Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Bigg Robb's "Southern" Soul-Blues
Bigg Robb - The Bigg Woman Song
Da Problem Solvas - Running Out of Lies Medley (some adult themes; listener discretion advised)
It's been quite awhile since any soul-blues has graced the blog, so today's feature is a soul-blues double play. Bigg Robb (born Ohio Robert Smith) has made quite a name for himself during this decade among the soul-blues crowd with his "grown folks music" CDs, but he has been involved with show biz since the age of 11(!), when he began broadcasting on Cincinnati's WAIF as the "Sugar Daddy from Cincinnati." After his preteen and teenage radio years, he hooked up with Roger Troutman and toured with Zapp before making his own music, both as a solo act and as part of a trio named Da Problem Solvas.
Robb's music is marketed as "Southern soul," a term which makes old-school soul fans like me somewhat uneasy, being that that term is generally used by our ilk to mean Otis Redding, James Carr, Candi Staton, etc. to the exclusion of the synth-heavy moden soul-blues sound. The reality of the issue is, however, that his soul-blues sound is mostly popular with Southern black folks, and his songs have particular appeal to the ladies in that audience, who seem to appreciate his pro-woman lyrics. Marketing labels aside, however, he does have some appealing tracks, like the two featured today.
"The Bigg Woman Song" is Robb's paean to the full-figured woman, and though it's synth-heavy arrangement is probably not for everyone's tastes, in my opinion, it's just a nice slab of fun. The tune starts off with some deejay patter praising big women, after which a swaggering Zapp-flavored groove kicks in and Robb takes his time encouraging said women to be proud of who they are and explaining what he likes about them.
"Running Out of Lies" immediately captured my attention, as it totally appropriates the sensuous, almost-sinister groove of the Johnnie Taylor classic. To refer to the song as a "medley" is inaccurate, as Da Problem Solvas discard the original lyrics and instead issue a warning to the male listeners that "ladies are getting tired" of being mistreated and neglected. It's clearly the stronger of the two tracks here today, but listener discretion is advised: this is truly "grown folks music," with some frank discussion of where men are going wrong and how to correct the problem!