Daddy B. Nice's - Guide to Today's Top Chitlin' Circuit Rhythm and Blues Artists


Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews

September 10, 2019:

MS. JODY: Get It! Get It! (Ecko). Four Stars **** Distinguished effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

Ms. Jody's new album GET IT! GET IT! is not spectacular. Far from it--it's almost the opposite, fairly formulaic and modest. Ms. Jody stays within certain thematic, technical and even emotional bounds, never over-reaching or stepping outside her proven brand. Well, that's with one exception: "Got To Make A Change," a percolating funk vehicle with a rare (for Ms. Jody) political message in which:

"The teachers are packing pistols,
And the babies are shooting guns."

But this throwback to Mayfield/Gaye social commentary (which Ms. Jody co-wrote) is quickly caught up in the big muddy current of Ms. Jody's usual themes. "It Feels Good To Me" is this album's "Your Dog Is Killing My Cat," right down to the programmed string backing track, seemingly a requisite groove for any Ms. Jody album.

Ditto variations on Ms. Jody's Thing, Thang & Bootie Slide. The familiar "Doin' The Electric Slide (Remix)" was first published earlier this year as the lead-off tune on Ecko's sampler, Blues Mix Vol. 28: Dance Party Soul, reviewed elsewhere on this page.

"You Can Ride"--not to be confused with Ms. Jody's classic, "Just Let Me Ride"--is this album's version of the slow and roiling, bass-hooky "Don't Back Up On It". I was impressed by the strength and precision of Ms. Jody's vocal on this otherwise pedestrian track--the first on the set--and it's a preview of the vocal acuity Ms. Jody lavishes on all of these "modest" compositions.

"Turn It On" seems inconsequential fluff on first listen but gathers depth and durability on subsequent listens, reminding one a little of the rolling, rhythmic fascination of Tucka's "Big Train" and much of his Working With The Feeling album in general. Ms. Jody, of course, has a lighter touch, and where she excels is in the classic southern soul, mid-tempo range hinted at by "Turn It On".

I was in the shower the first time I heard "Get It! Get It!" booming out of my stereo speakers from another room, and I was instantly enthralled by Ms. Jody's vocal on the verses. I couldn't hear the zydeco instrumental track over the sound of the water rushing over my head, and presumed she was singing over a southern soul instrumental track.

"I went down to Louisiana, y'all,
Just to hang out..."

Later, when I heard the song again, I liked it even more for all its cajun trappings, but I was equally elated that in my shower version of the song, it could just as well have been a southern soul or blues vehicle with a John Ward guitar hook. (Actually, there is a guitar transition towards the end of the song.)

The album reaches its satisfying center, if not its zenith, with three or four mid-tempo tunes which in no way could be called sensational or worthy of hit-single status. Yet songs like "I Done Found My Good Thang Too," "Haters Gonna Be Hatin'" and "Bedroom Fun" display Ms. Jody's reticence and calmness in the best possible light. Which is to say GET IT! GET IT! simultaneously celebrates the joys of sex and the pleasures of domesticity, uniting the two in a comely and natural pairing which may seem strange to the young but makes perfect sense for southern soul's grown folks. And although typically understated, pleasant and even simplistic, "(I Need) A Man Like That," a John Cummings/John Ward composition, steals the show, epitomizing Ms. Jody's country sensuality and charm.

"My girlfriend Sam
Has a man
Who's always doing
Everything he can
To make her feel good
In every way.
He caters to her
Both night and day.

My next-door neighbor,
Her name is Grace,
Every time you see her,
There's a smile on her face.
She said this man of mine,
If you only knew,
You would have a smile
On your face, too."

--Daddy B. Nice

Listen to all the tracks from Ms. Jody's new GET IT! GET IT! album on You Tube.

Buy Ms. Jody's new GET IT! GET IT! CD at Apple.

Buy Ms. Jody's new, Bargain-Priced GET IT! GET IT! CD at Target. - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide
Send CD's to Daddy B. Nice, P. O. Box 19574, Boulder, Colorado, 80308 or e-mail to to be eligible for review on this page.


August 25, 2019:

BIG G: Let's Party (Stone River Records)
Three Stars *** Solid. The artist's fans will enjoy.

Without fail, my youngest brother (same mother, seventeen years my junior) sends out a "Song Of The Day" e-mail to the extended family, and once a month your Daddy B. Nice "subs," usually picking a southern soul song in which to indoctrinate the recalcitrant family (not a typical southern soul audience) in the southern soul genre. This month I sent out Big G's "I'd Go Back" from his latest album, Let's Party, with the following explanation:

"Here is a song from a CD I’m reviewing this week. The artist is Big G. from North Carolina. Unlike most southern soul artists, he uses all live instruments in his recordings. He’s on the borderline with country, bluegrass, and Americana. The song is "I'd Go Back". I like this stanza’s lyrics:"

Living down in a small town,
Everyone knows your name.
If you ever do something wrong in your life,
It’ll always bring you shame.

Listen to Big G singing "I'd Go Back" on YouTube.

You know how families are; you're lucky if you get any reaction, especially with a new song, and when you do it's usually unanticipated or off-the-wall. Vintage tunes--the ones that bring back memories--are the most popular, so I wasn't expecting much response from the family, even though we all grew up in a small town. However, Big G drew reaction. First, one sister commented on the coincidence that the song went out a year to the day after our beloved mother died. My song-of-the-day brother responded, "I liked your selection today from Big G. I may have to give it another listen." (High praise from him.) A first cousin chimed in with a thumbs-up, and another sister wrote back: "A good song, and touching lyrics! That's where my mother had me. (Another lyric from the song.) Thank you!"

I report this anecdote because it dovetails with a theme I was already considering for this review: namely, that Big G really does come close to being a crossover artist (via Americana and Bluegrass.). He never gets profane or outrageous--the bane of many conservative and religious people such as my family--and his music doesn't sound as strange as most southern soul music does to uninitiated ears. G's vocal style (which I once compared to bygone folksinger Burl Ives) and his live instrumental tracks also place his music closer to the Americana genre (remember, that's the category in which William Bell won his Grammy), and if Big G ever makes inroads with the college radio/National Public Radio/FM-friendly music market, he could cross over with financial windfalls.

In a profile of Big G written for Living Blues Magazine, writer Noah Schaffer recounts Big G's and (producer/promoter) Cynthia Vaughn's consternation at Big G's being excluded from an R&B festival in Virginia they themselves had started.

Vaughn noticed a paucity of southern soul venues in the region south of Richmond--and that Big G was invariably excluded from the lineups of outdoor Richmond events that book R&B groups, like the Second Street and Richmond Folk Festivals. So, Stone River launched the Father's Day Blues Festival in Crewe, Virginia...The event has featured artists like Kenne' Wayne, Jeff Floyd and Joe Tex III. Despite always having a peaceful audience, Big G and Vaughn were stunned when they were denied a permit to use the Crewe pavilion this year. Adding to the sting was that events targeted at white audiences were allowed to continue.

Well, that's not surprising. For "events targeted at white audiences," read mid-twentieth-century electric blues, the only blues with which the great majority of the white audience is familiar. And it's not surprising because in the southern soul geography, Virginia is a "frontier," an outlier. It's not the Delta, where southern soul music is insulated and where every small town and mid-sized city (even the capital of Jackson, Mississippi seems like a county seat to travelers from the North) is seeped in southern soul culture.

In Virginia, on the old Mason-Dixon line, you have a Tower of Babel of life styles and cultures, from small rural towns such as Big G (aka George Staten) grew up in, to the bedroom communities of the richest cache of urban-oriented lawyers feeding at the national trough in all of America. You have music fans who can't differentiate Big G among Shuggie Otis, Swamp Dogg, Al Green or Lionel Richie. In this confusing musical potpourri it's no wonder Big G (while identifying himself as a southern soul artist) sounds so different from most southern soul artists, and it's no wonder that G finds himself beset on every side by musical competition, genres and audiences of bewildering variety.

Big G himself is not confused. In the title track to the new disc, "Let's Party," he proudly invites "all you southern soul fans" to join him in his virtual Saturday night club setting and he rejoices at all the "southern soul fans everywhere". "Let's Party" may have been intended as a showcase track, but it--or at least this version, with its simple chords, lackadaisical tempo and familiar delivery--falls short. The error may be letting the jazzy saxophone take the lead on the entire instrumental track when something more forceful--a good, blazing, lead guitar hook, for a change--is called for to slam the song home. If there is an over-riding flaw to Let's Party as an album, it's the lack of a memorable song with the soulfulness and musicality of "You're Not The Only One" and, to a lesser extent, "I Need Your Love (Remix)" from Big G's last album, Lonely Tears.

The most interesting tunes from this new set are the aforementioned "I'd Go Back" and the old man/sugar-daddy vs. younger woman/gold-digger dichotomy of "That Young Thang," which has that novelty-song thing going for it in the same way G's biggest hit, "Last Paycheck" did. Indeed, "That Young Thang" simulates the same chords, tempo and even vocal approach (utilizing talking/rapping) as "Last Paycheck". Big G should take note, because every hit song from an unknown or little-known genre, going back from contemporary southern soul (Bishop Bullwinkle's "Hell Naw To The Naw Naw," Theodis Ealey's "Stand Up In It," etc.) to early "race" music (Cab Calloway, etc.), r&b and rock and roll has been labeled a "novelty song".

Technically, Let's Party is pristine. G's vocals are mostly superb, the background tracks lend much-needed texture, and the ubiquitous live saxophone fills and other live instruments are refreshing to hear in a southern soul context. There's something about live percussion that can't be replicated in programming. With live drums there is an anticipation, a Waiting-for-Godot like tension, as if the next bar might be tweaked with a slight hesitation, a flourish or other musical surprise, or as if the next bar might (or might not) even be played.

This works especially well in songs like "Personality," which sounds like Big G has been listening to some vintage Barbara Lewis, and "Loving," a cradle-rocking-tempo-ed ballad. Another ballad, "Give Me Back My Heart," with its strong Big G lead vocal and "hoo-hoo," owl-like, female background track, is especially poignant. The tune shimmers with G's trademark strength and authenticity.

But in spite of the good, solid music on the CD, the nagging question for longtime Big G fans will be the lack of much of anything musically new or surprising. Songs like "Freaky Groove," "What You Mean To Me" and "Beauty Queen" sound way too familiar. The disc may actually hold more pleasure for fans new to the artist.

Cynthia Vaughn, in the Living Blues article quoted above, recounts how back in the day Big G wanted to release a new album every six months. She convinced G to release no more than one new set a year, but even that pace is a torrid one for a solo singer/songwriter unaffiliated with any label--second only to John Ward's flagship artists (O.B. Buchana, Ms. Jody, etc.) at Ecko Records, who have their own perennial issues with fresh, non-derivative material--and John Ward relies on collaborators, something Big G to this point has not. Big G will have to surpass the songwriting limits of this CD and add more variety and novelty to his production in order to take his artistry to an even higher level. Perhaps he needs to slow down, step back and take the long view: take in the mountain vistas with their gleaming white, snow-covered peaks beckoning his art, not just the foothills where he is safely and securely ensconced as a southern soul institution.

--Daddy B. Nice

Listen to all the tracks from Big G's New LET'S PARTY album on YouTube.

Buy Big G's new LET'S PARTY album at CD Baby.

Read Daddy B. Nice's "Big G: New Album Alert!" - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Send CD's to Daddy B. Nice, P. O. Box 19574, Boulder, Colorado, 80308 or e-mail to to be eligible for review on this page.


August 4, 2019: WHAT ABOUT EL' WILLIE?

EL' WILLIE: El' 19 Smooth as Silk (William Travis Jr./Twilight Records) Two Stars ** Dubious. Not much here.

In the movie What About Bob?, Bill Murray plays an obsessive-compulsive neurotic named "Bob" who can't survive without his psychotherapist, "Dr. Leo," played by Richard Dreyfuss. The simultaneously needy and cunning Murray tracks the successful but fatally self-absorbed Dreyfuss to his lakeside home, where he's on summer vacation with his family, the squeaky, mild-mannered Julie Hagerty and their two kids. When Bob befriends, charms and disarms his family, Dreyfuss becomes apoplectic (he'll later be driven insane), throwing Murray out of the house, and when the family reacts with sympathy, chiding Dr. Leo for making him go away, Dreyfuss screams, "Go away? He didn't go away! He'll never go away!" He strides to the front door and swings it open, and sure enough, there's Bob, standing with his nose pressed against the screen, and Dreyfuss, having submitted the incriminating evidence, slams it shut.

El' Willie's new CD, El' 19 Smooth as Silk, will evoke a comparable response from your average southern soul fan. What are we going to do about El' Willie? I say that tongue-in-cheek, because--like "Bob"--we know he's never going to go away.

El Willie's musical claim to fame is writing, or co-writing (under his given name, William Travis) "Stand Up In It" for Theodis Ealey, but he has also been recording and performing since the early days of the century. In the first year Daddy B. Nice began charting southern soul singles (2006-07, pre-YouTube-music-video-links), El' Willie made the chart with the beguiling ballad, "You Got Me Where You Want Me," and he's been churning out self-produced, solo LP's ever since. A few have been good; most have been bad. None made a blip on the sales charts, none were played on your favorite Saturday-afternoon southern soul shows, and none qualified as southern soul music.

How then, you may ask, has Willie managed to parlay a career recording easy listening music--"smooth as silk" (to borrow from the present set's title)--the kind of music you're more likely to hear in an elevator than a club--into a more or less permanent niche in the southern soul market? The answer is he's like "Bob": persistent, personable, and he never, ever goes away.

I have been occasionally smitten. El' Willie is a fine-timbred vocalist and and an unflagging writer, and over the years he's become a better-than-middlin' if narrowly-focused producer. I'll never forget a particularly stressful family reunion in the old river town of St. Joseph, Missouri when I would go back to the solitude of my hotel room and bask in the peacefulness of El's The Game Changer, with its supple melodies and organ tremelos--as relaxing as a lap-cat's steady purring.

But none of this really excuses the fact that Willie wants to have it both ways, piggy-backing on the southern soul audience (and jostling for reviews) while stubbornly snubbing southern soul's traditions and conventions. In El' 19 Smooth as Silk, for example, there is a grand total of three songs that a southern soul fan might conceivably hang his or her hat on: "Sunshine Lady," "Elmo's Soul Cafe" and El' Willie's Block Party". And yet, musically speaking, "Sunshine Lady" has absolutely nothing in common with Latimore, "Elmo's Soul Cafe" has nothing in common with Little Milton, and "El' Willie's Block Party" has nothing in common with Chuck Brown. Not only does El' Willie have no connection to these artists; he's not even in the same ballpark. It's like an athlete brazenly wearing a team uniform despite refusing to show up for practice or play on the team.

So unless you're interested in lyrics like "Hello sunshine / Good-bye rain," unless you're interested in love songs constructed with every lame pick-up line you've ever heard, unless you're interested in music you might want to put on Sunday morning before going to church, unless you're burned out on southern soul from the weekend before and you're in need of a Zanax-like comedown, you're better off passing on El' Willie's El' 19 Smooth as Silk.

El's the Game Changer, but I know he's not going to change HIS game, just as I know he will be back next year with yet another album of laid-back lounge jazz; just as I know that album will consist of not eight quality tracks but sixteen mediocre tracks; just as I know El' will be writing me a long letter (which I'll dutifully publish) defending his music from my hostile (sorry, don't mean it that way) review, reiterating that he's living the cool life and he's taking the higher ground. But El' Willie, at some point, does have to take some responsibility for the music he's making. After all, this is--as so many artists have taken to calling it in thank-you letters to your Daddy B. Nice--a "southern soul platform". That's the way it is, and that's the way it's going to be.

--Daddy B. Nice

Buy El' Willie's new EL' 19 SMOOTH AS SILK album at CD Baby. - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Send CD's to Daddy B. Nice, P. O. Box 19574, Boulder, Colorado, 80308 or e-mail to to be eligible for review on this page.



July 7, 2019:

Various Artists: Blues Mix 28, Dance Party Soul (Ecko). Three Stars *** Solid. The artists' fans will enjoy.

When I went to YouTube to gather music links and codes for the readers of this review, I found that the set opener, Ms. Jody's "Doin' The Electric Slide," was missing, and while I had been mildly entertained by Ms. Jody's take on the Johnnie Taylor classic while previously listening to the promotional hard copy, I perked up in pleasant surprise on hearing unknown artist KT's "Kitty Kat Tamer" begin the YouTube sequence instead. It was as if I had never heard the track before. It was like someone doing Billy "Soul" Bonds with a very different voice. Based on the prototypically southern-soul bass line from the Staple Singers' "Do It Again" (as well as The Love Doctor's "Slow Roll It" written by Charles Jones), this mid-tempo eulogy to "kitties" ("pussies"--blush--to the uninitiated) personifies the loosey-goosey charm of Blues Mix 28. As long as you're not too persnickety, this newest entry in the Ecko Records' Blues Mix series is a passable and always welcome party-music record.

The collection isn't intended as much for frenetic dancing as it is for slow-moving steppin' and party chatter, a festive atmosphere reinforced by David Brinston's laid-back "Club Booty," although the pace picks up with a head-turning remix of Jaye Hammer's signature groove, "I Ain't Leaving Mississippi," in which Hammer's strong vocal is warped (and the original soulfulness lost) by bizarre vocal-enhancing and a hard-edged instrumental track, similar to when a young Bigg Robb did an unfortunately hard-edged funk version of Mel Waiters' "Hole In The Wall".

No such robotic makeovers for Donnie Ray, however, who appears in all his original vocal glory on "Let's Get This Party Started". Sweet Angel's vocal mannerisms, on the other hand, seem somewhat dated. I remember comparing her vocal tone to Della Reese back in the day. What I was onto, I think, was her stubbornly citified delivery in a genre that elevates a cruder, rural vocal style (Peggy Scott-Adams, Lynn White, Barbara Carr, Ms. Jody, Karen Wolfe). Listen to how Sweet Angel sings--enunciates--the word "thrill" in "Don't Let The Clean-Up Woman Pick Up Your Man" She's uptown. If she lived in New York, she'd be upper East Side.

Sheba Potts-Wright, another recording artist whose glory days appear to be in the rear view mirror, is represented by "Let Your Mind Go Back," a stylistic anomaly derived from marching bands and to a lesser extent New Orleans-style street music which--along with some of Stephanie McDee's material--enjoyed a brief fling a few years ago. Think tubas.

"Hoo Doo Woman" showcases the diva who's filled some of the vacuum left in Memphis by Potts-Wright and Sweet Angel. "Hoo Doo Woman" was Val McKnight's first significant southern soul single. Songwriter Gerod Rayburn's "I Like The Blues" sounds a little out of place in this light-hearted atmosphere--until and unless, of course, you remember it's a blues party and the lyrics memorialize the experience of countless fans whose radio stations specialize in playing southern soul on Saturdays.

And of course, we can't forget the musical elephant in the room, O.B. Buchana (it won't be long before we'll be using the sobriquet "the legendary O.B. Buchana"), who contributes two tunes, "You've Been Good To Me" and "You're Welcome To The Party," both up to his demanding standards.

Finally, there's only one song we party people want to hear from the Pyramid City Band, and thank god!, after a misleading musical digression, not to mention a sneaky little title change, PCB's "Get Your Freak On" turns into the toe-tapping, dance-friendly "Party Time" we know and love from the Ecko sampler Blues Mix 25: Slammin' Southern Soul. Rarely has testing the limits of the audience with repetition turned out so well for both producer and fan.

Listen to the Pyramid City Band singing "Get Your Freak On (Party Time)" on YouTube.

It's not as good--less direct--more muffled and filtered--than the original funk groove. So let's play that original, "Party Time," and for good measure Jaye Hammer's original "I Ain't Leavin' Mississipi," just to keep it real.

Listen to the Pyramid City Band singing "Party Time" on YouTube.

Listen to Jaye Hammer singing "I Ain't Leavin' Mississippi" on YouTube.

--Daddy B. Nice

Buy Ecko Records' BLUES MIX 28: PARTY SOUL BLUES at Amazon.

Listen to all the tracks from BLUES MIX 28: PARTY SOUL BLUES on YouTube.

Listen to all the tracks from BLUES MIX 28: PARTY SOUL BLUES on Spotify.

********** - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide
Send CD's to Daddy B. Nice, P. O. Box 19574, Boulder, Colorado, 80308 or e-mail to to be eligible for review on this page.


June 23, 2019:

2 BUCK CHUCK: Sugar Daddy EP (CD Baby). Four Stars **** Distinguished debut by a new Southern Soul Artist.

2 Buck Chuck EP (Promo, Unpublished) Two Stars ** Dubious. Not much here.

A new southern soul artist with an exotic pedigree (named after a two-dollar Charles Shaw wine sold at Trader Joe's) and unlikely origins (Des Moines, Iowa, now living in Oakland), 2 Buck Chuck slipped unnoticed into last year's southern soul market with a five-song EP called Sugar Daddy. The first single to hit the charts didn't come until January of 2019. Beginning with a raucous "Do the ladies run this mutha?" "Hell, yeahhh!", "In The Club" had an almost startling immediacy: simple, robust instrumentation, free-wheeling organ-style keyboards, and a powerful vocalist reminiscent of the late Mel Waiters.

"Sugar Daddy" followed in April of 2019, with another hard-hitting rhythm track and organ joined with a tasty, singular lead guitar and a vocal that couldn't have had more Mississippi Delta swagger if the singer had lived his entire life in Greenville, Yazoo City or Philadelphia (Mississippi, not Pennsylvania). Even the cover art, done in a colorful, cartoon style that would jump out at you from the record-store bins, reflected the simplicity and humor of the music.

Listen to 2 Buck Chuck singing "Sugar Daddy" on YouTube.

With other audience-friendly songs like "I Couldn't Pull It Out" and "Clean Up On Aisle 6," the EP fairly shouted from the rooftops that here was an artist in full, fresh, first love with the southern soul genre. And there's nothing more true and satisfying than a new artist tackling southern soul with fresh perspective impossible for veteran artists to reclaim. Those first, heady days when southern soul comes through like a blazing vision are almost exclusively the purview of the uninitiated.

Listen to 2 Buck Chuck singing "I Couldn't Pull It Out" on YouTube.

So it was with some astonishment that your Daddy B. Nice received a new EP of 2 Buck Chuck songs not yet available commercially that--lo and behold--finds Chuck turning his back on the powerful simplicity and directness of the Sugar Daddy EP. Did some misguided "expert" give 2 Buck Chuck the wrong advice? Did someone tell him to "clean it up"? Did someone tell him to get more sophisticated, i.e. "urban"?

"Haters Gone Hate" is the best of the new quartet of songs (most not yet available on YouTube). Imagine a little Vick Allen-style instrumentation sprinkled on a 2 Buck Chuck track and you have a sense of the sound. Voice-overs--especially the female voice--help keep the tune in the southern soul arena, but the crude "edge" of the SUGAR DADDY EP is lost.

The balance of the tracks--"I Can Show You," "Duncan Heinz" and the pleasant "A Good Woman, A Good Man"--are likewise diluted rather than strengthened by 2 Buck Chuck's efforts to stretch out musically. Not that the songs are bad or negligible. They just don't have the raw, career-making potency of "Sugar Daddy," of which could be said, "It's been done a thousand times before, and it still sounds new."

So I am rushing out this review to warn 2 Buck Chuck: Don't sacrifice the very thing that makes you special. Don't diversify. Don't show us all the styles in your bag. Not yet, anyway. Keep that Sugar Daddy edge--that big edge--that makes you stand out from the pack.

--Daddy B. Nice.

Buy 2 Buck Chuck's Sugar Daddy EP at CD Baby.

Here's the recently released "official video" for "Sugar Daddy" by 2 Buck Chuck.


********** - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide
Send CD's to Daddy B. Nice, P. O. Box 19574, Boulder, Colorado, 80308 or e-mail to to be eligible for review on this page.


May 27, 2019:

J. RED (THE NEPHEW): Platinum Soul (Soul Mop). Four Stars **** Distinguished effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

In my enthusiastic 2016 J. Red profile and review of Soul Certified, I ended with a cautionary note:

For the most part, J. Red still hasn't put together the two opposing sides of his style--one southern soul and the other mainstream. "Step Out," for instance, is southern soul, but the production is a little thin compared to Red's "urban" side. "I Will," on the other hand, with its crisp urban production and acapella harmonies, lacks the laid-back charisma and rootsy originality of southern soul. When J. Red succeeds at fully integrating the best of the two sounds, watch out.

Well, the "watch" is officially over. Actually, it was over with J. Red the Nephew and Friends, a twelve-track collection of J. Red's notable collaborations, nearly all of which became radio hits in varying degrees throughout the Deep South. The album came out in 2016 and was re-issued in 2018, with guest stars including Sir Charles Jones, Sharnette Hyter, Willie Hill, Shay Denise and Theodis Ealey.

But if there was any doubt, Platinum Soul, J. Red's new album, renders the old dichotomy between urban and southern soul moot. This is a southern soul singer, not to mention a southern soul singer with a set of pipes to be reckoned with. And if not brimming with the diverse and spectacular firepower that distinguished 2016's Soul Certified, the set is nevertheless a triumphant artistic progression--all of a piece like no J. Red The Nephew album before.

What first hooked me on J. Red's Platinum Soul was a lyrical couplet from "I Forgot I Was Married":

"She knew exactly about the things that she was doin'.
I didn't think about my marriage could be ruin'd."

What a pithy, haiku-like comment on the pros and cons of sexual infidelity. Even the title line, "I Forgot I Was Married," has a touch of conscience rare in southern soul lyrics. "I Forgot I Was Married" is the story of a guy getting high, meeting a more-than-willing stranger in the club and going home with her. Here's an excerpt from the trip to her place in the car:

"She starts to straddle me,
I can't see the road.
Next thing I knew,
She was taking off her clothes,
With her cleavage all up in my face,
And I was switching lanes all over the place."

Just when they're about to get it on (he's unbuckling his belt), his phone rings. It's his wife. She's in a sexy, "anything-you-want-baby" mood, which saves the day (and probably the marriage). He heads for home in a hurry. The chorus, which up to this point has been sung from the point of view of the seductress, continues co-opted, as it were, by the wife and her superior seductiveness. It's a nifty concept, the unusually close juxtaposition of marital and extra-marital ecstasies, and like so many prior J. Red productions before it (Miss Lady Blues in "Shake Something"....Miss Mini in "If You Need Some," to name only a couple), the female-sung chorus is exquisite, accentuating the song's thematic undertow.

J. Red is known for his many collaborations with female singers (NayCole, Shay Denise, Sharnette Hyter, etc.). He told your Daddy B. Nice that the uncredited lady singing background on Platinum Soul and his other records is Sham Redmond. She is also his songwriting collaborator and vice-president of his record label, as well as his wife and a serious playwright in her own right.

I have been playing the grooves off "I Forgot I Was Married" and another new song from the album, "Party Hard". At first I didn't take much notice of "Party Hard". It sounded a little repetitive and monochromatic the first couple of times I heard it, but the hook kept returning, and I'd think, "Where is this coming from? Oh yeah!That party song with the disco-pounding tempo and delicate, Van Morrison-like, saxophone fills!"

Listen to J. Red (The Nephew) singing "Party Hard" on YouTube.

Jesse Redmond not only captures good melodies and tempos. He embellishes his tunes in places where many of his peers are content to coast on auto-pilot. He writes full verses and choruses. He inserts bridges, harmonic chord and key changes, female background vocal tracks and his own double-tracked lead vocals and back-and-forth lead vocals, all while maintaining maximum accessibility. And all are on display in the charismatic "Party Hard," which just keeps getting better and better the more you play it. If you were ever smitten by U-2's "It's A Beautiful Day" (and a few of you were; it's got 126 million YouTube views), you'll find the same irresistible spell cast over you by "Party Hard".

Frankly, in my infatuation with the above-described music, there are tunes on PLATINUM SOUL I've barely begun to explore. "That Thang Was Good To Me" and "Let's Make Love Tonight" are promising southern soul projects. "Sipping Slow," in addition to being quintessential southern soul, emits an allure that could make it a fan favorite.

"Have A Good Time," features Chicago soul singer Theo Huff, who hasn't been heard in southern soul since his 2014 hit, "It's A Good Thing I Met You".

"What's Up For The Night" showcases a duet with the the always-in-demand Karen Wolfe, who invariably sounds like she's singing under the shade of a straw bonnet from the middle of a Mississippi cotton field.

Watch the new video of J. Red & Karen Wolfe singing "What's Up For The Night" on YouTube.

"Turn It Out" is this album's "I Will"--fast-tempo-ed, peppy. "I Got To Have Her" is similarly uptempo, with a tinge of the boy-group sound. Both straddle the fence between urban R&B and southern soul, and may appeal more to those whose inclinations tend to the former.

Finally, awash in gorgeous swaths of synthesizer/keyboards, "Enjoy Yourself" is in the romantic tradition of Ollie Nightingale's "She's In A Midnight Mood In The Middle Of The Day" and Jeff Floyd's "I Found Love On A Lonely Highway" or--more recently--Big Yayo's "Bedroom Rodeo" and Magic One's "High Heels & Jeans". Buoyancy and optimism are the orders of the day.

"Enjoy Yourself" is also the only holdover from a previous release, J. Red's 2016 Infinity album, which served as a companion piece to its better-known SOUL CERTIFIED CD. It's the same, benign, swaying-the-shoulders, grown-folks felicity J. Red has been mining since his line-dancing break-out hit, "Step Out".

--Daddy B. Nice

Read Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to J. Red The Nephew.

Buy J. Red The Nephew's new Platinum Soul CD at Amazon.

Buy J. Red The Nephew's new album PLATINUM SOUL at iTunes.

Browse all of J. Red's albums in Daddy B. Nice's CD Store.

Listen to all of the tracks from J. Red's PLATINUM SOUL album on YouTube.

Listen to J. Red's PLATINUM SOUL on Spotify.

Watch for "I Forgot I Was Married" and "Party Hard" (probable #1 and #2 singles) in Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 Singles: June 2019.

************ - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide
Send CD's to Daddy B. Nice, P. O. Box 19574, Boulder, Colorado, 80308 to be eligible for review on this page.

********** - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide
Send CD's to Daddy B. Nice, P. O. Box 19574, Boulder, Colorado, 80308 or e-mail to to be eligible for review on this page.



Daddy B. Nice's CD Reviews

Daddy B. Nice's CD Reviews



Ms. Jody, Get It! Get It!, 9-10-19

Big G, Let's Party, 8-15-19

El' Willie, El' 19 Smooth as Silk, 8-4-19

Various Artists (Ecko), Blues Mix 28, Dance Party Soul, 7-7-19

2 Buck Chuck, Sugar Daddy EP, 6-23-19

J. Red The Nephew, Platinum Soul, 5-27-19



O.B. Buchana, Face Down, 5-12-19 (Contained in the O.B. Buchana Artist Guide. Click link.)

Tucka, Working With The Feeling, 4-14-19 (Scroll down this column.)

Jaye Hammer, Double Trouble, 3-24-19 (Contained in the Jaye Hammer Artist Guide. Click link.)

Lady Q, Class 'N Session, 3-3-19 (Contained in the Lady Q Artist Guide. Click link.)

Val McKnight, Stroke That Cat, 2-10-19 (Contained in the Val McKnight Artist Guide. Click link.)

Various Artists (Ecko), Blues Mix 27: Ultimate Soul Blues, 2-2-19 (Scroll down this column.)

Crystal Thomas, Drank Of My Love, 12-1-18 (Contained in the Crystal Thomas Artist Guide. Click link.)

Carolyn Staten, Drank Of My Love, Ladies Night, 11-19-18 (Contained in the Carolyn Staten Artist Guide. Click link.)

P2K Dadiddy, Welcome To The Boom Boom Room, 10-30-18 (Contained in the P2K Artist Guide. Click link.)

Ms. Jody, I'm Doin' My Thang, 10-14-18 (Contained in the Ms. Jody Artist Guide. Click link.)

Various Artists (Ecko), Blues Mix 25: Slammin' Southern Soul, 9-16-18 (Scroll down this column.)

Jeter Jones, Dhis Him, 9-3-18 (Contained in the Jeter Jones Artist Guide. Click link.)

David Brinston, Kitty Whipped, 8-12-18 (Contained in the David Brinston Artist Guide. Click link.)


Rating Guide:

Five Stars ***** Can't miss. Pure Southern Soul heaven.

Four Stars **** Distinguished effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

Three Stars *** Solid. The artist's fans will enjoy.

Two Stars ** Dubious. Not much here.

One Star * A disappointment. Avoid.

Send CD's to Daddy B. Nice, P. O. Box 19574, Boulder, Colorado, 80308 to be eligible for review on this page. Or... E-mail


********** - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

April 14, 2019:

TUCKA: Working With The Feeling (Hit Nation) Five Stars ***** Can't Miss. Pure Southern Soul Heaven.

The Southern Soul singer Hollywood Hayes, best known for his tune "A.P.B. Out On Her," recorded a song last year called "Vitamin D," in which he censured his significant other as follows:

"The word on the streets,
You've been with Pokey the Bear.
You realize, ain't no pokin' in there.

And the word on the streets,
You've been chasing pretty-boy Tucka,
And you realize, he ain't lickin' that."

So I've been wondering... Did Tucka cutting off his spectacular dreads and donning Von Miller-like specs and a porkpie hat--his newest image--have anything to do with that pretty-boy shout-out from Hollywood Hayes?

Whether it's the product of a heartthrob or a nerd (yeah, haha, nobody's buying that), Tucka's new album Working With The Feeling is, as your Daddy B. Nice has previously reported, a "bagful of hits". I've been rolling out one or two singles a month since the CD appeared in late November of 2018--a little late, unfortunately, for serious consideration in last year's awards--and still find in reviewing the album that I haven't promoted all of its pleasures.

From the singles charts at SouthernSoulRnB:


Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .

-------DECEMBER 2018-------

1. "Ain't No Getting Over Me" -----Tucka

Cupid couldn't have shot an arrow at your heart more accurately than Tucka does with this stunning cover of the Ronnie Milsap country classic. Once you hear it, you won't be able to forget it. (I recorded a "short version" without the opening voice-over.)

Listen to Tucka singing "Ain't No Getting Over Me" on YouTube.

See Daddy B. Nice's Tucka: New Album Alert!

2. "Tipsy"-----Tucka

In my "New Album Alert" for Tucka I listed this song's antecedents as Frank Lucas' "The Man With The Singing Ding-A-Ling," Betty Wright's "Tonight Is The Night" and The Rascals "Groovin'". But of the three, "Tipsy" with its inebriated "brown liquor love" most resembles the sunny, romantic buzz of the original, "Groovin'/ On a Sunday afternoon..."

Listen to Tucka singing "Tipsy" on YouTube.

Buy Tucka's new WORKING WITH THE FEELING album at iTunes.


Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .

-------JANUARY 2019-------

…3. "Big Train"-----Tucka

As a vocalist, Tucka is quite simply unsurpassed, and the driving acoustic-guitar sound of this tune and the Working With The Feeling album as a whole is intoxicating.

Listen to Tucka singing "Big Train" on YouTube.


…6. "Make Me Wanna Do Wrong"-----Tucka

The Pied Piper of Louisiana will add to his long caravan of fans with this ratcheted-down, reggae-rhythm-section-dominated gem.

Listen to Tucka singing "Make Me Wanna Do Wrong" on YouTube.


Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .

-------MARCH 2019-------

...3. "Jungle Love"----- Tucka

I hear a little Bo Diddley in the instrumental track and a little Buddy Holly in the vocal. From Tucka's new, "every-song's-a-classic" album, Working With The Feeling.

Listen to Tucka singing "Jungle Love" on YouTube.


In summary, an unprecedented number of singles from WORKING WITH THE FEELING made the charts, and these tunes--"Tipsy," "Make Me Wanna Do Wrong," "Ain't No Getting Over Me," "Big Train," "Jungle Love"--surfaced in airplay across the Deep South from eastern Texas to the Carolina's. The numbers of YouTube viewings (as of 4/14/19) back up the hype: "Ain't No Getting Over Me" (76,000), "Make Me Wanna Do Wrong" (26,000), "Big Train" (27,000), "Jungle Love" (43,000) and "Tipsy" (22,000).

Actually, as time has passed and the intimacy of the album as a whole has sunk in, I even enjoy Tucka's voice-over segueing into "Ain't No Getting Over Me." And when I say "intimacy" I'm not talking about the sensual, between-the-sheets talk of "Candy Land" or "Sweet Shop". I'm talking about the intimacy with which Tucka addresses his listeners throughout the set, as if they're V.I.P. guests in the studio while he's working through these comely melodies. For example, at the beginning of "Tipsy," Tucka chuckles and says, "I'm gonna definitely need my cigar on this one." At the beginning of "Big Train" he says, "Hello? Hello?", as if he's got a bad cell-phone connection. Combined with the warm, acoustic, surround-sound feel of the instrumental tracks, Working With The Feeling is one of the most ingratiating albums I've ever experienced.

If it weren't for the hummable melodies and supple bass lines, the artist's comments before songs would be so much self-indulgence, but the album is so packed with good songs Tucka more than gets away with it. This is the kind of music that you can, as it were, fall backwards and know that you will be caught in welcoming arms and smothered in musical comfort. Baby boomers who think music like Mary Wells' "You Beat Me To The Punch" has disappeared from the face of the earth are sadly mistaken. And when zydeco star Chris Ardoin says his audiences doubled when he crossed over and got the "swing-out" crowd," you can read "Tucka," the "King Of Swing". What I'm trying to say, I guess, is that WORKING WITH THE FEELING takes you to a level seldom seen these days, a level even Tucka himself has never attained. You can revel in the instrumental tracks and the lyrics in the same way you did back in the day with Marvin Gaye, The Impressions, The Beatles or The Blue Notes. Within the southern soul market, I'd compare it to the respective, arguable masterpieces of LaMorris Williams (Mississippi Motown) and Vick Allen (Soul Music).

Tucka's WORKING WITH THE FEELING is all about separation. Strained relationships are by no means the theme of every song, but the tension that accompanies break-ups is central and stands out on some of the set's most memorable cuts.

In "Big Train" ("She took the six o'clock to Memphis/Said that she'll be back one day/But it's too late/ Big train, keep on rolling.").

In "Ain't No Getting Over Me" ("She likes to threaten, how she's going to leave me, "You're gonna miss this one day"... And I said to myself, "Shit, you're gonna miss this, too.").

And yet, Tucka doesn't get the blues; he remains buoyant and positive.

If the songs on this album are a departure--or a step up--for Tucka, how so? More mature? More down to earth? The album almost pleads for an answer, and yet the mystery of how and why remains. The new songs aren't necessarily better than "Touch Your Spot" or "Sweet Shop," but the addition of conflict as a theme does make his world more inclusive--sharper, more interesting.

Nor are the preceding songs (all charted) the only tunes of merit. "Rock Steady" (68,000 YouTube views) with its crisp percussion, charismatic bass and doodling keyboards (courtesy of producer "J Flood" (Jerry Flood) "on the track")--is another tune worthy of airplay.

A dominating, acoustic guitar-driven, instrumental track propels the roundelay "Rhythm Of My Guitar" (58,000 YouTube views). "So you think you're going to find another--another like me?" Tucka asks in "Rhythm," once again diagnosing those painful possibilities of breaking up.

And finally, and most astoundingly, with a whopping 508,000 YouTube views, boyish-sounding Audi Yo joins up with Tucka on "Until The Morning Comes," just as he did on the pair's previous and immensely popular collaboration: "Can't Nobody".

Paradoxically, the only song that doesn't fit into the gorgeous, homogeneously-acoustic texture of Tucka's Working With The Feeling album is the title track itself, written seemingly for a different time and place, (after the fact? before the fact?) circa seventies Average White Band. That's not a disparagement--AWB is one of the most sampled bands in R&B history--but the sound (you might call it disco-ey) is markedly different from anything else on the album. I think of the song "Working With The Feeling" as the one and only flaw in this extraordinary album--like the one sharp pinch you give yourself to make sure you're awake, you're not dreaming and this is for real.

--Daddy B. Nice

Buy Tucka's new WORKING WITH THE FEELING album at Amazon.

Buy Tucka's new WORKING WITH THE FEELING album at iTunes.

Read Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Tucka.

Browse Tucka CD's in Daddy B. Nice's CD/MP3 Store. - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

February 2, 2019:

VARIOUS ARTISTS (ECKO): Blues Mix 27: Ultimate Soul Blues. Four Stars **** Disting-
uished effort. Should please old fans and gain new.

This is one of the best compilations in Ecko's Blues Mix series, and ten bucks well spent by anyone who loves southern soul. The latest sampler from the venerable label out of Memphis begins with a bang with a new song featuring the label's mainstay O.B. Buchana collaborating with Ross Music Group's (out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana) hot new artist Big Pokey Bear of "My Sidepiece" fame. Written by James Jackson, "I'm Whipped Again," rocks to a mid-tempo beat while offering insights into the vocal styles of both artists, with Buchana coming off as the more powerfully-equipped singer and Pokey Bear's more amorphous style clarifying like butter in contrast--a wailing, pleading falsetto. Charting #2 in January's Top Ten "Breaking" Southern Soul Singles, your Daddy B. Nice noted:

I’m encouraged when old stars (Buchana) mingle with new stars (Pokey Bear). It gives continuity to the music, bestowing legitimacy on the new star and sprinkling relevance like fairy dust on the old star.

"Down Low Brother" references Daddy B. Nice's #1 Southern Soul Single for the same month and the third track from the sampler:

Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Preview For. . .

-------JANUARY 2019-------

1. “Down Low Brother”------Val McKnight

Vivacious Val delivers a vocal so unique and unprecedented it eclipses the original recorded by the gritty Barbara Carr, whose X-rated catalog makes today’s divas look like choir girls. The tale of a woman discovering her husband with another man was one of a wave of "he-turned-out-be-gay" tunes recorded in the wake of the resounding success of Peggy Scott-Adams' "Bill". From Val's new Stroke That Cat album.

Listen to Val McKnight singing “Down Low Brother” on YouTube.


A third new track, Jaye Hammer's "Blues Heaven," from Ham-
upcoming CD Double Trouble, is a "Soul Heaven" (Johnnie Taylor) -styled tribute to deceased stars. One of the ancillary benefits of southern soul artists recording commemorative songs like "Blues Heaven" is the road map they provide the national audience, which instantly recognizes legends like Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor and B.B. King but has no idea who Denise LaSalle, Mel Waiters and Reggie P. are. Human nature being what it is, few people can admit they don't know of an artist they "should" know: once warned, as in a song like "Blues Heaven," they're motivated to familiarize themselves with the artist, so they won't be considered "ignorant" by their peers. So the juxtaposition of these "unknowns" with the "knowns" will gradually bring southern soul's marginalized artists into the ranks of the legends. Or, at the least, let's hope so. That's the way it has always worked, especially for black artists, every legend having once been a "complete unknown--like a rolling stone".

This trifecta of opening cuts insures that BLUES MIX 27 roars out of the starting gate with authority, and the sampler cruises the rest of the way with a highly- sustainable mix of old songs, remixes and the like, highlighted by Ms. Jody's redo of "Where I Come From" and interesting new label-mate Randolph Walker's previously-unpublished "Bouquet Of Roses". Ms. Jody's remix of "Where I Come From" (called the "country soul version") is a marked improvement over the original. Scary, how much the production--"the mix"--of a song dictates the success or failure of that song. This mix dissolves all skepticism and distance and makes you want to get your ass back to Ms. Jody and that "old pickup on the old country road".

Finally, no one who loves southern soul will dispute the inclusion of perennially-enjoyable classics like O. B. Buchana's "Southern Soul Country Boy," Sonny Mack's "Goody Good Good Stuff," Rick Lawson's "If You Hit It" and Sheba Potts-Wright's "Big Boy Stuff".

David Brinston's "Back Up Man," Jaye Hammer's "Go Ahead On" and the late Quinn Golden's "I've Got A Schedule To Keep" fill out this highly satisfying set.

--Daddy B. Nice

Listen to all the tracks from Blues Mix 27 on YouTube.

Buy Ecko Records' BLUES MIX 27: Ultimate Soul Blues at iTunes.

Buy Ecko Records' BLUES MIX 27: Ultimate Soul Blues at Amazon.


********** - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

September 16, 2018:

VARIOUS ARTISTS: Blues Mix 25: Slammin' Southern Soul (Ecko Records) Three Stars *** Solid. The Artists' Fans Will Enjoy.

The new sampler from Ecko Records in Memphis, BLUES MIX VOL. 25: SLAMMIN' SOUTHERN SOUL, features Rick Lawson's "I Done Found Your Good Thang," an "answer" song to Terry Wright's popular "I Done Lost My Good Thang" (Coday Records).

Listen to Terry Wright singing "I Done Lost My Good Thang" on YouTube.

The Lawson single debuted to a mixed reception this past summer. Currently (September 2018) a Daddy B. Nice Featured Artist of the Month, the formerly gospel-based Lawson recorded a series of albums for Ecko Records in the first five years of the new century, establishing himself as a respected journeyman artist in the southern soul genre but never achieving a breakthrough hit single. The new single is his first newly-minted record in over a decade.

The late Denise LaSalle's "I'm Still The Queen (Blues Mix)" with a nice bass line and stepping tempo, was first recorded at Ecko Records for her 2002 Still The Queen album. This updated version features a little more guitar, courtesy of John Ward.

Mr. Sam and O.B. Buchana team up on the well-received "Did You Put Your Foot In It?" The baffling lyrics (to the uninitiated) are a take-off on Theodis Ealey's southern soul classic, "Stand Up In It". The liner notes say the song was previously unreleased, but O.B. recorded it on his Ecko-label album of 2009, It's My Time, and Mr. Sam recorded a slightly different version for his Make Time For Her album in 2017. This one's a classic, if you consider yourself a southern soul fan, and the back-and-forth between Sam and O.B., with Sam obligingly taking on the "younger" role, is a high moment in contemporary chitlin' circuit annals.

"Party Time," listed in the album liner notes as performed by the Pyramid City Band ("pyramid city" a reference to Memphis), is also listed in YouTube as the Paul Child Band. (Lee Gibbs is given credit for the songwriting.) The deep bass lead vocal of "Party Time" will have longtime music fans scratching their heads trying to figure out the song's antecedent, and after some scratching of my bald pate I finally hit on it. It's Laid Back's (a white Euro dance band's) huge club hit from the 80's, "The White Horse," and "Party Time" swipes not only the original's cavernous-bass vocal but hook and tempo as well, with predictably catchy results.

The rest of the collection features seamlessly-transitioned, professionally-produced--yet derivative and on the whole forgettable--outings by Ecko-affiliated artists spanning the last twenty years, with sexual hijinks the unapologetic order of the day. Val McKnight checks in with "Watch That Booty Do". Rick Lawson appears a second time with "Cheatin' Ain't Easy To Do". David Brinston signs in with "Bounce That Booty," and Luther Lackey makes a rare Ecko-label appearance with "Jody's Got My Problems".

With another nod to Theodis Ealey's "Stand Up In It," O.B. Buchana extols the virtues of "Slow Lick It," while Donnie Ray "answers" Rue Davis's "Honey Poo" with "She's My Honey Bee". Jaye Hammer sings "I'm Gonna Hit That Thang," and Ms. Jody sums up the set's tongue-in-cheek cheating and fucking preoccupations with a routine blues called "We Got To Cheat On Schedule".

--Daddy B. Nice

Buy Ecko Records' VARIOUS ARTISTS: BLUES MIX VOL. 25: SLAMMIN' SOUTHERN SOUL (explicit) at Amazon.


Buy Ecko Records' VARIOUS ARTISTS: BLUES MIX VOL. 25: SLAMMIN' SOUTHERN SOUL at iTunes. - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

********** - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide



All material--written or visual--on this website is copyrighted and the exclusive property of, LLC. Any use or reproduction of the material outside the website is strictly forbidden, unless expressly authorized by (Material up to 300 words may be quoted without permission if "Daddy B. Nice's Southern Soul" is listed as the source and a link to is provided.)