Blues Critic Awards
2007 READERS POLL
Southern Soul Blues
As voted by Blues Critic readers
January 7 2008
Southern Soul Blues Awards. In our third annual Blues Critic readers poll we had the most votes yet. Over 75,000 ballots! Methinks the choices were even harder this year because 2007 saw a high number of quality CDs despite the fact album sales are down again for the entire music industry. Bootlegging (pirating) and file sharing continues to ruin the business. It's human nature to want something for free but when it comes to the Southern Soul Blues world it hurts the artists and companies more. When a CD release only has a chance of selling a few thousand copies every single bootleg sale hurts. There's been a lot of outcries about "low budget living room recordings" and such but many artists figure they need to keep costs as low as possible since half their album sales are eaten up by slimeball street vendors selling counterfeit CDs. It's up to each one of us to support this music by paying a few dollars more for the REAL CD instead of the cheap bootleg. Go ahead and get your R. Kelly for free but not your Floyd Taylor if you know what I mean. Every time we do the right thing we are increasing the chance there will be more Southern Soul Blues music created and better quality music. So here's another tip: REPORT THE BOOTLEGGERS when you see them. (Any individuals with information regarding CD-R pirates or illegal manufacturing locations can call 1-888-BAD-BEAT (1-888-223-2328), send an email to email@example.com, or visit the programís website at www.CDReward.com on the Web).
Okay enough preachin'. Back to the reader's poll. This year no one person dominated the awards as no one person won more than one award. There were many releases that were worthy of nominations but didn't make the list
Thanks to all the Program Directors, DJs, stores, websites, magazines and most of all fans for supporting the music in 2007. We are glad to be a part of it here at Blues Critic.
-Dylann DeAnna Blues Critic Editor
Best Southern Soul/R & B Album
T.K. Soul "Undisputed" (Soulful/Brimstone)
We had records by Denise LaSalle, O.B. Buchana, Mr. Sam, Theodis Ealey, Bigg Robb, Charles Wilson, Fred Bolton, Lola, Betty Padgett, Floyd Taylor, Simeo, Lenny Williams & Steve Perry ..but the winner is? "Undisputed" by T.K. Soul. (Runner-Up: Denise LaSalle "Pay Before You Pump")
Southern Soul Blues Song Of The Year
"My Give A Damn Gave Out (A Long Time Ago)" by Latimore (LatStone)
Don't call it a comeback he's been here for ye...but this was the first single from his first album in five-plus years. The brilliant "My Give A Damn Gave Out (A Long Time Ago)" is just a good old soul song with clever lyrics. In one of the closest polls it narrowly edged out hits by T.K. Soul, Carl Marshall and Runner Up: Floyd Taylor's "You Still Got It"
Best Slow Jam
"Good Lovin' Will Make You Cry" by Carl Marshall (Unleashed)This sleeper slowly climbed it's way into everyone's hearts and the top of the chart. It got an extended life when Bigg Robb did a smashing remix of it. (Runner Up: "I'm Just A Fool Part 2" by J. Blackfoot & Sir Charles Jones)
Best Dance Song
"Cupid Shuffle" by Cupid (Atlantic)
Love it or hate it there was no escaping Cupid's novelty dance craze. "Cupid Shuffle" won easily but had worthy competition including T.K. Soul's "Party Like Back In The Day", Simeo's "Get Low", Charles Wilson's "That Boom!", the Team Airplay's update of "Da Twist" and the Runner Up "Pop That Middle" by Theodis Ealey)
Best Vocal Performance FEMALE
Ms. Jody on "Your Dog's About To Kill My Cat" (Ecko)
A VERY close voting race between Lola, Denise LaSalle, Betty Padgett and Runner Up Barbara Carr but Ms. Jody won by a cat's tail (tale)
Best Vocal Performance MALE
Floyd Taylor on "You Still Got It" (Malaco)
Yup he sing like his daddy but he's his own man. Floyd Taylor bested strong showings by Charles Wilson, Latimore, Willie Clayton, Sir Charles Jones and Runner Up: T.K. Soul.
Best Performance By A Duo Or Group
J. Blackfoot & Sir Charles Jones for "I'm Just A Fool For You Part 2" (JEA Music)
This is quite an achievement. J. Blackfoot won last year in this category for his duet with Lenny Williams on the ORIGINAL version of this slow jam but in 2007 he went back in and re-recorded it with Sir Charles Jones... and crushed the competition again! The only duets that came close were Omar Cunningham & Willie Clayton for "Shysters And Wannabes", Charles Wilson & Simeo for "Christmas In Memphis" and the Runner Up: Lola & William Bell for "Shake Hands".
Best New Artist FEMALE
The "best new artist" categories always get the most votes with loyal supporters of the singers rallying the troops to vote like crazy. This year there were over 75,000 votes cast in this category, mainly between winner Lola, Sweet Angel and Runner Up: The Duchess
Best New Artist MALE
The "best new artist" categories always get the most votes with loyal supporters of the singer rallying the troops to vote like crazy. This year there were over 62,000 votes cast in this category, mainly between winner Mr Sam, ZZ Hill Jr and Runner Up Fred Bolton
Best Record Producer(s) Of The Year
William Bell & Reginald "Wizard" Jones
This category isn't always fair as often voters aren't familiar with a producer's name so they may vote by default for someone they do recognize. Two producers who didn't win deserve mention. Bruce Billups produced terrific hits by Theodis Ealey and Lebrado. He's got a signature sound. Even more prolific was Simuel Overall, aka, "Simeo" who produced hits not only for his self but also for Charles Wilson, Dicky Williams and Al Lindsey. That's not to say those who got the most votes didn't deserve the attention! Larry Dodson of the Bar Kays, Bigg Robb and Runner Up Mr. Theodis Ealey got the bulk of votes but it was the production team from Wilbe Records that gets the Award. William Bell and Reginald "Wizard" Jones were responsible not only for William Bell's music but also the two bright newcomers Lola and Fred Bolton.
The BLUES CRITIC staff pick...
SOUTHERN SOUL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Early on it seemed T.K Soul would be a shoe in and he did have a great year. Theodis Ealey's success was split between 2006 and 2007 but at one point he had three(!) songs on the charts at once! The "Plumber Man" Charles Wilson and "Never Coming Home" gal Better Padgett made a lot of noise. Ecko artists Denise LaSalle and hard hustlin' O.B. Buchana delivered huge hits... but Robert Smith , aka Bigg Robb, just did the most for the genre in 2007. Two terrific albums in one year (three if you count the "Best Of Da Problem Solvas").
Big(g) sounding production, strong songs and lots of style he brought to the game. His "8 Tracks & 45s" was one of the best LPs while his collection "Blues, Soul And Old School" featured hits he produced on Carl Marshall ("Good Lovin' Will Make You Cry (remix)"), Pat Cooley ("Older Woman Younger Man") and more to follow. Take a bow bigg man!
As voted by Blues Critic readers
February 3, 2008
Another great year for the Blues. We are in another "golden age" for the genre, perhaps on par with the 20s, 40s and 60s. The top Blues labels, Blind Pig, Delta Groove Music, Alligator, Northern Blues, Ruf et al dropped some big guns in '07. Up and coming labels like Blue Bella & Yellow Dog are moving towards that upper tier.
In Blues Critic's annual Reader's Poll of 2007 only Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan and Bettye laVette picked up two awards apiece while the rest of the categories were spread out amongst a host of great Blues musicians. There were no surprises but each poll was almost too close to call!
Blues Album Of The Year
Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan "On The Jimmy Reed Highway" (Ruf)
Though Omar & Jimmie prevailed no one album dominated the votes. Runner-up The Mannish Boys, Watermelon Slim & The Workers, Nick Moss & The Flip Tops, Bettye LaVette and Bobby Rush were all within 50 votes of eachother with James Blood Ulmer, John Nemeth and Lurrie bell within 100 votes of the winner.
Best Contemporary Blues or Blues/Rock Album
Koko Taylor "Old School" (Alligator)
The queen returned doing what she does best- throwing a Wang Dang Doodle Chicago-style. Other nominees were Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan, The Mannish Boys, Nappy Brown, Watermelon Slim & The Workers, Nick Moss & The Flip Tops and runners-up Kilborn Alley Blues Band
Best Soul Blues Album
Bettye LaVette "Scene Of The Crime" (Anti)
Perhaps it is debatable whether albums by Bettye LaVette, Mavis Staples & The Holmes Brothers should be considered "Soul/Blues" but that's where the eclectic discs leaned. More traditional Soul Blues nominees were Tad Robinson, Sterling Harrison, Jimmy Hall and runners-up Root Doctor.
Best Live Or Compilation Album
Mem Shannon "Live: A Night At Tipitina's" (Northern Blues)
Four live albums and two compilations to choose from and Mem Shannon bested the popular Johnny Winter Muddy Waters James Cotton release by 18 votes. Other nominees: Jimmy Burns, Magic Slim, Elvin Bishop and the collection "City Of Dreams: A Collection Of New Orleans Music"
Blues Song Of The Year
Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmie Vaughan "Jimmy Reed Highway" (Ruf)
The title track to the "Blues Album Of 2007" was a hit, edging out Koko Taylor's "Find Me A Mule" by two dozen votes. Songs by Travis "Moonchild" Haddix, Laurie Morvan, Nick Moss, Tad Robinson & Watermelon Slim were also in the running.
Best New Artist Debut
John Nemeth "Magic Touch" (Blind Pig)
Though not truly his first disc, Nemeth's "Magic Touch" was the first one the full Blues world discovered. Also battling were Gina Sicilia, Ken Tucker, Julie Black, The BlueVoodoo, Mason Casey and Thorbjorn Risager.
Blues Singer: MALE
I thought this would be the year runner up Tad Robinson got his recognition but he had a legendary challenger in the great Nappy Brown who prevails. Other vocalists nominated this year: Finis Tasby, Watermelon Slim, Tommy Castro and Omar Kent Dykes.
Blues Singer: FEMALE
Koko's reign nearly continued but Bettye Lavette is red hot. Sista Monica Parker is gaining on her! Other Big voiced belles were Maria Muldaur, Mavis Staples & Candye Kane
Lurrie's finally getting his propers, topping last year's winner Kid Ramous by 11 votes! Mem Shannon, Nick Moss, Laurie Morvan and Corey Stevens round out the competition.
Runner-up Robb Stupka, plus Jim Mouradian, Calvin "Fuzz" Jones, Jeff Thurmes, Bill Stuve
He may not be as well known as a challenger like James Cotton or runner-up Carey Bell but Piazza ranks as one of the all time best on the "mississippi saxophone". Other harpsters were Bill Lupkin, Sugar Ray Norcia and Billy Gibson
Richard Innes bested the son of the legendary Robert Nighthawk (Sam Carr) by 16 votes!. Also Larry Taylor, Michael Newberry, Bob Carter, Lorne Entress
Not to be outdone by husband Rod's win Honey Piazza is the best Blues Keyboardest of 2007. Runner-up Henry Butler. Other nominees: David Maxwell, Charlie Wood , Willie Oshaway and last year's winner Leon Blue
Mark "Kaz" Kasanoff
Kaz keeps his crown despite challenges from Doug James, runner up Calvin Owens, Don Donohoe, Tim Green & Robert Klein
Blues Instrumentalist (Other)
Otis Taylor (Banjo)
Winner for the second year in a row Otis Taylor trumped Johnny Sansone, Jon Tiven, Dan Treanor and runner-up Gerry Hundt
Blues Critic Staff Pick for Blues Artist Of 2007
Not only did he put out one of the best CDs of the year he also guested on albums by the Flip Tops' own Gerry Hundt ("Since Way Back"), Bill Lupkin's "Hard Pill To Swallow" and The Kilborn Alley Blues Band's "Tear Chicago Down". The latter two he also produced!