10:30 pm, Friday, June 23, 2017. American Legion 1710 Jeffress Blvd., South Boston, Virginia.Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 434-572-2297.
Saturday, June 24, 2017. Vibes Events Center, 1211 East Houston St., San Antonio, Texas. Mel Waiters Tribute. Pokey Bear, Tucka, Cupid, Walter Waiters and more. 210-394-3100.
Saturday, June 24, 2017. Outdoors, Downtown, Mansfield, Louisiana. Juneteenth Fest. T.K. Soul.
9 pm, Saturday, June 24, 2017. Iron Horse Grill, 320 W. Pearl St., Jackson, Mississippi. DieDra & the Ruff Pro Band. Free. 601-398-0151
8 pm, Saturday, June 24, 2017. BJ. Park, 1526 Friendship Road, Homer, Louisiana. Vick Allen, Andre' Lee, Summer Wolfe. Gates open 3 pm. 318-245-4822.
7 pm, Sunday, June 25, 2017. My Place at Atlanta Crossing, 185 Eastern Blvd., Suite 149, Montgomery, Alabama. Big Yayo, Tootsie Roll. Doors open at 6 pm. 706-464-5470.
9 pm, Sunday, June 25, 2017, 9:00 PM
Blue Chicago, 534 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis.
2-6 pm, Monday, June 26, 2017. King's Palace Cafe Patio, 162 Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee. Sonny Mack. DBN notes: This is an ongoing gig, 2-6 pm, Mondays through Fridays. 521-1851.
Friday, June 30, 2017. The Good Deeds Center, 15101 Madison St., Gulfport, Mississippi. T.K. Soul. 228-865-4204.
9 pm, Friday, June 30, 2017. Benedict College, 5112 Colonial Drive, Columbia, South Carolina.Nellie "Tiger" Travis.
Friday, June 30, 2017. Winnfield Civic Center, 2000 South Jones St., Winnfield, Louisiana. J-Wonn, L.J. Echols, Donnie Ray, Magic One. Doors open 8 pm.
6 pm, Saturday, July 1, 2017. 9th Annual Nolan Norman Day Celebration, Nolan Memorial Park (aka Ponderosa Park), Wisner, Louisiana. Nathaniel Kimble, T.K. Soul, Rhomey, Lacee.
5 pm, Saturday, July 1, 2017. The Venue, 1119F Highway 49, Flora, Mississippi. Vick Allen, L.J. Echols, Big Yayo, J'Wonn, Tre' Williams and more. Gates open at 3 pm. 601-665-2731.
3 pm, Saturday, July 1, 2017. Pimperl Place, 48738 US Hwy. 31, Bay Minette, Alabama. Katrenia Jefferson, Ves, Lacee, Simone De, Mr. Campbell and more. 251-786-7893. Gates open 12 Noon.
5 pm, Saturday, July 1, 2017. H & H Farms, Highway 11 South, Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Ms. Jody, Bishop Bullwinkle, Calvin Richardson, Omar Cunningham, Theodis Ealey, Big "Ro" Williams, Steve Perry, Mose Stovall. 205-632-4994. Gates open 3 pm.
Saturday, July 1, 2017. Q.V. Sykes Ballfield, 700 Sykes Road, Meridian, Mississippi. LaMorris Williams, O.B. Buchana, Kenne' Wayne, Larry Milton, Diva D. 601-917-7934.
Saturday, July 1, 2017. Columbus Civic Center, 400 4th St., Columbus, Georgia. Sir Charles Jones, Tucka, Wilson Meadows, Lenny Williams, Big Pokey Bear. 706-653-4482.
2:30 pm, Saturday, July 1, 2017. Warfield Point Park, 295 Warfield Point Park Road, Greenville, Mississippi. Terry Wright, Bishop Bullwinkle, LaMorris Williams, Jaye Hammer, Karen Brown and more. BYOB. Gates open 11 am.
Saturday, July 1, 2017. Simps Bar & Grill, 4105 Tillman Road, Port Gibson, Mississippi. Magic One, Rhomey, Tha Don, MP Soul, Kiko Pryor. Doors open 9 pm. 601-831-1255.
2:30 pm, Sunday, July 2, 2017. 3037 County Road 57, Verbena, Alabama. J'Wonn, Pokey Bear, Cold Drank, Adrian Bagher, Tyree Neal, Veronica Ra'elle. Doors open 12 Noon. BYOB. 205-217-6098.
7 pm, Friday, July 7, 2017. Collin Center, 1522 Caldwell St., Winnfield, Louisiana. Avail Hollywood & Band, Melody Gold.
Friday, July 7, 2017. Belle of Baton Rouge, 103 France St., Baton Rouge, Louisiana. T.K. Soul. 225-242-2600.
Friday, July 7, 2017. Green Pig Pub, 31 East 400 S, Salt Lake City, Utah. Grady Champion. 801-532-7441.
3 pm, Saturday, July 8, 2017. Wilson County Fairgrounds, 2331 US-301, Wilson, North Carolina. Down East Music Festival. Sir Charles Jones, Vick Allen, Maurice Wynn, Roy C, Big Pokey Bear, Lacee, Black Diamond, Wilson Meadows, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, J. Red, 3 Staxx, Jus Once. Host: DJ Heavy, DJ Starchild. Gates open 1 pm. Rain or Shine. 919-827-2033.
Saturday, July 8, 2017. Attala County Coliseum, 550 MS #12, Kosciusko, Mississippi. Tucka, Calvin Richardson, Tre' Williams. Hosts: WAGR Lexington DJ's: DJ Big Money, The Dirty DJ, Steve Smooth. 662-633-1791.
8 pm, Saturday, July 8, 2017. Gold Strike Casino, 1010 Casino Center, Tunica, Mississippi. The Four Tops. 888-245-7829.
Sunday, July 9, 2017. R.L.'s Blues Palace, 3100 Grand Avenue, Dallas, Texas. Big Pokey Bear, Sir Charles Jones, Cold Drank, R.L. Griffin, Fat Daddy. 214-421-9867. (DBN notes: T.K. Soul cancelled.)
Wednesday, July 12, 2017. Biscuits and Blues, 401 Mason St., San Francisco, California. Grady Champion. 415-292-2583.
5 pm, Friday, July 14, 2017. Genesee Valley Park, 952 East River Road, Rochester, New York. Pokey Bear, Bobby Rush, Joe Beard.
Friday, July 14, 2017. The Clock Tower, 1601 Arapahoe St., #17, Denver, Colorado. Grady Champion. 303-877-0742.
Friday, July 14, 2017. Bluesville, Horseshoe Casino, 1021 Casino Center Drive, Tunica, Mississippi. KC & Sunshine Band.
Saturday, July 15, 2017. Barleycorn's, 608 E. Douglas Ave., Wichita, Kansas. Grady Champion. 316-866-6792.
7 pm, Saturday, July 15, 2017. Sumter Civic Center, 700 W. Liberty St., Sumter, South Carolina. J. Red, Theodis Ealey, Roy C, Lebrado, Karen Wolfe, Shay Denise. 404-308-3633. Doors open 5:30 pm.
Saturday, July 15, 2017. Fitz Casino Tunica, 711 Lucky Lane, Robinsonville, Mississippi. Aaron Neville.
Sunday, July 16, 2017. Wings Event Center – Grand Rapids, 3600 Vanrick Drive, Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Bobby Rush & more.
Sunday, July 16, 2017. Huey's, 77 South 2nd St., Memphis, Tennessee. Grady Champion. 901-527-2700.
5 pm, Sunday, July 16, 2017. Club Bella Noche, 8190 Plank Road, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Tyree Neal, Wendell B., Sir Charles Jones. Doors open 3 pm. 225-266-4236.
Friday, July 21, 2017. My Place, 1200 Eastern Blvd., Montgomery, Alabama. Vick Allen. 334-649-2700.
Saturday, July 22, 2017. Daniel's Hall, 71 East Yale Avenue Denver, Colorado. Bobby Rush.
9 pm, Saturday, July 22, 2017. 765 Marilyn Avenue, Lambert, Mississippi. Avail Hollywood & Band, Melody Gold.
8 pm, Saturday, July 22, 2017. Bottleneck Blues Bar, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Mr. Sipp.
7 pm, Saturday, July 22, 2017. Crossroads Arena, 2800 S. Harper Road, Corinth, Mississippi. Latimore, Theodis Ealey, Sheba Potts-Wright, Eddie Cotton Jr. and more. 662-287-7779.
Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Belle Isle Park, 6925 East Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. Bobby Rush. 313-628-2081.
Thursday, August 3, 2017. Horseshoe Casino Tunica, 1021 Casino Center Drive, Robinsonville, Mississippi. Jus' Blues Music Foundation Awards Show: Night Of The Living Legends. Karen Wolfe, Grady Champion, Calvin Richardson, Benny Turner, Carl Sims, Archie Bell, Ms. Jody, Jim Alexander, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Deitra Farr, Eugene Hideaway Bridges, Teeny Tucker, Tony Coleman. Event transpires August 2-August 5th. 678-403-1993, 800-303-7463. See Jus' Blues website.
Thursday, August 3, 2017. Southern Soul Lounge, 1605 Marshall St., Shreveport, Louisiana. Luster Baker's Birthday Bash. Vickie Baker, T.K. Soul, L.J. Echols, Rhomey, Nikita, Crystal Thomas, Nathaniel Kimble, Jeter Jones, Vick Allen, O Flava Psi, Magic One, Coco. Doors open 8 pm. 318-673-8338.
7 pm, Saturday, August 5, 2017. Thunder Valley Casino Resort, 1200 Athens Avenue, Lincoln, California. Lenny Williams.
5 pm, Saturday, August 12, 2017. Ellis Field, 39 College Street, Culloden, Georgia. Big Pokey Bear, Willie Hill, Bo Ponder, The Master Blasters, Conquest Show Band. Gates open 3 pm. 301-233-2951, 404-386-2288.
Saturday, August 12, 2017. Rustic, 505 Campbell St., Sarnia, Ontario. Bobby Rush. +1 519-383-0006.
3 pm, Saturday, August 12, 2017. Twin Lakes State Park, Cedar Crest Conference Center, 22 Cedar Crest Road, Green Bay, Virginia. Katrenia Jefferson, Big G, Miss Portia. Gates open 1 pm. 804-615-2196.
Saturday, August 12, 2017. Bert’s Warehouse Theater, 2739 Russell St., Detroit, Michigan. Theodis Ealey. 313-393-3233.
Saturday, August 12, 2017. Bluesville, Horseshoe Casino, 1021 Casino Center Drive, Tunica, Mississippi. The O'Jays.
8 pm, Friday, August 12, 2017. Margaret Jean Johnson Event Center, 4737 Village Fair Drive, Suite 104, Dallas, Texas. Donnell Sullivan, Summer Wolfe, R.J. Scott, O Flava Psi, James Redd. 817-228-0082. Doors open 7 pm.
6 pm, Friday, August 18, and Saturday, August 19, 2017. Jackson Convention Complex, 105 East Pascagoula St., Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson Rhythm and Blues Festival. Bobby Rush, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Ludacris, Calvin Richardson, Eddie Cotton, Jarekus Singleton, Jazmine Sullivan, Eric Benet, Ro James, Doug E. Fresh, Eric Roberson, Eden Brent, Jason Turner, Selwyn Birchwood and more. See festival website. 601-960-2321.
Friday, August 18, 2017. Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana St. (Downtown), Houston, Texas. T.K. Soul. 713-237-1439.
Saturday, August 19, 2017. Club Xtraordinaire, 308 South 2nd St., Killeen, Texas. T.K. Soul. 254-702-4028.
Saturday, August 19, 2017. Landers Center, 4560 Venture Dr., Southaven, Mississippi. Bobby Rush, Terry Wright, Shirley Murdock, Willie Clayton, The Memphis Tri. Doors open 6:30 pm.
8 pm, Saturday, August 19, 2017. American Legion Post 248, 5070 FM 1398, Hooks, Texas. Stephanie McDee, Donnie Ray, Uncle Wayne, Christopher La'Mont, Mz. Pat, Jennifer Watts. Doors open 6 pm.
1 pm, Sunday, August 20, 2017. Backroad 40, Tangipahoa Exit I-55 North, 71251 Highway 1051, Kentwood, Louisiana. Tangipahoa Parish Blues Extravaganza. Tre' Williams, Lacee, J-Wonn, C-Wright, G'Que, Miss Portia, Ra'shad The Blues Kid, Fat Daddy, Gina Brown. DJ Host: DJ Kidd Kidd. Gates open 10 am. 985-664-7905.
3 p.m. Saturday, August 26, 2017. 7243 Gatewood Rd. Woodford, Virginia (Richmond/Washington DC).Omar Cunningham, T.J. Hooker Taylor, Big G, Jesi Terrell, Southern Bluez. 804-389-3558.
Friday, September 1, 2017. Montgomery Performing Arts Centre, 201 Tallapoosa St., Montgomery, Alabama. Big Pokey Bear, Tucka, Calvin Richardson, MC Lightfoot. 334-481-5100.
Saturday, September 9, 2017. Historic 8th Street, 708 Commercial Avenue, Cairo, Illinois. Cairo Heritage Blues and Gospel Festival. Sweet Angel. Free.
8 pm, Saturday, September 23, and 8 pm, Sunday, September 24, 2017. Speak Easy Cigars & Spirits, 501 East Baars Street, Pensacola, Florida. Alonzo Reid & UCF Band.
Friday, October 13, 2017. Uptown Theatre, 1350 3rd St., Napa, California. William Bell, Bobby Rush.
7 pm, Saturday, October 21, 2017. 4791 Leshure Drive, Theodore, Alabama. Blues N The Bottom Trail Ride & Trina Pre-B-Day Bash. Lacee, Ms. Portia, C-Wright, David J. Trail Ride events begin 12 Noon Friday & end 1 pm, Sunday, October 20 through 22, 2017. 885-664-7805, 504-234-8983.
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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