Theodis Ealey (21st Century)
Daddy B. Nice's #8 ranked Southern Soul Artist
"Stand Up In It"
Theodis Ealey (21st Century)
Composed by Theodis Ealey, Raymond Moore, William Travis
March 1, 2016: Re-Posted from Daddy B. Nice's Corner:
March 1, 2016:
POKEY'S "MY SIDEPIECE" SPAWNING COVERS & RESPONSES IN THE SAME WAY THEODIS EALEY'S "STAND UP IN IT" DID A DECADE AGOLong before texting and Twitter, a Georgia-based southern soul singer/guitarist/songwriter named Theodis Ealey with a fine song already to his credit--"(All My Baby Left Me Was) A Note, My Guitar & A Cookie Jar"--put out a new song, "Stand Up In It," that became a sensation across the southern soul and blues worlds in 2003 and 2004, reproducing itself in countless covers (Falisa JaNaye's "Can You Stand Up In It," etc.), parodies and lyrical references within other artists' songs through '05, '06 and '07, culminating in then-king-of-southern-soul Marvin Sease singing in his new song, "Sit Down On It":
"Every time I turn my radio on,
I hear this cute little song,
Just trotting along,
Giving out instructions
How lovers should get it on,
I must admit
It's a cute little song.
But don't let the instructions
Lead you wrong.
They say you ought to
Stand up in it,
But if you really want to know,
The best way to get it..."
Note the hint of condescension in Sease's twice-stated reference to the "cute little song." A little jealousy, perhaps? None of the pundits predicted "Stand Up In It"'s popularity. It wasn't an emotionally-deep or instrumentally-innovative record, and even listening to it today with all the hype that has accrued, it doesn't sound that different from other popular hits of the era. But it was. It was a touchstone, a cultural turnstile.
Now comes The Louisiana Blues Brothas (featuring Pokey's) recording of "My Sidepiece." (For those of you unfamiliar with the culture of southern soul, "a sidepiece" is a "mistress.")
"I guess I got it from my daddy,
'Cause it's all in my genes.
I'm addicted to the nonny (see Poonanny, DBN)
If you know what I mean."
And the same frenzy of copy-catting that followed "Stand Up In It" is now in full fray with "My Sidepiece." Both songs extol a symbol or metaphor--"stand up in it" in the case of "Stand Up In It," "my sidepiece" in "My Sidepiece"--and in both tunes it's a sexual double-entendre executed with a swagger powerful enough to force the words into our everyday vocabulary.
What greater gratification can there be for an artist? And what greater temptation for the artists watching this unexpected band-wagon passing them by than to jump on, too, with their own takes? At the very least, it tells the listener their songs are of recent (i.e. post-"Sidepiece") vintage.
Here's a simplified genealogy of "My Sidepiece" and its musical progeny:
First came The Louisiana Blues Brothas with....
Listen to Pokey & The Louisiana Blues Brothas singing "My Sidepiece" on YouTube..
Listen to Heavy, Tucka, Pokey & Tyree Neal singing "My Sidepiece (Remix)" on YouTube.
...Which begat a woman's response:
Listen to Veronica Ra'elle, Lacee and Ms. Portia singing "My Sidepiece (Reply)" on YouTube.
Those remakes were created within the loose circle of musicians surrounding surrounding "Sidepiece" producer Beat Flippa and the Neal family. But then Ghetto Cowboy and producer Ricky White jumped on the band-wagon with an even stronger, anti-sidepiece lyric overlaying the same instrumental track...
Listen to Ghetto Cowboy singing "My Main Squeeze" on ProBeatPort.
Meanwhile, original Louisiana Blues Brotha Tyree Neal changed sides and put out his own version of an anti-sidepiece song:
Listen to Tyree Neal singing "I Came Back Home (You Can Have That Sidepiece)" on YouTube.
But the true measure of the "Sidepiece" phenomenon has been its incidental references in the songs of female performers. Stephanie McDee brags she can co-exist with the male "sidepiece" culture in "Taking Care Of Business":
Listen to Stephanie McDee singing "Taking Care Of Business" on YouTube.
But the Duchess Jureesa McBride's "Personal Love Vendetta" is more typical, in which she sings about a woman's not-so-funny experience of "wasting years" being a sidepiece without actually uttering the word:
"It was an awkward situation.
Never met your kids.
And after a few years,
Might have met two of your friends...
...And all the times we went out,
I can count on one hand."
Listen to The Duchess singing "Personal Love Vendetta" on YouTube.
The Louisiana Blues Brothas original was just an ornery, meant-for-fun-loving song, not to be taken so seriously, many men (and a sprinkling of women) might respond.
Vick Allen takes a humorous, light-hearted turn on "sidepiece" with his:
Listen to Vick Allen singing "Be My Shawty On The Side" on YouTube.
And yet men, too, have taken up the cause from the more realistic female perspective. In his upcoming single, "Can I Be (The One You Make Love To?)," new artist Till 1 sings:
"Like my mommy and daddy told me,
Son, stay home.
You don't need no sidepiece."
To which Pokey might reply (from "My Sidepiece"):
"This is the definition
Of a real man.
When I’m with my sidepiece
About my situation
Perhaps the ultimate "Sidepiece" response song is Tha Don's "Hell Naw":
Listen to Tha Don singing "Hell Naw" on YouTube.
In an R. Kelly-inspired vocal, he advises a female friend to say "Hell Naw" to being a "sidepiece," thereby referencing in one fell swoop the two most popular songs of 2015, Pokey's "My Sidepiece" and Bishop Bullwinkle's "Hell Naw To The Naw Naw".
--Daddy B. Nice
Note: Theodis Ealey also appears on Daddy B. Nice's original Top 100 Southern Soul Artists (90's-00's). The "21st Century" after Theodis Ealey'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.
June 30, 2013:
Listen to Theodis Ealey singing "I'm The Man You Need" on YouTube.
Artists should never give up on their catalogs--in lay man's terms, their past work. I was reminded of this as I listened to Theodis Ealey singing "I'm The Man You Need," first published in 1992 on Ealey's debut disc. Most folks remember "I'm The Man You Need" as one of the many above-average tunes from Ealey's 2006 album of the same name.
Actually, Theodis pulled that song from the oblivion of his personal musical history, replaced the cheesy horns and sharpened the production and, most importantly, gave the song new lyrics--the lyrics to "Stand Up In It"--and the rest is Southern Soul history.
The lyrics weren't nearly as realistic or as meaningful as the lyrics from "I'm The Man You Need," yet "Stand Up In It"--basically a sexual novelty jingle--went on to become the ultimate double-entendre song in the genre, covered and copied by innumerable artists and referenced by phrase in countless Southern Soul songs.
Insiders and long-time fans are so used to the phrase "stand up in it" they forget how puzzled first-time listeners are by the meaning. I've been told the urban dictionary has a rather didactic and overblown definition of the term (literally standing a sexual mate against the wall), but this listener doubts Theodis intended to signify anything that narrow or explicit in his "Stand Up In It," which as I've said before involves a double-entendre, not reportage.
I'll be the first to admit the song had me scratching my head for a long time after I first heard it, sorta like when I was little and didn't know what the erect middle finger meant and was too embarrassed to ask anybody.
Now, having lived with the song for a very long time, I know exactly what "stand up in it" means, at least to me, and that's part of the fun and "process" of the song that everyone goes through. The best hint I can give impatient, head-scratching fans is to think creatively about the sexual act. Take it to another level, metaphorically speaking. And remember, "up" doesn't necessarily have to be vertical. Depending on your perspective, it can be horizontal, upside-down or whatever.
Sooner or later the mists of confusion will lift and you'll see what was plain to see the whole time: that "stand up in it" is merely the response to all the foreplay described in the other sexual novelty songs beginning with but not limited to Marvin Sease's "Candy Licker".
Listen to Theodis Ealey singing "Stand Up In It" on YouTube.
The other thing to savor in Ealey's work is his comfort level with his guitar--as much as B. B. King with his Lucille. Most Southern Soul songwriters are piano-based or if guitar-based routinely pretty rudimentary. But Ealey's best songs, from the stately, spare hook in "All My Baby Left Me Was A Note, My Guitar And A Cookie Jar" to the country strumming of "Stand Up In It" to the heart-wrenching picking in "Please Let Me In," Ealey is always searching for a unique guitar sound.
In this he has more in common with cutting-edge alternative, rock and country artists, who also look to that special, guitar-based difference in sound that will give a record a competitive edge. The latest example, by way of Ealey's distinguished new CD, You And I Together (Ifgam 2013), is the layered, jazzy riffing that forms the basis for Theodis' new single, "What's Up, Theodis?/Shut The Puck Up." The sound is decidedly different from a Southern Soul perspective and yet it works. It carries a breath of fresh creative air.
Listen to Theodis Ealey singing "Shut The Puck Up" on YouTube.
--Daddy B. Nice
About Theodis Ealey (21st Century)
Theodis Ealey was born into a family of eleven children in Natchez, Mississippi in 1947. His brother Y. Z., ten years older, became his first mentor, and along with brother Melwyn the trio played locally as Y. Z. Ealey and The Merrymakers. Theodis then joined another local group, Eugene Butler & the Rocking Royals, trading the bass he'd played previously for a guitar.
Honorary "B" Side
"Please Let Me In"
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