Daddy B. Nice's #69 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Older Woman, Younger Man"
Composed by Robert "Bigg Robb" Smith & Bart "Sure 2 B" Thomas
See "Tidbits" below for the latest updates on Pat Cooley, including CD Reviews of her latest albums. To automatically link to Pat Cooley's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other references, go to "Cooley, Pat" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
Daddy B. Nice's Profile:
It's almost impossible not to like the music of Pat Cooley. Unfailingly soulful due to Cooley's artful journeywoman vocals, the music is accessible, unafraid of being mainstream, and recklessly experimental in countless entertaining ways.
The listener inevitably draws the line at some songs--for your Daddy B. Nice it's "Boy Toy," although some like it--but for every questionable or marginal tune Pat Cooley scores a winner like "Older Woman, Younger Man" (already something of a contemporary Southern Soul standard) or "Be A Man" (a Latin-tinged ballad worthy of Sam Cooke or Ben E. King).
Cooley doesn't have the overpowering strength of most Southern Soul divas. Her voice is thinner, but the timbre of her vocals is real and appealing. And as far as all the tricks of the R&B trade, she's a true professional, experience shining through every sung or spoken phrase.
Pat Cooley's modus operandi is to emulate a specific R&B standard of whatever style and make the best song she can, and more frequently than you'd imagine, she succeeds.
"I Ain't Going Where You Go" is a paean to eighties disco--you can practically see and feel the pulsing strobes circling above your head while you listen--and yet both the groove and Cooley's Candi-Staton-like vocal go down like hot cinnamon rolls with white frosting.
"Hypnotized," reissued on the 2008 Boy Toy album from an earlier (1993) album, Warm Hug, is a sumptious ballad in the classic Philly soul style.
"Older Woman, Younger Man" is a Denise LaSalle-like vehicle. Lots of voice-over, just-testifying, common sense, chitlin' circuit-style advice.
It starts with the chorus:
"I'm an older woman
Looking for a younger man.
Don't think I can't work it,
'Cause I still can."
Listen to Pat Cooley singing "Older Woman, Younger Man" on YouTube while you read.
"These young girls whispering
In the grocery store.
They say Miss Pat
Ain't got it no more.
But they just don't know
I'm in the prime of my life.
I'm so glad
That I know that is why--"
"I'm an older woman. . . "
2nd and 3rd verse:
"I'm over forty,
Still sexy as hell.
Everything I got
Is still working real well.
As a matter of fact,
If you really want to know,
I can pop, lock it and drop it
Better than twenty years ago.
'Cause I know
Just how to please a man.
That's something you young girls
May not understand.
I know how to give him
Everything he needs.
Just like a washing machine
I got different speeds."
A beautifully-timed bridge then takes you to. . .
"When you're sixteen,
You get your first real spark.
When you're twenty-five,
You really hit the mark.
You can make them scream and shout.
But over forty,
You can turn the whole place out."
Then the song closes with two more choruses, the first with echo reverb and the final straight and simple with a voice-over coda.
I quote the song (written by Robert "Bigg Robb" Smith and Bart "Sure 2 B" Thomas) at length because the lyrics are so perfectly realized. The melody is simplistic, and wouldn't warrant attention, if not for the right-on observations embedded in the lyrics and the spare, direct--and once again perfect--mechanics of the arrangement.
Surprisingly, like its predecessor on Daddy B. Nice's 21st Century Top 100 Countdown, Earl Duke's "Sugar Bowl," Pat Cooley's "Older Woman, Younger Man" has never made it onto a Pat Cooley CD. The song was showcased on the Bigg Robb compilation disc, Blues, Soul & Old School in 2007. And the song was redone by Denise LaSalle as "Older Woman (Looking For A Younger Man)," a cover very faithful to the original Pat Cooley arrangement, in 2010.
(Denise LaSalle's "Older Woman Looking For A Younger Man" wins BEST SOUTHERN SOUL COVER SONG OF THE YEAR: See 4th Annual "Daddies," Southern Soul Music Awards.)
Pat Cooley has always benefitted from great song selection and great producers. Bigg Robb's masterful production of "Older Woman" led to composer/arranger/producer Frank McKinney's expert handling of Cooley's Cougar CD in 2010.
The title tune was an obvious play on the older-woman-chasing-younger-men theme of "Older Woman, Younger Man," but the real meat of the album was contained in the substantial and entertaining singles, "Be A Man," "Get Out," and "Hold Still."
"Hold Still" was a ballad reminiscent of Cooley's previous work--"Hypnotized" and "I Ain't Goin' Where You Go"--and continuing fascination with eighties' disco/soul. "Get Out" was an unabashed dance jam, arguably the most smoking, funk-laced groove of Cooley's career.
But the real head-turner was "Be A Man," in which Cooley and McKinney explored the spare, Latin-tinged territory that Ben E. King mined in "Stand By Me" and Sam Cooke in "Cupid."
Once again, the lyrics bear special scrutiny. After a delicate acoustic guitar intro that guilelessly states the melody, Cooley sings:
"Well, I'm not going to stay here with you.
You've been drinking and acting a fool.
We've got three little children to take care of.
Are you gonna be a father or be a bum?
You've got to be a man.
You've got to take a stand.
You've got to be a man.
Your unemployment is a bad situation.
Financial crisis can be trying your patience.
A bed of roses wasn't promised to you.
Just keep your head high, you'll find something to do.
But you've got to be a man.
You've got to take a stand.
You've got to be a man."
This is not typical, generic tripe. There is real gravity, anger (muted) and determination in these lyrics, and Cooley delivers them with an effectiveness that may surprise listeners who associate her with disco exercises and "Boy Toy"-like light fun. But at the same time, "Be A Man" lingers in the mind with a romantic residue, the effect of its tasteful arrangement and memorable melody.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Pat Cooley
Pat Cooley was born in Marietta, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. In the late 70's, while singing in Atlanta area R&B clubs, she met Clarence Carter, who hired her as a secretary, studio background singer and eventually an opening act.
Song's Transcendent Moment
"When you're sixteen,
PAT COOLEY: Talking To You (L & L) Four Stars **** Distinguished Effort. Should please old fans and gain new.Fans of Pat Cooley and her classic single, "Older Woman, Younger Man" (from Bigg Robb's Blues, Soul & Old School LP) may be surprised to discover she has left her talented former composer/producer Frank McKinney to strike out into new musical territory. McKinney wrote "Be A Man" and "Get Out" (among others) from Cooley's most recent (and first-rate) album, Cougar.
Then fans will put on the first track of Pat's newest disc, Talking To You, and possibly do another double-take as Cooley lathers up a new version of B. B. King's "Paying The Cost To Be The Boss." It turns out that Pat Cooley's in a bluesy mood, and she's found another collaborator, Rob Harris, to enable her new direction.
Not only does "Paying The Cost" give notice that the eclectic Ms. Cooley won't take any "guff" from a man who's not paying the bills. It sets the tone for an entire set in which Cooley's bound and determined to give her fans a taste of something different: a hard-edged R&B descended not only from the Boss but the Queen.
Queen Ann Peeble's "I Didn't Take Your Man" hovers over this album like a patron saint, and writer/producer Harris furnishes Cooley with material that is both faithful to the Hi Records sound and freshly-minted.
Talking To You, the title cut, is arguably one of the weakest cuts, simply because it appears to be diluted for radio single air play under the rationale of "trying to please everybody," which more often than not ends up "pleasing no one especially." Which is not to say it isn't a radio-worthy track--just that it doesn't pack a visceral punch.
Most of the other tracks on the CD do. They are uncompromisingly potent, bluesy rockers that grab your attention like a river whose current and depth are powerful and dangerous enough to carry away the fragile and faint of heart.
Your Daddy B. Nice's favorite cut is "Dirt Road Double Wide." Harris and Cooley seem to like it, too, because they remix it for a second outing on the album's finale. Cooley is in great form, comfortable, tough and businesslike (the business of the blues, that is), and Harris provides a "Clean Up Lady"-like guitar riff and foot-stomping, horn-driven arrangement that hits the nail on the head with a sledgehammer.
Similarly, "Bring It Baby," in which Pat is--
"(I'm) Burning with fire,
I'm so full of desire,"
--vamps to a thick, Rolling Stones-like rhythm section and Keith Richards-style guitar.
The album is a two-person project--Cooley does all the singing, foreground and background, Harris does all the instruments and arranging--and it's amazing how much the duo sounds like a seasoned, well-rounded live band. Cooley owes much to Denise LaSalle, and Harris has absorbed all kinds of R&B influences without losing his gritty focus.
"I Don't Want To Lose Your Love" slows down the proceedings to mid-tempo, but the tune has a scorching guitar (reminiscent of The Ventures and Link Wray, no less) and organ-style keyboard.
Stacked one upon the other, these bluesy but melodic vehicles achieve a cumulative impact. Cooley also reprises Be A Man from Cougar.
"I Want To Make Up," yet another fine ballad to add to the rapidly-growing Cooley catalogue, sounds more like a Cougar out-take in atmosphere and its emphasis on melody, but Harris adapts well to the change in pace with a fitting arrangement.
"I Want To Make Up" and "Be A Man" offer a welcome respite from the furious pace of the album as a whole before the album's finale, "Dirt Road Double Wide (Remix)," closes it out with a return to funky, ferocious fun.
Talking To You threw your Daddy B. Nice a curve and will likely dust other Cooley fans off their comfortable stance at home plate. The album defies expectations and renders the usual generalizations meaningless.
To wit, its ostensible Southern Soul cut, "Talking To You," is weaker than its 12-bar-blues tracks, and your Daddy in Soul is more than willing to say, "Bring it on." This is blues with tempo and melody and plenty of funk: in a word, Southern Soul the way we haven't heard it in awhile.
--Daddy B. Nice
Bargain-Priced Talking To You CD, MP3's.
Comparison-Priced Talking To You CD, MP3's
Browse through all of Pat Cooley's CD's in Daddy B. Nice's CD Store.
5.April 4, 2012: NEW ALBUM ALERT
Bargain-Priced Talking To You CD, MP3's
6.May 6, 2018
...from Daddy B. Nice's Mailbag:
RE: Pat Cooley
I was on your site looking at Pat Cooley's discography and biography which stated she begin singing with backup vocals in the late 70's. But there is a lady with the exact same name Patricia Cooley who sang a song called "You Got My Nose Wide Open" in 1964. I was wondering is this the same lady as Pat Cooley?
Daddy B. Nice replies:
That 1964 Patricia Cooley "You Got My Nose Wide Open" reference is obscure. I was in high school at the time and never heard of it. I'm curious to know if you can tell me anything else about it.
As to the likelihood that it's the same person as contemporary southern soul's Pat Cooley, I'd say, "No." That's not an iron-clad guarantee, but Pat Cooley is a relatively young woman who was probably in pigtails and an elementary school dress in 1964.
Daddy B. Nice
See Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Pat Cooley.
7.May 1, 2015: NEW ALBUM ALERT!
Pat Cooley issues her first "greatest hits" collection.
Sample/Buy Pat Cooley's new AT HER BEST CD.
Watch for Pat Cooley's new single, "Hold Still," on Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 'Breaking' Southern Soul Singles (May 2015).
8....from Daddy B. Nice's Mailbag:
Pat Cooley Recommends Mitch Faulkner Blog from "Radio Facts" Detailing Astounding Numbers for Southern Soul And Successful Incursions Into Mainstream RadioDaddy B Nice,
Hi there, first I want to thank you for your help over the years. I am forwarding this email from Mitch Faulkner of an article he wrote not long ago for Radio Facts. I was elated when I read it and thought it might be inspiring to you and your readers. Please feel free to forward or print in your magazine. By the way, if you hear of anyone needing a female for shows (lord am I available ??). Again, thanks so much!!!
Daddy B. Nice replies:
In fact, Pat, on your last point--begging for gigs--I hear this all the time. Just yesterday I heard from powerful young singer Annie Washington ("Show Pony)," the best zydeco-southern soul hybrid of the year. who lamented, "I just wish I could get more shows." Touring revenue has soared, and while I constantly extol the necessities of touring (See the "Hardest Touring Artists of 2018"), it does make a bitter pill to swallow for deserving artists like you and Annie and so many others standing on the sidelines.
But to your main point. Thanks so much for alerting me to this article by Mitch Faulkner, which I will pass along to readers who no doubt will be glued to their screens.
Daddy B. Nice notes: Here is the URL:
EDITORIAL: A new Frontier for Urban AC radio By Mitch Faulkner - December 17, 2018
Daddy B. Nice continues:
There are many things I enjoyed about this essay. One, it performs the valuable chore of comparing southern soul to the current mainstream radio fare. In the early days of my website, I used to do this, but as time has passed I've become so deeply embedded in the genre that I seldom bother to comment on the larger musical world, and in fact know less and less about it.
Two, I love the way Faulkner COMPARES the first mainstream radio incursions of southern soul today to the appearance (and resistance to) rap in the eighties. I usually compare the emergence of southern soul to the emergence of rock and roll (when I was a wee little 'un) in the late 50's and early 60's. But I was also totally into rap (and going through a second childhood to the chagrin of my fellow old 'uns) in the 80's. I was not a blues guy, as readers often surmise. (Reggae had become my blues.) And hiphop and rap have become so ubiquitous and overbearing that it's hard to remember the time when they were vulnerable.
Finally, Faulkner pulls together all (or many) of the YouTube statistics on southern soul music which, as all us close watchers of the genre know well, are frequently in the millions. And Faulkner doesn't even get into the millions of views put up by "unknowns" like Adrian Bagher or "new" artists like Ronnie Bell (Best Chitlin' Circuit Blues Artist of 2018), with his eight million views for "I'll Pay The Shipping Cost".
One last note to readers wondering why Faulkner never uses the term "southern soul," just "soul blues". That is radio-speak format. "Soul Blues" was handed down on stone tablets from Mount Sinai to the contemporary radio gods many years ago, and Faulkner sticks to "soul blues" because he might otherwise lose his audience, southern soul being too "regional," too "geographical". Funny, though...They do understand "Motown". How can you get more "regional," more "geographical," than a single city? As to the radio gods...They'll come around.
--Daddy B. Nice
Listen to Pat Cooley singing "Older Woman, Younger Man" on YouTube.
Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Pat Cooley
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
Honorary "B" Side
"Be A Man"
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