11:30 am, Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Buddy Guy’s Legends, 700 S. Wabash, Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 312-427-1190.
7:30 pm, Thursday, December 14, 2017. Capitol Grill, Deville Plaza, 5050 Interstate 55 North Frontage Road F, Jackson, Mississippi. Jesse Robinson & Friends. 601-899-8845.
10:30 pm, Thursday, December 14, 2017. Underground 119, 119 S. President Street, Jackson, Mississippi. Stevie J.
12 Midnight, Friday, December 15, 2017. F. Jones Corner, 303 N. Farish St., Jackson, Ms. Stevie J. 601- 983-1148.
9:30 pm, Friday, December 15, 2017. Addis Community Center, 7520 Hwy. 1 South, Addis, Louisiana. Cupid.
Friday, December 15, 2017. Horseshoe Tunica Casino, 1021 Casino Center Drive, Robinsonville, Mississippi. Gladys Knight. 800-303-7463.
Friday, December 15, 2017. Club 601, 412 N. Dr. Maratin Luther King Jr. St., Natchez, Mississippi. Vick Allen. 601-442-5335.
Saturday, December 16, 2017. Horseshoe Casino, 711 Horseshoe Blvd., Bossier City, Louisiana.Gladys Knight. 800-895-0711.
Saturday, December 16, 2017. West Monroe Convention Center, 901 Ridge Avenue, West Monroe, Louisiana. T.K. Soul. 318-396-5000.
8 pm, Saturday, December 16, 2017. Clarksdale Civic Auditorum, 506 East 2nd St., Clarksdale, Mississippi. Big Yayo, O.B. Buchana, L.J. Echols. Doors open 7 pm. 662-404-6381, 662-627-8431.
3 pm, Sunday, December 17, 2017. Sheraton Hotel, 15700 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Houston, Texas. Tribute to Big Cynthia. ZBT Awards. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Cupid, Milton Patton, Ruben Morena, Gregory Saxxman Daniels, Lil' Darrall, DJ Jack Frost, Jazzie Redd.
Sunday, December 17, 2017. Landers Center, 4560 Venture Drive, Southaven, Mississippi. T.K. Soul, Lenny Williams, Doug E. Fresh. Doors open 5:30 pm.
Sunday, December 17, 2017. R.L. Griffin's Blues Palace, 3100 Al Lipscomb Way, Dallas, Texas. Christmas Ball & Toy Drive. L.J. Echols, R.L. Griffin, Gregg A. Smith and more. 469-471-4180.
11 am, Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Brown Park, 1234 E. Pont Des Mouton Road, Lafayette, Louisiana.Tucka, J.J. Callier, Lil' Nate & more.. Show ends 4 pm.
7 pm, Wednesday, December 20, 2017. T & JJ’s, 718 S. 5th Avenue, Maywood, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 708-338-1185.
9 pm. Friday, December 22, 2017. Level Nightclub, 201 West Veterans' Memorial Blvd., Killeen, Texas. L.J. Echols, Fat Daddy. Doors open 8 pm. 254-350-0353.
Friday, December 22, 2017. Sumter Civic Center, 700 West Liberty Street, Sumter, South Carolina.T.K. Soul, Tucka and more. 803-436-2270.
Friday, December 22, 2017. East Cooper Disco, 1162 Venning Road, Charleston, South Carolina. Ms. Jody. Doors open 7 pm. 843-972-8720.
Saturday, December 23, 2017. Anderson Civic Center, 3027 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Anderson, South Carolina. Ms. Jody. Doors open 7 pm. 864-260-4800.
Saturday, December 23, 2017. Elks Lodge, 2671 Dauphin Island Parkway, Mobile, Alabama. Big Yayo, Diva Dee. 251-473-1082.
8 pm, Saturday, December 23, 2017. Bottleneck Blues Bar, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Mr. Sipp.
Saturday, December 23, 2017. Platinum Sports Bar & Grill, 132 Georgetown St., Hazlehurst, Mississippi. L.J. Echols.
Saturday, December 23, 2017. Elks Club, 862 E. Burdeshaw, Dothan, Alabama. Bigg Robb, Nacole.
9 pm, Saturday, December 23, 2017. Chocolate City, 1615 Brogdon, Ripley, Tennessee. Sweet Angel. Doors open 7 pm. 901-834-7903, 901-246-7545, 901-581-6579.
10 pm, Saturday, December 23, 2017. The International, 40 Blackstock Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee. Cupid. 865-200-5143.
Saturday, December 23, 2017. Elite Lounge, 2408 Highway 72/221, Greenwood, South Carolina. Tucka. Doors open 8 pm.
Sunday, December 24, 2017. Big Dough Bar & Grill, Webb, Mississippi. Vick Allen.
9:30 pm, Sunday, December 24, 2017. Turning Point Lounge, 1701 28th St., Gulfport, Mississippi.L.J. Echols. Doors open 7 pm. 228-547-2776.
Monday, December 25, 2017. Club Faces, 1511 Martin Luther King Junior Drive, Monroe, Louisiana.Vick Allen.
10:30 pm, Thursday, December 28, 2017. Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 773-477-4647.
Friday, December 29, 2017. Boutwell Auditorium, 1930 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Boulevard, Birmingham, Alabama. Holiday Blues Bash. Bishop Bullwinkle, Big Pokey Bear, Latimore, Sir Charles Jones, Theodis Ealey, Calvin Richardson, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, . 205-254-2820.
Friday, December 29, 2017. Laurie Theatre, 206 Parler Avenue, St. George, South Carolina.Terry Wright, Vick Allen, Al Chauncy. Doors open 7 pm. 843-513-6835, 843-224-4873. Host: Comedian Keith Glason.
Friday, December 29, 2017. The Event Center at Hollywood Casino, Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, West Virginia. Smokey Robinson. Doors open 9 pm. 800-795-7001.
7 pm, Friday, December 29, 2017. Reggie’s Soul Food, 519 Pierce St., Lafayette, Louisiana. 337-456-2480. Cupid.
7 pm, Saturday, December 30, 2017. Mississippi Coliseum, 1207 Mississippi St., Jackson, Mississippi. Peggy Scott-Adams, Bobby Rush, Big Pokey Bear, Omar Cunningham, Adrian Bagher, Calvin Richardson. 678-322-8098, 601-353-0603.
8 pm, Saturday, December 30, 2017. Bottleneck Blues Bar, 4116 Washington St., Vicksburg, Mississippi. Eddie Cotton Jr.
Saturday, December 30, 2017. LR's Sports Bar, 103 East Jefferson Street, Quincy, Florida. Kenne' Wayne. Doors open 8 pm. 850-591-7527, 850-322-6585.
9 pm, Saturday, December 30, 2017. Georgia International Convention Center Ball Room, 2000 Convention Center Concourse, Atlanta, Georgia.
Nellie "Tiger" Travis.
7 pm, Saturday, December 30, 2017. Paramount Theater, 139 South Center St., Goldsboro, North Carolina. Maurice Wynn, L.J. Echols. Host:DJ Heavy. 919-324-5801.
Sunday, December 31, 2017. Club Paradise, 645 E. Georgia Ave., Memphis, Tennessee. Ms. Jody. 901-947-7144.
Sunday, December 31, 2017. Billings Lounge, Old Highway 61, Shelby, Mississippi. Vick Allen. Doors open 9 pm. 662-588-7286.
7 pm, Sunday, December 31, 2017. Elks Lodge, 601 State Street, Mobile, Alabama. Nelson Curry. 251-661-2366.
Sunday, December 31, 2017. The Detroit Rescue Mission Banquet Hall, 3606 East Forest Ave., Detroit, Michigan. New Year's Eve Blues Gala. Wendell B., T.K. Soul, Sir Charles Jones, Priscilla Price. 313-993-6703, 313-993-4700.
Sunday, December 31, 2017. Sage Gateshead, St. Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead NE8 2JR, United Kingdom. Candi Staton. +44-191-443-4666.
Sunday, December 31, 2017. Detroit Rescue Mission, 3535 3rd St., Detroit, Michigan. T.K. Soul. 313-993-6703.
Sunday, December 31, 2017. Legends BBQ Smokehouse, 1025 West Johnson Avenue, Jonesboro, Arkansas. Sweet Angel. 870-931-3310.
9 pm, Sunday, December 31, 2017. Whitehall Entertainment Center, US Highway 80 West, Hayneville, Alabama (Montgomery).J-Wonn, Rosalyn Candy, Tyree Neal. Free.
7:30 pm, Thursday, January 4, 2018. Buddy Guy's Legends, 700 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago, Illinois.Bobby Rush, Buddy Guy. 312-427-1190.
8 pm, January 6, 2017. Ruston Civic Center, 401 North Trenton St., Ruston, Louisiana. Southern Soul All Black Affair. T.K. Soul, Jeter Jones, Coco, Rhomey, Coupe DeVille. Doors open 7 pm. BYOB. 318-243-2499, 870-866-7441.
9 pm, Saturday, January 6, 2017. Lewis Johnson Complex, 299 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Granada, Mississippi. JR Blu. Doors open 7 pm. 708-546-6738.
8 pm, Sunday, January 7, 2018. Candlelight Banquet Hall (Old VFW), 502 S. 22nd Street, East St. Louis, Illinois. Sweet Angel. Doors open 6 pm. 618-381-4885.
7 pm, Saturday, January 13, 2018. The Centre at Halifax Community College, 100 College Drive, Weldon, North Carolina. 5th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Concert. Lenny Williams, Big Pokey Bear, Maurice Wynn, Lacee, Black Diamond, Omar Cunningham. 252-538-4336, 1-800-419-1170. Doors open 6 pm.
Saturday, January 13, 2018. LR's Sports Bar, 103 East Jefferson Street, Quincy, Florida. Nelson Curry. Doors open 8 pm. 850-591-7527, 850-322-6585.
8 pm, Saturday, January 13, 2018. Paradise Entertainment Center, 645 E. Georgia Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Bobby Rush, Sweet Angel and more. Doors open 7 pm. 901-691-7373, 901-417-8955.
Saturday, January 13, 2018. A.A. Fredericks Auditorium, 140 Central Avenue, Natchitoches, Louisiana. Cupid & Dance Party Express.
Friday, January 19, 2018. Three Fingers Lounge, 4378 N.W. 17th Avenue, Miami, Florida. Betty Padgett, Bishop Bullwinkle. 786-493-3655.
9 pm, Friday & Saturday, January 19 & 20, 2018. Blue Chicago, 536 N. Clark St., Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 312-661-0100.
Saturday, January 20, 2018. WinStar World Casino, Exit 1, I-35, Thackerville, Oklahoma. Gladys Knight. 580-276-4229.
Saturday, January 20, 2018. Southern Soul Lounge, 1605 Marshall St., Shreveport, Louisiana. Vick Allen. 318-673-8338.
Sunday, January 21, 2018. Sound Board Theater, MotorCity Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. The Isley Brothers, Ernie Isley, Ronald Isley. 313-309-4700.
8 pm, Thursday, January 25, 2018. Carolina Theater, 309 West Morgan St., Durham, North Carolina. Take Me To The River Tour. Bobby Rush, William Bell and more. 919-560-3030.
7:30 pm, Thursday, January 25, 2018. Saenger Theatre, 1111 Canal St., New Orleans, Louisiana. Johnny Mathis. 504-525-1052.
10:30 pm, Thursday, January 25, 2018. Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois. Nellie "Tiger" Travis. 773-477-4647.
8 pm, Friday, January 26, 2018. KC Hall, 6320 Madden Lane, Houston, Texas. Northeast Western Pleasure Club Annual Dance: Southern Soul & Zydeco Together. Kenne' Wayne, Chris Ardoin. 832-724-5055.
8 pm, Friday, January 26, 2018. Shaftman Performance Hall, Jefferson Center, 541 Luck Avenue SW #221, Roanoke, Virginia. Take Me To The River Tour. Bobby Rush, William Bell and more. 540-345-2550, 540.343.2624.
Friday, January 26, 2018. Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater,310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd., Austin, Texas. Kool & The Gang. 512-225-7999.
7:30 pm, Saturday, January 27, 2018. Harbison Theatre, Midlands Technical College, 7300 College Street, Irmo, South Carolina (Columbia). Take Me To The River Tour. Bobby Rush, William Bell and more. 803-732-0432.
Saturday, January 27, 2018. Miramar Regional Park Amphitheater, 16801 Miramar Parkway, Miramar, Florida (Miami). Cameo, S.O.S. Band, Slick Rick, Miki Howard and more
7:40 pm, Monday, January 29, 2018. Curtis M. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, University of Florida, 3201 Hull Road, Gainesville, Florida. Take Me To The River Tour. Bobby Rush, William Bell and more. 352-392-2787.
8 pm, Tuesday, January 30, 2018 Florida Theatre, 128 East Forsyth St., Jacksonville, Florida. Take Me To The River Tour. Bobby Rush, William Bell and more. 904-355-5661.
7 pm, Friday, February 2, 2018. David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 North Macinnes Place, Tampa, Florida. Take Me To The River Tour. Bobby Rush, William Bell and more. 813-229-7827.
7:30 pm, Saturday, February 3, 2018. Parker Playhouse, 707 NE 8th St., Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Take Me To The River Tour. William Bell, Bobby Rush and more. 954-462-0222.
Friday, February 9, 2018. Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 N. Greenwood Ave., Tulsa, Oklahoma.T.K. Soul. 918-596-1020.
Friday, February 9, 2018. LR's Sports Bar, 103 East Jefferson Street Quincy, Florida. Jeff Floyd. Doors open 8 pm. 850-591-7527, 850-322-6585.
Friday, February 9, 2018. Beau Rivage Theatre, 875 Beach Boulevard, Biloxi, Mississippi. Chaka Khan.
Friday, February 9, 2018. Washington County Convention Center Fairgrounds, 1040 South Raceway Road, Greenville, Mississippi. Tucka, Lacee. 662-332-0488.
Saturday, February 10, 2018. Copiah County Safe House, 1060 Epps Lane, Gallman, Mississippi.Vick Allen.
Saturday, February 10, 2018. The Ruston Civic Center, 401 N. Trenton St., Ruston, Louisiana.T.K. Soul. 318-251-8613.
Saturday, February 10, 2018. Moonlight Lounge, 4720 South Street, Nacogdoches, Texas. Cupid. 281-804-6096.
Friday, February 16, 2018. North Charleston Performing Arts Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston, South Carolina. 3rd Annual Valentines Southern Soul Festival. Nelson Curry, Tucka, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Lacee, Calvin Richardson, Joe Nice, Big Ro Williams, Latrel. 843-529-5000. Doors open 5 pm.
7 pm, Saturday, February 17, 2018. Garrett Coliseum, 1555 Federal Drive, Montgomery, Alabama. Valentine's Day Show. Willie Clayton, Vick Allen, Tucka, Freddie Jackson. 334-356-6866. Doors open 6 pm.
Saturday, February 17, 2018. The Stage on Bay, 1200 West Bay St., Savannah, Georgia. Sir Charles Jones. 912-417-4389.
Friday, March 2, 2018. B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, 237 W. 42nd St., New York, New York.Kool & The Gang. 212-997-4144.
7 pm, Saturday, March 3, 2018.Canton Multipurpose Center, 501 Soldiers Colony Rd., Canton, Mississippi (Jackson). Grady Champion. 601-859-4830.
8 pm, Friday, March 9, 2018. Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan. Motor City Blues Festival-Blues Is Alright Tour. Omar Cunningham, Sir Charles Jones, Pokey Bear, Calvin Richardson, Willie Clayton, Bobby Rush. 313-471-3200.
Friday, March 16, 2018. Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, 705 Elvis Presley Blvd., Shreveport, Louisiana. Blues Is Alright Tour. Willie Clayton, T.K. Soul, Sir Charles Jones, Tyree Neal, Tucka. Doors open 8 pm. 318-841-4000.
Saturday, March 17, 2018. Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie, Texas. Blues Is Alright Tour. Willie Clayton, Latimore, Lenny Williams, Sir Charles Jones. 972-854-5111.
Friday, March 23, 2018. Macon City Auditorium, 415 1st Street, Macon, Georgia. Blues Is Alright Tour. Tucka, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Sir Charles Jones and more.
7 pm, Saturday, March 24, 2018. Cobb Energy Arts Center, 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy., Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta Blues Festival: Blues Is Alright Tour. Big Pokey Bear, T.K. Soul, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, J-Wonn, Sir Charles Jones, Tucka. 770-916-2800.
Sunday, March 25, 2018. New Jersey Performing Arts Center, One Center St., Newark, New Jersey.
Friday, March 30, 2018. UNO Lakefront Arena, 6801 Franklin Avenue, New Orleans, Louisiana. Blues Is Alright Tour. Tyree Neal, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Tucka, Calvin Richardson, Sir Charles Jones, Lebrado 504-280-7222.
Saturday, March 31, 2018. NRG Arena, 1 Reliant Park, Houston, Texas. H-Town Blues Festival-Blues Is Alright Tour. Sir Charles Jones, Willie Clayton, Tucka, T.K. Soul, Pokey Bear, Calvin Richardson, Tyree Neal, Omar Cunningham. 832-667-1400.
Friday, April 6, 2018. Chaifetz Arena, 1 South Compton Ave., St Louis, Missouri. Blues Is Alright Tour. Latimore, Willie Clayton, Calvin Richardson, Sir Charles Jones, Bobby Rush. 314-977-5000.
Saturday, April 7, 2018. The Fairgrounds (Outside), 1035 Cody Road, North Mobile, Alabama. Spring Fling 2018.Wendell B., Glenn Jones, L.J. Echols, O.B. Buchana, Lacee, T.K. Soul, Lebrado, Till 1, Nathaniel Kimble, Sir Charles Jones, Summer Wolfe, Ronnie Bell, Tyree Neal, Tony Tatum, Jeff Floyd, Veronica Ra'elle, Mose Stovall, Avant, Fat Daddy, Franky, Tucka, Lil' G of Silk, Fat Daddy. 251-379-8283. BYOB.
Saturday, April 7, 2018. Arie Crown Theater, 2301 Lake Shore Drive At McCormick Place, Chicago, Illinois. Blues Is Alright Tour. Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Bobby Rush, Willie Clayton, Calvin Richardson, Latimore, Pokey Bear. 866-353-5167.
Sunday, April 8, 2018. Water Works Park, 1710 North Highland Avenue, Tampa, Florida. Sir Charles Jones, Wendell B., Calvin Richardson. 813-274-8615.
5 pm, Friday & Saturday, July 13 & 14, 2017. Rocky Mount Municipal Complex, Bishop Stadium, 600 Independence Drive, Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Down East Music Festival. Tucka, Sir Charles Jones, Theodis Ealey, Omar Cunningham, Maurice Wynn, Roy C, Glenn Jones, Sunshine Anderson, Lenny Williams, Lakeside, Big G, Wilson Meadows, Black Diamond, Karen Wolfe, Lacee, J-Wonn and more. Rain or shine. Gates open 4 pm. See festival 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