The World of Joe Tex

Singer, dancer, writer, preacher, rapper, comic and all around original...

1967:  Skinny legs and all

 

 

 

 1967 marked a slight slowdown in the Tex camp after the fast lane activity of the two previous years. Joe recorded less material and no new albums were issued although Atlantic released the first compilation of Dial recordings; The best of Joe Tex. The collection was simple to compile, bringing together twelve of Joe’s first thirteen R&B hits (only missing One monkey don’t stop no show).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe recorded enough to release five new singles in the year including his biggest pop hit since Hold what you’ve got. At a February recording session Joe completed Show me, claiming that speedy writing was the reason for repetition in the song. Nevertheless the song with the stomping beat became one of Joe’s most recorded compositions internationally, particularly by pop and rock acts.  Show me became one of Joe’s most popular records in England and UK acts from Tom Jones to new wave rockers Eddie & the Hot Rods have taken up the song.

 

 

 

 

By now Joe was travelling with a ‘ten piece show band’, a revue complete with singers Danny White and Shirley Walton (also from Baytown), MC Tony Rice, the Texette A-Go-Go-Girls and the Clyde Williams Orchestra. However the pressure seemed to be getting to Joe when he said to writer Mike Oberman “I would like to spend to spend more time with my wife and (two year old) son. I was on the road when my son was born. He knows who his daddy is but he never sees him.”

 

The next two singles Woman like that, yeah and A woman’s hands continued Joe’s analysis of man’s treatment of the fairer sex and were solid if unspectacular hits. Reflecting views he later put into song Joe told Oberman, “My songs are very deep. Kids don’t want to think – they want to dance. That’s why my things sell mainly to adults”.

 

SKINNY LEGS

 

 

 

However the real smash was just around the corner. In September Joe and Buddy decamped to Memphis to work with the hotter than hot session musicians of American Sound Studios.  Selected members of Joe’s band completed the line up, including Leroy and Clyde who were duly immortalised in the lyrics of Joe’s new song; Skinny legs and all. 

 

In 1972 Joe said the song was inspired by a woman in Alabama. “A skinny lady walked out of a store carrying two bags of groceries in her arms. Her man who was about six foot tall stood beside her like some dummy without anything in his hands and argued with her.   I just said to myself ‘Walk on baby’. If that man don’t want you in public someone else will.”

 

The Memphis musicians loved working with the relaxed Joe who was known to come to sessions in his bedroom slippers! Bobby Womack contributed the “Hey Joe why don’t you take her?” line while Reggie Young’s chicken picking guitar lick made Joe fall on the floor with laughter kicking up his feet. Back in Nashville Buddy overdubbed laughter and applause from a party of bemused country music fans on their way to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

 

Most of Joe’s post Hold what you’ve got hits had hit the mid ranges of the pop charts but Skinny legs sailed passed them making No.10 pop and No.2 R&B. The track also started a trend for comedy routines over funky beats; Here come the judge hit big for both Pigmeat Markham and Shorty Long in 1968.

 

The success of Skinny legs with it’s dubbed on crowd effects inspired Dial to package Joe’s next album as a live show even if it was all cut in a studio. In a late 1967 session Joe recorded Love is a hurtin’ thing and That’s life with spoken introductions and mock encores to create the live feel.

 

Joe had cut Hold what you’ve got on 6th November 1964 with a Xmas feel to the melody. Almost three years to the day later he recorded a real Xmas song complete with spoken intro, bells, choir and strings.  A unique and enchanting record, I'll make every Christmas (for my woman), nevertheless broke Joe’s hit run, failing to make the pop or R&B charts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

British fans had their hopes raised again after seeing adverts for Big Beat ’67 featuring “Joe Tex with USA’s largest and most popular Soul Group” at the Royal Albert Hall on 6th December. The following week cancellation and ticket refund notices appeared.

 

 

 

Joe did make it to Baytown for a homecoming concert on the 14th December in aid of Carver School where he was well remembered for his sporting and musical achievements. A few days later Joe, along with Joe Simon, Johnnie Taylor and others, was a pallbearer at Otis Redding’s funeral in Macon, Georgia.

 

Joe closed out the year on a positive note in his adopted home town of Baton Rouge. The city ran a Head Start program for underprivileged pre-school children. The Baton Rouge Advocate noted that, as well as donating funds to the program, Joe passed out gifts of of clothing to over a thousand local children and gave a Christmas party for two thousand youngsters. Such charitable work would later earn Joe the key to the city.

 

Back to 1966                                                                    On to 1968