Wendell B #7 The New Generation

Daddy B. Nice's #7 ranked Southern Soul Artist



Portrait of Wendell B #7 The New Generation by Daddy B. Nice
 




"Get 'Cha Head Right"

Wendell B #7 The New Generation

See the chart.

Listen to Wendell B singing "Get'cha Head Right" on YouTube.

April 1, 2021: Daddy B. Nice's Profile

It's hard to believe Wendell B already has eight major albums to his credit---hard to believe "Just Don't Understand You" was fifteen years ago! Virtually all southern soul insiders consider Wendell to be a major artist, and yet even the term "major" doesn't do justice to the man's off-the-charts vocal gift. Every time he opens his mouth, it's hard not to think (in a conspiratorial whisper), "He could be number one."

Speaking of number one, southern soul music currently has two "W. Browns," Wendell and Wardell (the latter much better known under his recording and performance name of Big Pokey Bear.) The two outsized talents form bookends at opposite ends of the southern soul spectrum. Stylistically, Pokey plays it "rough" and Wendell B plays it "smooth." (Even his label is called Smoothway.) Pokey Bear presently rules the roost at #1, but no one is counting Wendell B out, and to imagine southern soul without either one of the "Browns" is unimaginable.

You can talk about your southern soul "kings" and "queens" and "kangs" and "princesses," but Wendell Brown breathes royalty into every syllable he sings, and no southern soul artist gets the attention of strangers faster than Wendell B. The "Boss's" deep, emotive voice transfixes listeners. He's the monster in southern soul's midst---our Barry White---and he's barely tapped his commercial potential.

He doesn't do many photo shoots or videos. He's out there in St. Louis, removed from the heart of the action. He doesn't book live dates all that much. And yet staying out of the intense and incessant spotlight of, say, a Pokey Bear or Sir Charles Jones may be what Wendell needs to maintain his creative equilibrium. As his latest album and master work Real Talk attests, fully-fleldged melodies are springing up with impressive regularity.

Compare the early work---say, prior to 2012---with the current work of Wendell B and you'll see two different performers, the former young, raw and powerful, but unfocused and inexperienced. The mature Wendell B has obviously worked like a maniac on his craft. He brings it all to the table nowadays, and with the success of REAL TALK the sky's the limit. (Scroll down to "Tidbits #3 for more on REAL TALK.)

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For the latest updates on Wendell B, including CD reviews and contemporaneous reports, scroll down to the "Tidbits" section. To automatically link to Wendell B's charted radio singles, awards, CD's and other citations on the website, go to "Wendell B" in Daddy B. Nice's Comprehensive Index.

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Note: Wendell B also appears on Daddy B. Nice's Top 100 21st Century Southern Soul (2000-2020).
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--Daddy B. Nice


About Wendell B #7 The New Generation

Wendell Brown, aka Wendell B., was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His parents were from the South, and as a child Brown attended family reunions in Mississippi and Alabama, where he soaked up the blues and gospel culture. He also sang in family-oriented gospel groups, where he inevitably became the lead singer.

In his teens Wendell Brown met Oliver Sain, the St. Louis-based R&B legend (Ike Turner's sax player) who had also been instrumental in St. Louis-born Barbara Carr's career. Brown began supplementing his gospel work with performances in local secular bands, playing with and learning from such local singers as Marvin Rice (Masters Touch) and Carl Holmes (Vision Band). He later became lead singer of the Vision Band and recorded a single in Minneapolis with Jesse Johnson (of The Time). Brown also worked in advertising singing jingles.

Brown's debut solo CD was released by Atlanta label Raw Deal in 1998 under the name Wendell Brown. Roger Troutman was featured on one of the tracks. Now out of print, Make It Good For Ya did not appear in chitlin' circuit venues.

Wendell Brown returned to St. Louis in 1999, upon his father's passing, and with his cousin, NBA player Jahidi White, started his own label, Cuzzo. The label released Good Times, Wendell's solo debut under the name "Wendell B.," in 2005.

Anchored by its oft-played single, "Just Don't Understand You," the album became a "signature" work, gaining air play and fans throughout the South and beyond.

Wendell's deep, rich, variable baritone drew comparisons with mainstream R&B crooners like Luther Vandross, Will Downing and Barry White. Southern Soul fans, however, flocked to the music because Brown infused his ballads, produced by Mike "360" Brooks, with a gritty, gospel-influenced sound.

Wendell changed the record label's name to Smoothway for his next CD, Time To Relax...Love, Life & Relationships in 2007. The CD featured the singles "This Ain't Livin'" and "She Didn't Have To Treat Ya Boy Like That."

The same year, Wendell released a Christmas CD entitled Save A Little Room For Me.

In 2010 Brown released a pair of CD's, one which he designated as Southern Soul (In Touch With My Southern Soul) and one which he characterized as R&B (Back Ta Bid'ness). The Southern Soul disc was a favorite on the chitlin' circuit, spawning popular singles such as "Mississippi Girl," "The Best Time I Ever Had In My Life," "I Can Deal With The Leaks" and "Working On The Building."

Smoothway released three Wendell B. singles over the same period, including:

Heaven Sent Me and Angel Steppers (Remix Single)

That's What Christmas Means To Me Single

Good Man Single

The "Good Man" single appeared in 2012 as a precursor to an upcoming album called Get To Know Me. Get To Know Me was published later that year, spawning not only the hit single "Good Man" but the stepping song "We Stepping Out Tonight" and the ballad "When It Don't Make Sense". The "sleeper" of the album, however, was the song "Celebrate 'Cho Day," sung in a light, vaguely-rapping style, which became one of most popular birthday standards of the southern soul genre.

The Next 1, Wendell's next full-length collection, appeared in 2016. Featured tunes included "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" and a duet with southern soul diva Lacee Reed entitled "Do You Think About Me," occasioning the following Daddy B. Nice enconium:

From Daddy B. Nice's Corner:

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

-------DECEMBER 2016-------

….2. "Do You Think About Me?"------Wendell B. featuring Lacee

Slow jam city, baby. The instrumental track is like a mattress of sound you want to jump into and bury yourself. Wendell B has quietly become one of the foremost vocalists in all of R&B--and without losing his southern soul! Lacee's terrific. Check out the poignant, Ms. Tabatha-like guitar. Worthy to be played with Luther Vandross' "Think Of You."


Listen to Wendell B. and Lacee singing "Do You Think About Me?" on YouTube.

In 2018 Wendell B scored a major southern soul single on a collaborative project that garnered Daddy B. Nice's Best Collaboration of 2018: "High Heels & Jeans," with Magic One, Vick Allen, L.J. Echols & Avail Hollywood.

And in 2019 he followed it up with two blockbusters: the ballad "Beautiful," with the atmospheric, synth-washed, Sir Charles Jones-like production, and "Still Learning 'Bout Love," with the Soul Music Representatives (Magic One, Jason Little & Curtis Jeffreson), in which Wendell collaborated with his "brothers" but dominated like a man among boys. The latter amassed nearly a million YouTube views and achieved Daddy B Nice's "Best Collaboration of 2019," the second year in a row Wendell was an integral if not commanding cog in a southern soul communal effort.

The songs would headline Wendell's new album Real Talk, which came out in 2020, by all accounts Brown's finest career effort. The set showcased a cavalcade of radio-friendly singles including:

"Cadillac Willie,"

"Staying In Love Ain't Easy"

"Get'cha Head Right"

"Make'em Mad"

"Check Now"

"That's What We Gone Do"

"Love Directions"

"Missing You"

and...

"Can We Just Talk".

REAL TALK was so good---and such an apogee among Wendell's eight albums---that it was honored by Daddy B. Nice above dozens of other worthy candidates as

Best Southern Soul CD of 2020: Real Talk by Wendell B.


See Daddy B. Nice's BEST OF 2020.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide


Tidbits

1.

April 1, 2021: Wendell B on YouTube:

Listen to Wendell B singing "Get'cha Head Right" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Just Don't Understand You" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "She Didn't Have To Hurt Ya Boy Like That" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. Singing Live Onstage in Arkansas on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "The Best Time I Ever Had In My Life" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "I Can Deal With The Leaks" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B singing "Love Directions" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Everything Gone Be All Right" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B singing "Check Now" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Heaven Sent Me An Angel" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Save A Little Room For Me" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. and Stacie Kaid singing "Should We Break Up" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Bounce" on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B. singing "Sing A Song For You" featuring Roger Troutman on YouTube.

Listen to Wendell B and friends singing "Still Learning 'Bout Love."

Listen to DJ Sir Rockinghood Presents The Ultimate W.B. Mix Part 1 on YouTube.

2.


February 6, 2021: Daddy B. Nice’s Top 25 Songs of 2020

#2 & #8 Songs of 2020

2. "Staying In Love Ain't Easy"------Wendell B

See the chart.

8. "Get'cha Head Right"------Wendell B

See the chart.

Best Male Vocalist: "Get'cha Head Right" and "Staying In Love Ain't Easy" by Wendell B


Listen to Wendell B singing "Get'cha Head Right" on YouTube.

Best CD of 2020: Real Talk by Wendell B



SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide


3.


November 1, 2020:

WENDELL B.: Real Talk (Smoothway Music) Five Stars ***** Can't Miss. Pure Southern Soul Heaven.

Wendell B kicks off "Cadillac Willie," the closing track of his new album Real Talk with, "Hey, Willie, here's a little change. Dance for me." "Cadillac Willie" is a new version (or an updated vision) of "Mr. Bojangles," the beloved folk-rock standard by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (written and also performed by Jerry Jeff Walker), which in turn is based on the real Mr. Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who was born in the 1880's and was making $3500 a week---not exactly spare change---at his peak. The lyrics are delightfully personal and detailed, but it's the music in "Cadillac Willie," and indeed throughout this, the best album of Wendell B's career, that serves as the platform for all the good words---and "real talk".

It's hard to believe Wendell B already has eight major albums to his credit---hard to believe "Just Don't Understand You" was fifteen years ago! Virtually all southern soul insiders consider Wendell to be a major artist, and yet even the term "major" doesn't do justice to the man's off-the-charts vocal gift. Every time he opens his mouth, it's hard not to think (in a conspiratorial whisper), "He could be number one."

Currently in southern soul music there are two "W. Browns," Wendell and Wardell (the latter much better known under his recording and performance name of Big Pokey Bear.) The two outsized talents form bookends at opposite ends of the southern soul spectrum. Stylistically, Pokey plays it "rough" and Wendell B plays it "smooth." (Even his label is called Smoothway.) Pokey Bear presently rules the roost at #1, but no one is counting Wendell B out, and to imagine southern soul without either one of the "Browns" is unimaginable.

Wendell B's blockbusters from 2019 are both here. That would be "Beautiful," with the atmospheric, synth-washed, Sir Charles-like production, and "Still Learning 'Bout Love," with the Soul Music Representatives (Magic One, Jason Little & Curtis Jefferson), in which Wendell collaborates with his "brothers" but dominates like a man among boys. "Beautiful" charted as the #1 Southern Soul Single in April of 2019. "Still Learning 'Bout Love" charted at #3 in December of 2019.

The latter amassed nearly a million YouTube views (that was in 2019---the views in 2020 now number over 5 million) and achieved Daddy B Nice's "Best Collaboration of 2019," the second year in a row Wendell was an instrumental and indeed commanding cog in a southern soul communal effort. See Daddy B Nice's Best Collaboration of 2018: "High Heels & Jeans," with Magic One, Vick Allen, L.J. Echols & Avail Hollywood.

I gave REAL TALK an extensive and enthusiastic new album alert! in January when the CD first broke, cautioning that I didn't want to give the album too much hype on such scant and preliminary listening. To illustrate how long ago that now seems, the Covid-19 pandemic hadn't yet broken. In January I wrote prudently that "even a humble tune like "Get'cha Head Right" charms." Three months later, after months of listening, "Get'cha' Head Right" was #1 with a bullet in Daddy B. Nice's Top 10 Singles, occasioning the aside:

"Wendell is this generation's Ronnie Lovejoy, and if you were going to record a new version of top-rated southern soul classic "Sho' Wasn't Me," Wendell would be the no-brainer choice to sing it."

"Staying In Love Ain't Easy," charted at #3 in June, and "Cadillac Willie came in at #3 in July. There hasn't been such a run of Top 10 singles from a solo album since Tucka's "Working With The Feeling".

But what about the filler, you say? There is no filler. "Make'em Mad" is a typical Wendell B track, reminiscent of his earlier work, cloning hiphop techniques with Luther Vandross-style vocals.

"Check Now" has the stirring chords of a true anthem, accentuated by synthetic strings that wash over the chorus in pleasurable waves. Watch for it yet to hit the charts.

"That's What We Gone Do" pulses with feeling, propelled by a scintillating "stepping" beat. Background vocals lend even more to the sensation of dancing.

"Love Directions" rocks back and forth like a baby in an old-fashioned cradle, with pristine keyboard runs playing like light around Wendell's phrasings.

"Can We Just Talk" sails along on a "Summertime Madness"-like synthesizer line with Wendell weaving and bobbing vocally through the ascending and descending chords.

"Missing You" slows down to prime White/Vandross territory, with a dense, syruppey-sounding chorus.

There isn't a bad or reptitive cut on the album. Each song has something in common with the others---a certain style, a certain quality, Wendell's brand---yet each carries its own weight. Which leads me to proclaim: Real Talk is an honest-to-God primer in the art of production. In most of these songs, it's difficult to assess whether it's the melody or the arrangements toting the creative load. That's really remarkable.

As for the lyrics, I know most fans (and most recording artists, actually) place the importance on the words, but the fans wouldn't be listening to the words if the music hadn't gotten their attention. Take "Get'cha Head Right":

Listen to Wendell B singing "Get'cha Head Right" on YouTube.

The words are specific, urgent, and meaningful, from one lover to another---"If Shorty get her head right/ The Boss stay every night" (the "Boss" being Wendell B, of course)---but the music runs even deeper.

First, the delicate, moody, treble-clef strumming that sounds vaguely like one of those big harps you only see in movies anymore. Then the White-like opening voice-over. The pulsating of the drum. The thumping of the bass. Quirky. Hand claps. Spare. Yet ideal. Mixed to perfection, each element sounding like whole sections of a symphony orchestra.

And then, like a curtain opening on the main event, the Wendell B vocal in all its wandering glory, the "real talk" as only "The Boss" can sang it, synthesizer fillips curling around his prolonged phrases. Oh yes, and the rap, an undulating verse of words to spice it up. And then all the elements start swirling around one another as Wendell bobs between lead, background and chorus vocals. It's incredible.

This may be a year you want to put behind you, but before you evacuate 2020, pick yourself up a little Wendell B and bring it along with your pets, precious papers and memories.

---Daddy B. Nice

Buy Wendell B's Real Talk album at Apple.

Read Daddy B. Nice's Artist Guide to Wendell B.

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

-------NOVEMBER 2020-------

…2. "Check Now"-----Wendell B.

When Wendell gets to, "Can't you see Martin shaking his head?", the pounding piano and the gorgeous musical depth transported me back to Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" This is looking like the album of the year. Read Daddy B. Nice's 5-star review of Wendell B's Real Talk.

Listen to Wendell B singing "Check Now" on YouTube.


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January 25, 2020:

NEW ALBUM ALERT!:

Buy Wendell B's new REAL TALK CD at Apple.

REAL TALK TRACK LIST:

1
In the Club
4:21

2
Make'em Mad
3:43

3
Beautiful
4:40

4
Check Now
4:02

5
Get'cha Head Right
4:56

6
That's What We Gone Do
4:00

7
Staying in Love Ain't Easy
5:20

8
Still Learning Bout Love
5:32

9
Can We Just Talk
5:05

10
Missing U
5:23

11
Love Directions
4:15

12
Cadillac Willy

Daddy B. Nice notes:

The blockbusters from 2019 are both here. That would be "Beautiful," with the atmospheric, synth-washed, Sir Charles-like production, and "Still Learning 'Bout Love," with the Soul Music Representatives (Magic One, Jason Little & Curtis Jeffreson), in which Wendell collaborates with his "brothers" but dominates like a man among boys. The latter amassed nearly a million YouTube views and achieved Daddy B Nice's "Best Collaboration of 2019," the second year in a row Wendell was an instrumental if not commanding cog in a southern soul communal effort. See Daddy B Nice's Best Collaboration of 2018: "High Heels & Jeans," with Magic One, Vick Allen, L.J. Echols & Avail Hollywood.

It's hard to believe Wendell already has six major albums to his credit--hard to believe "Just Don't Understand You" was fifteen years ago! Virtually all southern soul insiders consider Wendell to be a major artist, and yet even the term "major" doesn't do justice to the man's off-the-charts vocal talent. Every time he opens his mouth, it's hard not to think, "He could be number one."

So as we await a new Wendell B release, the expectations are sky-high, and on first impression, the REAL TALK album doesn't disappoint. The songwriting and production across the board sounds solid and fertile, out of which might come any number of popular singles.

"Cadillac Willie" is interesting (above and beyond the street-nostalgia in the lyrics) because it shows Wendell riding a mid-tempo, near-dance-able, "stepper" without the oft-past digressions into hiphop. It almost sounds like a typical southern soul song, meaning the kind of song most artists record. (With the added bonus of Wendell on vocals.) And even when Wendell does serve up his usual fare, mixing the Luther Vandross/Barry White style with interludes of rap as in "Love Directions," it's done with exquisite precision and taste.

More remarkably, the set doesn't let up. One stellar tune after another, the CD gathers momentum, as with the masterful sounds of "Staying In Love Ain't Easy," which has all the earmarks of the finest hits from Wendell's past, "Just Don't Understand You" among them. And even a "minor" tune like "Get'cha Head Right" charms and infatuates with its modesty and humility, with just the right instrumental touches for the content.

I don't want to give the album too much hype on such scant and preliminary listening, but at its very least, Real Talk sounds like one of those rare CD's you can listen to repeatedly without getting irritated. Real Talk will buoy you up with energy and optimism. Finally--dare I say it?--it may be the album that finally takes Wendell B to the mountaintop.

By the way, Wendell B. just charted this month (April 2020) on a stunning collaboration with Bigg Robb. Here it is:

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

-------APRIL 2020-------

…8. "Take It Off"-----Bigg Robb feat. Wendell B.

Whew! What a team these two musical giants would make. From Bigg Robb's otherwise marginal new album, Smooth, Grown & Sexy, this tune shoots up from the "smooth" debris like an awesome rhythm and blues star-ship. Unlike Wendell's own sometimes overly-dense mixes, you can hear his phenomenal voice with crystal-clear brilliance.

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Listen to Wendell B. and Bigg Robb singing "Take It Off" on YouTube.


Listen to all the tracks from Wendell B's REAL TALK on YouTube.

Wendell B's new REAL TALK album at Spotify.

Listen to Wendell B's new REAL TALK album on iHeart Radio.

Buy Wendell B's new REAL TALK album at iTunes.

SouthernSoulRnB.com - Chitlin' Circuit Southern Soul Music Guide



Honorary "B" Side

"Staying In Love Ain't Easy"



5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Get 'Cha Head Right by  Wendell B #7 The New Generation
Get 'Cha Head Right


CD: Real Talk
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Real Talk


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Staying In Love Ain't Easy by  Wendell B #7 The New Generation
Staying In Love Ain't Easy


CD: Real Talk
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Real Talk


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Beautiful by  Wendell B #7 The New Generation
Beautiful


CD: Real Talk
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Real Talk


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Celebrate 'Cho Day by  Wendell B #7 The New Generation
Celebrate 'Cho Day


CD: Get To Kno Me
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Get To Kno Me


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Check Now by  Wendell B #7 The New Generation
Check Now


CD: Real Talk
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Real Talk


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Do You Think About Me? (feat. Lacee) by  Wendell B #7 The New Generation
Do You Think About Me? (feat. Lacee)


CD: The Next 1
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
The Next 1


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Fooled Around And Fell In Love by  Wendell B #7 The New Generation
Fooled Around And Fell In Love


CD: The Next 1
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
The Next 1


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Good Man by  Wendell B #7 The New Generation
Good Man


CD: Get To Kno Me
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Get To Kno Me


5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 5 Stars 
Sample or Buy Still Learning 'Bout Love by  Wendell B #7 The New Generation
Still Learning 'Bout Love


CD: Real Talk
Label: Smoothway

Sample or Buy
Real Talk


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