Daddy B. Nice's #29 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Still My Love"
June 2, 2018:
New Album Alert!
Sample/Buy Wilson Meadows' new THE FACTS OF LIFE CD at Amazon.
THE FACTS OF LIFE TRACK LIST:
Don't Turn Me Down
Us (feat. Thesis)
Lady Luck (feat. Thesis)
Jump on It
Still My Love
We Can Fall in Love
Tell Me You Love Me
Daddy B. Nice notes: In concert with his almost always younger fellow musicians from the southern soul circuit, Wilson Meadows still retains his smooth charm and handsome demeanor but lacks the fire and immediacy of the young guns. Young eyes (the majority) glaze over while older eyes (the minority) sparkle. His first album of new material since 2011's MAN UP album includes a reboot of his classic "Still My Love" and album issues of his two most popular singles of the last couple of years, "Lady Luck" and "A-T-Ti-Tude".
Listen to Wilson Meadows featuring Thesis singing "Lady Luck" on YouTube.
Listen to Wilson Meadows singing "A-T-Ti-Tude" on YouTube.
Buy Wilson Meadows' new THE FACTS OF LIFE CD at iTunes.
Note: Wilson Meadows also appears on Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). The "21st Century" after Wilson Meadow's name in the headline is to distinguish his artist-guide entries on this page from his artist-guide page on Daddy B. Nice's original chart.
Listen to Wilson Meadows singing "Let's Cut Out This Game" on YouTube.
Daddy B. Nice's Updated Profile
Wilson Meadows seems to fly under the radar. When you look at the body of his work, it's remarkably consistent, and yet his albums pass without getting much appreciation or leaving much of an impression, dissolving into one another.
The albums are of credible quality, and they always feature two or three singles that are distinctive enough to become radio fare. If there's a weakness, it may be a certain sameness, a one-dimensionality, to the vocals, a breathy tenor, but you have to love Meadows for continually coming up with great guitar hooks. And the vocals, if limited technically, never waver in their emotional strength and conviction.
While many of his peers from the 90's and early 00's have either passed (Johnnie Taylor, Tyrone Davis, Lee "Shot" Williams, Little Milton, Ollie Nightingale) or faded (Roy C, Billy Ray Charles, Barbara Carr, The Love Doctor, Robert "The Duke" Tillman), Wilson Meadows has done nothing but churn out new, viable music.
Listen to Wilson Meadows singing "That's Still My Love" on YouTube while you read.
Meadows' initial claim to fame as a Southern Soul artist resides in his late 90's work and the Memories album (Ichiban 1997) in particular.
"Just Can't Do Without You," "That's Still My Love," "I Promise," "Just Like I Promised," "Let's Cut Out This Game" and "When You're Gettin' My Love"--six of the ten cuts on the collection--qualify as bona fide standards and contemporary Southern Soul "oldies."
The songs from Memories established Wilson Meadows as a musical statesman for romantic love and its attendant problems, and although never heralded as such, the album followed in the great tradition of legendary, song-rich, pop CD's such as The Beatles' Rubber Soul, Van Morrison's Moondance and Carole King's Tapestry.
Meadows was never a full-fledged, slow-jam artist in the mode of Luther Vandross. The love ballads on Memories were less laid-back and more pop-like and frequently mid-tempo vehicles in the mode of Smokey Robinson, Bobby Womack or Johnnie Taylor.
"That's Still My Love," for example, combines an engaging, opening voice-over in the tradition of Latimore with a reference to Tyrone Davis's "Leavin'"--
"Said she had to leave
On the first train smokin,'
But she's back in my arms--
I ain't jokin'."
--wrapping up the track by the usually-perceived-as-minimalist Meadows with a prominent, pop-like, all-but-dueting female background chorus.
Meadows' next two albums (Dealing Real and Choices) were very much follow-up outings in the mode of Memories, and they in turn were succeeded by a Best Of (Bob Grady 2003) collection that summarized the era in Meadows' career.
A couple of passable albums in the mid-00's, Back To Basics and Love Bomb, displayed Meadows searching for an edgier, grittier sound, something in which to reclaim and marinate the clean pop sound of his early work.
Meadows' cover of the sixties girl-group anthem, The Shirelles' "Dedicated To The One I Love" (from Love Bomb) was such a turning point. "She's Gone," from the same album, with its chiming guitar and passionate, ambitious chorus, also signaled a change.
Much of the "clean" sound of "Dedicated" had to do with the man on the lead guitar, Southern Soul star Theodis Ealey, and the collaboration seemed to energize Meadows.
Meadows is also an ace guitarist, and it was really in his next album, Transformation (M&M/Brimstone 2008), that his new, edgier, gritter sound came to fruition.
Listen to Wilson Meadows singing "It Is What It Is" on MySpace while you read.
If not quite the cornucopia of soul that Memories was, Transformation nevertheless boasted at least four great original songs in "I'm Missing You," "It Is What It Is," "I Wanna Get Witcha Baby" and "Don't Take It Away."
"I'm Missing You," with its pastoral mouth harp, and "Don't Take It Away," with its unapologetic Tennessee country accents on the vocal, leave indelible impressions, but it's the light-hearted, contrapuntal-rhythmed "It Is What Is," with its majestic, scudding-clouds brass chorus, that is the revelation. Here Wilson Meadows successfully reinvents himself.
With Man Up (M & M/Brimstone 2011), Meadows followed up the rejuvenating Transformation CD with another solid collection, highlighted by "Personal Matter," "Go Get That Love," "It Is What It Is (Remix)" and "Man Up."
Meadows collaborated with esteemed producer Harrison Calloway on Man Up, and the title track with its social message was their ultimate endeavor, according to an interview they both did with Jackson, Mississippi WMPR's DJ Boogie in 2010, prior to the album's release.
However, it was the staccato rhythm guitar riffs and soaring choruses of "It Is What It Is (Remix)" and "Personal Matter" that gobbled up the Southern Soul airplay. "It Is What It Is" combines a bit of Average White Band with a Paul McCartney-esque lyrical gift, and although it sounded almost off-puttingly original when it came out, it helped pave the way for "Personal Matter," which bounded up the Southern Soul singles charts.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Wilson Meadows
Wilson Meadows was born in 1944 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he remains a native. He entered the music business as a member of the doo wop group The Zircons, who released several singles in the late fifties and sixties, including the novelty record "No Twisting on Sunday."
Song's Transcendent Moment
"You can't stop the rain
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
If you liked Smokey Robinson's "Share This Life With Me," you'll love Wilson Meadows' "It Is What It Is."
Honorary "B" Side
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