Nellie Tiger Travis
Nellie "Tiger" Travis
The girl's got Soul. I'm not talking about shallow vocal tricks but deep Gladys Knight/Tina Turner Soul from the gut...
Like many Soul
singers Nellie Travis's love affair with music began at church in
her hometown Mound Bayou, Mississippi. During mid 1980's she san
lead for the Mississippi based group "SSIPP", opening for acts from
Dee Dee Warwick to Ray Charles. During this period she also recorded
extensively in Memphis under the direction of Ed Townsend.
In 2005 her CD, "Wanna Be With You", became an underground smash on the "Southern Soul" circuit. Songs like "You Gone Make Me Cheat" & "If I Back It Up" can still be heard frequently on radio and in clubs.
This success continued in 2007 when she signed with CDS Records and released "I'm A Woman"
"I Got It Like That" (Tiger Belle 2000)
Shun Kiluta & Nellie Tiger Travis "Heart And Soul" (Blues Sox 2000)
Dirty Old Woman
"Wanna Be With You" (Da' Man 2005)
Baby Mama Drama
*** The first thing I noticed about this disc (other than the lovely woman on the cover) was that it was produced by Floyd Hamberlin Jr., whose production I've enjoyed on music by Tyrone Davis, Stan Mosley & Charles Wilson to name a few. And fortunately his signature programming is here on Nellie Tiger Travis' new LP. Mississippi native Travis first released a fine record called "I Got It Like That", which featured straight ahead blues, soul & jazzy aplomb but "Wanna Be With You" is a Southern Soul record. She has a supple voice that can alternate between smooth jazzy flavorings and sweaty blues with ease but now she's mastering this new genre. The songs are mostly midtempo, head-bobbin' jams like "Who's Foolin Who?", "If I Back It Up", "Good Lovin Daddy", "Baby Baby Baby" and the lead cut "Baby Mama Drama". Rick Lawson approached this "baby mama drama" topic from a man's POV earlier this year but Nellie takes the role of the girlfriend who's fed up with her man's "baby mama drama" with his ex. A very modern reality indeed. On the slow tip, "Teary Eyed" is a perfect vehicle for Travis to display her soulful voice. It's full of heartbreak and emotion like the way Ms. Gladys Knight would deliver it! Ms. Travis can also slowrollit with the best of 'em on "Sex Machine". She's the kind of singer who seems to get better with each listen. She doesn't do vocal back flips like a Mariah or pant n' coo like a Britney she just reaches you by singing from her soul. Bottom line: If you love Southern Soul the way I do youre gonna "Wanna Be With" Nellie 'cuz this disc's as sweet as ice cream on a muggy day.
1. Don't Know Where
You're Going (Intro)
***1/2 Ms. Travis is one of the hottest Divas in the Soul Blues about now. She's done it with attitude and a truly soulful voice. She's the Gladys Knight of Southern Soul. Of course in her hometown of Chicago she's mostly known as a 12-bar Blues belter who plays sings several days a week. But in the chittlin' circuit she's becoming a huge favorite.
Like her last CD, "Wanna Be With You", this new one is mostly produced by Floyd Hamberlin Jr. and that has it's plusses and minuses. He has a tendency to program/write his share of monotonous cuts like "Mama Didn't Raise No Punks" and the pedestrian "I Saw It On Oprah" but more often he comes up with some of the catchiest programming around like the hilarious ditty "Slap Yo' Weave Off" and the booming, anthem "I'm A Woman" which is the best song about female empowerment I've heard in years. Hamberlin also serves up two knockout ballads. "Don't Talk To Me" is a n emotional tornado sung by a scorned woman and "Running On Empty" a devastating number about a dying marriage. Travis is a powerhouse on the microphone.
Also included is a terrific duet ballad with soulman Stan Mosley ("Who Knows You") and Travis' signature song "Amnesia". This is a very good CD, as good as anything on the circuit, but I have a feeling Nellie hasn't even hit her peak yet.
"I'm In Love With A Man I Can't Stand" (CDS 2009)
1. Before You Grab
This Tiger By The Tail (Southern Soul Blues Version)
"I'm Going Out Tonight" (Benevolent Blues 201
1.Why Do You Lie Like That
"Nellie Sings The Blues" (Aviara Music 2014)
1 Before You Grab This Tiger by
"2 On 1 CD: I'm In Love With A Man I Can't Stand + I'm Going Out Tonight" (CDS Records 2016)
1. Before You Grab This Tiger by the Tail [Southern Soul Blues
"Mr. Sexy Man: The Album" (Wegonsee Records 2017)
1 Mr. Sexy Man