes Frederick, Graylon, Larry, Lil' Ray, Noel, Ronnie, Darnell and twins Charlene and Darlene.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"Now when you look in the mirror,
1. Check out the horn section of Jackie Neal's "Sweet Thang." Do you suppose that The Love Doctor and Sir Charles Jones were listening to those horn charts when they arranged what would become the "smash" chitlin' circuit hit for The Love Doctor, "Slow Roll It"?
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
If you liked Erykah Badu's "(You'd Better Call) Tyrone," you'll love Jackie Neal's, "Money Can't Buy Me Love."
Honorary "B" Side
"The Way We Roll"
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