Joe Tex


Band members                              Related acts

Joe Tex (aka Joseph Arrington Jr., aka Yusuf Hazziez)  (RIP 1982)

  –  vocals

 

 

 

- The Soul Clan

 

 

 


 

Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Hold On! It’s Joe Tex

Company: Checker

Catalog: LP-2993

Year: 1964

Country/State: Rogers or Navasota Texas (?)

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: mono pressing; some ‘yellowing’ on back cover; name written in black ink on front cover ‘Doug Bernstein’; light marks on vinyl, but plays without noise or skips

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5267

Price: $80.00

 

People are largely unaware of Joe Tex’s late-1950s/early-1960s corporate wanderings.  Having started his musical career while still in high school recording secular material with a number of gospel grounds, his big break came in 1954 when he won a Houston talent show.  The win led to an appearance at an Apollo Theater amateur hour show and a contract with King Records.  Three years (1955-58) with King did nothing commercially, and over the next five years he bounced from label to label including stints on Ace, Anna, Parrot, and Checker.

 

With his performance career in low gear, Tex’s initial breakthrough came as a songwriter.  In 1962 James Brown elected to cover ‘Babe, You’re Right’ which Tex had previously waxed for Checker.  The cover hit # 2 on the R&B charts and captured the attention of producer/songwriter Buddy Killen who promptly signed Tex to his newly established Dial label.  

 

 

The resulting attention sent Tex’s earlier labels scurrying to their recording vaults in an effort to cash-in on the artist’s sudden commercial breakthrough.  Even though they’d never bothered to release any of the material he’d recorded for the label, Checker was no exception issuing 1964’s “Hold On! It’s Joe Tex”.  Pulling together previously released Anna sides (‘All I Could Do Was Cry’, ‘I’ll Never Break Your Heart’, ‘Baby You’re Right’ and ‘Ain’t I A Mess’) along with a couple of shelved Chess studio tracks, for folks familiar with Tex’s mid-1960s soul material these eight sides were liable to come as somewhat of a surprise.  From a sonic standpoint selections like ‘All I Could Do Is Cry’ and ‘’Get Together Closer’ were extremely raw, reflecting a mixture of his Gospel and R&B roots.  Perhaps not as polished as on his future Dial catalog, but all of the performance characteristics that would mark his forthcoming commercial breakthroughs were on display – anguished vocals (All I Could Do Is Cry’), mid-song sermonizing (‘I’ll Never Break Your Heart’), and occasionally strange sense of humor (‘You Keep Her’) which was apparently aimed at James Brown after he supposedly ‘nicked’ Tex’s wife. Elsewhere the album showcased Tex’s chameleon-like characteristics with original material like ‘Sit Yourself Down’ and ‘Don’t Play’ displaying his more commercial soul moves. Highlights included the autobiographical dance number ‘I’m a Mess’ and ‘I’ll Never Break Your Heart’ which was apparently an answer record to Jerry Butler’s ‘He’ll Never Break Your Heart’.  (Always wondered why some of the songwriting credits reflected Joseph Arrington Jr., while others went to Joe Tex.)

 

"Hold On! It's Joe Tex" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) All I Could Do Is Cry (Part II)   (Davis – Gordy) – 3:00

2.) All I Could Do Is Cry (Part I)   (Davis – Gordy) – 2:35

3.) You Keep Her   (Joseph Arrington Jr.) – 2:20

4.) Ain’t I A Mess   (Joe Tex) – 2:30

5.) Babe, You’re Right   (Joe Tex) – 2:15

 

(side 2)

1.) Sit Yourself Down   (Joseph Arrington Jr.) – 2:40

2.) Don’t Play   (Joseph Arrington Jr.) – 2:48

3.) Get Together Closer   (Joseph Arrington Jr.) – 2:50

4.) I’ll Never Break Your Heart Part I   (Joe Tex – Butler – Mayfield – Carter) - 2:26

5.) I’ll Never Break Your Heart Part II   (Joe Tex – Butler – Mayfield – Carter) - 2:26

 

Anxious to recoup some of its earlier investment Checker even got around to releasing a Tex single in the form of ‘Babe, You’re Right’ b/w ‘All I Could Do Is Cry (Part II)’ (Checker catalog number 1104).

 

   

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  I've Got To Do A Little Bit Better

Company: Dial / Atlantic

Catalog: 8133

Year: 1966

Country/State: Rogers or Navasota Texas (?)

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: mono pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5770

Price: $50.00

 

Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  I've Got To Do A Little Bit Better

Company: Dial / Atlantic

Catalog: 8133

Year: 1966

Country/State: Rogers or Navasota Texas (?)

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: stereo pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5770

Price: $40.00

 

 

 

I've always been puzzled by the fact Joe Tex wasn't a bigger star.  He certainly had as much talent as his better known competitors - think along the lines of James Brown, or Otis Redding.  Perhaps it had something to do with the pink puffy sleeved shirt, or red-high rider pants ...  

 

Continuing his partnership with producer Buddy Killen, 1966's "I've Got To Do A Little Bit Better" was a pretty amazing record.  Not only did the collection feature eleven Tex originals (the album rounded out by an add Roger Miller cover), but it marked his third studio album in the last twelve months.  Talk about a creative flood.  Musically this wasn't a major creative breakthrough and there certainly wasn't anything particularly original on the set.  That said, it was certainly one of Tex's most consistent releases.

 

"Hold On! It's Joe Tex" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Papa Was, Too   (Joe Tex) - 2:47

'Papa Was, Too' started with a clear nod to Otis Redding and Carla Thomas' 'Tramp' but Tex managed to carve out his own niche in the 'daddy-was-trash, but I loved him' sweepstakes.  rating **** 4 stars

2.) What Me and My Baby Ain't Got   (Joe Tex) - 2:27

'What Me and My Baby Ain't Got' was an easy going mid tempo track that was saved from oblivion by a catchy chorus.    rating *** 3 stars

3.) A Woman Sees a Hard Time (When her Man Is Gone   (Joe Tex) - 3:01

Tex was always at his best when switching into Southern preacher mode and 'A Woman Sees a Hard Time (When her Man Is Gone' found him providing insight and advice on the affairs of a woman's heart.  Given he'd previously lost a wife to a rival, this one may have struck close to home.  Nice horn charts.   rating **** 4 stars

4.) Watch the One (That Brings Bad News)   (Joe Tex) - 3:14

'Watch the One (That Brings Bad News)' found Tex dipping his toes in a more conventional big band R&B sound.  Yeah, it was still funky and featured a nice B.B. King-styled solo, but Tex's slurred vocal was kind of irritating ('keep your eye on d one').  rating ** 2 stars

5.) Taking Care of a Woman (Is a Full Time Job)   (Joe Tex) - 2:58

With a take-no-prisoners beat and an impassioned, frantic vocal, 'Taking Care of a Woman (Is a Full Time Job)' was one of the best song's on the album.    rating **** 4 stars

6.) Lying's Just a Habit John   (Joe Tex) - 2:48

The melody for 'Lying's Just a Habit John' reminds me of another song (though for the life of me I've never been able to pin it down).  Lyrically there wasn't a great deal to it, though you had to smile at his simply homily.  Not sure I agree that it's a habit people can easily break, but the though was nice. rating *** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) I've Got To Do a Little But Better   (Joe Tex) - 2:58

'I've Got To Do a Little But Better' started side two with a nice old school bluesy ballad.  Tex seldom sounded as good and the cello solo was an unexpected hoot.  rating **** 4 stars

2.) The Truest Woman In the World   (Joe Tex) - 2:55

Back in preacher mode, 'The Truest Woman In the World' offered up another rap about how to safeguard your relationship.  Admittedly it was kind of spooky to hear him sing 'help me keep an eye on my baby', but given his earlier marital experiences it may have been one of the more autobiographical efforts.  rating *** 3 stars

3.) I Believe I'm Gonna Make It   (Joe Tex) - 3:00

All hyperbole aside, 'I Believe I'm Gonna Make It' was worth the purchase price.  Set to a Hammond B3 propelled Gospel framework, the plotline had to do with a grunt sitting in a Vietnamese foxhole who gets a letter from his girlfriend informing him he's a dad (quite risqué for 1966).  The guy is so happy to learn he's gonna be a dad that he jumps out of the foxhole and kills to enemy soldiers.  Strange beyond strange.  It was also tapped as a single:

- 1966's 'I Believe I'm Gonna Make It' b/w 'You Better Believe It, Baby' (Dial catalog number 45-4055) rating ***** 5 stars

4.) Got You On My Mind   (Joe Tex - Howard Biggs) - 2:15

The only track where Tex shared the writing credit (with Howard Biggs), 'Got You On My Mind' was an okay mid tempo track.  The big horn arrangement detracted a bit from the song, but it was still okay.  rating ** 2 stars

5.) Half a Mind   (Roger Miller) - 2:12

Gawd only knows why Tex decided to cover a Roger Miller track.  'Half a Mind' served as one of the lighter, more pop oriented songs on the album.  That's not to say it was one of the better tracks.  In spite of the fact he said he loved the song, Tex didn't sound all that comfortable with it.  rating * 1 star

6.) S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song)   (Joe Tex) - 2:48

Released as the first single from the album 'S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song)' was easily the most commercial and radio friendly song on the album.  Classic mid-1960s soul. 

 

 

- 1966's 'S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song)' b/w 'I'm a Man' (Dial catalog 4028) rating **** 4 stars

 

 

Given the size and scope of Tex's catalog you clearly don't want or need to own everything, but this is one of the exceptions.  Well worth looking for.

 

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Live and Lively

Company: Dial

Catalog: SD 8156

Year: 1968

Country/State: Rogers or Navasota Texas (?)

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5277

Price: $40.00

 

 

It’s strange how history remembers some mediocre performers, while largely forgetting far more talented entities …  Sadly, the late Joe Tex seems to increasingly be cast into the latter category.

 

Anyone having bought 1966’s “Live and Lively” couldn’t be blamed for believing it was a live set. The cover art, the title, the liner notes … That said, to my jaded ears the in-between songs audience applause and noises sounded suspiciously dubbed; with many of Tex’s performances almost too perfect to be a true in-concert set. On the other hand perhaps there was just tons of post-production work …  In the end maybe it didn’t matter all that much since for all intents and purposes the eleven tracks served as a ‘best of’ compilation with many of them having been released as earlier singles.  To be perfectly honest Tex wasn’t the most dynamic soul singer out there.  His voice was occasionally flat and rather raspy with a distinctively limited range (check out his tentative performance on ‘Love Is a Hurtin’ Thing’).  Add to that none of the eleven performances differed all that much from earlier studio performances. That wasn’t to imply the album was a wash-out.  Tex may not have had the world’s best voice, but he certainly knew who to utilized his Godly gifts.  Other highlights came in the form of Tex originals; ‘Show Me’, ‘Wooden Spoon’, ‘A Woman’s Hands’ and ‘Skinny Legs and All’.  Released as a single (b/w ‘Watch the One’ (Dial catalog number 4063)) the latter provided Tex with one of his bigger hits.  Elsewhere dj Steve Byrd deserved ‘worst liner notes of the year’ credits for his pathetic back cover efforts.  Shame on Atlantic and Dial for not having found someone who actually had a clue.

 

For anyone interested, I found an old YouTube performance of ‘Skinny Legs and All’.  Tex was clearly was lip synching, but it was still entertaining.  

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tl4B613Yao

 

"Live and Lively" track listing:

(side 1) 

1.) Show Me   (Joe Tex) – 3:07

2.) Do Right Woman – Do Right Man   (Dan Penn – Chips Moman) – 2:54

3.) Get Out of My Life, Woman   (Allen Toussaint) – 2:57

4.) Wooden Spoon   (Joe Tex) – 2:58

5.) That’s Life   (Kelly Gordon – Dean Kay) – 3:00

 

(side 1) 

1.) Love Is a Hurtin’ Thing   (Ben Raleigh – Dave Linden) – 2:22

2.) Don’t Give Up   (Joe Tex) – 3:07

3.) A Woman’s Hands   (Joe Tex) – 3:28

4.) You’re Gonna Thank Me, Woman   (Joe Tex) – 2:00

5.) Papa Was, Too   (Joe Tex) – 2:54

6.) Skinny Legs and All   (Joe Tex) – 3:10

 

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Happy Soul

Company: Atlantic

Catalog: SD 8211

Year: 1969

Country/State: Rogers or Navasota Texas (?)

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6255

Price: $15.00

By my count Joe Tex released eight studio sets between 1965 and 1969.  For a guy that prolific, you had to wonder how he managed to turn out anything actually worth hearing and while 1969' "Happy Soul" had more than its share of by-the-book performances, the set had enough hidden treasures to make it worth looking for.  So here's my main gripe with mid-career Tex - the guy had immense talent, but by the late-1960s he was relying far too heavily on his 'funny guy' shtick to pad albums.  Exemplified by tracks like 'Go Home And Do It', 'Chicken Crazy', and 'Take The Fifth Amendment', the combination of goofy storyteller (complete with character parts) and straight ahead comedic songs was clearly aimed at the soul audience, but it made for very 'hit-of-miss performances.  It also had the effect of making you forget how good Tex could really be when he played it straight.   Even though the results were sporadic, audiences apparently found it funny, or Tex wouldn't have kept on churning it out.  Curiously, given today's politically correct environment, you have to wonder how audiences would greet some of Tex's occasionally raunchy repertoire.  Those complaints aside, song-for-song this set stood as one of Tex's more consistent and enjoyable collections.   

 

"Happy Soul" track listing:

(side 1) 

1.) Go Home And Do It   (Joe Tex) - 3:15

'Go Home And Do It' was a patented Tex performance complete with goofy plotline, spoken word character segments, and some surprisingly nifty country guitar.  I'll readily admit that Tex's frustrated businessman narrative was at least mildly funny.   Imagine Flip Wilson cutting a soul album and you'd get a feel for this one.  rating: *** stars

2.) That's Your Baby   (Joe Tex) - 2:26

Not sure how Tex's stab a deadbeat fathers 'That's Your Baby' ranked on the politically correct scale (even back in the late-1960s), but this one actually rocked out with considerable energy and had a nifty hook.  rating: *** stars

3.) Baby Be Good   (Joe Tex) - 3:01

A straightforward soul number 'Baby Be Good' served to show how good Tex could be when he dropped the humorous front.  The guy had a voice that was every bit as good as James Brown and when pair with a great song like this one, he was as good as anyone in the business.  One of the album highlights ...   rating: **** stars  

-4.) You Need Me Baby   (Joe Tex) - 3:20

You Need Me Baby' found Tex apparently trying to pull a page out of the Clarence Carter songbook.  This was another one that proved a surprise - interesting set of lyrics, raw vocal (which left you wondering if he was still thinking about James Brown's earlier treachery ...), and a punchy melody made it another standout performance.     rating: **** stars  

5.) Chicken Crazy   (Joe Tex) - 3:27

I guess you had to see Tex in a small club to get the charm of a track like 'Chicken Crazy'.  Complete with Tex's patented role playing, this one was funky, but just seemed kind of dated and tired to my ears.   rating: *** stars 

 

(side 2) 

1.) You've Come A Long Way   (Joe Tex) - 3:23

Maybe it's just me, but 'You've Come A Long Way' had kind of a creepy, stalker edge to it.  Not sure any father would be too thrilled to have this version of Tex prowling around his daughter.  That vicious laugh didn't serve to make him any more likeable.   rating: *** stars

2.) Sweet Sweet Woman   (Joe Tex) - 3:01

'Sweet Sweet Woman' found Tex briefly returning to his bluesy roots.  Kicked along some nice Steve Cropper-styled lead guitar and the album's best horn charts, this breezy mid-tempo number again served to showcase just how good Tex could be without all the needless goofiness.    rating: **** stars

3.) You Can Tell   (Joe Tex) - 5:13

With a vamp from 'preacher' Tex, 'You Can Tell' offered up another relatively straightforward ballad.  Probably the album's best vocal performance, with it's wonderful 'A-B-C' hook. this one would have made a nice choice as a single.   rating: **** stars

4.) Take The Fifth Amendment   (Joe Tex) - 2:21

Yes, yes, yes I'll admit Tex's adultery song 'Take The Fifth Amendment' was funny and cute.  This one might be worth the price of admission alone.   rating: **** stars

5.) Keep The One You Got   (Joe Tex) - 2:38
Given imitation is the most sincere form of flattery who could criticize Tex for revisiting earlier glories ?  In this case 'Keep The One You Got' sounded like a tribute to hit earlier hit 'Hold What You've Got'.   The reference to a Nehru jacket always makes me smile ...   rating: **** stars

 




 


Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  Sings with Strings & Things

Company: Atlantic

Catalog: SD 8254

Year: 1970

Country/State: Rogers or Navasota Texas (?)

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: small cut out notch top edge

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 2188

Price: $20.00

 

If you've gotten this far into Joe Tex's extensive recording catalog you clearly already knew what to expect from the man.  In spite of the title, 1970's "Sings with Strings & Things" wasn't a major departure from his past releases.   In fact if you were thinking this was going to be Tex's sell out album where he coated everything in MOR orchestration, you needn't worry.  With Tex responsible for all ten tracks (one tune co-written with Eddie Williams), the album offered up a typically diverse set of material.   Yeah, the leadoff track 'Everything Happens On Time' got the album off to a somewhat shaky start, but after that momentary detour things returned to normal with a surprisingly consistent and engaging set of country-soul ballads, up-tempo soul tracks, and funky numbers.   Almost worth the price of admission was Tex's autobiographical 'You're Right, Ray Charles', followed by the equally funky '(When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again) I Can't See You No More'.   It wasn't Tex's creative zenith, but song-for-song was quite strong and stands as one of his overlooked '70s releases.  Not that easy to find, but well worth looking for.

 

"Sings with Strings & Things" track listing:

(side 1) 

1.) Everything Happens On Time   (Eddie Williams - Joe Tex) - 3:00

One of the stranger tunes in Tex's catalog ...  'Everything Happens On Time' seemed as if it couldn't make up its mind as to whether it wanted to be a soul tune, a crooner number, a stab at jazz, or something from a Broadway show.   The little guitar riff  that appeared throughout the song was kind of neat, but elsewhere this one as kind of a wreck.   That didn't stop Dial from releasing it as a single:

- 1970's 'Everything Happens On Time' b/w 'You're Right, Ray Charles' (Dial catalog number 45-4096)   rating: *** stars

2.) The Same Old Soup   (Joe Tex) - 3:32

Joe Tex handing out some of his patented relationship advice.   Yeah, the spoken word homily sounded a bit dated, but as a guy in his mid-'50s I have to admit his words of caution were surprisingly on the mark.   rating: *** stars

3.) I Love You and Thank You   (Joe Tex) - 2:46

Hearing 'I Love You and Thank You' I constantly marvel at how many strong melodies Tex managed to churn out.   Kicked along by a breeze, horn-powered melody this was a classic Tex track.   What a great voice he had.   rating: **** stars

4.) A Little Friendly Advice   (Joe Tex) - 2:49

In contrast, the slow, dragging, country-soul ballad 'A Little Friendly Advice' captured the worst aspects of Tex.   Tex playing the preachy story-teller simply never did much for me.   rating: ** stars

5.) Take My Baby a Little Love   (Joe Tex) - 2:44

Yeah, musically and lyrically there wasn't a great deal to this one, but showcasing his voice at it's most strained and ragged, I have to admit I really liked the bluesy 'Take My Baby a Little Love'.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2) 

1.) You're Right, Ray Charles   (Joe Tex) - 3:34

How could you not love a song with such a great title and a lyric that started out with "Hey Tex, you got an outta sight show ..."   Simply a lost soul classic that would give all the soul greats a run for their money.  "I'm going to Memphis ..."   This song alone might be worth the price of admission. You had to wonder why this one wasn't tapped as a single.   Buddy Miles borrowed most of the tune for an instrumental entitled 'Joe Tex' and included on his 1971 album "A Message To The People".   rating: ***** stars 

2.) She Might Need Me   (Joe Tex) - 3:42 

Pretty, country-tinged ballad with some tasty Steve Cropper-styled guitar fills.  That said, the horn and string arrangement may have pushed it a tad to close Jimmy Webb/Glen Campbell territory.     rating: *** stars

3.) Daddy's Got a Bad Back   (Joe Tex) - 2:30

More homespun wisdom that was set to a bouncy melody, but was simply way too cute for Tex's own good, though the Baroque horns were unexpected and kind of cool.   rating: ** stars

4.) My Wife My Woman   (Joe Tex) - 2:50

Tex doing some jump blues.  Nice and the horns were great.   rating: *** stars

5.) (When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again) I Can't See You No More   (Joe Tex) - 2:46

 '(When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again) I Can't See You No More' found Tex ending the album on a creative highlight - namely a driving slice of funk.  I'm guessing the lyrics got the tune banned from Armed Forces Network radio stations.   Dial tapped it as a single:

- 1969's '(When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again) I Can't See You No More' b/w 'Sure Is  Good' (Dial catalog number 45-4095)   rating: **** stars

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Spills the Beans

Company: Dial

Catalog: DL 6004

Year: 1972

Country/State: Rogers or Navasota Texas (?)

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5440

Price: $10.00

 

You don't buy Joe Tex albums for their ground breaking creativity, or awe inspiring originality and 1972's "Joe Tex Spills the Beans" is certainly no exception to that rule.  Like all of his Dial catalog, the album was produced by Buddy Killen with Tex responsible for penning all twelve tracks.  Musically the set offered up a patented mixture of Tex as bluesman ('Woman Stealer'), funky comedian ('Cat's Got Her Tongue'), country storyteller ('Papa's Dream'), love man philosopher ('Let's Go Somewhere and Talk'), and preacher ('Living in the Last Days') and social activist ('A Mother's Prayer').  The album was never a favorite among critics who derided Tex for having fallen into a dull groove, but I'll step up and tell you the set's actually quite good.  Like I said, there's nothing here that Tex hadn't done before (frequently those earlier efforts were better), but even when treading water Tex could still be pretty good.  Highlights included 'All The Heaven A Man Really Needs' (one of his most memorable melodies), 'Woman Stealer' (which may well have been another slap at James Brown), the funky 'King Thaddeus', and the surprisingly pop-oriented 'I Come to You'.   Not his best, not his worst - somewhere in the middle of the catalog, but it certainly grew on me and courtesy of designer John Youssi, I always liked the green bean cover ...

 

Dial also tapped the album for a series of four singles:

 

 

- 1973's 'King Thaddeus' b/w 'Rain Go Away' (Dial catalog number D-1018)
- 1973's 'Woman Stealer' b/w 'Cat's Got Her Tongue' (Dial catalog number D-1020)
- 1973's 'All The Heaven A Man Really Needs' b/w 'Let's Go Somewhere And Talk' (Dial catalog number D-1021) 
- 1973's 'Trying To Win Your Love' b/w 'I've Seen Enough' (Dial catalog number D-1024)

"Spills the Beans" track listing:

(side 1) 

1.) All The Heaven A Man Really Needs   (Joe Tex) - 3:33

2.) You're Sure Gonna Get It   (Joe Tex) - 2:06

3.) Woman Stealer   (Joe Tex) - 2:42

4.) Rain Go Away   (Joe Tex) - 2:35

5.) Let's Go Somewhere and Talk   (Joe Tex) - 4:20

6.) A Mother's Prayer   (Joe Tex) - 2:45

 

(side 1) 

1.) Cat's Got Her Tongue   (Joe Tex) - 3:03

2.) Living in the Last Days   (Joe Tex) - 2:37

3.) I Come to You   (Joe Tex) -

4.) King Thaddeus   (Joe Tex) - 4:31

5.) Trying to Win Your Love   (Joe Tex) - 2:25

6.) Papa's Dream   (Joe Tex) - 2:51

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Buying a Book

Company: Atlantic

Catalog: SD 8231

Year: 1969

Country/State: Rogers or Navasota Texas (?)

Grade (cover/record): VG/VG+

Comments: cut out notch top edge

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6028

Price: $15.00

 

To be honest, 1969's "Buying a Book" wasn't going to change anyone's opinion of Joe Tex.  If you admired his goofball, funny streak, then you were going to appreciate tracks like 'Sure Is Good', 'It Ain't Sanitary' and 'Get Your Lies Together'.  If you were impressed by his activist persona, then 'We Can't Sit Down Together'' was liable to strike a chord with you.  If you liked his southern story-teller romps 'That's the Way', 'The Only Way' and 'Grandma Mary' were going to be up your alley.  If you didn't like any of those characteristics, well you might want to stop reading here.  I'll readily admit that Tex didn't have soul's greatest voice and while he was a prolific writer, much of his out put was forgettable.  That said, with Tex responsible for penning all twelve numbers, song for song, this LP stood as one of his better and most consistent releases.  The album lacked a true top-40 killer cut, but with one or two exception, virtually every one of these was worth hearing.   

 

"Buying a Book" track listing:

(side 1) 

1.) We Can't Sit Down Together   (Joe Tex) - 2:59

Even before he converted to Islam and changed his name, Tex was one of soul's most activist practioneers.  With Tex adopting his best gospel preacher stance, 'We Can't Sit Down Together' was a perfect example of his willingness to stand up and make a statement - this one seemed to focus on black empowerment.   rating: *** stars

2.) Sure Is Good   (Joe Tex) - 3:19

Opening up with some tasty Mexican-styled horns and Tex singing the title in a number of foreign languages, 'Sure Is Good' was a breezy and fun outing.  One of my favorite performances on the album.   Hum, wonder what a Doug Sahm - Joe Tex collaboration would have sounded like ...    rating: **** stars

3.) That's the Way   (Joe Tex) - 3:49

Opening with an extended vamp where Dr.Tex waxed over the public's demand for relationship advice, 'That's the Way'  really hit its stride when Tex started prescribing ways for men to improve their relationships with their wives,  You simply had to smile at Tex's heartfelt recommendations.   rating: *** stars

4.) Anything You Wanna Know   (Joe Tex) - 3:48

Side one's funkiest performance, 'Anything You Wanna Know' was a surprisingly funny and on target number describing the inner workings of a small town's black community.      rating: **** stars

5.) It Ain't Sanitary   (Joe Tex) - 3:48

Tex's goofball side came flying out with 'It Ain't Sanitary'.  Yeah, today the plotline of love gone wrong and revenge sounds positively quaint and almost sophomoric, but given my own 3rd grader sense of humor I have to admit that I love this one.    rating: **** stars

 

(side 1) 

1.) The Only Way   (Joe Tex) - 3:18

A bluesy, old-school ballad, 'The Only Way' the was a classic slice of Tex as the pained story-teller.  Listening to this one you had to wonder if he was still pissed off at James Brown.    rating: *** stars

2.) Grandma Mary   (Joe Tex) - 3:35

'Grandma Mary' was the first track on the album that I can say I really didn't like.  To my ears Tex was simply trying to hard on this one giving it a formulaic feel that sounded corny and forced.   rating: ** stars

3.) Get Your Lies Together   (Joe Tex) - 2:47

Tex at his funkiest best, unless you were a Puritan or dead, 'Get Your Lies Together' was bound to make you smile.  One suspects this may have been an autobiographical story ...   rating: **** stars

4.) The Same Thing You Did To Me   (Joe Tex) - 2:40

Even for the late 1960s 'The Same Thing You Did To Me' has an extremely sexist stance and it's doubtful this one won Tex any fans among women's groups.  That didn't detract from the fact the song rocked out ...  time to do some 'push-aways'.   rating: **** stars

5.) Buying a Book   (Joe Tex) - 3:25

Another slice of bluesy-story telling, the title track sounded like something Clarence Carter would have killed to have written, or at least recorded. 'Young girls is my weakness ...'  We should all have such vigor in our golden years.  I've never understood the weird marketing agreement which saw Tax's albums released on Atlantic while the singles came out on Dial ...  So, dial tapped the set for a single in the form of:

 

 

- 1969's 'Buying a Book' b/w 'Chicken Crazy' (Dial catalog number 45-4090)    rating: *** stars

 

For some reason this one's surprisingly hard to score - not particularly rare or expensive, but you just don't see it very often.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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