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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the greatest, certainly the most overlooked soulman of them all, 22 May 2007
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This review is from: Skinny Legs and All (Audio CD)
There are dozens of Joe Tex best-ofs but I think this is the most comprehensive, unless you have to have 'Ain't gonna bop no more with no big fat woman'( which might have been his biggest UK hit but I am not personally fond of), in which case go for '25 greatest hits'. I got a Joe Tex greatest hits in 1966 and loved it and continually played it till the cd age. This cd has all the tracks from my vinyl album bar one - 'you had better get it'. They're all on '25 greatest hits' but I choose this as the one best selection because of the inclusion of a few other gems I was previously unaware of and that are not available elsewhere as far as I know - especially ' Meet me in church' and 'the sweetest woman in the world'.
There are excellent sleeve notes. Apparently Joe had 33 hits - I guess that must be mostly from the R'n'B charts but he had some US top ten hits.
I remember him getting some airplay for 'Show me' and 'sweet woman like you' but don't recall him troubling the UK charts until the 70s with maybe his worst song - the aforementioned 'ain't gonna bop no more...'
Whatever, he doesn't have any huge hits that everyone knows and loves like Percy Sledge of Otis Redding, but he has tracks of that calibre - 'the Love you save' is easily as good as ' Try a little tenderness','I've been loving you too long' ot 'When a man loves a woman'.
And he has more good ones. I find that I never listen to more than 6 tracks each from Otis or Percy Sledge, but I can listen to nearly all of this over and over, and then there's 'Live and lively' another live album which has more essential stuff not featured here.
Joe's voice doesn't seem to have the higher register that we've come to expect soul stars to show their chops by soaring into now and again. Instead he has an astonishing bass register that he soars down to show off sometimes. Indeed, many of his self-penned songs seem designed to show off his bass register, most noticeably the gorgeous ' the Love You Save'. There's also an oft-noted country influence in his songwriting; in fact he recorded an album of country covers 'Soul Country'.
His band are wonderful throughout - that Stax/Atlantic sound that no-one seems to be able to get these days; Joss Stone seems to be trying for it sometimes, and she does get a pretty decent approximation to 70s era Gladys Knight, but she never quite gets this. Special mentions are due to the piano player Bobby Woods (session man- the only one credited) and especially to guitar player Lee Royal Hadley, very much in the Steve Cropper mould, the type of guitar playing Jimi Hendrix cut his teeth on.
Curiously, one of the tracks I didn't know previously,'watch the one that brings the bad news' (and I don't know where or when it comes from), sounds too much like early Taj Mahal (especially on 'Giant Step') to be a coincidence, but I couldn't guess who influenced who - a bit both ways, I suspect. Joe's bluesiest number.
Wonderful! Then, once you've bought this and 'Live and lively', you'll just have to buy '25 Greatest hits' just for that one track 'You had better get it'. You had better get it!
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Reviewer

Jm Leven
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Location: London

Top Reviewer Ranking: 22,118