Blues Critic Awards
2009 READERS POLL
Southern Soul Blues
As voted by Blues Critic readers
January 4, 2010
No more negativity! Southern Soul lives on... THANKS to all the wonderful people who buy their music from BluesCritic.com or ANY legitimate source. You people are the LIFEBLOOD of Southern Soul Blues. EVERY legitimate purchase makes a difference.
Initially we set out to write a long "Year In Review" article that talked about bootlegging and Internet piracy and how the economy affected the music business and so on but you are probably tired of hearing about it. We sure are. If people (the media) would just stop telling people how bad things allegedly are then people will start spending money, unemployment would decrease, etc...anyway, it's time to be positive and move onward and upward in 2010....Plus, we saw the inauguration of the first black president (no matter if you're Dem or Rep....way to go USA!)
"When's the new Mel Waiters CD going to be out?". This was one of the most asked questions we heard. The answer? At this point your guess is as good as anybody's. Mel's song "Everything Is Going Up" didn't win any awards but it was a big song. The winners are discussed below but just a few comments about the year. Shirley Brown can still SANG, T.K. Soul's got lots of fans, women like Karen Wolfe, Nellie "Tiger" Travis, Uvee Hayes, Sweet Angel, Ms. Jody, Lacee', Stephanie Pickett, Barbara Carr and others continued to show the ladies can run toe to toe with the fellas, John Ward, Simeo and Carl Marshall were busy busy busy producing music, the online Southern Soul community lead by Funky Larry Jones, Boogie, Daddy B Nice, Chico, G Ball, Blues Critic and now Breezy Love, Ms. Hot DJ, getbluesinfo and more has grown grown grown...Southern Soul is growing despite many folks saying how "dead it is".
We lost some key Blues people to "Soul Heaven" sadly...Earl Gaines, Fred Bolton, Jay K McCoy (I'm sure I forgot a name or two)...and THE King Of Pop Music, Michael Jackson...
- Blues Critic
Best Southern Soul/R & B Album
Shirley Brown "Unleashed" (Malaco)
One of the tightest of all races here. Shirley's album got the most votes but the following were all within 50 votes of the top spot: T.K. Soul "Evolution Of Soul", Willie Clayton "Love, Romance & Respect", Lenny Williams "Unfinished Business", Donnie Ray "Caught By The Cat" & TJ Hooker-Taylor's "Your Babies Need A Daddy". Still the closest runner-up was Vick Allen's "Truth Be Told", which lost by only 9 votes!
Southern Soul Blues Song Of The Year
"Man Enough" by Karen Wolfe (B & J)
The tightest race. period. Another category where Vick Allen almost won. His 'Forbidden Love Affair" lost by 11 votes to Karen Wolfe's "Man Enough". Meanwhile, only 14 votes behind was Mel Waiters "Everything Is Going Up" & Shirley Brown's "Upside Down". Then only 19 votes behind was Lee "Shot" Williams' "Wrong Bed" & T.K. Soul's "Rehab"... with Marvin Sease "Gone On", Stan Mosley "Change (Family Reunion)" , O.B. Buchana "You're Just Playin' With It", Omar Cunningham "The Beauty Shop", Jody Sticker "Booty Do Right" & Latimore "Around The World" all within 50 votes!!
Best Slow Jam
"The Beauty Shop" by Omar Cunningham (Soul 1st)
Runner-up "Play Something Pretty" by Uvee Hayes & Otis Clay was beaten by Omar Cunningham's slow jam by 22 votes. Other top vote getters were Shirley Brown "Upside Down", Lee "Shot" Williams "Wrong Bed", T.K. Soul "Rehab", Toni Green "Every Man Ain't A Bad Man", Nellie "Tiger" Travis "Queen Of The Blues" and Donnie Ray "This Time The Dog Got Caught By The Cat"
Best Dance Or Funk Song
"Dance The Night Away" by Willie Clayton (C & C)
Stepping songs (or atleast songs you can step to) dominated this category. Stan Mosley's "Change (Family Reunion)" and "Loop The Loop" you can step to but Willie Clayton's "Dance The Night Away" prevails. Meanwhile Charles Wilson's hot "You Got That Sex Appeal" came in a close second.
Best Down Home Blues Song
"1,2,3,4,5 Shots Of Whiskey" by Chick Willis (Benevolent Blues)
This was a new category in 2009. Chick Willis just happened to release the best CD of his career ("Hit & Run Blues") and the first track promoted was "1,2,3,4,5 Shots Of Whiskey", which also had an accompanying video. Though not known as a "Blues" singer Ecko's Donnie Ray came in second with his "Just Give Me My Blues", followed by Theodis Ealey & Latimore, Sweet Angel, Uvee Hayes, Billy Rome and Ernie Johnson
Best Vocal Performance FEMALE
Shirley Brown on "Upside Down" (Malaco)
After a five year break Shirley Brown returned with a strong album showing her voice had the same impact. The runner-up was the equally great Toni Green, followed by last year's winner Nellie 'Tiger' Travis for her tribute to the late Koko Taylor ("Queen Of The Blues").
Best Vocal Performance MALE
T.K. Soul on "Rehab" (Soulful)
T.K. Soul received the most nominations of anybody (five in total) and fared well in all of them. "Best Vocal Performance Male" is where he fared the best for his strong ballad 'Rehab". He edged out hefty competition in runner-up Omar Cunningham, Willie Clayton, Wilson Meadows, Stan Mosley, Will Easley, Donnie Ray and the very underrated Chuck Roberson for his marvelous Tyrone Davis-like "I Want You To Rock Me"
Best Performance By A Duo Or Group
Uvee Hayes & Otis Clay for "Play Something Pretty" (Aviara Music)
Although it didn't appear on many charts this exquisite duet between Uvee Hayes and the legend Otis Clay received a lot of airplay and accolades. Pitch perfect it was. The runner-up in votes The Revelations featuring Tre Williams "I Don't Really Want To Know". Other strong finishers were Theodis Ealey & Latimore, O.B. Buchana & Mr. Sam & General Johnson & The Chairmen Of The Board.
Best New Artist
Ms. Stephanie Pickett came seemingly out of nowhere to impress with her debut CD, which showcased her very Aretha Franklin/Shirley Brown-influenced vocals. She first made noise with a cheeky club song called "Family Man", before showing her chops on the self-penned "Run'n". Not too far behind was the impressive new Classic Soul group The Revelations. Other significant voter earners were Falisa Ja'naye & Unckle Eddie
Best Record Producer(s) Of The Year
Mr. Carl Marshall in 2009 alone produced albums by himself, Charles Wilson, Stan Mosley, TJ Hooker-Taylor, Nellie "Tiger" Travis and Michelle Miller. He won this category by over 200 votes. Still there was plenty of support for runner-up Mel Waiters who produced himself, Chandra Calloway and a track on Charles Wilson. Other notables were James Jackson (Karen Wolfe), last year's winner John Ward and Simeo.
The BLUES CRITIC staff pick...
SOUTHERN SOUL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
This was undeniable. Though Carl's mega-hit "Good Lovin' Will Make You Cry" was released a couple years ago it still was going strong in 2009 (via a Bigg Robb remix and a female version) but what clinches it for Carl Marshall being "Southern Soul Artist of 2009" was: He produced two albums on himself: "Look Good For You", which spawned several moderate hits, and his fine Christmas CD "Christmas Southern Soul Style". He also performed on and produced stellar records on Charles Wilson "Pay Myself First", Stan Mosley "I'm Comin' Back", Nellie "Tiger" Travis "I'm In Love With A Man I Can't Stand", TJ Hooker-Taylor "Your Babies Need A Daddy" and Michelle Miller 'Good Lovin' Made Me Cry" (and those are just the ones that have been released so far!). The quality of his work in 2009 was impeccable. We are proud to honor such a talented musician and terrific person as Mr. Carl Marshall. Interestingly, from what we've heard and been privy to he will be a contender again in 2010 for his new album and productions!