King Fred (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)

Daddy B. Nice's #121 ranked Southern Soul Artist



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"When I Think Of You"

King Fred (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)



April 22, 2018: NEW ALBUM ALERT!

See Daddy B. Nice's new 4-star "Distinguished Effort" CD Review.

SOUL 2 SOUL TRACK LIST:


1
I'll Be Your Freak

2
Keep This On The Low

3
Body Rock

4
You Need Two

5
Down In The Club

6
Leaving

7
Dippin' In My Puddin'

8
Looks Like It's Over

9
Bachelor Party


10
So Glad

Buy King Fred's SOUL 2 SOUL CD at iTunes.

Buy King Fred's SOUL 2 SOUL CD at CD Baby.

Daddy B. Nice's CD Review:

First posted on Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews.

April 21, 2018:

KING FRED: Soul 2 Soul (King Fred / Riverside Records ) Four Stars **** Distinguished effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

King Fred, aka Frederick Hicks, was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His first album, Going Crazy (CD Baby 2011), self-published at a very early age under the name Frederick Hicks, spawned at least three underground tracks that caught the attention of southern soul insiders--"Morning Delight," "When I Think Of You" and "Should Have Made You My Wife"--and Hicks was a nominee for "Best Debut" and "Best Vocalist" in Daddy B. Nice's annual Southern Soul Music Awards (2013).

Hicks' new album, Soul 2 Soul, published under the name King Fred, features a series of singles Hicks recorded from 2014 through 2017: "You Need Two," "So Glad," "I'll Be Your Freak," "Body Rock" and "Down In The Club," the latter charting as high as #2 in Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles in March 2018.

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

-------MARCH 2018-------

...2. "Down In The Club"-------King Fred

From his new album, Soul 2 Soul, King Fred's "Down In The Club" is a remarkable piece of songwriting and production, highlighted by a lovely, African-tinged chorus line. Fred's vocal, in which each phrase seems to be half-swallowed and regurgitated as an ancient man's wisdom, is typically superb and off-the-chain.

Listen to King Fred Hicks singing "Down In The Club" on YouTube.

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


In a top King Fred song there's mystery, there's weirdness, there's singularity and lifelike originality, as if the Deity himself delivered the song, touching his celestial index finger to Fred's ear in the middle of a night's slumber. On the "CD Baby Buy Album" page for Soul 2 Soul, there is a section called "Recommended If You Like..." under which King Fred lists two influences, David Brinston and Frank Mendenhall, two of the most idiosyncratic singers in the genre. How apt and informative--a sign that there's as much hard work, calculation and perspiration behind Fred's vocals as there is inspiration. It's a one-of-a-kind style--like Brinston, even more like Mendenhall.

Listen to Frederick Hicks singing "When I Think Of You" on YouTube.

Listen to Frank Mendenhall singing "Party With Me Tonight" on YouTube.

There's a song on the new album, "Dipping In My Pudding," that is actually a holdover from Hicks' debut, Going Crazy. It charted in April 2018, not least because its sound (even the programmed horns) reminded me of "When I Think Of You" and what an out-sized impression it made upon me. Likewise its "sibling" track, describing a "quickie"--well, maybe not so quick--in the morning:

Listen to Frederick Hicks singing "Morning Delight" on YouTube.

These songs from the first album shine even brighter in the afterglow cast by this new CD, which is more mature and consistent but not as brilliant. What the best of the new set (like the mesmerizing "Down In The Club") has in common with those first-album gems is the anonymous, wondrously-rooted, charmingly-modest, lovingly-scripted, female background singer (She's in the official video.) And when I next connect with King Fred, my first request will be to inquire her name.

Singing as a duo (in "Morning Delight," "When I Think Of You," "Down In The Club," etc.) King Fred and his female accompaniment are as hypnotic as Sir Charles and LaKeisha, or (more recently) Alonzo and LaKeisha, or the early David Brinston, for that matter and "That Stokes Girl," Linda Stokes. In fact, I can't imagine King Fred's songs without his trusty female co-singing sidekick. The songs wouldn't be what they indeed are: classics.

Hicks' creativity, however, extends much further. One of the best tracks from Soul 2 Soul, "Body Rock," shows King Fred spreading his wings, bringing in a bigger background chorus, with a bit of gospel, and also a bit of rock and roll.

Listen to King Fred singing "Body Rock" on YouTube.

Another memorable track, the ballad "You Need Two," combines a rare, orchestral arrangement with a somewhat incongruous but workable, straight-ahead, Dave Mack-like vocal style. (Ouch! In the not-so-old days, I would have filled that sentence with Mel Waiters, not Dave Mack.)

"I'll Be Your Freak" comes the closest to having "hit" potential, with all the elements (including female background vocals) for success, and yet it did not become a hit, even by southern soul standards. A dense little cloud of "down" seems to hang over the melody, and when, for instance, the CD segues into "Dippin' In My Pudding," the holdover from the first album, spirits instantly lift, and authenticity seems to be restored, like electricity after a power outage.

But when "Keep This On The Low" queues up, the "cloud" returns. Bluesy, with a big dash of funk, the song captures Fred as the serious and sometimes taciturn fellow that he probably is, but it's not fun to listen to, nor does it raise you up like the best blues--David Brinston's recent "I Drinks My Whiskey," for example. On the other hand, "So Glad," is comparatively buoyant, without the purposeful yet off-putting oppressiveness of "I'll Be Your Freak" and "Keep This On The Low." And "Bachelor's Party"--unobtrusive, magical, delicate--finds Fred and his anonymous singing mate in wonderful form, ala "Morning Delight".

Fred is doing more official YouTube videos, the latest a presentation of the new album's "Leaving." The videos are homemade--or "down-home," take your choice--but they are very welcome and essential to spreading the young artist's fascinating new sound.

--Daddy B. Nice

Buy King Fred's Soul 2 Soul album or mp3's at CD Baby.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

--Daddy B. Nice


About King Fred (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)

King Fred, aka Frederick Hicks, was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. His first album, Going Crazy (CD Baby 2011), self-published at a very early age under the name Frederick Hicks, spawned at least three underground tracks that caught the attention of southern soul insiders: "Morning Delight," "When I Think Of You" and "Should Have Made You My Wife," and Hicks was a nominee for "Best Debut" and "Best Vocalist" in Daddy B. Nice's annual Southern Soul Music Awards (2013).

Hicks' second album, Soul 2 Soul, published under the name King Fred, came out late in 2017 and featured a series of singles Hicks recorded from 2014 through 2017: "You Need Two," "So Glad," "I'll Be Your Freak," "Body Rock" and "Down In The Club," the latter charting as high as #2 in Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles in March 2018.

Discography:

Going Crazy (Frederick Hicks/Riverside 2011)

Soul 2 Soul (King Fred/Riverside 2017)

***********
To automatically link to King Fred's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations on the website, go to "King Fred" or "Frederick Hicks" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
***********


Tidbits

1. King Fred on YouTube:



Listen to King Fred Hicks singing "Down In The Club" on YouTube.

Listen to Frederick Hicks singing "When I Think Of You" on YouTube.

Listen to Frederick Hicks singing "Morning Delight" on YouTube.

Listen to King Fred singing "Body Rock" on YouTube.

Listen to King Fred singing "You Need Two" on YouTube.

Listen to King Fred singing "I'll Be Your Freak" on YouTube.

Listen to King Fred singing "Dippin' In My Pudding" on YouTube.

Listen to King Fred singing "Keep This On The Low" on YouTube.

Listen to King Fred singing "So Glad" on YouTube.

Listen to King Fred singing "Bachelor's Party"on YouTube.




Honorary "B" Side

"Morning Delight"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy When I Think Of You by  King Fred (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)
When I Think Of You


CD: Going Crazy
Label: Fredrick Hicks / Riverside Records

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Going Crazy


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Morning Delight by  King Fred (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)
Morning Delight


CD: Going Crazy
Label: Fredrick Hicks / Riverside Records

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Going Crazy


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Down In The Club by  King Fred (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)
Down In The Club


CD: Soul 2 Soul
Label: King Fred / Riverside Records

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Soul 2 Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Body Rock by  King Fred (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)
Body Rock


CD: Soul 2 Soul
Label: King Fred / Riverside Records

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Soul 2 Soul


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Should Have Made You My Wife by  King Fred (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)
Should Have Made You My Wife


CD: Going Crazy
Label: Fredrick Hicks / Riverside Records

Sample or Buy
Going Crazy


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy I'll Be Your Freak by  King Fred (New CD Review, New Artist Guide)
I'll Be Your Freak


CD: Soul 2 Soul
Label: King Fred / Riverside Records

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Soul 2 Soul


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