8 pm, Thursday, December 13, 2018. St. James Live, 3220 Butner Road, Suite 240, Atlanta, Georgia. Nelson Curry, Terry Wright. Doors open 7 pm. 404-579-9520.
9 pm, Saturday, December 15, 2019. The Council of Organizations, 814 45th Avenue, Meridian, Mississippi. Big Yayo.
Saturday, December 15, 2018. Destiny Center, 1622 Staffordshire Road, Stafford, Texas. T.K. Soul. 832-539-1917.
8 pm, Saturday, December 15, 2018. Gold Strike Casino, 1010 Casino Center, Tunica, Mississippi (Memphis). The Commodores.
8 pm, Saturday, December 15, 2018. Lincoln Auditorium, 106 Lee St., Marion, Alabama. Calvin Richardson, Ms. Portia and more. Doors open 7 pm. 334-247-5388.
2 pm, Sunday, December 16, 2018. Eden Events, 5802 Holly St., Houston, Texas. 5th Annual ZBT Awards All White Event. Big Pokey Bear, Sir Charles Jones, Ms. Jody, Calvin Richardson, New Cupid, Jeter Jones, Dave Mack, Avail Hollywood, Carl Sims and many more.
Friday, December 21, 2018. Dayton Sports Bar, 27 Town Center, 401 West Clayton St., Dayton, Texas. Chris Ardoin. 832-629-6684.
8 pm, Friday, December 21, 2018. Evangeline Downs Event Center, 2235 Creswell Lane Ext., Opelousas, Louisiana. Cupid’s B-day Bash. Cupid.
Saturday, December 22, 2018. Hotel Indigo, 1776 Harvard Avenue, College Park, Georgia. Jus' Blues Foundation Holiday Extravaganza. Theodis Ealey. 404-767-8881. See Jus Blues website.
Saturday, December 22, 2018. Bottleneck Blues Bar, Ameristar Casino, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Mr. Sipp. 601-638-1000.
Saturday, December 22, 2018. Godmother's Saloon, 302 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, California. Brenton Wood.
9 pm, Saturday, December 22, 2018. American Legion Post 248, 5070 FM 1398, Hooks, Texas. All White Christmas With The Boss. Wendell B., J. Cenae. 903-547-7248.
Saturday, December 22, 2018. D & L Lounge, 140 Tintop Lane, Canton, Mississippi (Jackson). Bobby Rush.
Saturday, December 22, 2018. Ivy Palace I, 6696 Antoine Drive, Houston, Texas. Ms. T's 4th Annual Christmas Gala. Tribute to Buddy Ace. BYOB. 713-894-7244.
Saturday, December 22, 2018. Carl Perkins Civic Center, 400 South Highland St., Jackson, Tennessee. Southern Soul Christmas Festival. Latimore, Big Pokey Bear, Ms. Jody, Cold Drank, Mr. Sam, Ms. Genii, The Love Doctor. Host: Jazzii A. Doors open 7 pm. 901-490-4328.
8 pm, Sunday, December 23, 2018. R.L.'s Blues Palace, 3100 Al Lipscomb Way, Dallas, Texas. Christmas Ball & Toy Drive. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Gregg A. Smith, R.L. Griffin and more. Doors open 7 pm. 469-471-4180, 214-421-9867.
10:30 pm, Thursday, December 27, 2018. Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 773-477-4647.
7 pm, Friday, December 28, 2018. Boutwell Auditorium, 1930 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Boulevard, Birmingham, Alabama. New Year's Celebration. Bigg Robb, Big Pokey Bear, Betty Wright, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Ms. Portia, Big "Ro" Williams, Calvin Richardson, Mose Stovall. 205-254-2820.
Friday, December 28, 2018. Club Visions, 3386 Buena Vista Road, Columbus, Georgia. L.J. Echols, MC DJ Trucker. 850-509-9036.
9 pm, Saturday, December 29, 2018. American Legion 583, 280 Martin Luther King Drive, Eatonton, Georgia. Nelson Curry, Stan Butler, Stacii Adams, G. Rockafella, West Love. Doors open 8 pm. 706-485-6776.
Saturday, December 29, 2018. Cerritos Center, 18000 Park Plaza Drive, Cerritos, California. Smokey Robinson.
Saturday, December 29, 2018. Bottleneck Blues Bar, Ameristar Casino, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Eddie Cotton Jr. 601-638-1000.
7 pm, Saturday, December 29, 2018. Mississippi Coliseum, 1207 Mississippi St., Jackson, Mississippi. Soulabration. Vick Allen, J-Wonn, Calvin Richardson, T.K. Soul, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Sir Charles Jones. 678-322-8098.
Saturday, December 29, 2018. W.L. Jack Howard Theatre, 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expy., Monroe, Louisiana. Betty Wright.
Sunday, December 30, 2018. Herrera's Event Center, 7815 John Ralston Road, Houston, Texas. New Year Classic. Keith Frank, Chris Ardoin. BYOB. 832-217-6935.
Sunday, December 30, 2018. Cafe 35, 4521 35th Avenue, Meridian, Mississippi. T.K. Soul. 601-678-2152.
Sunday, December 30, 2018. Club Faces, 1511 Martin Luther King Drive, Monroe, Louisiana. Pre-New Years Eve Bash. Nathaniel Kimble, Dr. Dee, DJ Trucker. 386-848-2411.
Monday, December 31, 2019. Couples, 4511 Byrd Drive, Jackson, Mississippi. Big Yayo. 601-923-9977.
8 pm, Sunday, December 31, 2018. Magnolia Lounge, 3920 Jonesboro Road, Forest Park, Georgia. Pre-New Years Eve Soul Blues. Mr. Melvin, Mr. CLJ, The Cadillac Man. 404-549-8402.
8 pm, Saturday, January 6, 2019. Good Deeds Community Center, 15101 Madison St., Gulfport, Mississippi. Mardi Gras Ball. Solomon Thompson. BYOB. 228-865-4204.
Friday, January 11, 2019. Riverdome at Horseshoe Casino & Hotel, 711 Horseshoe Blvd., Bossier City, Louisiana. Gladys Knight. 800-895-0711.
Friday, January 11, 2019. Beau Rivage Theatre, 875 Beach Boulevard, Biloxi, Mississippi. Smokey Robinson. Buy tickets.
Saturday, January 12, 2019. The Regency West, 3339 West 43rd St., Los Angeles, California. T.K. Soul. 323-292-5143.
Saturday, January 12 & Sunday, January 13, 2019. The Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle, Washington. Bobby Rush. 206-838-4333.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019. Cascade Theater, 1731 Market St., Redding, California. Bobby Rush.
Thursday, January 17, 2019. Harris Center, 10 College Pkwy., Folsom, California. Bobby Rush. 916-608-6888.
Friday, January 18, and Saturday, January 19, 2019. Freight & Salvage Coffee House, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley, California. Bobby Rush. 510-644-2020.
8 pm, Saturday, January 19, 2019. The Griffin Centre, Halifax Community College, 200 College Drive, Weldon, North Carolina. Ladies Night Out.Sir Charles Jones, Glenn Jones, Calvin Richardson, Lil' G (from Silk). After-Party. Doors open 7 pm. 252-538-4336.
8 pm, Saturday, January 19, 2019. Center Stage, Pearl River Resort, Choctaw, Mississippi. O.B. Buchana, Willie Clayton. 866-447-3275.
Saturday, January 19, 2010. Downtown (Edwards St. between Crockett & Cotton Streets), Shreveport, Louisiana. Jeter Jones Birthday Bash. Jeter Jones, Big "Ro" Williams, Avant, Lomax, DJ Trucker.
Saturday, January 19, 2019. Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 1st Avenue, Dallas, Texas. The Bar-Kays.
10 pm, Friday, January 25, 2019. K.C. Hall, 6320 Madden Lane, Houston, Texas. Keith Frank. Doors open 8 pm. BYOB. 832-724-5055.
Saturday, January 26, 2019. Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Fwy., Houston, Texas. Shirley Brown, Sir Charles Jones, The Manhattans featuring Gerald Alston. 713-772-5900.
Saturday, February 9, 2019. Selland Arena, Fresno Convention Center, 700 M St., Fresno, California. Dorothy Moore, Atlantic Starr, Eddie Holman and more. 559-445-8100.
Thursday, February 14, 2019. The Trotter Center, 402 2nd Ave North, Columbus, Mississippi. T.K. Soul. 662-328-4164.
Friday, February 15, 2019. SAP Center at San Jose, 525 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose, California. Dorothy Moore, The Delfonics, Heatwave, Barbara Lynn and more.
Saturday, February 16, 2019. Ruston Civic Center, 401 N. Trenton St., Ruston, Louisiana. T.K. Soul. 318-251-8613.
Friday, February 22, 2019. The Bell Auditorium, 712 Telfair St., Augusta, Georgia. T.K. Soul. 706-722-3521.
8 pm, Saturday, February 23, 2018. Nashville Memorial Auditorium, 301 6th Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee. 6th Annual Nashville Blues Festival. Sir Charles Jones, Theodis Ealey, Big Pokey Bear, Lenny Williams, Terry Wright. See festival website.
Saturday, February 23, and Sunday, February 24, 2019. McCabe's Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, California. Bobby Rush. 310-828-4497.
Saturday, February 23, 2019. Carver Theater, 2101 Orleans Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. Jeff Floyd.
Friday, March 1, 2019. The Civic Center, 301 West Oglethorpe Ave., Savannah, Georgia. T.K. Soul.
Saturday, March 2, 2019. The Crown Arena, 1960 Coliseum Drive, Fayetteville, North Carolina. T.K. Soul.
Friday, March 8, 2019. Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, 705 Elvis Presley Blvd., Shreveport, Louisiana. 13th Annual Shreveport Blues Festival. Tucka, Shirley Brown, Sir Charles Jones, The Manhattans featuring Gerald Alston.
Saturday, March 9, 2019. The Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie, Texas (Dallas-Fort Worth). Theodis Ealey, Sir Charles Jones, Tucka, Calvin Richardson, Shirley Jones.
Saturday, March 16, 2019. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. 13th Annual Motor City Blues Festival. Sir Charles Jones, Lenny Williams, Theodis Ealey, Shirley Brown, Calvin Richardson. 313-471-6611.
Thursday, March 28, 2019. Sellosali-Helsinki, Soittoniekanaukio 1 A 02600, Espoo, Finland. Bobby Rush.
Friday, March 29, 2019. Cosmopolite, Soria Moria, Vogts gt 64, Torshov 0477, Oslo, Norway. Bobby Rush. See Cosmopolite website.
Saturday, March 30, 2019. Baltoppen-Cophenhagen, Baltorpvej 20 2750, Ballerup, Denmark. Bobby Rush.
Friday, April 5, 2019. Laurent Bouvier Community Fireplace, Seine-Maritime, France. Salaise Blues Festival. Bobby Rush.
Friday, April 5, 2019. Foyer Laurent Bouvier, Impasse du Renivet, 38150, Lyon, France. Salaise Blues Festival. Bobby Rush, Alex Haynes & The Fever. +33 4 74 29 71 50.
10 am, Saturday, April 6, 2019. The (Mobile Greater Gulf States) Fairgrounds, 1035 Cody Road North, Mobile, Alabama. Spring Fling Music Festival. Tucka, Sir Charles Jones, Big Pokey Bear, Jeter Jones, Cupid, Lacee, Lebrado, Jeff Floyd, T.K. Soul, O.B. Buchana, Summer Wolfe, Till 1, Ronnie Bell, Wendell B.
Sunday, April 7, 2019. Mühle Hunziken – Bern, Hunziken, CH-3113, Rubigen, Switzerland. Bobby Rush. See Mühle Hunziken website.
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--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