Friday, April 20, 2018. B.B. King Blues Club, 1801 Eddie L. Tullis Road, Montgomery, Alabama. Sir Charles Jones.
JUST ADDED! Friday, April 20, 2018. Lewis Johnson Building, 299 Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, Grenada, Mississippi. Pokey Bear. Doors open 8 pm.
7 pm, Saturday, April 21, 2018. Halifax Community College, 200 College Drive, Weldon, North Carolina. Betty Wright, LJ Echols, Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 252-536-4221.
9 pm. Saturday, April 21, 2018. 830 Batchler Road, Red Oak, Texas. Tilley Riders Trail Ride (Fri-Sat). Jeter Jones & Perfect Blend Band.
Saturday, April 21, 2018. Octavia's Event Center, 2315 Texas Blvd., Texarkana, Arkansas. T.K. Soul.
7 pm, Saturday, April 21, 2018. Cape May Convention Hall, 714 Beach Ave., Cape May, New Jersey. William Bell & Memphis Soul Revue.
Saturday, April 21, 2018. Savannah Civic Center (Johnny Mercer Theater), 301 W. Oglethorpe Ave., Savannah, Georgia. 6th Annual Savannah Blues Festival. Blues Is Alright Tour. Theodis Ealey, Sir Charles Jones, Tucka, Latimore, Pokey Bear, Clarence Carter. 912-651-6550.
9 pm, Saturday, April 21, 2018. The Outhouse, 815 North Meridian St., Aberdeen, Mississippi. Lomax.
8 pm, Saturday, April 21, 2018. Gold Strike Casino Resort, 1010 Casino Center Dr., Tunica, Mississippi. Kool & The Gang. 888-747-7711.
9 pm, Saturday, April 21, 2018. Underground 119, 119 South President St., Jackson, Mississippi. J.J. Thames. 601-944-0907.
9 pm, Saturday, April 21, 2018. American Legion Post 248, 5070 FM 1398, Hooks, Texas. Sweet Angel. Comedians included. Doors open 6 pm. 903-276-4871.
7 pm, Sunday, April 22, 2018. Lounge 114, 105 Capitol Street, Jackson, Mississippi. J.J. Thames. 769-257-6223.
Sunday, April 22, 2018. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd St., New York, New York.William Bell. 212-997-4144.
Sunday, April 22, 2018. Monroe Civic Center, 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expy., Monroe, Louisiana. Cupid, Tucka, Pokey Bear, Keith Sweat. 318-329-2225.
7 pm, Thursday, April 26, 2018. Underground 119, 119 South President St., Jackson, Mississippi. Stevie J. 601-944-0907.
8:30 pm, Friday, April 27, 2018. Underground 119, 119 South President St., Jackson, Mississippi. Johnny Rawls. 601-944-0907.
Saturday, April 28, 2018. The Brass Room, 1302 Surrey St., Lafayette, Louisiana. Tucka, Audi Yo. 225-209-4732.
Saturday, April 28, 2018. Performing Arts Center, 916 West Atlantic St. # D, Emporia, Virginia. T.K. Soul. 434-634-6001.
Saturday, April 28, 2018. Orleans Parish, New Orleans, Louusiana. New Orleans Jazz Festival.Aretha Franklin. See website.
Saturday, April 28, 2018. Washington Hall, 153 14th Ave., Seattle, Washington. Dexter Allen. 206-322-1151.
Friday, May 4 & Saturday, May 5, 2018. Biscuits and Blues, 401 Mason St., San Francisco, California. Bobby Rush. 415-292-2583.
7 pm, Saturday, May 5, 2018. Washington County Convention Center, 1040 South Raceway Road, Greenville, Mississippi. Sir Charles Jones, Bishop Bullwinkle, Chris Ivy, Pokey Bear. Doors open 6 pm. BYOB. 662-332-0488. 601-218-6343.
8 pm, Friday, May 11, 2018. Vicksburg City Auditorium, 901 Monroe St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. 12th Annual Mother's Day Friday. Peggy Scott-Adams, J-Wonn, L.J. Echols, Coco, Ronnie Bell. Doors open 7 pm. BYOB. 601-955-4894, 601-634-4511.
8 pm, Saturday, May 12, 2018. Clarksdale Civic Auditorium, 506 East Second St., Clarksdale, Mississippi. Terry Wright, Pokey Bear, Cold Drank, JoJo Murray, Ra'Shad The Blues Kid, Emerson Hill. Doors open 7 pm.
7 pm, Saturday, May 12, 2018. Richwood Park, 600 Audubon Woods Drive, Richwood, Louisiana. Ricky White, Billy "Soul" Bonds, Donnie Ray, Ghetto Cowboy, Stephanie McDee, Gregg A. Smith. BYOB. 317-323-5817.
8 pm, Saturday, May 12, 2018. Ruston Civic Center, 401 N. Trenton St., Ruston, Louisiana. Mother's Day Soul & Blues Bash: Pink & Blue Affair. Vick Allen, Lacee, Jeter Jones, Ronnie Bell, Fat Daddy. Doors open 7 pm. BYOB. 318-243-2499, 870-866-7441.
2 pm, Sunday, May 13, 2018. Carnes Park, Highway 80, Whitehall, Alabama. Karen Wolfe, O.B. Buchana, J-Wonn, Avail Hollywood, Ronnie Bell. Gates open 12 Noon.
Thursday, May 17, 2018. Forum Nice Nord, 10 Boulevard Comte de Falicon, Nice, France. Syl Johnson, Robin McKelle. +33 4 93 51 72 54.
Friday, May 18, 2018. Tunica Arena & Expo Center, 3873 US-61, Tunica, Mississippi. Tunica Takeover: The Kings of Southern Soul. Sir Charles Jones, Latimore, O.B. Buchana, Bigg Robb, Willie Clayton, Calvin Richardson. 901-509-5882. 662-363-3299.
Saturday, May 19, 2018. Underground 119, 119 South President St., Jackson, Mississippi.Dexter Allen. 601-944-0907.
7 pm, Saturday, May 19, 2018. Indigo At The O2, Greenwich, Peninsula Square, London SE10 0DX, United Kingdom. Millie Jackson. +44 20 8463 2000.
Saturday, May 26, 2018. North Florida Fairgrounds, 441 Paul Russell Road, Tallahassee, Florida. Lloyd Music Festival. Bishop Bullwinkle, Rosalyn Candy, Tucka, Kenne' Wayne, Wilson Meadows, Mr. Sam, Cupid, TNL. 850-322-6585.
Saturday, May 26, 2018. Attala Colliseum, 550 MS-12, Kosciusko, Mississippi. Pokey Bear, J-Wonn, Cold Drank, L.J. Echols, Chris Ivy. 662-289-1618.
Sunday, May 27, 2018. The Stadium, Holly Springs, Mississippi. Sir Charles Jones, Karen Wolfe, Bobby Rush, Tank and more. 901-355-7318.
6 pm, Sunday, May 27, 2018. Lucas Ball Park, Highway 84, Prentiss, Mississippi. Krishunda Echols, Omar Cunningham, Dave Mack, Terry Wright, Adrian Bagher, Coco. Gates open 10 am. 601-297-3949, 601-455-0598.
4 pm, Sunday, May 27, 2018. Wall Hill Park, 1930 Wall Hill Road, Byhalia, Mississippi. Sheba Potts-Wright, L.J. Echols, Theodis Ealey, Jaye Hammer, Pokey Bear, Grady Champion, King Fish. Gates open Noon, 12 pm. 901-268-7007.
Saturday, June 2, 2018. Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St., Boston Massachusetts. Aretha Franklin. 617-482-9393.
Saturday, June 2, 2018. Desoto Multicultural Center, 1216 Old Jefferson Highway, Mansfield, Louisiana. Jeter Jones.
6 pm, Saturday, June 2, 2018. Greenwood Fairgrounds, Hwy. 221 South, Greenwood, South Carolina. Summer Blues Fest. Sir Charles Jones, Tucka, Bishop Bullwinkle, Ronnie Bell, Big Mucci. Gates open at 4 pm. BYOB. Rain or shine. 678-428-5159, 678-506-7744.
2 pm, Sunday, June 3, 2018. Tunica River Park (Outside behind Fitz Casino), 1 River Park Drive, Robinsonville, Mississippi. Blues On The River.
T.K. Soul, J-Wonn, O.B. Buchana, Queen Ann Hines, Summer Wolfe, Kirby Smooth. 662-671-1230. Gates open 10 am.
Saturday, June 9, 2018. Andiamo Celebrity Showroom, 7096 East Fourteen Mile Road, Warren, Michigan. Millie Jackson. 586-268-3200.
3:30 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Vance County Regional Fairgrounds, 1427 East Andrews Avenue, Hwy. 39, Henderson, North Carolina. Southern Soul Comedy Fest. Pokey Bear, T.K. Soul, Lebrado, Cold Drank, Black Diamond, Nellie "Tiger" Travis and many comedians. See festival website. Gates open 2 pm. Rain or Shine.
9 pm, Saturday, June 9, 2018. Pensacola State Fairgrounds, 6655 Mobile Hwy., Pensacola, Florida. Bike & Blues Festival. Ms. Jody, Jeff Floyd, L.J. Echols, Mose Stovall, Franky. 850-512-8981, 850-944-4500.
Saturday, June 9, 2018. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Road, Westbury, New York.Aretha Franklin. 516-247-5200.
7:30 pm, June 14, 2018. Riley Center - MSU, 2200 5th St., Meridian, Mississippi. William Bell & Memphis Soul Revue.
Sunday, June 17, 2018. Columbus Civic Center, 400 4th St., Columbus, Georgia. T.K. Soul, Tucka, Bishop Bullwinkle, Pokey Bear, Latimore, Sir Charles Jones, Calvin Richardson. 706-653-4482.
8 pm, Friday, June 22, 2018. Bottleneck Blues Bar At Ameristar, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Mr. Sipp. Doors open 7 pm.
Thursday, June 28, 2018. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Aretha Franklin. +1 416-368-6161.
June 30, 2018. One World Theater, 7701 Bee Caves Road, Austin, Texas. Chubby Checker. 512-330-9500.
Saturday, June 30, 2018. Miller Theater, 708 Broad St., Augusta, Georgia. Pokey Bear, Sunshine Anderson, Cold Drank, Rome. 706-842-4080.
6 pm, Saturday, July 7, 2018. Nolan Memorial Park (aka Ponderosa Park), Wisner, Louisiana. 10th Annual Nolan Norman Day Celebration. Sir Charles Jones, T.K. Soul, Nathaniel Kimble, Avail Hollywood, Lacee.
Saturday, July 7, 2018. Cherry Street Pavillion, Downtown, Helena, Arkansas. L.J. Echols, Pokey Bear, Cold Drank. 870-995-4030.
7 pm, Friday, July 13, 2018. Brown Auditorium, Nash Community College, 522 North Old Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Down East Music Festival Weekend. J-Wonn, Karen Wolfe, Black Diamond, Maurice Wynn, Wilson Meadows and more.
5 pm, Saturday, July 14, 2018. Rocky Mount Municipal Complex, Bishop Stadium, 600 Independence Drive, Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Down East Music Festival Weekend. Pokey Bear, Glenn Jones, Tucka, Sir Charles Jones, Theodis Ealey, Omar Cunningham, Maurice Wynn, Roy C, Sunshine Anderson, Lenny Williams, Lakeside, Big G, Lacee and more. Rain or shine. Gates open 4 pm. See festival website.
3 pm, Saturday, August 4, 2018.Pitt County Fairgrounds, 3910 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard,Greenville, North Carolina. The Manhattans feat. Gerald Alston.
Saturday, August 18, 2018. Underground 119, 119 South President St., Jackson, Mississippi.Dexter Allen. 601-944-0907.
E-mail concert listings and corrections to:
ATTENTION: DADDY B. NICE'S CONCERT CALENDAR IS THE MOST PIRATED PAGE IN THE SOUTHERN SOUL MEDIA. THIS FEATURE REQUIRES PAINSTAKING WORK AND RESEARCH AND HOURS OF TIME TO COMPILE. DO NOT COPY THIS CONCERT CALENDAR WITHOUT READING THE FOLLOWING:
All material--written or visual--on this website is copyrighted and the exclusive property of SouthernSoulRnB.com, LLC. Any use or reproduction of the material outside the website is strictly forbidden, unless expressly authorized by SouthernSoulRnB.com.
--Daddy B. Nice
Overflow From Daddy B. Nice's BEST OF 2015 page...
2015: THE YEAR IN SOUTHERN SOUL
January began without holiday hangover, as up-and-coming producer Big Yayo debuted as a performer with a piece of "southern soul electronica" called "Cowgirl" featuring his protege, "I Got This Record's" J'Wonn, the ultimate balladeer, singing an uptempo chorus on his first-ever club jam.
February ushered in a Valentine's Day weekend to be remembered with southern soul concerts across a broad spectrum of the South, from Hooks, Texas (Avail Hollywood) to Memphis (Bertha Payne) to south Atlanta (Lomax) to Greenville, Ms. (J'Wonn) to Canton, Ms. (L.J. Echols, Terry Wright, J-Wonn, Krishunda Echols, Bigg Robb, Napoleon) to Vicksburg (Shirley Brown, Carl Sims, Jaye Hammer, Wilson Meadows, Pat Brown, Adrena) to Corpus Christi (Mel Waiters) to Decatur, Ga. and Talladega, Alabama (T.J. Hooker Taylor) to Tuscaloosa (Tre' Williams, Jeff Floyd) to Panama City, Florida (Ms. Jody) to Germantown, Tenn. (Mavis Staples) to Montgomery (Bigg Robb, O.B. Buchana, Tucka, Lebrado, Lomax, Toia Jones) to Farmerville, La. (Avail Hollywood) to Mobile (L.J. Echols, Andre' Lee, James Payne, Geno Wesley) to Dallas and the annual Blues Is Alright Tour (T.K. Soul, Theodis Ealey, Mel Waiters, Clarence Carter, Latimore, Millie Jackson) to Shiner, Texas (Rue Davis) to Texarkana (Omar Cunningham, Wendell B) to Indianola, Ms., B.B. King's hometown (Chris Ivy, Lil' Jimmie) to Baytown, Texas (Kenne' Wayne, AP Heavy But Sweet) to East Tyler, Texas (R. Kelly, Avail Hollywood) and back to Memphis (Jarekus Singleton), setting the bar for a record-breaking year in Southern Soul clubs.
Mindful of the concert bonanza, Daddy B. Nice urged fans in March to get out of the airport hubs (Memphis, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans) and "walk on the wild side," visiting the "holes-in-the-walls" in the verdant countryside where the true contemporary blues reigns supreme. In Jackson, premier nineties' vocalist Robert "The Duke" Tillman (Ace, Ichiban) re-emerged, as did storied DJ Outlaw at WMPR, while young Jackson guitar-blues stars Jarekus Singleton, Grady Champion and Mr. Sipp parlayed their mass audience-friendly blues far beyond the Delta.
April saw the breakthrough collection THE LOUISIANA BLUES BROTHERS, explode in the southern soul demographic via its suddenly iconic single,
"My Sidepiece," featuring the powerful-piped, Reggie P.-like vocalist Pokey (or Big Pokey Bear), whose electric stage show featured the singer thrusting and gyrating with a passion not seen since Bobby Rush's twerking dancers.
The song's message that it was okay to have a "woman on the side" because it's in the "genes" alternately fascinated and disgusted listeners, and not always along gender lines, and the "sidepiece" theme became a motif in countless new southern soul songs. Meanwhile, Pokey et. al.'s new album, BEAT FLIPPA I GOT THE BLUES VOL. 1., released in February, shot up the charts, bringing a rock-and-roll-like energy, immediacy and accessibility to the southern soul scene that thrust its brilliant producer (Beat Flippa) and roster of talented artists (Pokey, Tyree Neal, Adrian Bagher, Vince Hutchinson, Mz. Pat, Veronica Ra'elle, Rosalyn Candy, etc.) into a level of popularity even southern soul's veteran artists had to envy.
Also in April, the great sixties' artist Percy Sledge, who recorded one of the most powerful southern soul songs of the last fifty years, "When A Man Loves A Woman," passed away with scant fanfare.
May was the worst month, the cruelest month... ....Mother's Day and Memorial Day weekends witnessed another slew of record-breaking fan-friendly southern soul concerts, but the nation and entire world mourned the passing of B.B. King, whose ties to Indianola and Jackson, Mississippi were real and renewed each summer, when B.B. always returned for the Medgar Evers Homecoming Celebration and played for his original chitlin' circuit fans in the Delta.
But for contemporary southern soul fans it was the passing of song-master Mel Waiters that really hurt. Unknown outside of blues circles (unlike the world-famous B.B. King), Waiters was an irreplaceable part of the southern soul pantheon of recording artists, having largely kicked off the contemporary scene with his "Hole In The Wall," fashioned in the late nineties in the tradition of Mel's inspirations, Z.Z. Hill and Buddy Ace. For many fans, Waiters was the number-one performer in the South, and Mel never shied away from the kudos. YouTube videos document his exciting "contests" with Sir Charles Jones, which did so much to enliven the concert scene.
June marked the appearance of a rapping preacher named Bishop Bullwinkle, whose "Hell Naw To The Naw Naw" continued a trend of unknown artists (like J'Wonn, Tucka, Pokey) eclipsing southern soul's veteran artists in notoriety-slash-popularity in one fell swoop (be it a single or album). Whereas J'Wonn had stunned the southern soul community a couple of years earlier with his straight-forward youth and sensitivity, the nearly seventy-something Bishop Bullwinkle simultaneously astonished and dumbfounded fans with his fearless, back-woods vision of the world compressed into a six-minute, no-holds-barred sermon castigating hypocrisy in the church and gangsterism in the hood.
While J'Wonn had seemingly thrust the entire world off his back with the momentous words, "I Got This Record," the grizzled Bullwinkle did the same with his proclamation, "My name is Bishop Bullwinkle / From the church of nothing but the truth..." ....In less than a month his YouTube video (there was no published record) had a million views--unheard-of for a southern soul song--and by the end of the year it was approaching ten million. Clearly, Bullwinkle's "Hell To The Naw Naw" had cut through layers of padding and pretension to strike a deeply-felt, common nerve with fans.
In August Tucka and T.K. Soul sold out the 3,000-seat Houston Arena Theatre, notching a new high in audience numbers for a pair of southern soul acts.
Jackson's own James "Hot Dog" Lewis, keyboardist, performer and producer, passed away in October.
Late summer sizzled with gigs--July 4th, Labor Day--the fans' thirst for the music couldn't be slaked--culminating in the biggest concert-venue weekend ever Thanksgiving.
From Thibodeaux, Louisiana (Cupid, Lebrado, Pokey) to Montgomery, Alabama (T.K. Soul) to Canton-Jackson, Ms. (J'Wonn, Big Yayo) to Opelika, Alabama (T.K. Soul) to Hattiesburg, Ms. (J'Wonn, Big Yayo) to Tchula, Ms. (Tre' Williams) to Grenada, Ms. (J'Wonn) to DC area Pomonkey, Md. (Jeff Floyd, J. Red, Hardway Connection) to Birmingham, Alabama (Calvin Richardson, Nellie "Tiger" Travis) and back to Hattiesburg (T.K. Soul) and way out to San Diego (Cupid) and back to Vicksburg (Bishop Bullwinkle, Terry Wright, Bigg Robb, Lacee, Stevie J) to New Orleans (T.K. Soul) to El Dorado, Arkansas (T.K. Soul, Ghetto Cowboy, Summer Wolfe) to Charlotte, North Carolina (Lenny Williams, Ann Nesby) and Wilson, North Carolina (Jeff Floyd, Wilson Meadows, Hardway Connection) down to Tampa, Florida (Clarence Carter, Bishop Bullwinkle, Betty Wright, Shirley Murdoch) and Sebring, Florida (Bobby Rush, Theodis Ealey) and way up to Gary, Indiana (Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Willie Clayton, Latimore, Otis Clay) and back to the Delta in Tchula, Mississippi (Big Yayo, J'Wonn) and Pickens, Ms. (The Love Doctor, Terry Wright, Sorrento Ussery, Pat Brown, Nathaniel Kimble, Doctor Dee, Lady Di) to Meridian, Ms. (Big Robb, Vick Allen, Lacee, JR Blu) and thence back north to St. Louis (Bobby Rush, David Dee) and Chicago (Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Willie Clayton, Otis Clay, Latimore) and back home to Jackson (Andre' Lee, T-Baby) and the re-opened Evers Blues Lounge on Pecan Park Circle next to WMPR (Roy C., LGB, Doctor Dee, Dennis Fountain).... From all of these venues, enthusiastic fans supplemented their turkey with southern soul music.
2016 marked Southern Soul's most serious forays into the mainstream yet, and Bishop Bullwinkle was southern soul's "Donald Trump," refreshingly candid, wildly off-the-wall. At year's end, Bigg Robb took down Bullwinkle's video for copyright infringement. Turns out the Bishop had used the instrumental track from Robb's "Looking For A Country Girl" for the backing track to "Naw Naw," but Bishop Bullwinkle was uncontrite, telling Daddy B. Nice in a profanity-laced interview that he "dared" Robb to take him to court. As one industry insider noted, it didn't matter that the song hadn't been published (as a record); its online streaming revenues alone amounted to the same thing. And so it went in the raucous, wild-west-like cradle of the musical universe--the Deep South--where the music is as primeval and super-sized as the SEC. (And still unknown nationally...Go figure!) And as Jaye Hammer (one of 2015's finest vocalists) says in his juking new ode to the Delta, "I Ain't Leaving Mississippi." ....
"You know, someone came up to me the other day and said, 'Hammer! They told me you had moved to Chicago."
I said, "What? Man! People are always spreading rumors. But let me say this. I ain't leaving Mississippi. Mississippi is my home. If you think I'm gonna leave Mississippi, you might as well leave me alone."
--Daddy B. Nice
From Daddy B. Nice's BEST OF 2014 page...
2014: THE YEAR IN SOUTHERN SOUL
The year did not begin auspiciously. Floyd Taylor, son of the late great Johnnie Taylor and a contemporary southern soul headliner in his own right, passed away on February 21st, causing his stepbrother TJ to remark, "He died pretty much the way my dad died: a heart attack (at too young an age)." A masterful and discerning vocal interpreter, Taylor's career was notable for spanning southern soul's two generations of songwriters, from the best of Charles Richard Cason and Lawrence Harper (of his father's generation) to Simeo Overall of the new.
A few days later Eddie Holloway, a lesser-known but seminal figure renowned for contemporary southern soul classics like "I Had A Good Time," "Poor Boy" and "My Mind's Too Strong," passed away in obscurity, without fanfare.
A young recording artist (Jeter Jones) trying to break into the southern soul market released an album whose instrumental tracks Daddy B. Nice--in a CD review--recognized as identical to certain Bobby Jones and Chuck Roberson songs of the recent past, setting off a firestorm of litigation between Desert Sounds CEO Charles Peterson and his former producer, Eric "Smidi" Smith.
Daddy B. Nice himself underwent a lung cancer scare and finally had surgery in May, returning successfully after two bouts in the hospital to discover that "Funky" Larry Jones, owner of the Soul & Blues Report, a monthly compendium and summary of southern soul deejay playlists and a vital niche in the southern soul internet community, had died. Other websites (Boogie, Blues Critic) made attempts to provide the same function, but at year's end the loss was still felt and seemed irrevocable.
That, along with the June death of Don Davis (the producing genius behind Johnnie Taylor) and the early-September passing of Joe Poonanny, the Weird Al Yankovich of the chitlin' circuit and the last of a dying breed of blues parodists, was the bad news.
The good news was that, stimulated by an invitation to Kim Cole's Celebrity Birthday Bash in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in July, your Daddy B. Nice rebounded to attend (and chronicle) three multi-act southern soul concerts in thirty hours, including getting out on the dance floor.
There was cause. Southern Soul stars were appearing everywhere across the Deep South, from Texas to the Carolinas. A month later, Southern Soul Labor Day concerts and associated sales would surpass a million, and the concerts continued to proliferate, populating weekends throughout the calendar that would have been few and far between ten years ago.
But what really uncorked the euphoria in 2014 was the return to recording of southern soul's younger-generation leading lights, Sir Charles Jones and T.K. Soul. After long absences (especially in Sir Charles' case), both performers produced sets of significant material with fresh yet authentic sounds, in T.K.'s case stripped-down, acoustic-dominated arrangements.
The two CD's, combined with the much-anticipated debut by J'Wonn (I GOT THIS RECORD) and the latest drop from O.B. Buchana, made it a banner year for male vocalists.
Women, not so much. For the second year in a row Denise LaSalle and Shirley Brown were sorely missed. Both appeared only rarely, and neither released new product. Ms. Jody and Nellie "Tiger" Travis were relatively quiet after big years in 2013. Sweet Angel reposed and, as expected, Peggy Scott-Adams (whose early partner, JoJo Benson, died just before Christmas) failed to follow up on her 2012 return to southern soul. Candi Staton and Uvee Hayes returned with new CD's, however.
Some of the major male stars--known for productivity--were also MIA in 2014. Mel Waiters, Theodis Ealey, Latimore and Bobby Rush produced little new studio work, and in pursuit of an elusive Grammy that even the late Johnnie Taylor and Tyrone Davis never won, Willie Clayton's new album disconcerted some longtime fans with its slide into atmospheric, Isley-style soul.
Young Grady Champion was the year's sensation (following fellow Jacksonian J'Wonn in 2013). Champion drew a cover story in "Living Blues" magazine after signing with Malaco Records for his new album BOOTLEG WHISKEY. Rare for a Delta artist, Champion drew national interest and crossover appeal.
Waiting in the wings, and getting no respect, was Chicago phenomenon Theo Huff, whose "It's A Good Thing I Met You" drew high praise (#5 for the year) from Daddy B. Nice for its approximation of--you guessed it--vintage Willie Clayton.
Lil' Jimmie's dance jam "She Was Twerkin'" was the underground sensation of the year, the subject of constant fan queries on where to buy--the answer was always, "Nowhere." Which reminded your Daddy B. Nice of an old Lil' Jimmie song called "I'm Not Going Nowhere," a song so full of double-negatives you're not sure what he means.
A young artist named Wood redid Nellie "Tiger" Travis's "Mr. Sexy Man" with a lounge-band sound ("Foxy Lady"), drawing copyright ire.
Tyree Neal, Pokey and Adrian Bagher formed a group called The Louisiana Blues Brothers.
Memphis-based Anita Love (Humphrey), former back-up singer for Sweet Angel, had an out-of-left-field smash with "Keep Knockin'", while Memphis-based songwriter John Cummings continued his transformation into a first-rate recording artist.
Vick Allen was in a stage play in Jackson, Mississippi, while singles ("Crazy Over You," "True To Me") continued to spit out of his going-on-three-year-old SOUL MUSIC album like candy from a child's Christmas wind-up toy.
Steve Perry of "Booty Roll" fame thought better of his name change to Prince Mekl and became good old Steve Perry again.
WAGR in Lexington, Mississippi and its colorful deejay, Big Money, became the exciting new southern soul station to stream on the Internet.
And last but not least, storied DJ Ragman returned in December to WMPR in Jackson, Mississippi--also on the Web--doling out southern soul music in the afternoons with his trademark, champagne-fizz optimism.
By the end of the year, life in Southern Soul was good.
--Daddy B. Nice