Southern Soul Corner
With The Soul Dog
Corner Talk: Smokin’ hot tunes in Southern Soul
this month include: When You Get Drunk
by Mel Waiters (#1 on Soul and Blues Reports Top 25), The Crying Zone from Bigg Robb, Ms. Jody’s I’m Staying With My Man, Floyd Taylor’s Time Out (Cut To The Chase), Only
Time I Get Lonely from Stephanie Pickett (believe we predicted this one a few months ago to take off!) and Ride It Like A Cowboy by Kenne’ Wayne……….
New CD’s recently issued from
Southern Soul artists:
The venerable Mel Waiters has the aforementioned numero uno tune from
his latest release, Say What’s On Your
Mind, on the Texas based Brittney Records label. It is actually a record company that Mel launched back
in 2008, which has since released albums by Chandra Calloway and Sang’n Clarence. Mel
continues to crank out killer jams in this market as one of the most recognized male vocalists on the Soul circuit. Hot tunes
on his new one include Little Girls Can’t
Do, If I Fall in Love and All I Want
Is A Beat.
Kenne’ Wayne has been rocking the Southern Soul world for the last
fifteen years. His debut album, Old Fashion
Love, came out in 1996 – Kenne’ has been dropping hit tunes like they were gold ever since! Bangin’
grooves that immediately come to mind include Love
Down (1999), The Party Ain’t
Over (2001), Operator (2001),
Time To Get Loose (2006) and Is There A Party In Here Now (2008). Wayne’s latest album release,
The M.V.P. on the G Street label contains
the aforementioned hot hit Ride It like A Cowboy
as well as jumpin’ off cuts like Dance
Wit’ Me, Good Good Love and Hold On.
Bobby Jones, previously known as Bobby Jonz and before that Bobby Jones (huh, somewhat confusing?) has actually been strong on the Soul/Blues scene
since his early days in Chicago in the late ‘50’s. He had a couple of huge hits in the ‘90’s with In The Mood For Love and Sneaking
& Freaking that were big in both Southern Soul and the Beach genre (for a true hidden gem, check out his recording
of the 1997 single Love Mission). Bobby most recently has worked with The Mannish Boys, which were featured on his 2009 Coming Back Hard album. His latest effort, You Ain’t Got No Proof, on the Desert Sounds label, already has
the title track on the charts. Most of the remaining eleven tracks are uptempo shuffles with Cheating On Me and Little Sally Walker potential grooves to make an impact.
The Mystery Man is back – just recently dropping a new album
entitled My Ship Is Coming In on the
based Ecko Records label. But who is he? He is Mississippi
native Jimmie Warren who began his musical career almost forty years ago as a songwriter for Stax Records. The Mystery Man
has been travelling the Southern Soul circuit for the last ten years, working with J. Blackfoot, Willie Clayton, Denise LaSalle,
Wilson Meadows, Lee Shot Williams, Charles Wilson and many others. This latest release is his 5th album to date,
the second on the Ecko label. Tracks I’m liking include Hole In The Wall Café, Can’t Get Enough and Baby Dance With Me.
Speaking of Ecko Records, the label recently came out with The Best of Barbara Carr, Volume 2. Volume 1 was actually released
by Ecko in January of 2003. The legendary Carr, whose career stretches all the way back to early days on Chicago’s Chess
label in the ‘60’s, first recorded on Ecko in 1997 with her Footprints On The Ceiling album. Volume 2 continues to highlight
the outstanding vocal stylings of Barbara - Long
On Talk Short On Love, Stroke It, Ya’ll Know How To Party, Anybody’s Man Tonight and We’re Gonna Boogie
are just a few of the selected fourteen tracks on the release. After nearly fifty years in the business, Barbara Carr still
knows how to deliver the goods!
Chuck Strong is another of those outstanding Soul singers that has
flown under the radar quite a bit in his long running career. He graduated from local gigs in the ‘80’s in his
hometown area of Selma, Alabama to singing lead with The Rhythm Aces, eventually
touring with Johnnie Taylor and Tyrone Davis. Chuck released his first Southern Soul album, Stolen Love, on Johnny Vincent’s Mississippi based Ace label in 1994. Since that point in time, he has had ten albums across
the Miss Butch, S&M, Waldoxy and Laryan labels. Chuck has become a mainstay on the Blues show circuit, widely accepted
by audiences and fans. Chart success, however, for the most part has somewhat eluded him over the years. His most successful
single to date has been 2004’s Rock That
Man In The Boat. Chuck has had several strong tracks worthy of mention including: You Beat Me At My Game, Why Do
You Make Me Cheat On You, I Was Checking Out She’s Checking In, She’s
Not The Cheating Kind, (Down Home) Southern Girl, Please Accept My Love, I Can’t
Go For That, You Are Just What I Needed, 3 Into 2 Won’t Go. If you get the opportunity, check out Chuck Strong
– if you like straight ahead upbeat Soul music, you will not regret it!
Chick Willis got his start as a sideman in the band of his older cousin,
emerging R&B star Chuck Willis, in the mid ’50’s. Chuck, who had several major hits, suffered from severe
stomach ailments, tragically passed away from
peritonitis in 1958 at the tender young age of thirty. Cousin Chick continued on with a solo career that has had many peaks
and valleys over fifty-five plus years of singing and recording. With over twenty albums to his credit, Chick’s guitar
licks and risqué lyrics have become a staple in the Blues and Southern Soul arena. KHP Records just recently worked with Chick
to create a re-issue of his 2002 single Keep
Singing The Blues. The song has become a shag favorite in Beach music circles and is included in the latest Boppin”And Rockin’ compilation from KHP. It is a good example of the strong work of this legendary veteran.
The Betty/Bettye/Bettie series lives on! – Here is the intriguing story of another Soul legend
named Betty – the very opportunistic tale of Betty Davis!
Betty was born Betty Mabry in Durham, North Carolina in 1945, moved to Pittsburgh as a youngster,
landing in New York while still a teenager. She found club work at a place called
The Cellar and soon after cut her first single at the age of nineteen. Betty sidelined with some modeling and dabbled in songwriting
– she wrote the single Uptown,
picked up by the Chambers Brothers, included on their The Time Has Come album, which went to #4 on Billboard in 1968. She ran with a fast crowd, including a couple
of guys who would become cornerstones of the upcoming Rock music movement – Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone.
Betty met the already legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis in 1968, the romance blossomed quickly
resulting in their marriage later that year. She had a startling influence on
the direction Davis began to take with his music – jazz inflected with psychedelic rocklike riffs.
The fused sound was evident in his 1970 album, Bitches
Brew, which made it to #1 on Billboard’s Jazz chart and #4 on R&B. The marriage, however, did not last nearly
as long as the new sound and the couple divorced after a little over a year.
Betty, retaining the surname Davis, then moved to London to pursue modeling full time. She still had the music bug, continuing to write songs
all the while. Betty returned to the U.S.
with the supposed groundwork in place to record with Santana. When that failed to materialize, she organized a group of West
Coast musicians to put together her first album. Betty
Davis was released in 1973, with studio work by Larry Graham, Sly Stone band members as well as the Tower of Power horn section. Although the album
had little commercial success, it was quite a collection of impressive lyrics and funky grooves. She emerged as an early version
of a performing Tina Turner, strutting the stage and shouting the words of her blistering tunes.
Betty recorded and released two additional albums during this period – 1974’s They Say I’m Different and 1975’s Nasty Gal. Neither was a huge success and by the end of the decade,
she had all but disappeared from the music scene. It is always intriguing how
things come back around in this business. Years later, Betty’s ‘70’s recordings are tagged as collectors
items and she is considered a cult figure. Her albums were re-released on CD, including a previously unreleased 1979 recording
session which has been twice issued under different titles. A greatest hits collection Anti Love: The Best of Betty Davis actually came out in 2000. Even though her
performing career has been over for many years, her music marches on for Soul/Funk lovers worldwide!
Top 15 Southern Soul Songs for the Year 2004
The Headboard - Tyrone Davis
2. Stand Up In It - Theodis Ealey
3. Girl You're So Sexy - Patrick
4. Check to Check - Omar Cunningham
Secret Love - Sterling Williams
6. Love Mechanic - Willie Clayton
7. Front Back, Side to Side - Barbara
8. Short Skirts, Tight Jeans - Love
9. I'm Down For You - Earl Duke
10. Juke Joint Slide - Lee Shot Williams
11. Finders Keepers - Wilson Meadows
12. Your Kitchen Was Closed - Mel Waiters
13. So Sweet
So Fine - Vick Allen
14. I'm Blue - Jackie Jackson
15. Shotgun Motel Love Affair - Vince Hutchinson