Many people argue that Joe Tex was the originator of modern Rap, He was well known for his preacher style delivery, which became his trademark and it’s claimed he used to make himself hoarse before singing to achieve the correct vocal sound he wanted.
With releases that spanned in excess of 13 different record labels including King, Ace, Atlantic and Dial you may think Joe Tex had a hugely successful career, but in reality it seemed as though he never really discovered his musical niche until it was much too late.
The majority of the labels where very indecisive as to what direction his musical output should be.He experimented with various styles during his career including Country, Southern Soul, Gospel and even Blues but only had a few notable hits. He was first discovered after winning a talent contest, which led to him performing a 4 week stint at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York.
James Brown covered his track 'Baby You're Right' in 1961 which led to several exchanges between the pair. Joe Tex accused Brown of stealing his dance moves as well as his wife, Bea Ford who had joined The James Brown Revue .In a tongue in cheek reply, Joe Tex wrote "You Keep her" which was released on Checker in 1963.
When the two were put on the same bill at the city auditorium in Macon, Joe Tex took the opportunity for revenge, mocking Browns famous 'Cape' routine on stage with a raggedy old blanket while singing "Please, Please, Please ...Get me out of this cape!!"
Joe Tex James Brown
An angry Brown allegedly caught up with him later in a club where Otis Redding was performing. He stormed in and opened fire on him with a shotgun. Rumour has it Joe Tex fled and hid in nearby woods for the night, leaving James Brown to smooth things over with handouts of 100 dollar bills to the club goers that had been hit by mistake!!
After an unsuccessful come back Joe Tex converted to Islam and retired to his ranch in Houston.Sadly he died of a heart attack at the age of 49 in 1982.