Kelly Price

Daddy B. Nice's #100 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Kelly Price by Daddy B. Nice
 



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"Friend Of Mine (Remix)(w/ Ronald Isley & R. Kelly)"

Kelly Price

Composed by Anthony Dent, S. Jordan, Kelly Price and Jeffrey Walker


"Of course, the song offered no hints that the soul audiophile should make a pilgrimage post haste to the Deep South to experience soul music first-hand. But it did reawaken the urge--the hunger--for music that was indeed bubbling up regionally, out of the very Delta that gave birth to the blues. Johnnie Taylor's "Big Head Hundreds" and Ronnie Lovejoy's "Sho' Wasn't Me" came out soon after: harbingers of the new Southern Soul. They may have risen by their own merits into true soul classics sooner or later, but it took a young, hiphop-oriented vocalist named Kelly Price to point the finger for the rest of the nation and the world. It was her "smoke" that signaled Southern Soul's burning "fire."" --Daddy B. Nice

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

May 1, 2010: Prologue

Not long ago, in writing about The Real Brown Sugar for her appearance in Daddy B. Nice's Top 25 Singles of 2009, I made reference (as I often do) to Kelly Price and her signature hit, "Friend Of Mine." Here is the passage:

***********

13. (Top 25 Single) "Why Did You Walk On My Love?" ------------The Real Brown Sugar

Singing from a pair of lungs as deep as a 55-gallon drum, The Real Brown Sugar is oh so believable and blessed with enough talent to immediately join the ranks of Southern Soul songstresses.

Although there's no overt reference to body type, "Why Did You Walk On My Love" is in the great tradition of Kelly Price's "Friend Of Mine" and so many other "broken-hearted big-woman" songs by Southern Soul singers.

***********

The irony behind the comparison is that everyone has the inalienable right to change, and Kelly Price has done just that. The "new" Kelly Price can be seen to most dramatic effect as a winnowy, slimmed down, almost pert young woman on the cover of her album, This Is Who I Am (a title-answer to her previous album, Who Am I?).

But Kelly Price's place in the history of early contemporary Southern Soul as a big-hearted, big-hurting, big-bodied young songtress is secure. No one can change that--nor needs to.

--Daddy B. Nice

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


Daddy B. Nice's Original Critique:

The appearance of Kelly Price's debut single, "Friend of Mine (Remix)," marked a crucial point in the evolution--and more importantly, the acceptance--of Southern Soul music. In the 80's and 90's, with airplay for adult and regional rhythm and blues restricted to a small group of obscure Southern stations, the soul music audiophile had seemingly nowhere to turn (other than rap, hiphop, and urban "smooth") for traditional R&B, which had allegedly died and disappeared.

Even though a handful of Deep South record companies (Malaco, Ecko, Mardi Gras, Ichiban, Waldoxy, etc.) and a few visionary Southern producers (Harrison Calloway, Jimmy Lewis, John Ward, etc.) were already carrying on and resuscitating the supposedly lifeless form, the national and international listener--even the sophisticated critics and industry insiders who should have known better (worked harder, listened harder, looked harder)--remained clueless.

So when Kelly Price's "Friend Of Mine" was made into a spectacular and successful video including hiphop star R. Kelly and soul music legend Ronald Isley, the recording became the first indication many of us had that there was still an alternative to the R&B being offered commercially.

On its simplest level, "Friend Of Mine" was the story of a girl (Kelly Price) betrayed by her sexy lover (R. Kelly) and her best friend.

"See, I was the one who picked her up
When so-called friends let her down.
And I was the one who took her in
When that fool put her out.

A true friend in need,
You see I was there
When chips was going down.
But she betrayed me.
Caught him with her
Coming in from out of town."

Price called up her "godfather," Mr. Biggs (Ronald Isley in an immaculate white suit), at which point the song became a duet. Kelly poured out her tale of betrayal while Isley reacted with his trademark falsetto cries, and when Isley insisted on telephoning R. Kelly, all three singers joined in a truly amazing call-and-response climax.

It's difficult now, only a few years later, to remember how strong an impression Price's easy-going, heart-felt vocal (such a breath of fresh air compared with the usual attitude and cynicism of commercial R&B) produced on a jaded musical audience starved for the real thing.

Of course, the song offered no hints that the soul audiophile should make a pilgrimage post haste to the Deep South to experience soul music first-hand. But it did reawaken the urge--the hunger--for music that was indeed bubbling up regionally, out of the very Delta that gave birth to the blues.

Johnnie Taylor's "Big Head Hundreds" and Ronnie Lovejoy's "Sho' Wasn't Me" came out soon after: harbingers of the new Southern Soul. They may have risen by their own merits into true soul classics sooner or later, but it took a young, hiphop-oriented vocalist named Kelly Price to point the finger for the rest of the nation and the world. It was her "smoke" that signaled Southern Soul's burning "fire."

--Daddy B. Nice


About Kelly Price

Kelly Price began her musical career singing background vocals for such hiphop/R&B acts as Mariah Carey, Brian McKnight, Notorious BIG, Mase, and Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs. Soul Of A Woman, her debut CD, appeared in 1998 (Island). Buoyed by the success of its hit track, "Friend Of Mine (Remix), it made Kelly Price an overnight sensation, a feat made even more improbable because the then full-figured Ms. Price (like Missy Elliot during the same period) was bucking the music-video industry's obsession with performers who looked like models.

Mirror Mirror, Price's follow-up on Def Soul Records, was issued in 2000 and featured a respectable if less overwhelming reprise of "Friend," a duet with R. Kelly (but not R. Isley) titled "You Should've Told Me." A Christmas album appeared in 2001 and Priceless, her fourth LP, came out in 2003.

Two more CD's--This Is Who I Am (2006/GOSPOCENTRIC) and 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection (2008/HIP-O RECORDS)--have followed.

Only a month ago, in writing about The Real Brown Sugar, I referenced Kelly Price and her signature hit, "Friend Of Mine."


Song's Transcendent Moment

(Isley) "Kelly's telling me that you're sleeping with another woman."

(Kelly) "Just because she sees me with her,
Doesn't mean I'm sleeping with her."

(Isley) "If you're not sleeping with her,
What the hell you doing with her?"

(Kelly) "Damn, I can be just talking with her."

(Isley) "Or you can be just creeping with her.
Now son, man to man, we both know the game."


If You Liked. . . You'll Love

If you loved Aretha Franklin's "A Natural Woman," you'll like Kelly Price's "Friend Of Mine," and perhaps even grow to love it.


Honorary "B" Side

"You Should've Told Me"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Friend Of Mine (Remix)(w/ Ronald Isley & R. Kelly) by Kelly Price
Friend Of Mine (Remix)(w/ Ronald Isley & R. Kelly)


CD: Soul Of A Woman
Label: Island

Sample or Buy
Soul Of A Woman


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy You Should've Told Me by Kelly Price
You Should've Told Me


CD: Mirror Mirror
Label: Def Soul Classics

Sample or Buy
Mirror Mirror


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy All I Want Is You (w/ K-Ci & JoJo) by Kelly Price
All I Want Is You (w/ K-Ci & JoJo)


CD: Mirror Mirror
Label: Def Soul Classics

Sample or Buy
Mirror Mirror


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy Her by Kelly Price
Her


CD: Soul Of A Woman
Label: Island

Sample or Buy
Soul Of A Woman


3 Stars 3 Stars 3 Stars 
Sample or Buy The Lullaby  by Kelly Price
The Lullaby


CD: Mirror Mirror
Label: Def Soul Classics

Sample or Buy
Mirror Mirror


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Again (w/ Eric Clapton) by Kelly Price
Again (w/ Eric Clapton)


CD: Priceless
Label: Def Soul Classics

Sample or Buy
Priceless


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Secret Love by Kelly Price
Secret Love


CD: Soul Of A Woman
Label: Island

Sample or Buy
Soul Of A Woman


2 Stars 2 Stars 
Sample or Buy Soul Of A Woman by Kelly Price
Soul Of A Woman


CD: Soul Of A Woman
Label: Island

Sample or Buy
Soul Of A Woman


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