Southern Soul star Mel Waiters was born and raised in San Antonio, TX, where in 1974 he began his performing career at local teen clubs; after a stint as a radio DJ, he was awarded a government contract to entertain at military bases across the Southwest. With the exception of sax Waiters produced, played and wrote all the material for his first CD release in 1996. The slick "Hit It & Quit It" and "Whatever It Took" gave me his first Southern hits. He followed this up with his second for the Serious Sounds with "Suki Suki Man" that got his biggest song to date with the title track. Waiters was next snatched up by Malaco Records's Waldoxy imprint in 1997 and an even bigger hit was produced by the single "Got My Whiskey" featuring a very polished dance sound he would continue with. Despite increasing popularity up to this point in 1999 he jumped to the top of the Soul/Blues heap with the smash "Hole In The Wall", one of those undeniable hits that guarantee you'll work in the Chitlin Circuit for years to come. The single, which also featured a remix by Bigg Robb, managed to hit Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart at #24 and also gave Mel his first placing on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart (#5) and the Top R & B/Hip Hop Albums chart at #83. Since that time waiters has scored with a string of similar sounding dance songs about drinking whiskey and partying at the "hole in the wall". His most recent disc, "Throwback Days", dented Billboard Top 100 R & B/Hip Hop Albums chart at #93 proving longevity for the artist. Waiters also ran his own label, Britney Records, for a time which roster included legend Latimore. Mel passed away May 28th 2015 after a long battle with cancer...
"I'm Serious" (Serious Sounds 1995)
1. Whatever It Took
*** A Star is born. Mel proves himself to be a triple threat first time out- as a producer, singer and songwriter. Twelve originals by Waiters like the hit "Hit It And Quit It". Mel's sound is slick R & B pop with a touch of blues. Although he mines the same audience as a Marvin Sease, Mel is more romantic and lays off the raunch. "Let's Do Each Other Tonight" is the closest he comes. Instead he is more at home with a song like "Whatever It Took" contains the now classic sentiment: 'Whatever it took to get your woman/Do the same thing to keep her". On the slowie "I'm Serious" he pleads like he was Teddy Pendergrass. A strong debut of juke joint dance music and Tyrone Davis-style balladry.
"Suki-Suki Man" (Serious Sounds 1997)
1. Money Where (Your Mouth)
*** Mel's got a way with the ladies. While Marvin Sease says he'll be their "candy licker", Mr Waiters trumps that with the smash title cut. Mel pampers his woman. He defines a "Suki-Suki Man" as "when a man takes his time and does all the things a woman ever dreamed a man doing to her". That goes from pampering to giving her money! Other danceable southern soul pop gems are "Man Shoes" where a woman tells him he's gotta have "man shoes in a woman's bedroom" and the funky "Money (Where Your Mouth Is)".
"Woman In Need" (Waldoxy 1997)
1. Got My Whiskey
*** Mel signs with Malaco-distributed Waldoxy Records for this higher profile effort. The hit "Got My Whiskey" is the first of his now formulaic upbeat party dancers- goodtime music. "I got my money/I got my whiskey/Tonight I'm going out and get real tipsy". The catchy "Pop It Baby" is the flipside for the ladies. He continues his sympathetic, sensitive man shtick with "Sex Or Make Love" asking a woman which her man does to her. This time out Mel also covers a couple soul classics by Clarence Carter and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Although his "Slip Away" and "Treat Ah Dog" (as in "I Wouldn't Treat A Dog The Way You Treat Me") don't really benefit from the modern production flourishes. They're noble efforts but it's hard to remove the originals from your heart.
"Material Things" (Waldoxy 1999)
1. Swing Out
*** Mel takes it up a notch with this Billboard-charting album (#83 R & B charts). The infectious "Hole In The Wall" was a runaway smash on the "chitlin circuit"- one that has spawned countless sequels and/or copycats. The song even reached #24 on the R & B singles sales charts- a rare feat for a "blues" singer these days. The similar "Swing Out" and poppin' "She Ain't Drunk" also got some airplay. The album suffers just a tad due to the homogeneous production and sameness of the melodies but it's an essential southern soul disc.
"I Want The Best" (Susie Q 2000)
1. Whatever It Took
***1/2 This is actually the choicest cuts from Mel's first two independently-released discs plus three new cuts and remixes. Being that it only has cuts from "I'm Serious" and"Suki-Suki Man" and nothing from his latest two albums on Waldoxy (especially his biggest hit "Hole In The Wall") it's really not a proper "best of". Along with "Suki-Suki Man", "I'm Serious", "Hit It And Quit" It", "Man Shoes" it also has the new "I Want The Best", "Asking Too Much" & 'I Can Only See You"
"Let Me Show You How To Love" (Waldoxy 2001)
1. Ice Chest
***1/2 Another consistent set of juke joint R & B, slick funk and romantic slowies. "Ice Chest" continues the streak of goodtime radio singles. "I got my ice chest and my lawn chair/we've been jukin' up in here". Bigg Robb adds some Zapp & Roger-funk to Johnny "Guitar" Watson's classic "Real Mother For Ya". "Brand New Bed" and "I Can Light Candles" are slower Tyrone Davis bedroom soundtracks. "Big Mama" is a lovely ode to grandma. A shout out for everyone to thank the Lord for their "big mama" or "ma dear". Grandma "she don't/She don't drink/She loves Jesus and everyone she meets". "How Can I Get Next To You" is a clever song that weaves the hooks from several great soul classics into the story line (from Bobby Womack's "That's The Way I Feel About Cha" to Johnnie Taylor's "I Believe In You" to Al Green's "Let's Stay Together"). The Rich Cason penned "What I Had In You" is a gorgeous love song about realizing what you had when it was gone.
"A Nite Out" (Waldoxy 2003)
1. Girls Nite Out
**** Third for Waldoxy is his strongest yet. Although the "girls night out" concept has been done to death, Mel charms on the infectious "Girls Nite Out". In it he comes home to find his woman getting all dressed up for a night with the girls. Mel, the man who wrote "Got My Whiskey" & "Pop It Baby", shows he's no hypocrite and accepts the fact. Track 2 is "Whiskey & Blues" which has Mel reclining in a juke joint; drink in hand. He tells the DJ to play some Bobby Bland, Z.Z. Hill & Johnnie Taylor and the bartender to keep his whiskey glass filled. Why? "I Got this great big old heartache and it just won't quit". Great imagery- truly captures the mood. Both Johnnie Taylor and Bobby Bland get name checked again on the funked-up smash "Smaller The Club" (as in "smaller the club-bigger the party-something about those rooms"). This is a proper sequel to "Hole In The Wall". Other highlights in an album full of them is the bouncy, southern soul "Your Kitchen Was Closed", stepper "Two Step" and the sensual "Satisfy You (Before You Satisfy Me)".
"Got My Whiskey" (601 Music 2005)
1. Got My Whiskey
**1/2 Unfortunately this is not the new Mel Waiters disc we're all anxiously awaiting. This is a budget line compilation of 2 hits and 8 album tracks that is designed to draw in the curious- those who have yet to own a Waiters disc. The material is decent enough but a proper "best of" would have been a better offering. It does have "Pop It Baby" and the title cut, which were both hits. There's also some catchy pop/soul like "Swing Out Song" & "Big Mama". I give Waldoxy credit for not throwing one rare track on here to bait the diehards. If you're on a budget and you want to try some Mel this will get you on the hook. You're just going to want more so your money would be better spent on the full cds "A Nite Out" & "Material Things", however.
"Throw Back Days" (Waldoxy 2006)
1. Throw Back Days
*** One of the most anticipated releases in the Soul Blues/Southern Soul world is finally here from the man who forever changed the genre with "Hole In The Wall". Was it worth the wait? Well, Mel's got a formula. His music is about unwinding with a glass of whiskey or dancing to old school Soul & Blues. Who couldn't relate to that? That nostalgic, carefree vibe exudes from the smash title track, which "throws back" to the 80s on a steppin' groove. Mel wants to "take you back" and "party like we used to do". Those same escapist invitations crop up again on the slick midtempo head bobbers "Friday Night Fish Fry" and "Half Pint". The latter being the newest child in an ancestry that includes "Ice Chest", & "Got My Whiskey". The reminiscing "Blues Radio" is a throw back to "Whiskey & Blues" (from "Nite Out"). The pumpin' "Ladies Party Night" is a cousin to "Girls Nite Out" and "How Do You Do It" has Mel watching in admiration as she "drops it like it's hot", but he may as well be singing "Pop It Baby". Yes, a formula and if it ain't broke...So although "Throw Back Days" occasionally veers close to self-parody, you'll be enjoying this perfectly-produced (Bruce Billups, Vick Allen, Mel Waiters) music too much to notice or care what some critic thinks (by the way this critic recommends it). Nobody does it like Mel Waiters. Plus there's a Mel-icized version of Lenny Williams' "I Like Your Sister" and a faithful take on the Z.Z. Hill classic
"I Ain't Gone Do It" (Waldoxy 2010)
"Christmas At The Hole In The Wall" (Brittney 2010)
1. Hole In the Wall
"Say What's On Your Mind" (Brittney 2011)
1 When You Get Drunk
"Got No Curfew" (Brittney 2012)
1. Got No
"Poor Side Of Town" (Brittney 2013)
1. Pouring Salt
"True Love" (Brittney/Music Access 2015)