Joe. Fucking. Tex.
I have no idea when or where I might have pulled out Shazam for this little gem, but instantly I can tell why I did. I’m a sucker for hard-driving soul, and while the drums and bass in this one are locked into a decidedly funkier groove than, say, a Northern Soul banger, the percussion on top propels it, and then Tex’s uncanny ability to perfectly take his performance up and down with the song blasts it into the stratosphere.
At least it does for me. Maybe that’s giving him a little too much credit. But no! This is good stuff right here.
The funk beat makes sense because this one is from 1972, so a little later than the real classic soul period, and my personal favourite Tex track, Show Me (1967) — another one propelled by an extra bit of percussion that Joe conducts to perfection. The especially amazing thing about Show Me is that it succeeds in spite of the fact that you can very clearly hear the tambourine player — who, judging by the clips below of something called The Joe Tex Show, might even be Joe himself — completely lose his arm by the end of the take. Imperfections. Humanity. Not only can a track weather those conditions, it can thrive in them.
Anywho… in I Gotcha it’s a machine-like shaker, unwavering, that holds everything that weaves through the track together — the walking funk bass, the horns, and Joe yelping like a slightly safer version of James Brown. I mean, it’s not exactly a revelation. It’s a pretty simple song, all in all. And, truth be told, I’d imagine the lyrics are… uh… problematic if you actually gave them a good listen (though at least not as overtly so as Tex’s final minor hit, an embarrassment of a disco track from 1977 called Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)). But who the hell would do that with so much else going on?
Evidently not me. There are tasty little wah guitar things all over this one, the horns aren’t overdone — they punctuate the right spots and do a nice call-and-response with the vocals in the verses — and under those layers of extra percussion is a hell of a drum performance, too. I don’t know who was playing this when I broke out my Shazam app to find it, but I thank them. If the rest of the songs in this project were this personally enjoyable I’d be awfully lucky.
Joe fucking Tex!
Wikipedia: Joe Tex