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Southern Soul Corner March 13

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 Corner Talk: A look at the top songs by traditional Southern Soul artists over the past ten years to make a heavy dent on the Beach music charts is quite an impressive list. There have obviously been many more that have appeared on the charts within the course of any given year, but these are the ones that made the year-ending results, which says they were on the charts for a significant portion of that particular year(s). In fact, the songs are so good they would probably make for the basis of a strong radio show special. Hmm.........   

 

I'm In A Beach Music Mood – Rick Lawson

Juke Joint Slide – Lee 'Shot' Williams

Let's Do It – Clarence Carter

Who's Been Rockin' – Lee Morris

Stand Up In It – Theodis Ealey

Back That Thang Up – Tyrone Davis

Party Til The Lights Go Out – Hardway Connection

Hey Mista – Roy C

I'm Blue  - Jackie Jackson

Yo Dress Is Too Short – Bob Steele

Why Me – Reggie P

Older Woman – Zac Harmon

Dirty O' Man – Hardway Connection

Hip Swingin' Blues – Diedra

One Night Stand – Andre Lee

Eyes On You – Hardway Connection

Too Much Booty Shakin' – Sir Jonathan Burton

Ready To Dance The Night Away - Diedra

Everything's Going Up – Mel Waiters

The Bop – Ms. Jody

Who's Rockin' You – Donnie Ray

Li'l House, Big Party – Soul Children

From The Back – LJ Echols

A Love To Call Mine – Johnnie Taylor

I'm Going Back – Donnie Ray

Sugaa Shack – Klass Band Brotherhood

Still Strokin' – Ms. Jody

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Texas native Mel Waiters has been one of the major male artist influences in the Southern Soul arena for going on twenty years. From his first albums in the mid-'90's on Serious Sounds through his many releases on Waldoxy to  current works on his own Brittney label, Mel has had a continuous list of hit tunes. He specializes in self-composed material, charters like Got My Whiskey, Hole In The Wall, Swing Out, Ice Chest, Smaller The Club,  Throw Back Days and Friday Night Fish Fry. More recent Waiters produced hits Everything's Going Up, I Ain't Gone Do It and Got No Curfew have rocked the charts for months at a time. Mel Waiters was voted as the 2011 Record Producer of the Year and 2010 Best Southern Soul/R&B Album (I Ain't Gone Do It) by the readers of Blues Critic and 2010 Southern Soul Artist of the Year by the Blues Critic staff.

 

Mel's latest release on the Brittney label, Poor Side Of Town, contains nine tracks with certainly some potential hits. He revives a previous theme that worked well for him on Who Got The Whiskey, an advance single that has already made a dent in the Southern Soul charts. The title track reflects humble beginnings of  'we didn't have much, but we were so damn proud'. I'm digging the upbeat grooves on Pouring Salt and Find A Man To Dance. Real Simple, my choice as the next big hit, has the trademark Waiters song crafting of reinforcing the title throughout the versing.

Already moving up the Southern Soul album charts, it is another winner for one of the true mega-stars of the industry that keeps the genre rolling!

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Theodis Ealey is another individual that has been a major factor in the industry for many years – in fact, he was one of the pioneers in bridging the sound of down home Blues and R&B in the '90's that helped to fuel the evolution of today's Southern Soul.  Theodis recorded five signature albums on the Atlanta based Ichiban label from 1992 to 1998, releasing such killer tunes as I'm The Man You Need, L'il Brown Eyes, If You Leave Me I'm Going Wit' Cha, Bluesman Lover, Good To Ya Baby and 454-Blue.  Ealey created his own Ifgam Records label in 2002, releasing an album entitled It's A Real Good Thing that same year. It was the subsequent release of his next album, Stand Up In It in 2004, with the title track creating a stir that garnered national as well as international attention for Theodis. Follow-up smash hits have included Francine, Please Let Me In, Pop That Middle, Move With The Motion and Slow Grindin'.

 

You And I, Together is the latest Ealey release, his first full album since early 2009. The title track as well as Think It Over feature the strong vocals of Southern Soul diva Lacee. The latter tune was originally released several years ago as a duet by Doc Blakey and LaToya Cathey. Beach music fans may also recognize the song, it was nominated for 2012 Song Of The Year as recorded and released by Sea Cruz. The jumpin' advance single release of Theodis, What's Up is a reality check tune that has seen some recent chart action. The album also features previously released singles Sweet Curvaceous Love and The Old Man's Story. Slow Grindin' was yet another advance release that has already established itself as a hit tune. His cover of the Soul classic 635-5789 strikes a groove that works for radio or club. The sleeper track here sounds like vintage Theodis to me – Baby's Got Them Blue Jeans On will make my chart this month! Eleven Ealey tracks in all, the album has just become available in the last few weeks but debuted at #1 on the Top 40 Southern Soul / R&B Albums chart! Check it out at this website:  http://soulbluesmusic.com/southernsoulbluescharts.htm.

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I had a recent phone conversation with Pat Cooley, who is certainly excited (as are we) about her recent successes in the music industry. She is going full throttle these days in the world of Southern Soul. Her outstanding vocal range and ability to deliver a variety of styles has established Pat as a true diva in the genre. The Marietta, Georgia native is a long way from her early days of singing background for Clarence Carter while doubling as his studio secretary. Pat has had a whole string of hits in the business since 2006, including Real Thing, I Ain't Going Where You Go (the song that first got my attention), Boy Toy, Hypnotized, Older Woman Younger Man, Be A Man, Hungry Woman and Get Out. 

Pat's most recent album, Talking To You, was actually released March a year ago, but may just be getting warmed up in terms of overall popularity and staying power. No Mess, the bluesy 'tell it like it is straight talk to her man', was the first track out of the gate to get significant chart activity. This was followed up by one of my favorites, the nitty grittyDirt Road Double  Wide, which has also gotten some crossover air play in the Beach music market. Currently the 'smack talkin' get over here' Bring It Baby is moving up the charts. Pat's brassy Pay The Cost To Be The Boss is getting some industry nibbles right now as well. I'll stand by my statement when reviewing the album last year – the title track, Talking To You, also has plenty of gas under the hood and should not be overlooked. This album could actually go down as one of best of the last several years for any artist in Southern Soul.  Not resting on her laurels, Pat is already planning potential upcoming studio time to work on new material. She has certainly already established herself with lasting star power within the genre!

 

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One lady with a whole bowl full of soul that has never, in my opinion, received the recognition she deserved as an accomplished artist is Francine Reed. Born in Chicago and raised in Phoenix, she was part of a singing family while growing up. Marriage very early in life followed by raising four children put her singing aspirations on hold for quite a while.  Later Francine began performing in clubs in and around the Phoenix area. Her  first big break came in 1985 by meeting Lyle Lovett, who needed a female singer to tour with his band. This association would last for ten years. During this time, she recorded duets with Lyle as well as appearing on tunes with Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison and Delbert McClinton.  Moving to Atlanta in the mid-'90's, Francine began pursuing a solo career.

Signing on with the Atlanta based Ichiban Records label, Francine recorded her first album, I Want You To Love Me, in 1995. This was soon followed up on Ichiban with I Can't Make It On My Own. Although her most recognized tunes from this period, particularly in Beach music circles, are You Bug Me (a duet with Delbert McClinton) and Been There Done That, several of her songs across the two albums are simply awesome. Why I Don't Know, One Monkey Don't Stop No Show, Evil Gal, Love Without Mercy, Not By Man Alone and Stop Me Before I Love Again are strong examples of Francine's rich vocals combined with vibrant delivery. Reed was nominated for W.C. Handy Awards in 1997 in the Blues Song of the Year and Soul/Blues Female Artist of the Year categories.

 Francine continued to record over the next several years. Her 1999 Shades Of Blue album featured a great rendition of 455 Rocket as well as killer tracks like Wrong Man For The Job and I'm A Handful. 2001's I Got A Right! To Some Of My Best was a combination of previously recorded hits as well as out of print tunes. The 2006 two disc set American Roots: Blues is comprised of twenty-four Reed songs that well summarizes her impressive talent. Francine continues to tour regularly while occasionally performing at one of Atlanta's Blues hotspots, Blind Willie's.

 

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 Soul Dog’s Smokin' Top 45 Southern Soul Hits

                      March/April 2013

 

 1.  Still Strokin' – Ms. Jody               

 2.  Shake – Ricky White

 3.  Swing It – Lomax

 4.  Lifestyles Of The Poor And Unknown – Total Package Band        

 5.  Dirt Road Double Wide – Pat Cooley

 6.  Prescription For My Love Addiction – Lady Audrey

 7.  Move Somethin' – Certified Slim

 8.  Good Love – Klass Band Brotherhood  # 

 9.  I'll Always Love You But I Won't Always Be Your Fool - LGB

10. Who Got The Whiskey - Mel Waiters # 

11. Can't Touch This – Sir Jonathan Burton #

12. Just Like Dat – Mr. Sam

13. Nobody But You – Betty Padgett   

14.  Lookin' For A Country Girl – Bigg Robb 

15.  Party All Our Blues Away – Vick Allen #

16.  Club In Tha Woods – Avail Hollywood

17. You Can't Watch Your Wife  – RB & Company    

18. Steppin' Out Tonight  - Anthony Watson #    

19. I'm A Lady – Gina Brown

20. Good Motor -  LJ Echols 

21.  I Want It – Leroy Allen

22. Bring It Baby – Pat Cooley # 

23. Soul School – Mr. David

24. Love (Live) – Lina 

25. I Can't Wait – Moses Blu

26. I'm Goin' Back – Donnie Ray

27. Charles Wilson – I'm Not Afraid To Love #

28. That's Not My Cologne - Charles McCormick #

29. Ready To Go – Shirley Jones #

30. Back In The Day Cafe – Andre Lee  

31. I'm Loving You More Every Day – Leela James

32. Be Careful With My Heart – Cicero Blake #

33. Baby's Got Them Blues Jeans On – Theodis Ealey #         

34.  Perfect Opportunity – Ms. Monique #

35. Staying In Love With You – Ghetto Cowboy  

36.  Me - Randolph Walker #

37. Party Til The Break Of Dawn – Joy  

38. Country Boy - Sir Charles Jones   

39. I've Done All I Can Do – Sheba Potts-Wright 

40. So Right So Good – Simone De #

41. It's Saturday Night – Roni 

42. Old School – Cupid  #

43. Move Something – Lacee

44. Call Me Big Daddy – Charles Stallings

45. Trust Yourself  – Grady Champion  #

   

          #  - first time entry

 

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