This past February, the chitlin circuit became a little less funky when one of its greatest performers died following complications from pneumonia. Marvin Sease, a native of Blackville, South Carolina, was 64 years old and only eight days short of his 65th birthday when he passed. He was originally a gospel singer and as is the case with many southern gospel singers, he made his way into secular R&B music. In 1986, Marvin Sease released his self-titled album which included the tune that would become his trademark for the remainder of his days, “Candy Licker”.
From that point on, Marvin Sease built a career and a cult following based on his racy and raunchy songs. He never saw even a portion of the mainstream success that some of his peers did. Johnnie Taylor, Tyrone Davis, and to a lesser extent, Bobby Rush all come to mind. Perhaps that’s something to be expected here though. With songs like “The Power of Coochie”, “Rather Be Licked”, “The Bitch Git It All”, and “I Ate The Whole Thang”, chances of getting radio play would have to be slim to none.
To further illustrate the point, below is a list of some of Marvin Sease’s greatest songs with a bit of insight as to what makes them and him so great. If you have sensitive ears, you may want to depart now and we thank you for reading the post to this point. For the rest of us that came for some juke joint rockin’, Saturday night partying, and drinkin’, down home blues… get ready for these tunes from the self-proclaimed Ghetto Man.
“Gone On” from Who’s Got the Power (2008)
Going down a list that reads like an inveterate roster of Who’s Who in the world of music, Marvin Sease calls off the names of several artists that have passed on to that great concert in the sky. Stretching across genres to include the likes of everyone from Frank Sinatra to Tupac and Biggie to Johnny Cash and more. He questions the whereabouts of all of his friends, and eventually answers his own query with “Heaven must’ve took them away from me.”
“I’m Mr. Jody” from Do You Need a Licker? (1994)
The word “Jody” has its origin as a military term as a description of a man who stays at home while all the other men are gone off to war. He gets to enjoy all the things the soldiers have left behind, namely their wives and girlfriends. In the blues world, Jody is the one that comes around while the husband is gone to work or out of town on business, often sneaking in through the back door so that no one sees him. On the song, after being confronted by a betrayed husband, he explains to the jilted and irate gentleman that “It ain’t what you got, but how you use it”.
“Motel Lover” from The Real Deal (1989)
This bass, brass, and synth-heavy tune examines the plight of two lovers that are stepping out on their respective spouses. When you can’t go to her place and she can’t come to yours, the only one other viable option (besides the back seat of an ’87 Fleetwood Cadillac) is to take the party to your friendly neighborhood Econolodge or Red Roof Inn. It’s a dangerous game.
“I Ate You for My Breakfast” from Breakfast (1987)
What a way to kick off the day, huh? As if the title alone here isn’t enough to whet your appetite for this dandy, Marvin Sease turns up the temperature on the proverbial oven when he comes home from work famished. The singer likens his woman’s fragrant perfume to scrumptious, delectable bacon and her body to warm, fluffy eggs. Needless to say, there’s really only one thing left to do after that. Dig in. Literally even.
“Condom on Your Tongue” from Breakfast (1987)
In the ’80s, AIDS was beginning to become a global epidemic, impacting the lives of millions of people. Describing it as a “serious thing”, Marvin Sease recorded this tune from the perspective of two people trying to ease the fears of their would-be lovers by instructing each other to take latex condoms and use them on the tips of their tongues as a barrier. Perhaps dental dams were not widely available or maybe they were just not cool enough for Sease… but at least he gave a damn. Pun intended.
“I Can’t Afford To Be Caught” from I Got Beat Out (2002)
The sound of an unknown person knocking at Marvin Sease’s door AND calling on the telephone sends him into a frenzy trying to figure out who it is, as he lays in a comfortable bed with his woman . . . his other woman. After going through his progressions, he deduces that it is not his wife (because he just took her to work), it’s not the doctor (because they don’t make house calls), and it’s not the police (because they’ve committed no crime . . . legally, anyway). We never really find out just who it is at the door, but what we do know is that no good is bound to come of it all.
“Candy Licker” from Marvin Sease (1986)
Without a shadow of a doubt, the piece de resistance or crown jewel in Marvin Sease’s extensive catalog of music is “Candy Licker”. Its infectious groove does something to the listener and before you even know it, you’re up and two-stepping to a song that solely dedicated to orally satisfying the ladies. Replete with erotic moans, Marvin Sease touts his exceptional prowess in the bedroom, beckoning women to get rid of their lazy lovers that refused to do the deed. By the end of the song, the listener may be slumped over in laughter, but they’ll be certain to know just what Marvin Sease has a sweet tooth for.
Again, Marvin Sease will likely never be remembered as a big star, but he knew what worked for him and he mastered it. His fans have always loved and will continue to love him for that.