RELEASE NR.: KM-EP104
LABEL: Koko Mojo Records
GENRE: Rhythm and Blues
Joe Tex from was born Joseph Arrington Jr. in Rogers, Texas on August 8th, 1935 but he grew up in Baytown. While he was still a little schoolboy, he worked as a paperboy, a shoeshine and he would always sing and dance for the customers. He also sang in the school choir and the church choir. In high school, he played tenor saxophone and started to sing at talent contests. In his junior year of high school, Tex won a talent show in Houston $300 a trip to New York and a week’s stay at the Hotel Teresa in Harlem. He performed at the Apollo Theater (in the amateur section) and he won the Amateur Night competition four times. Talent scout Arthur Prysock introduced Tex to Henry Glover, an A&R man at King Records, who offered him a contract with King. Glover had recently discovered and signed another southern singer very similar to Joe, named James Brown. Joe still had to graduate from high school, so he had to wait for a whole year, not to disappoint his mother. So shortly after graduation day, he recorded his debut single for King Records Come In This House / Davy, You Upset My Home (King 4840) released in October 1955. Tex who wrote both songs and discovered a certain talent for songwriting. His famous rivalry with James Brown started around that time. According to many, Brown simply stole from Joe Tex a lot of his dance moves and the microphone stand tricks that made him famous, not to mention the “rapping” over the music that he got from Tex too. After recording three more singles for King that sold very little and made no impact in the charts, Joe signed with Ace Records. His first single on the label Cut It Out / Just For You And Me was released in January 1958 as ‘JOE TEX The Rock an Roll Cowboy’. Later that year he cut You Little Baby Face Thing (Ace 550) and before that he recorded Open The Door (Ace 547) with young New Orleans piano genius LITTLE BOOKER (a.k.a. James Booker). Joe Tex is the uncredited vocalist on this record. I reckon both songs have a strong New Orleans flavor and were recorded shortly after Little Richard “disappeared” from secular music to focus on Bible studies -probably trying to do just as good as Richard. Unfortunately, none of these great records sold anything or made it to the charts. In spite of having thirty great singles under his belt and many of his songs becoming big hits for other artists, Joe Tex sadly had to wait until 1964 to have his first hit. After that success didn’t stop. he had hit after hit, but that’s a different story!
-Little Victor (a.k.a DJ "Mojo" Man)