R.T. Taylor (Behind The Scenes 2019 Awards)

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R.T. Taylor (Behind The Scenes 2019 Awards)

February 1, 2020:

Best Male Vocalist 2019: R.T. Taylor

See Daddy B. Nice's Best Of 2019 Southern Soul Awards.

The awarding of this year's (2019's) Best Male Vocalist was one of the most exhilarating and difficult decisions Daddy B. Nice has made in the fifteen years of hosting the honors. The selection process has always been a mixture of my own personal choice (which is, after all, why readers visit the website) and the choices of the fans as gleaned through music sales, industry buzz, YouTube views and the like.

One of the first atypical judgments I made this year was to move the solid but not spectacular work of longstanding vocalists to the "Best Songs By Longtime Veterans" category. Thus, well-known southern soul singers like Theodis Ealey, Omar Cunningham, LaMorris Williams, Ghetto Cowboy, Jaye Hammer, Mose Stovall and Big G were eliminated from consideration. This seemed to me to be the only logical response to an overabundance of male vocalists led by Donnie Ray, O.B. Buchana, Wendell B, Jeter Jones, Tucka and a slew of other worthy contenders.

Into this vortex of intimidating veteran talent, however, came a wild card. The "dark horse" came from Slack's My Music My Friends: Southern Soul Compilation.
Daddy B. Nice had raided this bounteous sampler for hit single after hit single in the course of 2019, including tunes by Jeter Jones, Crystal Thomas, Summer Wolfe, P2K DaDiddy, Tha Don and a bevy of exciting newcomers, among them Luziana Wil, Volton Wright, DJ Wildman Tim, Malcom Allen, and Slack (Ronald Jefferson) himself.

And yet, it wasn't until December 2019, after months of playing the CD over and over, that this "dark horse" charted on Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 Singles. His name was R.T. Taylor--as Bob Dylan once so aptly said, a "complete unknown". The song: "It's A Mule"

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2. "It's A Mule"-----R.T. Taylor

Obscure, from an overlooked album, and from an obscure artist (whose name--even if he was famous--would be hard to remember), this song reminds me of--and makes me feel as good as--the original "Mississippi Boy," which was just as obscure once upon a time. Like "M.B.," "It's A Mule" doesn't sound like much at first, but stay with it and you'll realize it runs on 100% below-the-belt heart. Slack on the track! Read Daddy B. Nice's five-star review.

Listen to R.T. Taylor singing "It's A Mule" on YouTube.

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Shortly after the December SouthernSoulRnB charting, Jeter Jones--the indefatigable southern soul artist/impresario who has both benefited from and tirelessly publicized the phenomenal work of Ronald "Slack" Jefferson and a host of Slack-produced artists, published a new video of "It's A Mule," giving R.T. Taylor a face.

Taylor was just as you might have imagined, unassuming, middle-aged, tough-looking, deferential. But the voice! Something about the vocal (and certainly the material was part of it) brought out a grit, a soul and deep, yearning angst that, once heard, became unforgettable.

You want authentic? This singer is authentic. Years of struggles, pleasures and hardships run like blood through the singer's musical arteries. He's got a little of Ray Charles ("Feelin' Alright") in him. "It's A Mule" is a song of serenity and resilience.

It's hard to elevate an unknown, single-hit artist to the lofty ledge of "Best Male Vocalist," above all that southern soul music has to offer, but my gut told me R.T. Taylor--hard as nails but sensitive. too--struck some primal southern soul chord with such perfection that it had to be recognized as special.

--Daddy B. Nice



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