Billy Ray Charles
Before being known as Little Buck, he was Edward Ross and was member of Huey "Piano" Smith's band the Clowns. He sang with the Hueys, as the Clowns were known sometimes when they recorded on their own. He was the vocalist on their Instant recording of "Coo Coo Over You," produced by Smith. Under his own name he released two 45s for Duke in 1960/61 ("Let It Be Now" & "So Fine So Sweet) and later cut "Whisper My Name" in 1969 on Seven B.
He re-emerged decades later in the Southern Soul Blues market with his first ever LP, "I Don't Have To Steal What's Mine". He formed a friendship with Rue Davis and together they released "I'mma Stir It Up" and "I'mma Blues Man" in 2005.
"I Don't Have To Steal What's Mine" (Soulville 2000)
1. I Don't Have To Steal What's Mine
"I'mma Stir It Up" (Studio Showtime 2005)
1 Disco 2005
**1/2 Hey, what gives?! This Studio Showtime release is credited to one "Little Buck", but it's really more of a new Rue Davis cd! Being that we love us some Rue Davis here at Blues Critic that's just fine. Floyd Green, aka Little Buck, only appears on 3 of the 10 tracks and one of those is a remix. Seems like Rue wanted to help 'ole Buck out (Rue's manager) by giving up top billing. I cry nepotism! But, wait, it turns out Little Buck is one helluva singer himself as proven on the catchy "I'mma Stir It Up", a sure-fire hit if given a little push. But Buck really shows his throaty power on "If You Don't Love Him", a duet with Davis. I'm ready for a true album from the guy now. Davis, who was awarded "International Songwriter Of The Year" at the Jackson Music Awards recently, wrote all the tracks. Unfortunately, the disc starts off with a tedious rip of Johnnie Taylor's "Disco Lady" called "Disco 2005". It's a kickin' dancer for sure but it just made me want to hear "Disco Lady" instead. "I'mma Stir It Up" is more dance-minded than Rue's last disc, "For Real", which was heavy on bedroom jams. Track number 2 is "Anybody Wanna Dance With Me?", a much better booty shaker. "Big Hipped Woman" is another fun Southern Soul dancer with a typically great vocal from Rue. But there's some flab here like "Yum Yum Man" and the plodding "Draw The Line", the kinda songs Rue can write in his sleep. This disc serves it's purpose nonetheless- Little Buck made an impression and Rue's got some potential hits. After all, the only bad Rue Davis is no Rue Davis.
"I'mma Blues Man" (Studio Showtime 2005)
Rue Davis sings on 7 songs Little Buck sings on 6 Lady Audrey sings on 2 songs
1. Singing the
Blues with My Friend
***1/2 I was hoping for a full album by Little Buck after his fine showing on "I'mma Stir It Up" from last year and this time I got something close. "Stir It Up" was not really a "Little Buck" record but mostly Rue Davis tracks. At least this time there's 6 tracks featuring who the album is credited to! Once again it's filled out with unreleased Davis cuts (who wrote everything anyway) and 2 by "Audrey". Once again let me stress we dig Rue Davis so normally I'd be jazzed. Though this is mostly programmed Southern Soul there's three very bluesy cuts. "Singing The Blues With My Friend" (a close cousin to "Playin' With My Friends"), "Draw The Line", "Knocking At The Door Of Your Heart" are in the Little Milton soul/blues vein that this reviewer happens to adore. Buck has a throaty voice well suited to this material- kinda reminds me of a Frankie Lee. "You Ain't Gettin' It (Until You Steal It)" and "I'mma Blues Man (You Knew What You Had)" are sugary Southern Soul Ecko style. The only bum Buck track is "The Shack 2005", which is annoying thievery of Johnnie Taylor's "Disco Lady". I wish they had thrown "I'mma Stir It Up" on here since they added the Rue Davis duet "If You Don't Love Him" from the previous record (and even used the same photo of Buck!). The other Rue tracks include his own versions of "You Knew What You Had" & "Knocking At The Door Of Your Heart", plus the mighty fine "I Need A Midnight Snack" & two versions of his Christmas song "Let's Make This A Special Christmas". Interestingly, though, the song that has the most hit potential is "Never Too Old (To Get Your Groove On)" sung by Audrey. It's already being added to some playlists. Overall it's too bad they didn't combine these past two "Little Buck" CDs to make one smokin' disc but there's more than enough good 'uns on "Blues Man" to make it worth yo' while.