Val McKnight

Daddy B. Nice's #117 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Val McKnight by Daddy B. Nice
 



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"It's Party Time"

Val McKnight



April 8, 2016: Re-Posted from Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews:

November 7, 2015:

VAL MCKNIGHT: Independent Woman (Ecko) Four Stars **** Distinguished effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

Listen to Val McKnight singing "It's Party Time" while you read.

Val McKnight comes from tough stock: Oprah Winfrey-in-"Beloved" tough. She personifies a distinct kind of woman--the gal who has to play "second fiddle" to the pretty girl, the gal who has to be "brash" to get attention, the gal who when she gets lucky enough to score a relationship soon has to endure the humiliation of break-up--and the tunes that impress and resonate the most from her new CD Independent Woman are the ones that plumb that human condition, Vivacious-Val style.

Thus, "Head Bitch In Charge" represents the "brash," the destroyer of all female rivals.

"Make Me Shout Ooh, Ooh, Ooh!" signifies the peak of love, the elusive "good-loving" relationship. But the wheel of love soon turns...

"I'll Be Seeing You Around" is all about dealing with rejection.

"You say want to break up with me?
Well, if you gotta do it, go ahead."

...And "Move Your Body" explores the regret and pleading for a reunion with the special poignancy of a humbled lover.

"I was in the club the other night,
And I saw my ex-lover,
And then he came over
And asked me for a dance,
And as I took him by the hand,
He whispered in my ear,
'Val, I really missed you,'
And as we began to dance
To the slow jam,
I began to get that
Same, old, good feeling again."

Three of those songs were written by Val McKnight (the fourth, "Head Bitch In Charge," was composed by Raymond Moore and John Ward), but lest you think Vivacious Val the performer sprang fully-formed from real life, don't underestimate the difficulty of forging a southern soul singing style. Many are the women who have tried it; many are the women who have failed.

A southern soul singer has to forego the histrionic, the melismatic, the slick, the delicate, the smooth. If mainstream urban r&b is 500-count silky cotton, southern soul is old gunny sack burlap, and few female singers (Ms. Jody, Karen Wolfe, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Lacee) have developed the perfect sound to capture fans. Red Hot Lover, McKnight's first album, was a first stab at joining the "ranks."

Her (Val's) long notes slide flat, and her tone has all the subtlety of a screeching alley cat cornered by a pack of dogs....as she drops one authentically memorable track after another.

...your Daddy B. Nice wrote in his review. Three of the "keepers" from that album are repeated here: "Juke Joint Party," "Move Your Body" and Val's signature club jam, "Who Doo Woman."

INDEPENDENT WOMAN, however, takes the somewhat one-dimensional, bluesy sound of RED HOT LOVER epitomized by "Who Doo Woman" to a richer, fuller, more well-rounded, southern soul sound. Two songs in particular (both composed--by the way--by the prolific Ms. McKnight) take the music to another level.

"Independent Woman" (the single) is an impressive summation of all of the themes touched upon here and an admirably forthright statement of identity.

And "It's Party Time" is simply the best song of McKnight's career--comfortable, swinging, authentic and memorable. Doze off and you might re-awake thinking you're listening to Billy Ray Charles singing "I've Been Partying All Night," and baby, that's authentic.

--Daddy B. Nice

Sample/Buy Val McKnight's INDEPENDENT WOMAN CD at Soul Blues Music.

See Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Val McKnight.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Product, comments, information or questions for Daddy B. Nice?

Write to

daddybnice@southernsoulrnb.com

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

September 5, 2015: NEW ALBUM ALERT!

Sample/Buy Val McKnight's new INDEPENDENT WOMAN CD at Blues Critic.

See Daddy B. Nice's "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles for September 2015: #8 "It's Party Time" by Val McKnight

Listen to Val McKnight singing "It's Party Time" on redmp3.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

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

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

--Daddy B. Nice


About Val McKnight

April 1, 2014:

Sample/Buy Vivacious Val McKnight's Red Hot Lover CD.

Almost stubbornly unstudied, as if her audiences wouldn't put up with the pretension, Val McKnight hasn't the slightest interest in melisma or coloration on the opening (and title cut) of her debut CD, "Red Hot Lover." Her long notes slide flat, and her tone has all the subtlety of a screeching alley cat cornered by a pack of dogs.

But hold on! In Southern Soul, as in the Bible, the last--by virtue of their righteousness--shall frequently go "first," and in Val McKnight's case that is the conclusion one almost begrudgingly grants the feisty singer as she drops one authentically memorable track after another.

No stranger to Daddy B. Nice's Concert Calendar, Val McKnight has been an entertainer in the Jackson, Mississippi area (including Vicksburg) for years, and, as Vick Allen recently said in an interview with DJ Cadillac Zack (WMPR) regarding success in the Southern Soul world: "If you can make it in Jackson, you can make it anywhere."

Listen to Valerie McKnight singing "Hoo Doo Woman" Live Onstage at the E&E in Jackson, Mississippi on YouTube.

Seasoned in the ways of juke-joint southern soul, McKnight's first charting single, southern soul-certified, was "You Bring Out The Freak In Me" way back in 2009, so this album has been a long time coming.

McKnight is equally adept at hole-in-the-wall blues ("Hoodoo Woman," "Juke Joint Party," "Blues Is A Serious Thing") and southern soul ("Two Is Company," "Jody Got The Job Done," "Red Hot Lover").

"Two Is Company" was Daddy B. Nice's #4 "Breaking" Southern Soul Single for February '14.

4. "Two Is Company"------Vivacious Val McKnight

Even with a king-sized bed, Val McKnight is in no mood for "3-N-A-Bed" with her husband and best friend. The longtime, dues-paying, Jackson-area diva shines on her new CD, Red Hot Lover. The chorus has an accurate and street-wise, southern-soul feel.


The set includes a couple of respectful covers, Etta James' "Wet Match" (featuring George Jackson) and Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Members Only" (featuring Larry Addison), on which Valerie's vocal sounds almost conventional, proving that her wild-and-touch un-schooled-ness on "Red Hot Lover" and other rowdy numbers is a calculated one.

Val even "stoops" to urban r&b in "Flicker In The Flame" with another corresponding loss of vocal identity. Nothing sounds better than the segue into the first notes of "Jody Got The Job Done" and a return to the Vivacious One's true metier: alley-cat passion.

Harrison Calloway Jr. and Forrest Gordon provide the adept and flexible production, including most of the musical backgrounds, with the inimitable and ubiquitous Stevie J. on guitar.

--Daddy B. Nice

Sample/Buy Vivacious Val McKnight's Red Hot Lover CD.


Tidbits

Listen to Val McKnight singing "Two Is Company" on YouTube.

Listen to Val McKnight in a classic hole-in-the-wall setting--Jackson's E&E Blues Lounge--(introduced by WMPR's Deejay Handyman).


Honorary "B" Side

"Two Is Company"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy It's Party Time by Val McKnight
It's Party Time


CD: Independent Woman
Label: Ecko

Sample or Buy
Independent Woman


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Two Is Company by Val McKnight
Two Is Company


CD: Red Hot Lover
Label: Vivacious

Sample or Buy
Red Hot Lover


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Who Doo Woman by Val McKnight
Who Doo Woman


CD: Red Hot Lover
Label: Vivacious

Sample or Buy
Red Hot Lover


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy (You Bring Out The) Freak In Me by Val McKnight
(You Bring Out The) Freak In Me


CD: Red Hot Lover
Label: Vivacious

Sample or Buy
Red Hot Lover


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Juke Joint Party by Val McKnight
Juke Joint Party


CD: Red Hot Lover
Label: Vivacious



3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Move Your Body by Val McKnight
Move Your Body


CD: Red Hot Lover
Label: Vivacious



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