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Archive for November 1st, 2013

BBR Reissues “More More More” of Joe Tex, Latimore, Timmy Thomas

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Joe Tex - Bumps and BruisesJoe Tex certainly didn’t hide his Bumps and Bruises when he arrived at Epic Records in 1977 after a five-year retirement.  In fact, he titled the album after them!  Only the self-described Clown Prince of Soul could have gotten away with song titles like “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)” and the even more politically incorrect “Be Cool (Willie Is Dancing with a Sissy).”  Big Break has revisited this slab of funky southern soul in a remastered edition with three bonus cuts.

Joe Tex was born Joseph Arrington Jr. in Rogers, Texas, and took his stage surname from the Lone Star State.  Traveling to New York, Joe’s musical gifts saw him repeatedly win the top prize at the Apollo’s Amateur Night.  But his colorful personality was equally evident from the start of his career.  His first record label affiliation came with King Records, where he claimed to have authored Little Willie John’s “Fever.”  (Otis Blackwell and Joe Cooley, the song’s credited authors, disputed this.)  Though he couldn’t catch the “Fever,” he did compose an answer to “his” song, “Pneumonia.”  In 1958, he signed to Ace Records, developing his outrageous stage persona and signature dance moves that he would later accuse perpetual nemesis (and King recording artist) James Brown of stealing!  When Brown recorded Tex’s “Baby You’re Right” in a rewrite substantial enough to earn Brown a credit, Tex was chagrined.  (Apparently the song and the dance moves weren’t the only things Brown poached from Tex.  Matt Bauer’s liner notes in BBR’s new reissue detail another episode involving Tex’s wife…!)

In the early 1960s, Tex hooked up with producer Buddy Killen, who went on to form the Dial label as a vehicle for Tex’s talent.  Killen’s belief in Tex paid off when the Muscle Shoals-recorded “Hold On to What You’ve Got” (1965) topped the R&B charts and went Top 5 Pop.  Numerous other R&B hits followed for Tex on the Atlantic-distributed Dial label including the million-sellers “Skinny Legs and All” (1967) and “I Gotcha” (1971).  The latter had such crossover success that even the likes of Liza Minnelli performed it on her famed Liza with a Z television special in 1972.  Tex became well-known for his funky beats as well as his frequent spoken-word raps, both of which you’ll hear on Bumps and Bruises.

The smoldering funk of “I Gotcha” might have launched Tex to new heights, but he heard a different calling.  Taking the name Yusef Hazziez, Tex became a minister for the Nation of Islam.  Bumps and Bruises was not just a return to form, but a return to secular music and show business.  Buddy Killen again produced the 9-track album, recording with Tex in Nashville.  Its first single “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)” – with enough disco flavor to earn favor on the dancefloor – scored a Top 10 R&B berth, No. 12 Pop, and No. 2 on the U.K. singles chart.  It even received the extended 12-inch Disco Single treatment.  The second 45, the smooth and yearning “Hungry for Your Love,” reached No. 84 R&B.  With Tex’s trademark offbeat humor (most notable on the kooky “Jump Bad” about a little old lady who takes the law into her own hands!) and a blend of sizzling grooves and ballads, Bumps and Bruises didn’t disappoint.  One more Epic album would follow before Tex returned to the Dial label; he died of a heart attack at just 47 years of age in 1982.

BBR’s reissue has been remastered by Nick Robbins and includes three bonus tracks, all single versions: U.S. A-sides “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More” and “Hungry for Your Love” and U.K. A-side “We Held On.”

After the jump: the label gives More More More with two TK Records classics!  Plus: order links and track listings for all three titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

November 1, 2013 at 09:59