He is, arguably, the most underrated of all the ’60s soul performers associated with Atlantic Records, although his records were more likely than those of most soul stars to become crossover hits.
..Before and after he became a Black Muslim minister, this East Texas moralist-jokester mixed such timeless trifles as “Skinny Legs and All” (God, don’t you even remember that one?) and “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)” (a lucky last gasp occasioning a luckier album that came out for “sissies”) with a good-humored country wisdom that rivaled Smokey’s urban variant for pith and empathy.
Although they are often viewed as diametric opposites, soul and country music are really flip sides of the same coin, and the two genres have greatly influenced one another. With his hillbilly name and trademark ten-gallon Stetson hat, Joe Tex was perhaps the most conspicuous musician to blur this generic and racial boundary. Like many soul singers (Al Green, Ray Charles, Isaac Hayes, to name a few) Tex was a fan of Hank Williams and wanted to be a country singer. Despite the fact that many country artists were taught by black musicians, Tex was unable to cross the country’s colour barrier, and he became a soul singer instead.
~The Rough Guide to Soul & R&B
Hold On What You’ve Got (the fantastic original version):
|Tex recorded his first hit, “Hold On To What You’ve Got”, in November 1964 at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Tex was not convinced the song would be a hit and advised Killen not to release it. However, Killen felt otherwise and released the song in early 1965. By the time Tex got wind of its release, the song had already sold 200,000 copies. The song eventually peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Tex’s first number-one hit on the R&B charts, staying on the charts for 11 weeks and selling over a million copies by 1966. (wikipedia)|
|Birth name||Joseph Arrington, Jr.|
|Also known as||Yusuf Hazziez|
|Born||August 8, 1935
Rogers, Texas, United States
|Origin||Baytown, Texas, United States|
|Died||August 13, 1982 (aged 47)
Navasota, Texas, United States
|Genres||Rock’n’roll, R&B, soul, southern soul, deep soul, country soul,funk, disco, rap|
|Labels||King Records, Ace Records,Dial Records, Atlantic Records,Mercury Records, Epic Records|
Joseph Arrington, Jr. (August 8, 1935– August 13, 1982), better known as “Joe Tex“, was an American musician who gained success in the 1960s and 1970s with his brand of Southern soul, which mixed the styles of country, gospel and rhythm and blues.
Born in Rogers, Texas, and raised in Baytown, Tex’s career started after he was signed to King Records in 1955 following four wins at the Apollo Theater. Between that year and 1964, however, Tex struggled to find hits and by the time he finally recorded his first hit, “Hold What You’ve Got”, in 1965, he had recorded thirty prior singles that were deemed failures on the charts. Tex went on to have three million-selling hits, “Hold What You’ve Got” (1965), “Skinny Legs and All” (1967) and “I Gotcha” (1972).
Tex’s style of speaking over the background of his music helped to make him one of the predecessors of the modern style of rap music.
|From allmusic (Dave Marsh):
Joe Tex made the first Southern soul record that also hit on the pop charts (“Hold What You’ve Got,” in 1965, made number five in Billboard). His raspy-voiced, jackleg preacher style also laid some of the most important parts of rap’s foundation. He is, arguably, the most underrated of all the ’60s soul performers associated with Atlantic Records, although his records were more likely than those of most soul stars to become crossover hits.Read more here – allmusic.com
Skinny Legs and All – live clip:
Album of the day: