southern soul blues


Blues Critic Awards


Southern Soul Blues


As voted by Blues Critic readers


January 10 2007

Over 50,000 votes! So close were the polls this year! In nearly every category the winner's margin was less than 2 percent!. I'd like to think it was due to the sheer quality of Southern Soul Blues music released in 2006...and it was. There were many releases that were worthy of nominations but didn't make the cut because of scant distribution . I think it's safe to say this was one of the biggest years for the much maligned genre. Nevertheless, mainstream radio, mainstream print & retail are still behind on what's going on with this music. (Props though to Living Blues for publishing Funky Larry Jones' Top 10 singles chart this past year). Bootleggers continue to ruin the business...scumbags one and all. But all the DJs who play Southern Soul mom & pop shops, labels, websites and media people like Jerry "Boogie" Mason, Funky Larry Jones, Gary 'G Ball' Ball, E Norman (and many others- sorry to those not listed) have stepped up their efforts in getting this music in the fans ears and hands. "It takes a nation of millions" to hold it back...

There's a lot of talk about the term "Southern Soul". It's really just good ol' Soul Music period. It's called "Southern" because any fool knows the Deep South is where Soul music was born. I prefer to call the music "Deep Soul, Rhythm & Blues", which covers it all. "Southern Soul" incorporates Blues, Funk, classic R & B, Contemporary R & B etc... but is distinguished from mainstream "R & B" like R. Kelly & Mary J. Blige. Don't ask me just is.

Well enough of that- let's get onto the results!

-Dylann DeAnna Blues Critic Editor

Best Southern Soul/R & B Album

Willie Clayton "Gifted" (Malaco)

We had records by Sir Charles Jones, Mel Waiters, Willie Clayton, Theodis Ealey, Gwen McCrae, William Bell, Betty Padgett, Barbara Carr, Omar Cunningham, Billy Soul Bonds, Donnie Ray, J. Blackfoot, Kenne Wayne & Renea Mitchell...but the winner is? "Gifted" by Willie Clayton! (Runner-up Theodis Ealey "I'm The Man You Need (Ifgam))

Best Southern Soul/Blues Album

Bobby Warren "Pioneers & Legends (KonKord)

Nominees included Joey Gilmore, Jackie Payne-Steve Edmonson Band*, Maurice Davis, Frankie Lee, Clarence Carter, Lee Shot Williams, Trudy Lynn, Preston Shannon, Little Phil, Roy Roberts, Bob Steele & Walter Waiters. This was THE CLOSEST of all the polls. Runner-up Jackie Payne-Steve Edmonson Bands' "Master Of The Game" was ahead of the pack until the last several days when Bobby Warren "Pioneers & Legends" (KonKord) pulled ahead and won by 22 votes! (*Not to worry Payne/Edmonson won "Best Soul Blues Album" in our separate CONTEMPORARY BLUES AWARDS 2006.)

Southern Soul Blues Song Of The Year

"Scat Cat...Here Kitty Kitty" by Billy 'Soul' Bonds (Waldoxy)

It had stiff competition from hits by Willie Clayton ("I'm Going Crazy"), Chairmen Of The Board ("The Blacker The Berry"), William Bell ("New Lease On Life"), Theodis Ealey ("Francine") and more by Donnie Ray, Renea Mitchell, Ms. Monique, Greeg A. Smith, Steve Perry, Bob Steele, Sir Charles Jones, Clarence Carter, Mel Waiters & Betty Padgett but "Scat Cat...Here Kitty Kitty" by Billy 'Soul' Bonds (Waldoxy) was just one of those songs that everybody loved. Runner-up: "New Lease On Life" by William Bell (Wilbe).

Best Slow Jam

"Scat Cat...Here Kitty Kitty" by Billy 'Soul' Bonds (Waldoxy)

There was just no stopping Billy 'Soul' Bonds as his "Scat Cat...Here Kitty Kitty" (Waldoxy) narrowly trumped runner up Kenne Wayne's "If The Shoe Was On The Other Foot" (Goodtime) for it's second award!

Best Dance Song

"Throwback Days" by Mel Waiters (Waldoxy)

The monster club favorite "Mississippi Cha Cha Slide" by Mix Master Lee (Alpine/Team Airplay) seemed like a sure thing in this category but Mr. "Hole In The Wall" Mel Waiters "Throwback Days" (Waldoxy) was Blues Critic readers' "BEST DANCE SONG" of 2006. Runner-up: "Francine" by Theodis Ealey (Make Cents)

Best Vocal Performance FEMALE

Gwen McCrae on "Let's Straighten It Out" (Henry Stone)

It was a fantastic year for the Southern Soul divas! Sheba Potts-Wright, Lacee', Ms. Monique, Barbara Carr, Betty Padgett, Lorraine Turner, Candi Staton, Irma Thomas, Joy, Lady Audrey, Trudy Lynn...but Gwen McCrae is yo' gal on her duet with Latimore for "Let's Straighten It Out" (Henry Stone Music) Runner-up: Betty Padgett "Never Coming Home" (Meia)

Best Vocal Performance MALE

William Bell for "New Lease On Life" (Wilbe)

William Bell was nominated for three awards and nearly won all three but instead he narrowly edged out runner-up Willie Clayton for this award. The Bell is back! He was also a winner in 2005 for his duet with Jeff Floyd. Winner: William Bell for "New Lease On Life" (Wilbe). Other nominees were Kenne' Wayne, Omar Cunningham, Gregg A. Smith, Mel Waiters, Lebrado, Wendell B., Carl Sims, Patrick Green, O.B. Buchana & Sir Charles Jones.

Best Performance By A Duo Or Group

J. Blackfoot & Lenny Williams for "I'm Just A Fool For You" (JEA Music)

2 legends. 1 song. 1 award. Although runners-up Gwen McCrae & Latimore scooped up a large percentage of the vote J. Blackfoot & Lenny Williams "I'm Just A Fool For You" (JEA Music/Right Now) easily won. Other nominees: K Band, Charles Wilson & Shara Scott & Ms. Monique & Millie Jackson.

Best New Artist FEMALE


This must have been difficult for voters with so many great new artists to choose from. Joy, Coco, Ms. Jody, Bertha Payne, Roni, Ms. Peaches, Miz B, Karen Wolfe, Renea Mitchell and BEST NEW FEMALE ARTIST Lacee' Runner-up: Roni.

Best New Artist MALE

Walter Waiters

Mel ain't the only Waiters on the scene! Walter Waiters is a rising star and BEST NEW MALE ARTIST of the year. Other nominees: Charlie Brown, Bob Steele, Napoleon, Dee Bradley, Larome Powers, El Willie, Spring, Lebrado & Runner-up Patrick Harris

Best Record Producer(s) Of The Year

Willie Clayton & Vick Allen

Man oh man oh man. Tough choices. The JEA Music producer team of runners up James Alexander, Sam Fallie & Larry Dodson brought us music by the Bar Kays, J. Blackfoot, Lacee' & more. Bruce Billups produced Theodis Ealey's "Francine" and Lebrado. Legendary producer henry Stone was back to produce Gwen McCrae. Percy T. Firends, Simeo Overall, Morris J, Tommy Couch Jr., John Ward, Rue Davis & Vernon Webster all produced great music as well but Willie Clayton & Vick Allen would not be denied. Not only was there Clayton & Allen's own music together but separately they also had a hand in projects by Mel Waiters, Omar Cunningham & David Sea.

The BLUES CRITIC staff pick...


Willie Clayton

In 2006 Willie Clayton had two Top 5 Southern Soul hits ("I'm Going Crazy" & "Boom Boom Boom"), his CD "Gifted" was voted "Best Southern Soul/R & B Album" of the year, made the Billboard Top 100 R & B/Hip Hop Albums chart,. he produced the Omar Cunningham CD "Worth The Wait", he toured, he made a video, he ruled.

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