James Brown and Joe Tex; Two powerhouses of the R&B Soul Music World, both from the Deep South. James Brown of Macon, Ga. and Joe Tex (real name Joseph Arrington Jr.) from somewhere else, of course, Texas. They were both labelmates in the 1950s at KING Records. Joe Tex had his first hit with “HOLD WHAT YOU’GOT” in 1964. One of JB’s earliest singles, “BABY YOU’RE RIGHT” from 1960, was originally written and released by Joe Tex previously on the ANNA label. . James’s version charted at #2 R&B/#49 Pop, while Joe’s version failed to chart.
A rivalry soon broke out between the two when JB reportedly took Tex’s wife, singer Bea Ford, who can be heard on JB’s single “YOU’VE GOT THE POWER”. Apparently, James wrote Joe a letter saying that he could get Bea back. By this time, Joe had found a new woman and responded with the 1963 single, “YOU KEEP HER”, which also failed to chart. Not long after the release of the landmark “LIVE AT THE APOLLO” album in 1963, James Brown returned to Macon to play a homecoming concert at the City Auditorium with Joe Tex.
The “Clown Prince of Soul” (as Joe Tex was known) could impersonate anyone he wanted and would come out on stage in a tattered cape with a hole in it. He fell to his knees and suddenly grabbed him from behind. He declared singing ‘Please, please, please GET ME OUT OF THIS CAPE!’ Here was the homecoming concert for James Brown and Joe Tex was making fun of him. antiques!
Later that night, she found out that Joe went to a club where a band was performing with a young Otis Redding. Walking in with a shotgun in hand, Brown began exchanging gunfire with someone across the room. They kept firing and reloading, without hitting the other. Several people were shot in the melee as Joe Tex ran out of the club and hid behind trees and bushes. James ran out and his tour bus pulled out of the parking lot with him behind the wheel. Not long after, someone gave each of the wounded chiefs $100 each and everything settled down.
Reportedly, Joe Tex had painted “SOUL BROTHER #1” on his tour bus until James found out and removed it. Then there was the question of who actually invented the acrobatic microphone tricks that both artists mastered and displayed on stage. Not that it really mattered because they both had different styles and showmanship. There is a clip of Joe Tex performing at the 20th Annual Grammy Awards in 1978 on YouTube. I remember seeing him on TV and his acting was AWESOME!
As much as I also enjoyed the dancers, I thought it distracted from Joe’s soul act, spinning the mic (even watching it, I still couldn’t believe someone could touch the mic like that). There are also clips on YouTube of a live concert recorded in 1968 in Sweden called “THE JOE TEX SHOW”, which features the artist in his prime along with his touring band. It’s available on DVD, but it’s a bit hard to find. Check who downloaded the clips and then ask if they have or know where you can get the DVD.
Hopefully Spike Lee will continue to do the JB biopic because I think he’s one of the few directors who could honestly portray an enigma like James Brown. Hopefully it should be a 3 hour epic like the Malcolm X story to get it done right. I’ve never been a big fan of Usher, but given his respect and love for the Godfather of Soul and having previous acting experience, I think he could do an amazing job. If Usher doesn’t get this role, he gets an unknown that he’s done some theater and looks a bit like Mr. Brown.
James Brown’s life story must be put on screen for final payment. Elvis, the Beatles, Ray Charles, have all had his life’s stories gracing the big screen (the first two multiple movies and TV shows) and it’s time to give this man his due too. I enjoy listening to the “STEVE HARVEY MORNING SHOW” and the “MICHAEL BASDEN SHOW” in the afternoon, but neither plays music from these two R&B legends. Musical styles change (disco, rap, etc.) but the roots are old school music that we must never forget.
So what is truth and what is fiction? His guess is as good as mine, but given the volatile nature of the hardest-working man in show business, there’s a good chance the infamous “club shooting” was spot on. It is a miracle that both of them survived the incident (?) and reached greater heights in the business. I really shudder to think what course soul music would have taken without his input. May you both rest in peace.