Mystery Lady Blast From Past "I Hear You Knockin"

Daddy B. Nice's #114 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Mystery Lady Blast From Past "I Hear You Knockin" by Daddy B. Nice
 




"I Hear You Knocking"

Mystery Lady Blast From Past "I Hear You Knockin"

Composed by R.D.S. The Mystery Lady


September 28, 2021:

BLAST FROM THE PAST!

Listen to The Mystery Lady singing "I Hear You Knockin'" on YouTube.

I wrote the following article for Daddy B. Nice's Corner in 2009. It appeared in the Queen Isabella Artist Guide because at that time the Mystery Lady was still hiding behind her cloak of mystery and also because Queen Isabella's version of "I Hear You Knockin'" was a little bit better produced than the demo quality of Mystery Lady's version.

But life and history have a way of turning things around in ways impossible to predict. Queen Isabella has since disappeared from the chitlin' circuit scene, along with her original YouTube video of the song. Meanwhile, Mystery Lady, who composed and recorded the first version of "I Hear You Knockin'" has gradually raised her profile, effectively taking ownership of the song from Queen Isabella. We even know her name (scroll down). Also, Mystery Lady was featured in a 2016 Daddy B. Nice feature for another song, "Wrong Drawers (He Caught Me with The Wrong Drawers On)," (scroll down this page), in which another mystery is cleared up. A deejay voice-over says Mystery Lady is from Illinois.

The ultimate irony of "I Hear You Knockin'" has to do with a statement I made in that piece in 2009:

Despite multiple releases by a variety of artists and producers, not one has ever achieved even modest success. By any--even chitlin' circuit-level--expectations, the song is an also-ran. And yet, it has a resonance with the audience that makes it a potential classic. "I Hear You Knockin'" won't go away, one or another of its many versions popping up here and there again and again.

I'm happy to report that history has rendered that remark FALSE.

That YouTube page featuring Mystery Lady's "I Hear You Knockin'" has accumulated the astounding number of 3,891,267 views. That's right: just short of 4 million page views. That makes it an equal of many of the top-rated southern soul songs of today

Read on....



April 1, 2011:

"I Hear You Knockin'":The Little Song That Refuses To Die

(reprinted from Daddy B. Nice's Corner, November 2009)


It never fails. Every three months a letter comes into Daddy B. Nice's Mailbag regarding the song "I Hear You Knockin'".

Daddy B. Nice. . .

"I'm in need of your help again. I heard this song and it goes like this: "I hear you knocking baby but I can't let you in. I'm too busy making love to your best friend". . . So if you can help me out again I would truly appreciate it. . . I know a female sings it."

Daddy B. Nice. . .

"A local radio dj has been playing this song ("I Hear You Knockin'") regularly for at least the last 5 years. . . "

"Daddy B. Nice. . .

Do you know of any other females who sang "I Hear You Knocking" besides Queen Isabella? Maybe Nellie Tiger Travis? thanks!"

That last one--from Franklin in Key West, Florida--just came in.

Mind you. This "I Hear You Knockin'" is not to be confused with the much more well-known song "I Hear You Knockin'" written by legendary R&B producer Dave Bartholomew with Pearl King and recorded perhaps most famously by Fats Domino (although first by Smiley Lewis) and Dave Edmunds among hundreds of others. That song, the forerunner of the current song, has lyrics which go roughly like this:

"You went away and left me,
And now you come back,
Knocking on my door.
I hear you knocking,
But you can't come in. . . "

--And it was usually sung by a man.

The version of "I Hear You Knockin'" that enthralls Southern Soul fans is a basic twelve-bar blues like its predecessor but with lyrics that take a distinctly female perspective, a vengeful, in-your-face attitude that implies either a wronged woman or a temptress incarnate.

The song we're talking about was written, somewhat intriguingly, by R.D.S. The Mystery Lady. Here is what your Daddy B. Nice had to say about it in the Queen Isabella Artist Guide.

"The fan of Southern Soul doesn't really appreciate a singer like Queen Isabella and a song like "I Hear You Knocking"--a song, in other words, in the rough-and-tumble style of Barbara Carr and Peggy Scott-Adams--until he or she takes a vacation from the music and returns to listen to it fresh. That's when Queen Isabella's unpolished sound feels as essential to the ear and heart as fried potatoes to a hungry stomach. That back-alley-produced sound--directly descended from under-exposed R&B pioneers like Ann Rabson, Ruth Brown and, ultimately, Bessie Smith--is a rare and precious commodity."

Here's a rough summary of the lyrics:

"Baby, I hear you knocking,
But I can't stop to let you in.
You see right now I'm a little too busy.
I'm making love to your best friend. . .

We changed the locks on the door
Because we didn't want to be disturbed.
You said to me,
'Girl, you've got your nerve.'

But wait a minute.
There's a little bit more.
Right now, he's got me in a spin.
He's taking my body to places
You ain't never been. . .

He's making love to me
Over and over from my head to my feet.
Babe, he's taking me to places you never did. . .

Oh baby, you wouldn't believe
How this man keeps turning me on.
Babe, you'd better get away from the door.
He's about to bring something out in me
That you've never heard before. . . "

And so on. . .

This is what in New York they used to call a feminist anthem. This woman is putting some hurt on her man--the one outside the door, that is. She's also making some big trouble for both. With the previously clandestine lovers on the inside and presumably cuckolded husband on the outside, the woman throws down the gauntlet when she says, "I'm making love to your best friend," and the rant accelerates.

Think of the dilemma of the interloper (the husband's best friend) on the inside with the woman. Not only caught in the act but identified. No back-window exit now. Forced to confront, two old "bulls" fighting over one very-ready, very-rambunctious woman.

The Mystery Lady put out two albums, 1996's Midnight Run (Monaco) and 2000's Burning For Ya Love (Monaco). "I Hear You Knockin'" made its debut on the Midnight Run album. Subsequently, the song showed up on the Super Soul Club Hits compilation album (Mardi Gras, 2000).

Then came the version of "I Hear You Knockin'" by Queen Isabella from the Loving A Married Man album (Kon-Kord, 2001). (See Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Queen Isabella.)

Next up came a version of "I Hear You Knockin'" by Rasheeda from the Bruce Billups-produced
Southern Soul/Urban Mix album (Makecents, 2006). This album by Theodis Ealey's longtime collaborator was also a compilation CD featuring a variety of artists, and it still sounds so new it's amazing to think three years have already passed. Rasheeda, as far as I know, is not the rapper Rasheeda who has published four albums.

Next up, and most head-turning, since it's sung by a man, is "I Hear You Knockin'" by Bobby Warren from the Pioneers And Legends album (Kon-Kord, 2006). Bobby Warren has two albums out: I Slipped Up (Kon-Kord, 2005) and Pioneers and Legends (Kon-Kord, 2006).

The Bobby Warren version of "I Hear You Knockin,'" although I've only heard a sound sample, is in many ways the most interesting, if you're a devotee of this song. Not only is it sung by a man, but musically, it seems to push the song to another level.

Which brings up the paradox of "I Hear You Knockin'". Despite multiple releases by a variety of artists and producers, not one has ever achieved even modest success. By any--even chitlin' circuit-level--expectations, the song is an also-ran.

And yet, it has a resonance with the audience that makes it a potential classic. "I Hear You Knockin'" won't go away, one or another of its many versions popping up here and there again and again, gaining another handful of eager and curious recruits for what must be by now a rag-tag army of fans.

Which begs the ultimate question. Does the fault lie in the music? The melody is not much to write home about. The rhythm is fairly run-of-the-mill.

Or does it lie in the artists, none of whom has stirred the Southern Soul waters?

The lyrics--again by chitlin' circuit standards--are obviously superb.

What fascinates anyone who has heard Southern Soul's "I Hear You Knockin'" is that strong whiff of revenge that makes Clint Eastwood-style Westerns and action-thrillers so intoxicating.

The women singing "I Hear You Knockin'"--Mystery Lady, Queen Isabella, Rasheeda--are "inviters" of confrontation. They stir up some primordial response in women, and what stirs women is bound to stir men.

--Daddy B. Nice


SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide


Listen to The Mystery Lady singing "He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On" on YouTube.

September 4, 2016: The Mystery Lady Unveiled (Romona D. Samuel)


Searching For The Artist Who Sings "He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On": The Mystery Lady Saga


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

-------DECEMBER 2015---------



1. "He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On"----(Another Mystery Lady)

Here's something I've never done before--touting an unknown artist with a #1-ranking single--but I can't close out the year without giving "Wrong Drawers" the recognition it deserves as the greatest underground record of the year after Bishop Bullwinkle's "Hell Naw To The Naw Naw."

DJ Big Money (662-834-1025) plays the song every shift at 102.5 WAGR (Lexington, Tchula, Yazoo City, Mississippi), but he won't give out the name. There's a long southern soul tradition of female singers adopting aliases so as not to be disowned by their families, and I suspect that's the case here, only this singer may not yet even have an alias. Outrageously licentious, unrelentingly deadpan and funny, "He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On" cries out to be distributed as an artist's record and posted on YouTube.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

Re-Posted from Daddy B. Nice's Mailbag


RE: MYSTERY LADY'S "He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On"


Hi Daddy B Nice,

It’s always a pleasure to check in on you & your website. I was wondering is this the same "He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On" song you’ve been referring to that DJ Big Money out of Lexington, MS plays on WAGR in the link? If so that’s actually her stage name! “The Mystery Lady” If not back to the drawing board! lol Anyways, THANKS for all you do!

Parrish "DJ PC Baby" Cratic
Aberdeen, MS

Listen to The Mystery Lady singing "Wrong Draws (He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On)" on YouTube.

Daddy B. Nice replies:

DJ PC Baby,

You just made my Saturday morning! Thank you for clearing up one of those long-standing "looking-for-a-song questions.

I called her "Another Mystery Lady," so when I read your letter, my first impression was, "My God, you mean she actually took the arbitrary name I'd given her?" Then I went to the video and was stunned by the even greater coincidence. The singer is actually the original Mystery Lady who recorded "I Hear You Knocking (But You Can't Come In)." (see more by scrolling down to "Tidbits") I just stumbled and bumbled upon her actual artist's name--as you point out--by accident!

Daddy B. Nice

P.S. On the YouTube version I hear what sounds like a cat meowing. I keep reaching down beside my chair to stroke one of my cats before they jump up on my computer keyboards. Does anyone else hear this?

Listen to The Mystery Lady singing "Wrong Draws (He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On)" on YouTube.

"DJ PC Baby" replies:

LOL, GREAT CATCH! That’s EXACTLY what it is & it’s also on the iTunes version. I just took a listen so it’s not your cats acting up! :D Glad I was able to be of some assistance & once again thanks for giving us southern soul lovers a platform & guide to keep up with those funky down home masterpieces!

One love

Parrish "DJ PC Baby" Cratic

Check out the original Mystery Lady/CD Baby album from which "Wrong Drawers" was re-discovered by DJ Big Money.

See Daddy B. Nice's most recent story about DJ Big Money and "He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On" in the July 24th "News & Notes" column of Daddy B. Nice's Corner.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

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

-------AUGUST 2016---------


4. "Wrong Draws (He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On)"-----The Mystery Lady

A salacious "underground" record re-discovered by WAGR DJ Big Money and written about by your Daddy B. Nice for the last six months...The mystery is finally resolved. See story in Daddy B. Nice's Mailbag.

Listen to The Mystery Lady singing "Wrong Draws (He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On)" on Youtube.

Buy The Mystery Lady's "Wrong Drawers" mp3 at CD Baby.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

And in a related story: The Deejay Who Broke "Wrong Drawers"....

July 24, 2016: News & Notes …
..5. Another valuable southern soul website...

...Lexington, Mississippi's WAGR, with gospel during the week-days and southern soul music on week-nights and Saturdays, is back online after some "website-building." This is the most exciting new southern soul streaming station to emerge in the last couple of years, headlined by DJ Big Money, "the deejay who don't play by no rules." Your Daddy B. Nice still can't tell you the identity of "Another Mystery Lady," the female singer behind Big Money's oft-played "He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On" (a Daddy B. Nice #1 single in 2015), but I can tell you that recently "not playing by no rules" has translated to DJ Big Money playing that country song, "Achey-Breaky Heart," followed up by not one but two Elvis Presley tunes. To hear Big Money's unmistakably black shout-outs to station callers over the first truly white soul brother Presley singing "All Shook Up" on a recent Saturday was something to hear. Not only does Elvis sound as black as an Angus steer's tush on a cloud-covered night. Big Money sounds like he's lolling about on those fluffy white clouds of southern soul heaven with colorful deejays Nikki DeMarks, Chico, Jazzii A., Ragman and Handyman.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

****************

To automatically link to Mystery Lady's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and many other references on the website, go to "Mystery Lady" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.

**************

--Daddy B. Nice


About Mystery Lady Blast From Past "I Hear You Knockin"

9/4/16...Daddy B. Nice notes:

I have found the real name of The Mystery Lady on the CD Baby page for Mystery Lady's only distributed release since 2000, a 2011 single, "It Ain't You," which coincidentally recycles the rhythm track from "Wrong Draws (He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers On)".

Here are the published credits for the single "It Ain't You":

It Ain't You
by The Mystery Lady
© Copyright - Romona D Samuel / Monaro Records (885767972957)


Bolstering the case for the accuracy of the name Romona D. Samuel is the fact that Mystery Lady's first album, 1996's Midnight Run, with the signature single "I Hear You Knockin'," was originally marketed under the artist title "RDS The Mystery Lady." In addition, the YouTube version of Mystery Lady's "I Hear You Knockin'" was posted by an Edward Samuel.


Tidbits

1.


February 18, 2013: The Mystery Lady


Your Daddy B. Nice believes Mystery Lady is the victim of misinformation being perpetuated on the Internet and wants to right the wrongs once and for all. The most egregious online misinformation is a YouTube offering for "I Hear You Knocking," (not to be confused with the Dave Edmunds song) a turn-of-the-century classic of Southern Soul music performed by Peggy Scott-Adams according to the post and picture by BluesWoman01.

I have been known to completely forget things, but to the best of my knowledge (and write in and correct me at daddybnice@southernsoulrnb.com if you have the evidence to refute this) Peggy Scott-Adams has never recorded "I Hear You Knocking." The music on this YouTube page is actually the original "I Hear You Knocking" by The Mystery Lady.

(And, ironically, a GooglePlay link to download the song links to Mystery Lady's MIDNIGHT RUN.)

The bogus Peggy Scott-Adams reference has proliferated to all sorts of other sites. I even found an obscure reference on my own site in the Daddy B. Nice Queen Isabella Artist Guide, which I have since omitted.

There have been three female versions of "I Hear You Knocking" in contemporary Southern Soul: the first by Mystery Lady (also the composer), the second by Queen Isabella, and the third by Rasheeda.

Your Daddy B. Nice always stressed the Queen Isabella version, but that was only because I had no information at the time about Mystery Lady. Hopefully, this correction will begin to make some amends and give Mystery Lady some of the publicity she has long been denied. And hopefully, the misinformation on the Internet will gradually be corrected.

--Daddy B. Nice

Sample or Buy Mystery Lady's Midnight Run CD (featuring "I Hear You Knocking").

Sample or Buy Mystery Lady's 2011 "It Aint You" (Single).

Sample or Buy Mystery Lady's Burning For Ya Love CD.

Read Daddy B. Nice on the Southern Soul classic, "I Hear You Knocking" (in the Queen Isabella Artist Guide).

Listen to Mystery Lady singing "I Hear You Knocking" on YouTube (although the song is mistakenly attributed to Peggy Scott-Adams).

*******

See The Mystery Lady on Facebook.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide

2.

August 10, 2014: Mystery Lady's "I Hear You Knocking" The Antecedent to Anita Love's "Keep Knockin'"



"I Hear You Knocking" is mentioned--in fact, specified as an antecedent--in Daddy B. Nice's laudatory review of Anita Love's debut single, "Keep Knockin'."

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

----------JUNE 2014------------

1. “Keep Knockin’”----Anita Love

Music’s still rockin' your Daddy B. Nice’s world, and truthfully, there's no qualitative difference between Anita Love’s stupendous 2014 hit-single-to-be and The Shirelles’ “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (written by Goffin/King) fifty-plus years ago.

Flash forward to 21st Century Southern Soul: “Keep Knockin’” continues the rich tradition of Queen Isabella’s and Rasheeda's and Mystery Lady’s “I Hear You Knocking (But You Can’t Come In)”--but with an even more seductive melody.

Hailing from Memphis (a former back-up singer for Sweet Angel), Anita Love Humphrey is being promoted and booked by Terry (100%) Cotton (225-239-1012).

Listen to Anita Love singing “Keep Knockin’” on YouTube.




5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy I Hear You Knocking by  Mystery Lady Blast From Past 'I Hear You Knockin'
I Hear You Knocking


CD: Midnight Run
Label: Monaro



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Wrong Draws (He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers.. by  Mystery Lady Blast From Past 'I Hear You Knockin'
Wrong Draws (He Caught Me With The Wrong Drawers..


CD: Burning For Ya Love
Label: Monaro

Sample or Buy
Burning For Ya Love


4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 4 Stars 
Sample or Buy It Ain't You by  Mystery Lady Blast From Past 'I Hear You Knockin'
It Ain't You


CD: It Ain't You (Single)
Label: The Mystery Lady

Sample or Buy
It Ain't You (Single)


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