Saturday, July 14, 2007
Freedom For The Soul Man
Joe Tex - I Wanna Be Free
When Joe Tex broke into the R&B Top 10 with "Hold What You Got" in 1964 he did so at the most opportune time. Although Tex had been performing professionally since the mid-to-late '50s and had been recording with Buddy Killen for Killen's Dial label since 1961, major success had eluded him; the sessions giving rise to "Hold What You Got" were the singer's erstwhile last shot with Killen. Of course, the fates smiled on the raggedy performance that Killen edited together into the cornerstone of a career that would take Joe from soul to funk to disco for the next decade and a half.
To consider "Hold What You Got" to be the beginning of the classic Dial era, however, is to miss out on some very good recordings that, for various reasons, didn't make it in the prior four years. Although some of the stuff does reflect the fact that Joe was still developing his style, tunes like today's selection leave one struggling to explain what kept them out of the charts. The fine dancer "I Wanna Be Free" from 1963 features a nice, brassy arrangement with very strong singing from Tex.