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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 59.0° F  A Few Clouds
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Vinyl Cave -- The Best of... by Joe Tex

After almost a decade of recording, Joe Tex finally hit the big time at the end of 1964, when "Hold What You Got" became a huge hit on both the R&B and pop charts. That song provided a template that Tex returned to numerous times over the rest of his career, but it wasn't the first time he'd mixed his blend of deep soul balladry and gospel preaching.

The various labels he'd recorded for over the years wasted no time in repackaging all those various 45s to try and capitalize on his huge hit. This album is one of those quickie jobs, but being comprised of his first singles for the Dial label, it represented the freshest material of the various LPs on the market at the time.

It showcases some of the fantastic slow burners that helped pave the way for his first big hit ("Say Thank You" and the original version of "Meet Me in Church"), plus some flashes of the humor that would mark the other side of his musical persona for the rest of the decade ("Hand Shakin' Love Makin' Girl Takin' Son-of-A-Gun From Next Door").

The nice thing about this album is that these singles are nearly impossible to find these days, are often worn out if you do, and had been largely unavailable until very recently, albeit as an import disc, First on the Dial, released in June. Despite the fact that Tex has been largely absent from the radio for years, he's one of the true giants of soul music, and it's good to see his legacy finally in print once again. (Parrot, 1964)

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