Friday, July 07, 2006

I'm a Friend of Any Joe Tex Fan!

Joe Tex - Papa's Dream

Yesterday a commenter to a post I did on another blog stated, after he had reviewed my podcast playlists, that "any one who plays Joe Tex is a friend of mine." I responded, "Well, I'm a friend indeed, because I love me some Joe Tex." I have been a fan of the late Joe Tex since I first heard my mother's scratchy copies of "Skinny Legs and All" and the Live and Lively LP. I think what has always drawn me to Tex is the fact that regardless of what he was recording, be it the somewhat pop-sounding early '60s stuff, the Dial southern soul classics, his '70s funk stuff or the late '70s disco recordings (which, as I stated in a prior Tex post, were better than any of his contemporaries' attempts to try their hand at the genre that was all but doing in Southern soul and funk), Tex was always the down-home country philosopher from Texas, prone to see the world with horse sense and good humor. When he wasn't sermonizing about love and relationships or joking about someone's skinny legs or "loose caboose," Tex would often do songs about regular folks doing regular things, with a tone of voice more akin to a front-porch chat than a soul recording.

Today's selection, indicative of this approach, appeared on the 1972 Dial LP Spills The Beans after an earlier single release. On "Papa's Dream" Tex starts off by discussing the hard-luck farmer who couldn't raise a good crop his whole life, but then explains that the farmer's best crop - his children - have done very well. At that point the monologuing Tex is not a soul singer, but rather your next-door neighbor ("She got one of them beautician jobs, making good money fixin' other folks' hair," he proudly claims). And then, to top it off, there's a happy ending for the next crop. All of this, presented atop a nice country-flavored accompaniment (Johnny Cash would give this song a country cover with "Look at Them Beans"). It's a happy song to take into the weekend. A toast to friends! :)


Rob Whatman said...

I second that emotion!

sambeckett said...

Joe Tex!
What a hero!