southern soul blues


Blues Critic Awards


Southern Soul Blues


As voted by Blues Critic readers...


January 8, 2013

2012 was a rough year for most businesses. The music industry was no exception.  Forgive the short rant that is coming but smaller, independent markets like Southern Soul/R&B aka Soul Blues cannot afford to shrink. Piracy/bootlegging = unemployment. The majority of mom & pop stores are gone, as are almost all major brick & mortar music retailers. Many key one-stops like Gonzales Music are gone. Record labels like Malaco and Mardi Gras have stopped releasing Southern Soul Blues titles and from various reports from the record labels, stores and distributors, this genre has hit it's lowest point it can possibly go. Don't get me wrong. At the same time interest in this music continues to grow. Online CD sales are on the rise and that's just the nature of modern life. The Internet is as part of people's lives as television now.

A growing trend is buyers of cds have been switching to buying digital downloads, which is better than nothing, but generates far less revenue for the creators, distributors and retailers of music. Plus, it's just not the same quality. On the plus side, at least many people are paying for the downloads instead of illegal downloading or (illegally) emailing mp3's to friends like it's a free gift. Only those with permission are supposed to be sharing mp3's. Contrary to popular belief, doing this activity without authorization is illegal, unethical and is killing this music. So next time your church-going friend wants you to "burn a cd" or "email the songs" to him/her remind them that stealing is stealing. Not picking on church folk. We are church folk too. I just think we should especially know better. Just because nobody seems to be doing a thing to stop it and criminals go unpunished doesn't mean it's right.

Anyway, we can assert confidently from experience on this site's cd store that Southern Soul/R&B is continually expanding it's base. New customers and listeners are discovering what could be the next big thing!

Eventually that increase might convince more Wal Marts or other big box stores to stock this music. Definitely, not promoting Wal Mart but "it is what it is" as they say. Thus we must stress again. If we want this music to continue BUY our Southern Soul and Blues legally from a legitimate source. If you want to "stick it" to the music industry just direct that anger toward major labels, ie "popular" music .

Now on to the results from the 2012 Readers Poll.....

FYI: Winners in the annual Blues Critic Awards for Southern Soul are strictly based on a Voting Process. We do not choose the winners. Every year tens of thousands of website visitors choose from an online ballot posted in December. The only award picked by the Blues Critic staff is "Southern Soul Artist Of The Year". This year we picked Ms. Jody. God bless...

Best Southern Soul/R & B Album

Vick Allen "Soul Music" (Soul 1st)

Vick Allen donned a retro-image and released a modern sounding Soul album simply entitled "Soul Music". Runner-up Ms. Jody continued her hot streak with "Ms Jody's In The House", as did Mel Waiters with "Got No Curfew". Willie Clayton released his third album in three years, "I Am The Rhythm & Blues". Garland Green of "Jealous Kind Of Fella" released his first album in 29 years called "I Should've Been The One" and last year's winner Donnie Ray came back strong with "I'm Goin' Back". Other album nominated were "It's My Time" by Big Cynthia, "A New Beginning" by L.J. Echols, "The Greatest Song I Ever Sang" by Vel Omarr, "Life After Bill" by Peggy Scott-Adams, "Last Pay Check" by Big G, "Just Like Dat" by Mr. Sam, "Watch Me Work" by Jeff Floyd, "The Devil Made Me Do It" by Chuck Roberson, "Do Not Disturb" by Jesse James, "Hammer" by Jaye Hammer and "Telling Like It Is" by Karen Wolfe.

Best Soul Blues Album

Walter Waiters "Maverick" (Walter Waiters)

Back in 2006 Walter Waiters was voted "Best New Artist" in the 2nd annual Blues Critic Awards Readers Poll. Since then he has continued to build his reputation while remaining staunchly independent. His 2012 "Maverick" was not his bluesiest album and didn't even enjoy national distribution but enough people noticed it to vote it to the top. This was the closest of all races. Most of the following albums were within 100 votes of winning: "Keep The Fire Burning" by Barbara Carr, "Soul Survivor" by Johnny Rawls, "Blues Me Before You Lose Me" by Chick Willis, "Blues Heart" by Dorothy Moore, "Can't Help Myself" by Willie West, "Talking To You" by Pat Cooley, , "Caravan Of Dreams" by Gregg A. Smith, "The Greatest Song I Ever Sang" by Vel Omarr and runner-up "Going Back To The Blues" by Carl Marshall.

Best Southern Soul/R & B Song

"When You're Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn No More" by Ms. Jody (Ecko)

This is always a close race. Peggy Scott-Adams returned to the scene with "Not Good Enough To Mary", a duet with Jesse James. Luther Lackey scored his first #1 with "Blind, Blind Snake", Sir Jonathan Burton scored his third Top 5 hit in a row with "Meat On Them Bones", Al Green assisted LaMorris Williams on the Hi Records nod "You Make Me Happy". L.J. Echols hit with "Good Motor". Sir Charles Jones released one of his signature ballads, "On My Own Again". Speaking of signatures Mel Waiters served up another classic Mel jam, "Got No Curfew". Ms. Jody's sassy and savvy "When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn No More" was voted "Best Southern Soul/R&B Song" besting runner-up "Soul Music" by Vick Allen. The nominees included hits by Vel Omarr, Larome Powers, Ricky White, Jerry L, Jeff Floyd, Ghetto Cowboy, Latimore, RB & Company and Theodis Ealey.

Best Slow Jam

"On My Own Again" by Sir Charles Jones (KISS)

Even though 2012 didn't produce the long-awaited new album from Mr. Sir Charles Jones, the man did release two very successful songs. By the end of the year the "Mississippi Boy"-remake "Country Boy" was in the Top 5 but it was the meditative ballad "On My Own Again" that really stood out. Voters agree. "On My Own Again" edges out runner-up "Good Man" by Wendell B, "Smile" by Willie Clayton, "At Least I Tried" by Jimmy 100% Sterling, "My Love is Guaranteed" by Stephanie Pickett, "I'm The One That Shoul'd've Been" by comeback man Garland Green and songs by Omar Cunningham, The Revelations, Frank-O Johnson, Lenny Williams, Dee Bradley and Pat Brown

Best Dance Or Funk Song

Big Cynthia "She's Working That Nookie Thang" (BCER/CDS)

They say "when it's your time it's your time" and Big Cynthia said "It's My Time", the title of her latest CD, and she appears right. After nearly winning in all four categories she was nominated in this year she wins in the category of "Best Dance Or Funk Song". Other high vote earners included "Shake" by Ricky White (which will also be eligible next year), "The Party Don't Start 'Til I Get There" by Sir Jonathan Burton, "Move Somethin'" by Certified Slim, "Forever Swing" by Tucka, "Sugaa Shack (Line Dance Remix)" by Bigg Robb, "Grown Folks" by the Bar-Kays (also eligible next year), "Chuck Strut"(2012) by Chuck Roberson and runner-up "Zydeco Bounce (Remix)" by TK Soul. Other nominees were Vel Omarr, Jim Bennett, Lacee, Donnie Ray and Anthony Watson.

Best Down Home Blues Song

"Bring Back My Blues" by Donnie Ray (Ecko)

2012 had an especially strong crop of "Down Home Blues" songs. Chick Willis lamented the lack of real Blues on "The Blues Is Gone". Pat Cooley confidently asserted she didn't want "No Mess". Chuck Roberson created another homage to ZZ Hill with "Hometown Blues". Carl Marshall teamed up with Lucky Peterson, Bobby Rush & Gregg A. Smith for "Just Blues", which has been adopted as the official theme song for the Jus' Blues Music Foundation. The top two vote getters both came from erstwhile Ecko Records. O.B. Buchana was runner-up with "Juke Joint Queen", but labelmate Donnie Ray wins "Best Down Home Blues Song" with "Bring Back My Blues". Other nominees include Latimore, Dorothy Moore, Barbara Carr, Willie West and Pat Brown.

Best Vocal Performance FEMALE

Ms. Jody "When You're Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn No More"(Ecko)

This year's only multiple award winner is...... Ms. Jody. Big Cynthia nearly got the edge, buoyed by a popular video that has amassed thousands of views on youtube within one month, "She's Working That Nookie Thang", which did earn Big Cynthia her the Blues Critic Award for "Best Dance Or Funk Song". Other nominees were last year's winner Stephanie Pickett, Lacee, Pat Cooley, Roni, Barbara Carr, Lady Audrey, Peggy Scott-Adams, Joy, Karen Wolfe, Sweet Angel, Dorothy Moore and The Real Brown Sugar.

Best Vocal Performance MALE

Tre Williams (of The Revelations) on "Until You Get Enough Of Me" (Nia)

The legendary Garland Green returned in 2012 with a terrific remake of his Top 5 hit "Jealous Kind Of Fella". The vocal performance was acclaimed and bubbled under on charts across the industry. Willie Clayton continued to churn out marvelously sung ballads like "Smile" and "Loving Eachother For Life". Runner-up Sir Charles Jones delivered the moving "On My Own Again", his best song in years. But Tre Williams of the Revelations got his due for his strong remake of the late great Ronnie Lovejoy's "Until You Get Enough Of Me". Other singers nominated were Koree' Rudolph, Vel Omarr, Simone De, Frank-O Johnson, Lenny Williams, Jeff Floyd, Latimore, Avail Hollywood, Vick Allen and Andre Lee.

Best Performance By A Duo Or Group

"Just Blues" by Carl Marshall with Bobby Rush, Lucky Peterson & Gregg A Smith (CDS)

Carl Marshall had two popular songs for this category in 2012. He started off the year with his update of "Ain't No Party Like A Grown Folks Party", retitled "21st Century Grown Folks Party". On this number he was joined by a cast that include Garland Green, Mel Waiters, Patrick Green, Jerry L & more. But it was his rollicking Blues song "Just Blues", featuring Lucky Peterson, Bobby Rush & Gregg A. Smith that won. Runner-up was Big Cynthia & Tyree Neal with "Ain't Nothin' Like A Big Woman (Remix).

Best New Artist

Vel Omarr

"Best New Artist" is always the most hotly-contested race annually with fans of each artist voting incessantly to help the artist get noticed. This year's crop included a longtime music veteran, Vel Omarr, who made his debut in Soul Blues, though releasing a very traditional Soul album in the vain of Sam Cooke, albeit with original tunes. He scored a Top 10 hit on Southern Soul Songs charts with "Everybody's Dancin'" and obviously enough people noticed to vote Vel "Best New Artist" for 2012. Other nominees were  RB & COMPANY, KOREE' RUDOLPH, JESI TERRELL,THE REAL BROWN SUGAR, LOMAX, TUCKA, DECARLOS BONDS, GINA BROWN, THE TOTAL PACKAGE BAND, DAVE MORRIS, ALONZO REID, MS. ME ME, ADRENA, JIMMIE JA, AVANA

Best Record Producer(s) Of The Year


John Ward

John Ward is always near the top but this year he edged out strong showings from newcomer Lomax Spaulding, the big man Bigg Robb, whose talents were on display for the mix CD "Bigg Robb Presents Juke Joint Music" but Mel Waiters re-booted his Brittney Records label and put out strong tracks on himself, Charles Wilson, Chandra Calloway, Hog Pin, Lomax &  more. Other nominees were Pete Peterson, Simuel Overall aka Simeo, Vick Allen, Ricky White, Johnny Rawls, Eric Perkins, Reginald "Wizard" Jones and runner-up Carl Marshall.

The BLUES CRITIC staff picks...


Ms. Jody

Ms. Jody started the year with the CD "Ms. Jody's In The House" including the hit single and this year's "Best Southern Soul/R&B Song" "When Your Give A Damn Just Don't Give A Damn No More" and by the end of the year she had another song, "Still Strokin'", racing up the charts from the album of the same name (both eligible for the Blues Critic Awards voting next year). Year after year Ecko Records and Ms. Jody have churned out solid Southern Soul Blues, which has placed her on the A list in this genre. This year her stature became undisputed as one of the "queens" of Soul Blues.