It took Joe about 10 years and half a dozen labels before he truly found his voice. He doesn't really start preaching (on record, anyway) until a couple of magnificent 45s he cut for Anna in the early 60s. And although his good humor is always present, he doesn't really start incorporating the folksy wisdom that makes him so unique until he gets to Dial and Nashville knob-twiddler Buddy Killen starts producing him.
But even on his earliest hits for his first label, King, you can hear some of his later writing and performing tics loud and clear.
On "Pneumonia" for instance, we get to hear his love for the one-upping "answer record" (in this case to "Fever", obviously), his fondness for writing songs about funny diseases, and his strange and slightly uncomfortable tendency to use comedic domestic violence as a, uhm, punchline.
On "Davey, You Upset My Home" we can hear his skill with funny social commentary, a little bit of his country influence, and . . . his strange and slightly uncomfortable tendency to use comedic domestic violence as a, uhm, punchline.