Gregg (A.) Smith

Daddy B. Nice's #82 ranked Southern Soul Artist



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"Stacked In The Back"

Gregg (A.) Smith

Composed by Steve Washington


November 24, 2010: NEW ALBUM ALERT!

Bargain-Priced Forever Young CD

Comparison-Priced Forever Young CD

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See "Tidbits" below for the latest updates on Gregg A. Smith.

To automatically link to Gregg A. Smith's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other references, go to "Smith, Gregg A." in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.

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Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique:

It's tempting to say Gregg Smith and his song "Stacked In The Back" came out of nowhere, but how do you call Texas nowhere? Texas is a whole 'nother country when it comes to Southern Soul, sort of like the Saul Steinberg drawing of the USA from a New Yorker's perspective in which everything between New Jersey and a palm-treed L.A. is represented by Chicago and a lone cow.

Gregg Smith is the ultimate everyman blues/soul musician: obscure, regional, without major dollars, without national distribution. He's toiled away in the bars and small clubs, playing the standards and playing his own material. He's the face of every musician who has never had a big break, yet is sophisticated enough to write, arrange, produce, tour blues-loving Europe, and to work the local denizens of the USA to keep bread on the table.

His signature song, "Stacked In The Back," has a wonderful opening:

"I never thought that I would
Get acquainted with someone like her,
The girl is so right for me.
She changed my personality."

--and it just gets better and better.

"She was tossin' and flossin',
She made me stare.
From across the room,
She caught my eye."

"Stacked In The Back" is a song that radiates energy and good vibes--a killer combination. Written by Steve Washington, it's as cheerful as a show tune. But being Southern Soul, it also luxuriates in its lasciviousness, and even without knowing what Gregg Smith looks like, one imagines a cherub-cheeked vocalist with a big frame, all the better to throw off the song's booming lines.

Few songs of today are so unabashedly uplifting. And few lyrics have so perfectly captured the physicality of sexual attraction, and the way in which a woman's body and movement mesmerize a man.

"She was stacked in the back,
She's built up like that. . .
The girl is stacked in the back
With junk in her trunk.
I got to get to know her name."

"Stacked In The Back (With Junk In Her Trunk)" is the kind of song Bobby "Blue" Bland would have recorded in his prime. In fact, if Bobby "Blue" Bland had recorded "Stacked In The Back," it would have joined his very best material. But if "Stacked In The Back" is good enough to stand with Bland's best work, it's also a testament to the profound influence Bland has had on the younger generation of Southern Soul artists.

"Stacked In The Back" has the big-band-like arrangement, the classic front-and-center horn charts, the wondrous female chorus and, above all, Gregg Smith's bluesy "I-yam-what-I-yam" tenor to make a casual listener almost believe he is listening to a classic from yesteryear.

Be forewarned, though. Unless one is lucky enough to hear it occasionally on a Station of the Deep South, "Stacked In The Back" is hard to find, and difficult to acquire. Don't be tempted into buying other, less interesting, straight-blues versions of the same title (but not song) by Excello Legends or Johnny Johnson.

July 26, 2006. Two and a half years after the essay above was written, Gregg Smith has a chitlin' circuit hit on his hands, which is good news indeed from this hard-to-find performer. The song is "Has It Come To This." It has a nice, rocking-in-slow-tempo melody line and a long, talking monologue (in a style reminiscent of Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out") that lends the track an enhanced authenticity. It's also recorded live in front of an appreciative and sizable-sounding audience.

The 2002 Ichiban release, Forbidden Fruit, contained a catchy song--"Stayed So Long"--which had a monologue that foreshadowed Gregg (A.) Smith's rendition of "Has It Come To This," and now sounds like a warm-up for that record. DBN.

January 17, 2007. More good news. Gregg Smith's Greatest Hits Collectors' Edition has finally scored a distribution deal. At last fans can hear samples from Gregg Smith's oeuvre, not to mention purchase the CD, which includes the notable "Stacked In The Back." This is good for Smith, and good for Southern Soul. See Daddy B. Nice's Recommended Tracks for Gregg Smith, updated with links to sound samples and buying opitons. DBN.

--Daddy B. Nice


About Gregg (A.) Smith

Gregg Smith was born in 1951 in Honey Grove, Texas, a small town northeast of Dallas. The family moved to Albuquerque, where Smith began playing in local bands. Then Smith spent time in Oregon and Chicago before moving back to the Dallas area in the eighties.

Smith recorded a live set called "Texas Blues Wailer" that led to his first recorded CD, co-produced with Butch Bonner, called Money Talks, distributed by Atlanta-based Ichiban Records in 1990. It's My Time (Ultrax) appeared in 1992, followed by I Wanna Rock Ya, once again on Ichiban, in 1995.

Stacked In The Back, with its cult-hit title cut, came out on Moss Music in 1999. The CD came complete with (quintessentially Southern Soul) culturally-incorrect cover art--a number of full-bodied young women displaying their "junk in the trunk." Forbidden Fruit was recorded in 2002, the first disc to list the artist under the name Gregg A. Smith.

At last, in 2005, Gregg A. Smith released a "greatest hits" album, Greatest Hits Collectors' Edition (G-Man Records), and the chitlin' circuit took notice. "Has It Come To This" became a hit on the Stations of the Deep South.

In truth, the title "Greatest Hits Collectors' Edition" was a bit grandiose for an assortment of songs of decidedly uneven quality. However, the compilation proved a boon and a gift for Southern Soul fans who otherwise had no access to Smith's music. And it was a wise business decision from Smith's point of view, bringing him the larger audience he so sorely needed and jumpstarting his worthy and seasoned career.


Song's Transcendent Moment

"The girl is stacked in the back,
With junk in her trunk.
I'm trying to get the nerve
To ask her her name."


Tidbits

1. January 27, 2007. As far as your Daddy B. Nice knows, Gregg Smith's "Stacked In The Back" is the first Southern Soul song to articulate the phrase "junk in her trunk," which--taken along with "stacked in the back"--constitutes one of the most original and enduring catch phrases of Southern Soul. Recently, for instance, both David Brinston and Robert Hill have put out songs called "Junk In Her Trunk."

Those words never fail to bring a smile to a man's face. But as with all music, there are surely precedents. If you know of a song lyric containing "junk in her trunk" which precedes Gregg Smith's "Stacked In The Back," please write your Daddy B. Nice at daddybnice@southernsoulrnb.com. DBN.

2. October 30, 2008: Update

I have a friend--a body-builder, Mr. Universe-contest-type--I turned onto Southern Soul music two or three years ago. At first he went crazy over the Love Doctor's songs. Since then, however, the track he brings up again and again is Gregg Smith's "Stacked In The Back." Every time I see him he wants to talk about that "junk in the trunk."

In the early days of the new century, Smith was one of the most obscure of the artists on Daddy B. Nice's Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). Of late, however, he's become increasingly visible and his work readily accessible, thanks to his albums' inclusion on CD Baby and his work as a deejay for KNON, Dallas, Texas. He regularly sends in his playlists to sites such as the "Boogie Report."

If Barry White was alive today and singing Southern Soul, he'd probably sound a lot like Gregg A. Smith. The vocals and arrangements are always polished, and the spoken monologues reminiscent of White's reassuring, deep-bass sensuality.

Smith has a new CD out, Triple Play Swing , although longtime fans likely won't find enough new material to justify the $13 asking price. The best tracks ("Stayed So Long," "Has It Come To This") are recycled from earlier albums. And new fans are best directed to last year's "Greatest Hits" CD, which includes "Stacked In The Back," "Romeo & Jez," and other Smith standards.

"Looking For A Lady," the new showcase track, has a competent "shimmer" but lacks originality, and most of the other new tracks ("Rest My Bones," "One Day At A Time," "Crying In The Chapel" and "Stand By Me") are curiously restricted to sample-length snippets, one to two minutes in length, as if Smith were only testing the waters. Of these new demo-like tracks, "Trouble" seems to be the most promising.

--Daddy B. Nice



If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you loved Stevie Wonder's "Happy Birthday," you'll love Gregg Smith's "Stacked In The Back."


Honorary "B" Side

"Has It Come To This"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Stacked In The Back by Gregg (A.) Smith
Stacked In The Back


CD: Greatest Hits Collectors Edition
Label: G-Man

Sample or Buy
Greatest Hits Collectors Edition


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Has It Come To This by Gregg (A.) Smith
Has It Come To This


CD: Greatest Hits Collectors Edition
Label: G-Man

Sample or Buy
Greatest Hits Collectors Edition


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Stayed So Long (Rebirth) (Remix) by Gregg (A.) Smith
Stayed So Long (Rebirth) (Remix)


CD: Triple Play Swing
Label: CD Baby

Sample or Buy
Triple Play Swing


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy That's The Way by Gregg (A.) Smith
That's The Way


CD: Greatest Hits Collectors Edition
Label: G-Man

Sample or Buy
Greatest Hits Collectors Edition


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy Trouble by Gregg (A.) Smith
Trouble


CD: Triple Play Swing
Label: CD Baby

Sample or Buy
Triple Play Swing


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Blues In My Blood by Gregg (A.) Smith
Blues In My Blood


CD: Greatest Hits Collectors Edition
Label: G-Man

Sample or Buy
Greatest Hits Collectors Edition


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Dance With The One by Gregg (A.) Smith
Dance With The One


CD: Greatest Hits Collectors Edition
Label: G-Man

Sample or Buy
Greatest Hits Collectors Edition


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Forever Young by Gregg (A.) Smith
Forever Young


CD: Forever Young
Label: CDS

Sample or Buy
Forever Young


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Stayed So Long by Gregg (A.) Smith
Stayed So Long


CD: Forbidden Fruit
Label: Trinity River



2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Mother by Gregg (A.) Smith
Mother


CD: Greatest Hits Collectors Edition
Label: G-Man

Sample or Buy
Greatest Hits Collectors Edition


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