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Mel Waiters

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R&B singer Mel Waiters mixed the grit of urban blues with the grooves and spirit of vintage soul and created a sound that made him a headliner on the Southern soul circuit, where tunes like "Got My Whiskey," "Hole in the Wall," and "The Smaller the Club" ("the bigger the party") became fan favorites. Born in San Antonio, Texas on June 25, 1956, Waiters began performing when he was 18 years old, dividing his time between gigs at local soul clubs and singing with gospel choirs at church. At first, singing wasn't bringing Waiters a dependable income, so he sidelined as a radio DJ, and also found a lucrative gig performing at military bases. It was in the early '90s that Waiters career finally began to connect (Waiters claimed he got some useful advice and assistance from New Orleans R&B legend Bobby Marchan), and in 1995 he recorded his first album, I'm Serious. The year 1997 brought the album Woman in Need, which featured the first of Waiters' underground hits about the joys of partying, "Got My Whiskey," and between 1999 and 2015 Waiters released 11 albums, becoming a star on the circuit that had supported artists like Bobby Rush and Marvin Sease for decades and earning an especially loyal audience in New Orleans and St. Louis. In early 2015, the hard-working Waiters was diagnosed with cancer, and the singer died after a short battle with the disease on May 28, 2015. ~ Mark Deming

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