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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Joe Tex: The Dapper Dropper

"If I were a disease - Dr. Feelgood would cure me!"
King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, JT

Joe was a master of the shout out. Whether shouting out to Rufus Thomas at the end of his "Walking the Dog" rip, "Looking for My Pig", or telling Elvis to "get it!" in his "Heartbreak Hotel" cover, JT always gave credit where it was due. 

The Ichiband of merry posters are huge fans of "I'm a Man", where Joe name checks B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, the Rolling Stones, James Brown, Willie Mays and Roger Miller. I think it's been posted four/ five times this month, but what the heck, here it is again.

But that's far from the end of the story - there are numerous examples of Tex giving his fellow soul singers some love in song. There was the 1970 single "You're Right, Ray Charles", wherein RC tells JT that he needs to stop singing slow songs and rock it out. Considering Ray's tendencies to cover "Eleanor Rigby" around this time I'm not entirely sure that this song makes any sense, but since Joe wrote from life, I wonder what the conversation described in this song was really like.

On "Woman Stealer", Joe, B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland and Little Johnny Taylor have gotten together to stop woman stealers from stealing women.  Joe goes upside somebody's head yet again, but at least this time he's doing it to dudes. 

But the ultimate Joe Tex name drop song didn't get released until a 1985 UK double LP called Different Strokes, even though it's a 1970 recording. More on this comp in a few days. The song is a cover of a 1955 Ruth Brown hit, "I Can See Everybody's Baby". 

Joe's version is radically different. He turns it into a travelogue - Ruth sticks close to home looking for her baby, but Joe travels all over the US looking for his. And he just can't find her. But while he's looking, he "sees" the following women: Ray Charles', Johnny Taylor's, James Brown's (waitaminute! that's Joe Tex's woman!), Wilson Pickett's, Tom Jones', Clarence Carter's, Marvin Gaye's, Elvis Presley's, Joe Simon's, the Chambers Brothers', Sam and Dave's, Isaac Hayes', Lee Dorsey's, Bobby Bland's, Junior Walker's, Little Richard's, and Bobby Womack's.


Debbie D said...

I think we have a winner for best Joe Tex post of the month!!

domino9 said...

Great post as always but when Joe was up in Chicago I think he saw Jerry Butler's woman, not the woman of the (four) Chambers Brothers which might have been tiring for the lady concerned.

Joe was dropping names to the last, in his final R&B hit 'Loose Caboose' he mentions Chubby Checker, Hank Ballard, Rufus Thomas and Joey Dee in the first six seconds!

Mr. Soul Motion said...

I've always thought it was hilarious that the Chambers Brothers had a woman, but I have to admit that you are probably right and it was Jerry Butler. But where does that leave Sam and Dave?

domino9, your comments are great - they always add an extra dimension to the Joe Tex story.