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Poonanny Be Still!

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Album Review

Birmingham, AL resident Joe Poonanny had been a fixture on the Southern chitlin circuit for around 30 years when, in 1993, he finally recorded his debut album, Poonanny Be Still, for Malaco's Waldoxy label. Other labels had expressed interest in the blues/soul singer known for his raunchy humor, but allegedly, Poonanny was distrustful of record companies in general and couldn't be persuaded to record an album until Malaco's Tommy Couch, Jr. came along. This fun, highly entertaining CD won't appeal to those who shy away from off-color humor — it isn't as explicit as a 2 Live Crew album, but it isn't exactly gospel either. Clarence Carter's "Strokin'," Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out" and Denise LaSalle's "Steppin' Out" were perfect choices for Poonanny, whose album has as much to do with Southern R&B as it does with the blues. Poonanny Be Still did especially well in the South — the people who bought this disc were the same people who were into soul-minded bluesmen like Bobby "Blue" Bland, Little Johnny Taylor and the late Z.Z. Hill and blues-friendly souls singers like Carter and LaSalle. With Poonanny Be Still, national audiences finally got a chance to hear a talented singer who had gone unrecorded for too long.


Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Bawdy blues-singing Joe Poonanny, aka the God Father of the Chitlin' Circuit, came up in Birmingham, AL. His parents' house was across the street from a show bar, and he could look out his window and watch the drummer play, and aspired to do the same, especially after watching The Gene Krupa Story. He practiced daily and played his first professional gig at 17. He drummed around for years but wanted something more substantial, so in 1975 he worked behind the scenes operating night clubs and managing...
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Poonanny Be Still!, Poonanny
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