Carl Marshall (21st Century)
Daddy B. Nice's #27 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Good Loving Will Make You Cry"
Carl Marshall (21st Century)
Composed by Carl Marshall
July 7, 2018: Re-Posting... The following interview took place on Saturday, March 28, 2009. It has been edited and condensed from over two hours of material.
Daddy B. Nice's Interview with Carl Marshall!
"Carl, I was going to brush up for this interview. . .. . . by reading up on your background, and I went to a couple of places on the Internet and there wasn't a whole lot. And then I thought, 'Oh, yeah! Daddy B. Nice wrote an Artist Guide on Carl Marshall!,' and I went back to my own website and read all the stuff I'd forgotten I'd written about you."
Carl laughs. "Talking with you is a real pleasure, Daddy B. And I appreciate everything you're doing for Southern Soul and for me."
"Carl, I can remember when your name would pop up on an occasional deejay's play list in the early years of this century, and I used to get so frustrated, 'Who is this Carl Marshall character?,' because I never heard any of your music. And when I did hear something by you, they never mentioned your name, so I didn't know it was yours. And it was like that for quite a few years."
"Yeah, it was like that for most everybody until, oh, I'd say, the album Songs People Love The Most, Daddy. 'Good Loving Will Make You Cry' and 'This Is For Grown Folks,' 'Jingle My Bell' and 'Reap What You Sow' were all on that one."
"I think there's a core part of the Southern Soul audience that knows you very well, but to most you're not that well-known. And that's what we'd like to correct with this interview. How do you see it?"
"I think you hit it. 'Good Loving Will Make You Cry' got my name out there, but it's just the beginning of the recognition and the fame that you're talking about, even within Southern Soul."
"So do you consider 'Good Loving Will Make You Cry' a huge step forward in your career? Or do you see it as just one in a series of small steps forward?"
"Oh, it was a huge leap," Carl says, "Now, financially, I haven't seen all of the results. But 'Good Loving' established a foundation."
"A brand," Daddy B. Nice says. "Like Campbell's Soup."
"Exactly," Carl says. "The funny thing about 'Good Loving' is that when I first released it, I couldn't get a deejay to play it. Nobody was interested. 'Good Loving' laid around for two years without anyone touching it."
"Now, with its popularity, I know 'Good Loving' could take Southern Soul to the next level, if only the big-market radio stations would play it. It's not that the people wouldn't like it. The younger crowd loves the song. But urban radio, like back here in the Houston area, won't give it a chance."
"Your songs usually have a funky groove," Daddy B. Nice says, "but 'Good Loving' is an exception. It's almost country."
"You're right. You know, I lived in Nashville for fifteen years, Daddy."
"Really. When, exactly?"
"Late seventies, early eighties," Carl says. "That's where I honed a lot of my production skills. I've been a producer over thirty years now. That's where I became a kind of one-man session band. It was a lot cheaper for the studios to hire me than to hire a lot of musicians. I gradually learned to play all the instruments, arrange, do everything there is to do. And then, when I went back to New Orleans, I continued down there."
"Describe that Louisiana scene. It's really an obscure corner of the whole contemporary Southern Soul movement."
"The roots of my music come from New Orleans funk. The Isleys. I worked with Aaron Neville, and played guitar for the Neville Brothers. There was The Meters, of course. New Orleans funk. That was the thing. If you can be as funky as The Meters, you're doing it. And we played it all: jazz, soul, gospel, blues, country. James Brown said, 'If you ain't groovin', you ain't movin'."
"That brings up your early years. Nobody knows when you were born, Carl."
Carl laughs. "Years ago I was told that in the music business, giving your age out to the media wasn't real smart, so I've just always downplayed that."
"So when were you born?"
"I won't send out any press releases."
Carl laughs again. "I was born in 1950."
"You spring chicken!" Daddy B. Nice says. "I was born in '46. Where were you born?"
"Independence, Louisiana. My mom and dad separated when I was little, so I split time growing up between my mom in New Orleans and my dad in a small town. In fact," Carl says, "today (March 28) is my birthday."
"No kidding?" Daddy B. Nice says. "What a coincidence. Happy Birthday!"
"Well, thank you. There were some hard times. I was out on my own at the age of twelve--"
"That's the lyrics to 'I Lived It All'!" Daddy B. Nice interrupts.
"That's right," Carl says.
"Now you've got me excited," Daddy B. Nice says. "We can talk about 'Good Loving' all day, Carl. It's become your signature tune. But if it wasn't for 'Good Loving' your Daddy B. Nice would have 'I Lived It All' as the number-one Carl Marshall song on the Top 100 Southern Soul chart. I love that song. That chunky rhythm section, the sax solo, the guitar solo, the bagpipe-sounding synthesizer throughout, the great vocal. Now that is pure Southern Soul. That song is out of print, you know."
"That song's very autobiographical," Carl says. . . . . ."Just the way it was. . . But--hold on a minute. Didn't I put that out again on the Going Against The Grain album?"
"Well, I guess you did. Let's see. . . but Going Against The Grain may also be out of print. I'll have to check that out. I know I'm been unable to offer a sound sample to 'I Lived It All' on my site."
(Daddy B. Nice notes: Subsequently, I went back and checked. "I Lived It All" is not on the Going Against The Grain album. )
"Maybe it's just because I'm a writer," Daddy B. Nice says, "but I've always thought the title should be 'I've Lived It All' with an apostrophe, not 'I Lived It All,' the way it's listed on that old Louisiana Music Factory disc. When you've got the 'I've' in there, it sounds like the struggle is still going on, the 'living it all'."
"You're right," Carl says. "It should have been 'I've Lived'."
"Carl, you've got to put that song out again. Make it the centerpiece of a new album. That is still a great song. Your finest lyrics ever. Right from life's edge."
"You might be right. I've thought about putting out some of those old songs."
"I was brought up the hard way/ Worked for fifty cents a day. . . " Daddy B. Nice sings. "I was hungry, broke/ Didn't have any hope. . . Doors closed in my face/ Friends I thought I had/ Made me feel so bad. . . "
"You might be onto something. It maybe could be a big hit now," Carl says. "with 'Good Loving' having paved the way."
"Carl, I used to have that shout-out from the end of your song, 'I Got The Blues Trying To Find Love,' about how you get the blues when people can't love one another?"
"And for some reason I had that shout of yours sequenced with a song named 'Pork And Beans And Weiners.' Do you know that song, 'Pork And Beans and Weiners,' where the husband is berating his wife for smoking crack and making pork and beans and wieners every night? It's hilarious.'
'Yeah,' Carl says. 'As a matter of fact, he just died recently. John V. Kelly. The Reverend John V. Kelly. Oh yeah, that was a wild song. Lee Bates is on that song, too."
"And how about that Katrina record that you did, 'Let's Dance'? Where you had David Brinston and all those artists doing guest spots? Was that live or was that done in the studio?"
"That was done in the studio."
"Who were the other people taking singing verses, besides Brinston?"
"There was. . . Steel Bill, Michelle Miller--"
"Michelle Miller, who just put out the female version of 'Good Loving'?"
"Right. . . and James Morgan from out of Arkansas. It's funny you should mention that record. I was just telling Dylann (from CDS Records) that he should listen to that song. It's a good example of that New Orleans funk groove, just staying with a hook with a kind of tenacity."
"Like 'Wind It Up.'"
"So going back to 'Good Loving,' I say. 'What about Bigg Robb? What about the 'Good Loving' Bigg Robb remix? Was that hard for you? Did you have some ambivalence about that?"
"Oh, man. Did I ever."
"So it wasn't an easy decision?"
"Oh no," Carl says. "It was a big thing. I also had to decide whether I was going to use my own vocal on the remix. . .. . . All my colleagues were against it. I prayed. I prayed a lot on it. But finally, I decided to do it."
"And it was the right decision," Daddy B. Nice says. "Both letting him do it and putting your voice in it. It expanded your audience for 'Good Loving' once again, moving it into some of the hiphop and Zap crowd, up north in Ohio country."
"It was a blessing, and I have been blessed."
"You know," Daddy B. Nice says, "you caught Bigg Robb at the right time. When he did the remix on Mel Waiters' 'Hole In The Wall,' he was still a pure funk and hiphop guy. And I've talked with him about this--he knows how I feel. But by the time you came around, Carl, with 'Good Lovin' Will Make You Cry,' Bigg Robb had made himself a master of every innovation in Southern Soul. He knew how to put it together so that the Southern Soul audience would still love it."
"Let me tell you about Bigg Robb," Carl says. "He is a very hungry young man. He is a smart person. He loves Southern Soul. And I'm one of his biggest mentors. I made him start singing more. Like me, he's not a natural singer. But I persuaded him to sing on one of the tracks from my new album. It's 'Shake It Like A Rope.' He sounds a little like Michael Jackson."
"Bigg Robb told me he came up with that phrase 'grown folks' first. I figured you'd have something to say on that."
Carl laughs. "No. That was me."
"That phrase really stuck," Daddy B. Nice says. "It hit a chord with the Southern Soul audience. It became the catch phrase to distinguish Southern Soul--'grown folks' music'-- from hiphop and rap. You even had American Blues Network, the internet radio station, using it in their commercials. Now they're using 'party blues & oldies' or something, but for awhile they were saying, 'grown folks music'."
"Yeah," Carl says. "In fact, I'll tell you a story. 'This Is For Grown Folks' was #1 for six months on Larry Jones 'Soul & Blues Report,' and do you know, Larry went from about 20 to about 50 or 60 stations during that time. And there was some real controversy about it being ranked so high for so long. But I knew a lot of deejays and radio markets, and I was contacting them. You see, I worked in radio for awhile, I was a deejay, and learned that side of the business, too."
"Where were you a deejay?"
"Clear Channel, Meridian, Mississippi."
"A great town for Southern Soul."
"And working that side of the business, I learned how little some artists care, how little respect some artists have for the music."
"Can you give me an example?"
"I won't name any names," Carl says, "but you know, the artist comes into town for a gig. I call to set up an interview. The artist says, 'What time is your show?' And I say, 'Six to ten.' And the artist says, 'I don't get up at that time in the morning.'"
"Speaking of late sleepers, how about a Senator Jones story?" Daddy B. Nice asks. "I know you wrote or produced that second Love Doctor CD, Moaning and Groaning, for Senator Jones and Mardi Gras. And didn't you also do that 'Ride Your Mule Uncle Bobo' song?"
"Yeah, that was me," Carl says. "But there was no love and respect."
"What do you mean?"
"I want to see everybody make it, Daddy B. That's the way I am. I truly love the music and what goes on in making it. But that was a time of selfishness and greed, of people taking credit for what they shouldn't."
"You mean, the obscure guy--you--bringing all of the goods, and the guys with the fame taking all of the credit?"
"I'm afraid so. That's the way it was. The Love Doctor should have been out of the business long ago. I wrote and produced the songs for the Moaning And Groaning album, and I did all of the arranging and producing. Then Mardi Gras didn't want to pay me. Senator Jones stopped the project."
"I wish I could say I'd never heard this before," Daddy B. Nice says.
"Then Senator Jones took the material and put it out under his name," Carl says. "And I never got paid."
Daddy B. Nice groans.
"I'll tell you about Senator Jones," Carl continues. "Senator Jones wasn't a producer. . .. . . You see, he didn't have the hands-on technical skills. What happened was: Senator Jones took a lot of the credit for producing songs that he actually took from others. So he began to think of himself as an artist, but he was never a real producer."
"Let me get this straight," Daddy B. Nice says. "You're saying that when someone like Sir Charles came to Senator with his songs, it was mostly Sir Charles--the artist--doing the arranging and producing, not Senator Jones?"
"Right," Carl says. "Senator Jones was able to coach artists. He dealt with a lot of great artists, who came to him. And he was there to bring them along. He was in a position to bring people closer to their dreams. But he wasn't a producer."
"You know," Carl adds, "there aren't many old-school producers around. I can only think of two."
"Who are they?"
"Me. . . and Harrison Calloway."
"Over at Malaco," Daddy B. Nice says. "But is he doing much any more?"
"Well, I'm not sure," Carl says.
"Why is it so hard for Southern Soul artists to understand the need for first-class production?"
"True innovation," Carl says, "comes when you have mastered a field of possibilities in your musical craft. I've done that now for so many years that I can bring this whole set of skills or whatever to any given song. My experience makes it automatic, instinctive."
"Even though I use of lot of electronic stuff in my music," Carl continues, "I use live intruments too, and now I'm even mixing the live with the programed until it's hard to tell the difference. I've got a ten thousand-dollar board that makes live horn sounds so real you'd swear they were the real thing."
"That's what I'll be doing for CDS Records,' Carl continues. . .. . . "I'll be working with Nellie Travis, Stan Mosley, Charles Wilson, and right now I'm working on a new project for T. J. Hooker Taylor. I'll tell you, Floyd Taylor is very good, but T. J. may be the most talented of all Johnnie's sons. I think he's got a promising future."
"You know," Daddy B. Nice says, "I get so many CD's from young artists, and I'm going to call one out I just got the other day. I don't think he'd mind my using his name, because he'd probably consider it a compliment that we're even talking about him. Have you heard of El' Willie?"
"El' Willie is a very good songwriter, and he's also an outstanding vocalist. But he insists on doing everything himself--him and his gadgets, you know. I don't think the guy would let his girlfriend sing a little background if it killed him. And the trouble is, the songs all come off like demo's. It's a Lone Ranger kind of thing, kind of a comfort thing, but also kind of a laziness, and it's the rule, not the exception, with Southern Soul artists."
"Southern Soul is suffering from this," Carl says. "They don't even want a good producer."
"And there's some collaboration," Daddy B. Nice says, "but no bands of super-talented individuals or serious cooperation, to speak of. I mean, think of Crosby, Stills & Nash back in the early seventies. That first album of theirs was heard around the world. I can remember living in Rio de Janeiro-- the Brazilians are a very musical people--and all you heard for a year was that album floating out from the window of every apartamento."
"No kidding," Carl says.
"That would be the equivalent in Southern Soul of, say, Sir Charles Jones, Floyd Taylor and Omar Cunningham putting their harmonies together. Can you imagine the impact?"
"We need to see these artists hone their music and love their fellow artists and bring some joy to the audience," Carl says. "That's for sure."
"Carl, I can't believe we've gone this long without talking about the main ingredient of your music. I call it the 'word.' You force the 'word' upon people in your songs. When I think of your music, I instantly think of one, a spoken monologue, and two, a motivational message."
"I write from the heart, Daddy. I write from daily life."
"You're like a latter-day, late-period Curtis Mayfield or Marvin Gaye. The other day, I was listening to one of your songs, and it made me think of. . . Do you know that one by Paul Simon? 'Looking For America'. . .
"Yeah, yeah, I do. and I'm honored by the comparison."
"Or a lot of Bob Dylan's stuff. And I think that commitment gives you a momentum all its own."
"Well, thank you."
"In other words, you might be at a loss for a hook occasionally, but your commitment is going to take you through obstacles--like writer's block---where a lot of other artists might stumble."
"That dialogue at the beginning of 'Leave That Man's Wife Alone,'" Daddy B. Nice continues, "is so painfully realistic I almost can't make it through to the music."
"Those spoken vocals are by two deejays from South Carolina, Calvin P and Shanessa Finner," Carl says.
"Shanessa. 'Yes, Sugar Biscuit?' Shanessa sounds like she could melt the heart of the most faithful husband. It's a devastating dialogue--and a powerful message."
"Well, thank you, Daddy B. You've pegged it. I love people. And I love the music. I still believe my name is the most important thing."
"Name? As in character?"
"Yes," Carl says. "And I really believe in what I'm singing about. I'm against all these cheating songs. I want to put out a positive image."
"You're not asking me to give up my cheating songs?"
"Where would I be--where would WE be--" Daddy B. Nice asks, "without Ronnie Lovejoy's 'Sho' Wasn't Me'?"
"That's true," Carl says.
"But I want to be the first to hear anything you come up with, Carl, because I know it will come from the gut and it will be original. Not to mention that it will be as 'cutting-edge' as the Devil's own cheatin' songs."
Carl laughs. "Southern Soul is the real music they took off the market, Daddy, and I'm bringing it back. Life has made me so humble. The way I look at songwriting, I ain't nobody anyway, not in the bigger scheme of things, so I'll say anything I want to say."
"And you wait," Daddy B. Nice says. "Years from now, they'll be talking about this music of yours like they all knew about it the whole time."
--Daddy B. Nice
September 12, 2015: Re-Posted from Daddy B. Nice's New CD Reviews
April 8, 2015:
CARL MARSHALL: Love Brings Me Back To You (CDS/Music Access) Four Stars **** Distinguished effort. Should please old fans and gain new.Carl Marshall's new album, LOVE BRINGS ME BACK TO YOU, should instantly disarm even the most critical of Marshall's detractors. Not much minimalist keyboard funk, no "Good Lovin'" retreads. This is popular music, inviting and lush, arranged with loving care right down to the special musical tweaks and female background singing.
In fact, Track 1, Frank-O Johnson's "(This Must Be A) Cheating Town" sounds so immediately familiar you'd swear it was an old Carl Marshall tune. (It isn't; I looked.) But it's actually more fleshed-out than Marshall's music has been in a long time, and pretty close to irresistible.
"Sugar," the second track, is the same, so accessible and popular-sounding with its commercial-sounding harmonica phrase that you want to bob your head and hit the dance floor with a slow, sexy shuffle and dance to the Carl Marshall grown folks music in a way you haven't in years.
Ironically, Marshall has dipped into his back-catalog (from SONGS PEOPLE LOVE THE MOST) in choosing the first single from the new CD, "From The Church To The Motel." It's the most conservative choice he could have made, generic and derivative of his earlier work, and a tune with which his fans will certainly be familiar. But the best material on the album are the cuts that surprise listeners with their new energy and fresh arrangements.
Marshall suffered a stroke in 2012, and he's kept a low profile since the hospitalization, absenting himself from his former extensive production chores at CDS Records, where he is now a vice-president. It was anyone's guess if and how he would come back. "I Owe It All To The Blues," Daddy B. Nice's first charted single from the album (#6 April 2015), finds the rejuvenated Marshall tearing it up on guitar (his "woman"), part-Albert King and part-Jimi Hendrix.
"I've never been loved
The way I felt I should have..."
...Carl sings with a bluesy swagger only he or Bobby Rush could get away with. The wild guitar runs seem to free him like a phoenix rising, and when he double-tracks his voice in harmony, the song goes celestial.
"The Walk (Like A Soldier)" sounds like fairly routine Carl Marshall New Orleans funk until--again--Carl surprises you with a little "You're-in-the-army-now" phrase that makes the tune downright delightful. This is the kind of musical elaboration and depth Marshall didn't have the wherewithal to achieve during busier, perhaps more harried times. Jamonte Black (I believe that's her singing background) also elevates her vocals. "I'm Tired Of Missing You" is another straight-ahead ballad that illustrates Marshall's commitment to heartfelt vocals and sophisticated arrangements.
Not all of the tracks on the set warrant this kind of effusive criticism. The title track, Love Me Brings Me Back To You," is the kind of druggy-sounding, bargain-basement New Orleans funk with which Sly Stone jettisoned his career long before Carl hit his creative stride. Why Carl believes this "downer" funk is most representative of his oeuvre, your Daddy B. Nice will never know.
Good Marshall friend Rue Davis shows up on a mostly throw-away stepping exercise called "Laughing and Stepping," and Marshall redoes the simplistic "Wind It Up" yet again, gathering no kudos in the process. "I Wanna Know What Kind Of Love You've Got" and "Ladies Know Your Worth" are okay, plenty familiar, but nothing special.
But even the most marginal tunes on this very generous, twelve-track set are executed with the professionalism of an engaged and re-focused songwriter/producer. The songs are both a reminder of how unique an artist Carl Marshall is and how far into our heads he's gotten. Simply put, there's no one doing what Carl Marshall does--and no one who sounds like him. It's good to have him back.
--Daddy B. Nice
Sample/Buy Carl Marshall's LOVE BRINGS ME BACK TO YOU CD at CD Universe.
Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Carl Marshall
March 30, 2015: NEW ALBUM ALERT!
Sample/Buy Carl Marshall's LOVE BRINGS ME BACK TO YOU CD at CD Universe.
Listen to Carl Marshall singing "I Owe It All To The Blues" on YouTube.
Daddy B. Nice Reviews the CD ("Disguished Effort, 4 stars")....See NEW CD REVIEWS.
Note: Carl Marshall also appears on Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). The "21st Century" after Carl Marshall'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.
To automatically link to Carl Marshall's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations and references on the website, go to "Marshall, Carl" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
Daddy B. Nice's Updated Profile:
October 12, 2012:
I queued up "Sho' Wasn't Me" by Ronnie Lovejoy back-to-back with Carl Marshall's "Good Loving Will Make You Cry." "Sho' Wasn't Me" sounded fresh and magnificent, as it almost always does, and to its credit, Carl Marshall's "Good Loving Will Make You Cry"--although a definite step down--also sounded fine, holding its own in the integrity department.
I think we all wish Carl Marshall would record another original song of "Good Lovin's" stature.
Listen to Carl Marshall singing "Good Loving Will Make You Cry" Live on YouTube while you read.
"Your songs usually have a funky groove," your Daddy B. Nice said to Carl in a 2009 interview with the artist, "but 'Good Loving' is an exception. It's almost country."
"You're right. You know, I lived in Nashville for fifteen years, Daddy."
"Really. When, exactly?"
"Late seventies, early eighties," Carl said. "That's where I honed a lot of my production skills."
Marshall hasn't done anything remotely country-inflected since "Good Lovin,'" in spite of his acknowledgement of the song's importance to his career. The "country" in "Good Loving Will Make You Cry" gave the song a musicality.
Musicality--melody, bridges, tempo and contrast-- are what's lacking in the minimalist, funk-oriented work into which Marshall has retreated since the song's success.
Seen in retrospect (for a closer examination of the song, go to Daddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to Carl Marshall), "Good Lovin'" appears to be the culmination of Carl Marshall's "Southern Soul sound." What's so refreshing about the song is how Marshall's thoroughly pushy and preachy fronting finds its perfect foil in the mattress-like softness of the "Good Lovin'" melody.
Suddenly all the revival-tent attitude makes sense. There's plenty of psychological room to stretch out in the ample arms of the song's sentimental story. Which brings up the song's other major endearment: its theme--it's story line--of the cause/effect of sexual fulfillment with tears.
When Marshall, on the other hand, solely focuses on the familiar old New Orleans funk riffs of the 80's and 90's, the familiar mannerisms and characters--a woman's advocate, a preacher, a philosopher, a psychiatrist, a missionary, a dispenser of universal love--return. To be all those things you've got to be something of a con man, too.
In "Reap What You Sow" (one of Marshall's best vintage ballads) Carl says:
"I have a friend and her name is Jane. Jane had a little situation she was dealing with, and she came to talk to me about it. She said, 'Mr. Carl, I respect you as a man with much wisdom, and I want to know, could you give me your point of view on something I'm faced with.'"
Carl Marshall demands that he be seen as a "man with much wisdom," a soul-man's version of a guru. There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but it chops off a lot of thematic musical territory--no posing as "Mr. Jody" ala Marvin Sease or "I'm Guilty" ala Sir Charles Jones, for example.
Carl Marshall demands respect in his songs, and it is always himself in the position of authority. He is never the vulnerable one, he is never at fault. His persona is also his agenda and goes beyond music into a kind of thirst for power characteristic of great leaders.
I say "always" and "never" but actually your Daddy B. Nice's favorite Carl Marshall songs are the exceptions to this autocratic I'm-in-charge Marshall rule.
In addition to "Good Lovin,'" in which Carl is completely convincing in plumbing the raw emotion of his "friend's" vulnerability, there is "Jingle My Bell," admittedly a funk tune, but a rootsy, unvarnished one in which Marshall is willing to say he's just like the rest of us. He just wants to "jingle his bell." The song isn't far from being "Sledgehammer" elemental.
Then there is "I've Lived It All," a rare early song in which Marshall talks about his hard times in the first person. The song is a masterpiece, full of even more creative arranging than "Good Lovin,'" which itself is very good--and far superior to his funk-minimalist work.
"I was lonely, hungry, broke.
Didn't have any hope.
Doors closed in my face.
Friends I thought I had
Made me feel so bad.
"Sometimes I couldn't pay my rent.
When I got a little money,
It was already spent.
I had to go pay
All the debts I owed,
So my friends would loan me some more.
Nobody can tell me
Nothing about rough times
'Cause I believe
I lived it all."
One of the things that has complicated Carl Marshall's career is the impact he has made as the in-house producer for CDS Records. Marshall has made so many records over the last few years in his now-trademark style: funk vehicles, whether slow or fast, thumb-pressing keyboard runs, synthetic brass fills and urban-inflected background vocals. (By Jamonte Black and very different from the more country-sounding female background on "Good Lovin'.")
In effect, this Carl Marshall James Brown-via-The Meters sound has saturated the Southern Soul market, not only on Marshall's own records but those of the young CDS artists for whom he has served as virtual mentor. Combined with Marshall's indefatigable production of his own solo albums and samplers, almost always with material plumbed from his own deep well of funk compositions, his emphasis on a New Orleans-derived sound and his exclusion of the softer country and gospel sounds of mainstream Southern Soul have polarized much of his audience, creating a backlash among many critics and fans.
Where will Carl Marshall go from here? Will he ever return to the fuller, softer sound of "Good Loving Will Make You Cry" or the country-funky, surprisingly varied arrangements of his production of Arthur Foy's "I'm Not Ready (Don't Stop My Party)" or his own triumphantly-arranged, "Howl"-like "I Lived It All"?
Stay tuned, watch the stage, because Carl Marshall is sure to be one of the actors treading the boards in the coming decade.
As far as the Bigg Robb vs. Carl Marshall debate on whose version of "Good Lovin'" is better, Marshall's original or Bigg Robb's "Remix," Bigg Robb's is unquestionably better, losing nothing of Marshall's original (including Carl's vocal) and surrounding it with a brilliant and inventive framework.
But admitting that does not take anything away from Marshall--in fact it strengthens him. Moreover, Marshall continues to put out powerful albums, as witnessed by Daddy B. Nice's own reviews of Marshall's last two important discs:
Scroll down to Tidbits #7 CD REVIEW, May 4, 2009, CARL MARSHALL: Look Good For You (CDS) Four Stars **** Distinguished effort. Should please old fans and gain new...
And Tidbits #9 CD REVIEW, June 20, 2010: CARL MARSHALL: Love Who You Wanna Love (CDS) Five Stars ***** Can't Miss. Pure Southern Soul Heaven, in Daddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to Carl Marshall.
Marshall's gulf-coast funk-soul remains as potent as ever, all of a piece, and at its best mesmerizing. It's not Southern Soul--it's an outpost of Southern Soul.
Finally, on the debate about which performer--Bigg Robb or Carl Marshall--came up with the "grown folks" phrase first, your Daddy B. Nice will come down on Carl Marshall's behalf. Carl was singing about "grown folks" way back when, in the dark ages before mobile phones.
To read Daddy B. Nice's far-ranging 2009 interview with Carl Marshall, go to Tidbits #6, April 12, 2009: DADDY B. NICE INTERVIEWS CARL MARSHALL.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Carl Marshall (21st Century)
Carl Marshall was born on March 28, 1950 in Independence, Louisiana. In a 2009 interview with Daddy B. Nice (see Daddy B. Nice's Original Artist Guide to Carl Marshall, scroll down to Tidbits #6) Marshall stated: "My mom and dad separated when I was little, so I split time growing up between my mom in New Orleans and my dad in a small town."
Song's Transcendent Moment
"A young man I know
If You Liked. . . You'll Love
If you liked The Love Doctor's "Slow Roll It," you'll love Carl Marshall's "Good Loving Will Make You Cry."
Honorary "B" Side
"I Lived It All"
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