Jet magazine, 1977
After three years of preaching and fund raising, touring many of the cities he had worked as an entertainer Joe felt the itch to return to music. He told Jet magazine “I intended to return to my job one day”. After Elijah Muhammed died in February 1975, Joe received the approval of the Nation of Islam to begin recording and performing again.
Joe returned to the Sound Shop studio in
Staying in the sexually explicit style of the times (Marvin Gaye’s Let’s get it on had ushered in a new frankness during Joe’s layoff)
In July 1975 Joe cut a whole album’s worth of material in
In the early 1970's Joe fathered another son, Joseph Hazziez, in California. In 1975 he married his last wife, Bilaliah Hazziez. They moved to his ranch in Navasota, Bilaliah remembers the sign saying 'Land of milk and honey' on the edge of the small town. Their son, Ramadan was born the same year.
Joe’s comeback recording sessions only produced a handful of Dial singles and no further hits (unless you count Have you ever scraping to No.74 R&B). Buddy Killen had stopped issuing product on the Dial imprint by 1976 and Joe signed with CBS subsidiary Epic who wisely kept the ever present Buddy as Joe’s producer.
Have you ever referenced new disco dances like the bump and double bump but remained rooted in old time R&B musically. The breakthrough came in early 1977 when Joe and Buddy kicked into gear with the new disco sound mixing “a little George McCrae riff…with a bit of KC.”
AIN'T GONNA BUMP
The lyrics of Ain’t gonna bump no more (with no fat woman) were pure Joe Tex, ever conscious of large and small female body shapes as he was. Even Leroy won another mention (Say Leroy, you can have this one too!). Nevertheless the song was credited to Buddy Killen and Joe’s aunt Bennie Lee McGinty. Bennie Lee traveled as a chaperone with Joe’s band for many years and co-wrote a number of Joe’s songs from 1976 onwards. Bennie Lee's credits may have been for financial reasons as Joe had many problems with the IRS in his later career.
Ain't gonna bump proved Joe could be the comeback kid yet again. In the heart of the disco boom he was back to No.7 R&B and No.12 Pop. Joe’s return to form pleased not only disco dancers but many longtime fans who were thrilled to see Joe back with a song reflecting the unique Tex-tian attitude to life.
Joe took the shift in musical styles in his stride saying "The disco sound is just part of a circle that music goes through every once in a while. It is slowly fading." Joe did notice that his new hit was getting a less than positive reaction from larger women. Talking to Rolling Stone magazine he mimicked a typical response; "You was talkin' about me! Now my husband don't like me, he's telling me to lose weight!" Joe found the solution was to hold Big Fat Woman Bump contests with $100 prizes. "Once we started giving away cash money they started easing off!"
Back on Soul Train and appearing at the 1978 Grammy awards, although a little heavier than his 60’s heyday, Joe showed he had lost none of his expertise. A rejuvenated
Joe took the success as a sign that Allah was guiding his life, saying “That's why when Buddy called to tell me that 'Ain't Gonna Bump' was a hit, it didn't surprise me. Don't you be surprised at whatever you see from here on.”