"Now This Is A Party"
T.K. Soul #4 -- The New Generation
Composed by Terrence Kimble
See the chart.
January 1, 2021: Daddy B Nice's Profile
He knows every small town in Mississippi and on through Louisiana, Alabama and beyond. Many insiders would call him the hardest-working man in southern soul, even harder-working than Sir Charles Jones, his longtime model/rival/friend, and they would be right. No one has recorded and performed with the consistency of T.K. Soul over the last two decades.
In his new song "Put It On Replay" T.K. offers a glimpse of his life during Covid-19, staying around the house, doing chores, listening to music.
"Me and my baby
Ever since this world
Turned inside out.
Don't want my baby
To get tired of me.
So I walk the dog.
I cook and I clean."
In the "Put It On Replay" video, T.K.'s significant other is asleep and snoring, like the two beautiful women caught snoring in separate scenes in Quentin Tarrentino's recent movie, "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood". T.K. is dressed in pajamas, dancing to the music while he vacuums the carpet, and when he sings, "We lost somebody/ In every town," he knows of what he speaks. He's a household name in those communities.
But what is T.K. Soul's greatest song? That is harder to determine than it is for, say, Pokey Bear or Sir Charles Jones. In the last artist guide I published on T.K. Soul, I wrote:
Nobody--and I mean nobody--writes a better Southern Soul love ballad than T. K. Soul. When The Undisputed album (his last) came out, I felt lonely standing at the platform while the bandwagon for "Party Like Back In The Day" and "It Ain't Cheatin' Until You Get Caught" took off. (DBN notes: They even charted on Billboard.) While I acknowledged the former's 'dance-ability' and the latter's thematic strength, they just didn't get my blood boiling.
"Try Me," the love ballad from the album, captivated me from the very beginning. I pegged it as the "soul" of the album and the "very best cut" on the album, and time has born me out. "Try Me" has gone on to become one of the most heavily-played classics on Southern Soul radio. DBN
That was back in 2009. Over a decade later, "Try Me" (or "Try Me Tonight," as it's sometimes called) has gone on to become T.K. Soul's most-viewed song: 12 million-plus for one of its YouTube pages. But although it has remained my #4-ranked song in southern soul (2000-2020), I no longer regard "Try Me" as T.K.'s best.
I first made my change of mind public in a 2013 piece meanly called "Cheesy Programmed Horns" (also in the previous artist guide), in which a list of southern soul songs I otherwise personally cherished---songs that had taken me through good times and hard times---were flagged for rudimentary programming.
... But I think almost anyone who has heard T. K. Soul's "Try Me"---which note for note has more heart than any other song he's ever done---has imagined how spectacular the song would sound with a Revelations-style, real-horn section inserted into those instrumental spaces...
(DBN notes: This was when Tre' Williams was still with The Revelations.)
That was one of my more positive remarks, and time has only strengthened the resolve. When I hear the programmed horn fills to "Try Me" now, I think of all the music-lovers who hate programming in the first place and how they probably won't make it past the first dozen bars. They'll never get to the indelible melody, the inspired chord changes, the searing vocal---and it bums me out. The piano is what drives the song, so it's a pity T.K. (in retrospect) couldn't have done it differently. Actually, my commentary at the time was half-meant to goad T.K. into doing a remix, but that never happened, and---from his perspective---how would you ever do better than the once-in-a-lifetime vocal on the original?
Twenty years ago, a sizable fraction of recorded southern soul had such demo-level programming, and fans including and often led by your Daddy B. Nice took a perverse pride in it. Programming was like a tattered but proudly-waving flag testifying to southern soul's dirt-poor resources and authenticity, and even--at times--a message to a deejay that it was southern soul.
Those days have passed. Programming is still with us but sophisticated. It's hard to forgive cheap production anymore, especially when the majority of southern soul recording artists, and most tellingly T.K. Soul himself, have honed their production skills many times over since then. Which brings back the original question: What is his best song? What song best represents T.K. Soul now?
The question is complicated by the panorama of songwriting styles T.K. Soul brings to the table, the fact that so many of those songs are unquestionably first-rate, and not least by the ironic reality that no single song among them has captured the imaginations of the fans (to the detriment of the other songs) in the way, say, that Pokey Bear's "My Sidepiece" or Sir Charles Jones' "Friday" or Theodis Ealey's "Stand Up In It" loom over their catalogs.
Does one pick one of the great, mid-tempo T.K. Soul anthems like "Looking For A Lady," "Caught Up In Doing Wrong," "Ride Or Die," "Rehab," "Single Woman" or "That's How I Feel"?
Or does one choose from T.K.'s uptempo, rock-and-rolling numbers like "Cheating and Lying," "Meet Me At The Spot," "Good Love," "We Gonna Party Tonight," "Party Like Back In The Day" or "Zydeco Bounce"?
Or does one pick one of the synthesizer-dominated, groove-oriented, dance jams like "They Wonna Party," "If You Sexy Clap Yo Hands," "She's Bad," "#1 Fan" or "The Ladies Love To Slide"?
Or does one pick one of the memorable slow ballads like "It Ain't Cheating 'Till You Get Caught," "My Life," "Caught Up In Doing Wrong," "Let's Stay Home Tonight," "You Ring My Bell" or "I Stay Ready"?
T.K. Soul is going to smile when he reads your Daddy B. Nice's pick. He knows it's my favorite T.K. Soul track, although not for the reason he thinks. No, it's not because it's for "the grown folks," although I am certainly that. It's because I'm transported by the sheer beauty of the music and the pristine production: the tempo, melody, instrumental track, acoustic ambience and not least the "out-Michael-Jackson-ing-Michael-Jackson" vocal. The tune is as fresh as dew at dawn. Preserved for posterity. I'm going with the song that does to me now in 2021 what "Try Me" did in 2007. And that is...
Now This Is A Party (For The Grown Folks)
Listen to T.K. Soul singing "Now This Is A Party" on YouTube.
For the latest updates (including biography, discography, album sellers, CD reviews and contemporaneous reports) on T.K. Soul, scroll down this page. To automatically link to T.K. Soul's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations on the website, go to "T.K. Soul" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.
Note: T.K. Soul also appears on Daddy B. Nice's
Top 100 21st Century Southern Soul (2000-2020). To read Daddy B Nice's commentary on T.K. Soul prior to 2021, click here.
--Daddy B. Nice
About T.K. Soul #4 -- The New Generation
Terence Kimble, aka T. K. Soul, was born in Winnfield, Louisiana on August 26, 1964. Kimble started out professionally as a keyboardist for R&B group H-Town and a songwriter ("Wiggle," "Party Like We Used To"), producer and keyboard player for Willie Clayton, his first big break coming in 2000 and 2001 on the Call Me Mr. C and The Little Giant Of Soul albums by Clayton.
Kimble wrote all the songs (as would become his custom) on his debut CD, One Woman Man, released in 2002 on his own imprint, Soulful Records/Raw Entertainment. "Meet Me At The Spot Tonight," from ONE WOMAN MAN, became T. K. Soul's first radio single. Although it had a different, "slicker" sound than the southern soul of the day, "Meet Me At The Spot" gained a foothold in Jackson, Vicksburg and Greenville, Mississippi, the small but vastly influential hub of the Southern Soul universe. "Straight, No Chaser," "My Life" and "One Woman Man" from the album also garnered some radio play.
T. K. Soul: The Bad Boy Of Southern Soul (Raw Ent. Soulful 2003), seized the "bad boy of Southern Soul" label from fellow recording artist (the late) Reggie P., causing some short-lived hostility in some circles. Soul later said he hadn't realized he'd encroached on Reggie's nickname, and the pair later toured together amicably. "My Kind Of Girl" was the most commonly-played single from the set, but the CD wasn't well-received at the time and posterity has generally regarded it as T.K.'s most dispensable.
The performer followed with his third album, Love Games (Soulful 2004), now considered T. K. Soul's "break-out" into Southern Soul "headliner" status. The album began with five songs that achieved considerable radio popularity:
"Cheating And Lying," which grafted a pop-like melody onto a sure-fire chitlin' circuit theme, became Soul's most important song to date, defining his street-wise, story-telling personality.
"Let's Stay Home Tonight" burnished Soul's already-growing reputation for interestingly tempo-ed, melody-rich ballads.
"Candy Girl" had the bouncing, snare-heavy beat of "Cheating And Lying" and the soon-to-be-recorded (on the next album) "Party Like Back In The Day," while "We Be Slidin'" was Soul's first successful synth-vocal. Although it sounds fairly ordinary now, it was viewed as strange and experimental in southern soul circles at the time.
Finally, "You Ring My Bell," with a roundelay chorus as strong as a full moon's tidal pull, constituted T. K. Soul's first legitimate stab at a masterpiece. In an informal survey of chitlin' circuit station playlists through the first quarter of 2006, it was hard to find a deejay who was not including either "Cheating And Lying" or "You Ring My Bell" in his/her priority queue, an incredible feat when you recall that material from Love Games first hit the air waves back in 2004.
If LOVE GAMES was an admirable outing, Undisputed, Soul's fourth LP (Soulful 2007), was still better. The album was powered by two strong chitlin' circuit singles, "Party Like Back In The Day" and "It Ain't Cheatin' 'Til You Get Caught," which entered the Billboard R&B chart at #85 and the Blues chart at #9, a rare feat for a Southern Soul album. The chart success testified to the pent-up demand for the CD, released and distributed nationally in late June following heavy airplay of the two singles on the Stations of the Deep South throughout the previous winter and spring.
In due time, "#1 Fan," "Good Love" and most prominently "Try Me" all captured the fancy of the Southern Soul fan base. "Try Me," loosely based on a Johnny Taylor single, was especially revered. "Try Me" has gone on to become one of the most heavily-played classics on Southern Soul radio and T.K.'s signature song, with a YouTube audience currently around 12-13 million views.
T. K. Soul's fifth album, The Evolution Of Soul (Soulful 2009), continued the singer's upward trajectory since 2004'S LOVE GAMES, securing popular singles with "Rehab," "Zydeco Bounce" and "They Wanna Party (With Me)." Even the album's second-tier songs---"You Got To Cheat," "She Told On Herself," "That's How I Feel," "(Stepping On The) Soul Ship" and "Baby I Love You"---garnered considerable air play. "Rehab" in particular drew critical kudos.
In an appreciation entitiled "In Praise Of Rehab" appearing in Daddy B. Nice's Corner October 31, 2009, Daddy B. Nice wrote:
"Rehab" begins in the musical territory first turned over by "It Ain't Cheating Until You Get Caught," but T. K. pares down the sound for "Rehab," substituting a more contemplative organ-keyboard sound in addition to a traditional piano in places. His rhythm section is impeccable, finalized with simple but echo-prone, hand-clap/wood block punctuation. Words, however, don't do justice to the melody. Like some of the early Lennon/McCartney songs, the stanzas of "Rehab" are so musically original they sound like inspired bridges, and the bridge, when it comes, leaves you gasping. The vocal is as masterful as they come. You can listen to it again and again, marveling at this or that melodic element. One seldom finds such fine technique in the company of such convincing emotion."
Still, "Rehab" was by no means the album's only claim to fame. Despite less-than-unanimous reaction from Southern Soul traditionalists, "Zydeco Bounce"---a fast-tempo-ed, Southern Soul-Zydeco hybrid---secured unheard-of national exposure when big-label Universal Records took over the hot dance single's distribution. And over time, "Zydeco Bounce," with its own T.K. Soul-choreographed dance step, would become Kimble's go-to dance jam in live concerts, with Soul joining the crowd on the floor and singing and dancing in the midst of his fans.
"They Wanna Party," a vocally-enhanced vehicle in the mode of "We Be Slidin'," became a "sleeper" radio hit. Couplets like the following perfectly captured T.K.'s rise:
"I'm in the parking lot
Outside of the spot...
Stepped out of the car
Feel like a star...
They're saying my name.
Boy, things have changed."
And years after the album's release, solidly-melodic, skillfully-arranged "B-sides" like the anthem-like "That's How I Feel," "(Stepping On The) Soul Ship" (named after T.K.'s annual, Bahamas cruise ship tour), and "You Got To Cheat" were still popular singles.
As solid as his material was over the three-album span, T.K. backed it up with extensive touring--the most consistent of any of the younger-generation stars--doing shows in one small Delta town after another (along with larger festival shows). His road band became regionally famous and went on to back up friendly rival Sir Charles Jones.
Soul went all-digital with his sixth album, following the example of fellow Louisiana artist Cupid (among others), and the results were mixed. Whether it was the the lack of hard product in the still ephemeral world of digital marketing, or whether it was just a rare outing of sub-par, unrealized material, Ghetto Superstar (Soulful 2012) never seemed to "materialize" to any extent on the Southern Soul circuit nor inspire much attention from Southern Soul media and fans.
Marking the first time since THE BAD BOY OF SOUTHERN SOUL that a T.K. Soul album had not notched a five-star "recommended single" in Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide, the collection had an aura of experimentation. Despite ending Soul's run of smash Southern Soul singles, however, the Ghetto Superstar set contained some worthy tracks: among them "Street Light," a quasi-acapella slice of autobiographical nostalgia, "We Gonna Party Tonight" (a slow-bubbling, likable dance floor ditty) and "Ghetto Superstar" (a full-blown, mid-eighties-like disco arrangement grafted onto a funk rhythm track).
T.K. followed the experimental "Ghetto Superstar" with one of his finest albums, Life After Love. Aided by southern soul guitar virtuoso Stevie J, Soul fashioned a ground-breaking album with a pristine, acoustic-dominated sound. From the Django Reinhardt/Charlie Byrd-like jazz stylings of "Somebody Loves You" and "Everything" to the stately, classic, "You Ring My Bell" soulfulness of "I Stay Ready," what was most amazing about the LIFE AFTER LOVE was the "newness" of a sound which yet came across as the purest Southern Soul.
The album was a cornucopia of hit singles: "Now This Is A Party," "Caught Up In Doing Wrong," "I'm Looking For A Lady" and "I Stay Ready" headlined the strong compositions. The album combined excitement with a contemplative tone, and in personal songs like "Everything" T.K. rivaled Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" in sensitivity and intimacy. Of all T.K. Soul albums, LIFE AFTER LOVE included the most background talent, including (in addition to Stevie J) Ricky White, Tonya Youngblood (background vocals), Wolf Jones (co-singing "That Kind Of Man") and Forest Gordon (recording/mixing).
LIFE AFTER LOVE drew a 5-star ("southern soul heaven") rating from Daddy B. Nice in a June 2014 CD review and the album's lead-off track was #2 on Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 Southern Soul Singles for July of that year:
Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 "BREAKING" Southern Soul Singles Review For. . .
...2. "Now This Is A Party (For The Grown Folks)"-------T.K. Soul
It's the summer of 2014 and it's great to be alive, with T.K. Soul grooving on the radio, sporting impeccable vocals and feathery-light acoustic guitar, the culmination of everything we could have hoped for from this "phenom" a dozen years ago. This tune brings out the "Michael Jackson" in T.K. At times, aided by T.K.'s extraordinary confidence, technique and maturity, the resemblance is eerie and---dare I say it?---favors T.K..
The album LIFE AFTER LOVE was followed by the longest "dry patch" of T.K. Soul's career---almost five years without a collection of new material---although two retrospective sets, (2016's THE LEGACY and 2017's THE HITS RELOADED), were published. (A previous, summary set, 10 YEARS OF T.K. SOUL, had been issued in 2012.)
Untouchable, with the singles "The Ladies Love To Slide" and "Ride Or Die," came out in early 2019, and Chocolate Jamz, with the singles "Bout To Go Stepping" and "Put It On Replay," arrived in 2020. Both albums contained a wide variety of style and content, represented most dramatically by the confessional-like "That's Life". The robust ballad "Ride Or Die," on the other hand, hewed to T.K.'s traditional, melodic style. Both songs, however,
showcased a forceful and assertive, new style, compositionally and vocally, a sign of interesting creative growth.
UNTOUCHABLE and CHOCOLATE JAMZ were featured in "New Album Alerts" in T.K. Soul's 21st Century Artist Guide (2010-20).
December 18, 2020:
1. T. K. Soul on YouTube:Listen to T.K. Soul singing "It Ain't Cheating 'Til You Get Caught" on YouTube.
Listen to T.K. Soul singing "They Wonna Party" on YouTube.
"If You Sexy Clap Ya Hands" on YouTube.
Listen to T.K. Soul singing "Ride Or Die" on YouTube.
Listen to T.K. Soul singing "Caught Up In Doing Wrong" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Party Like Back In The Day" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Try Me" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Zydeco Bounce" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Rehab" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Try Me" Live Onstage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "#1 Fan" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "My Life" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "(Stepping On The) Soul Ship" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "You Got To Cheat" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Meet Me At The Spot" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "That's How I Feel" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Street Light" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Soul Ship" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "My Kind Of Girl" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "It Ain't Cheatin' Until You Get Caught" on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Zydeco Bounce" Live Onstage at Harlow's Casino in Greenville, Mississippi on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Party Like Back In The Day" Live Onstage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "It Ain't Cheatin' Until You Get Caught" Live Onstage at The Blues is Alright Tour in Shreveport, Louisiana on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "Flowers" Live Onstage in Laurel, Mississippi on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "We Gonna Party Tonight" on YouTube.
Listen to T K. Soul singing "#1 Fan" Live Onstage on YouTube.
Listen to T. K. Soul singing "She Told On Herself" on YouTube.
From The Archives:
Your Daddy B. Nice just heard a riveting interview on WMPR (Jackson, Ms.) between DJ Ragman and Willie Clayton (Thursday, 9/21/06) in which "Rag" goaded Willie about how good T.K. Soul, "the bad boy of Southern Soul," was.
They were talking about an upcoming concert at the Laurel, Mississippi fairgrounds featuring Clayton (with whom T. K. Soul once apprenticed), Bobby Rush, T. K. Soul and Sheba Potts-Wright.
Well, Willie wasn't having any of it. Wouldn't say anything positive about T.K., and took umbrage with Ragman for talking about another artist on "his" interview time. Rag kept teasing him about T.K. Soul, however ("You ain't seen 'bad boy' lately, have ya?"), as if he were warning Willie that the competition at the concert was going to be stiff. DBN.
Honorary "B" Side
"Caught Up In Doing Wrong"
Now This Is A Party
CD: Life After Love
Label: Soulful/Music Access
Caught Up In Doing Wrong
CD: Life After Love
Label: Soulful/Music Access
Cheating And Lying
CD: Love Games
It Ain't Cheating 'Till You Get Caught
CD: The Evolution Of Soul
Ride Or Die
They Wonna Party (With Me)
CD: The Evolution Of Soul
You Ring My Bell
CD: Love Games
CD: One Woman Man
|Sample or Buy
One Woman Man