You’re Right Joe Tex, Yeah You’re Right!

Example

Joe Tex & Buddy Miles

Example

Listen – Joe Tex – You’re Right, Ray Charles MP3″

Listen – Buddy Miles – Joe Tex MP3″

Happy Friday.

I hope everyone is having a groovy week, and is deep in preparation for an even groovier weekend.
Me…I’m tired. This is of course the usual state of affairs at the Funky16Corners compound, especially at the end of the week, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to say so.
As I referenced earlier in the week, I have some cool new mixes in the hopper, but unfortunately I haven’t the time to write any of them up tonight, and since I dropped two Funky16Corners Radio podcasts in the last week, I figured it could wait a few days.
Besides, I have something else cool to post – I always do, don’t I? – so dig this instead.
Back in April, as the Funky16Corners fam traversed the Northeastern-most reaches of the US of A, I (of course) took some time to do a little vinyl hunting. One of my Maine-based scores was a copy of Buddy Miles’ 1971 LP ‘A Message for the People’.
For those that don’t know, Miles was a drummer/vocalist with the Electric Flag, the Buddy Miles Express and then Band of Gypsys, as well as the composer of the funk/soul standard ‘Them Changes’. Post-Hendrix, Miles went onto record a grip of excellent LPs on his own as well as supporting the likes of John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana.
Other than his recordings with Hendrix (and the seemingly countless covers of ‘Them Changes’), I wasn’t all that familiar with Miles work until a few years back when my brother hepped me to the fact that Miles had recorded an excellent cover of the Allman Brothers ‘Dreams’. Since hearing that cover, I’ve kept my eyes/ears peeled for his albums.
Interestingly enough, ‘A Message to the People’ includes ‘Midnight Rider’, another Allmans cover.
However, it was a tune entitled ‘Joe Tex’ that piqued my curiosity.
The LP contains many excellent tracks, but ‘Joe Tex’ is by far the funkiest, bringing to mind a certain early-70’s Kool & the Gang vibe. I was curious as to why Miles had named an instrumental after Tex, and after a bit of Googling discovered the gist of the story I relate to you today.
It turns out that in a bit of proto-hip-hoppery, Miles had taken the horn riff from a Joe Tex record (in this case ‘You’re Right, Ray Charles’, adding yet another layer of reference/reverence to the musical onion) and riffed on it until it became the song ‘Joe Tex’.
Well…
If you know me at all, you know what I did next, right?
Of course…I went looking for a copy of the Joe Tex record.
Tex released ‘You’re Right, Ray Charles’ on his 1970 LP ‘Joe Tex with Strings and Things’ (as well as on the 45 you see above), which was recorded in Memphis at American Studios.
The tune is the tale of how Ray Charles told Tex how heavy he was and that he had an ‘outta sight show’ but how he had to change to make his music appeal to the kids by giving them something to dance to. The tune is Joe’s testament to the value of Brother Ray’s good advice. Tex’s tune is a solid slice of funk with a great rolling piano/organ riff and of course those great horns.
A year later Buddy Miles and his band grabbed the horn riff and built upon it an entirely new song, upping the funk quotient considerably (not to mention the crazy cover art by no less a talent than Mati Klarwein who also painted the covers of ‘Bitches Brew’ and ‘Abraxas’).
Though jazz musicians had been building new songs on appropriated riffs, chord structures and transposed melodies for decades, it was a fairly new thing for rock and soul cats like Miles and in this case, pretty much lost to the ages since neither record was able to match its artistic success on the charts.
Lost no more.
Have an excellent weekend.
See you on Monday.
Peace
Larry

Buy – The Best of Buddy Miles – on Amazon.com

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8 Responses to “You’re Right Joe Tex, Yeah You’re Right!”

  1. r Says:

    I am indeed still digging the Sly mix. I coupled that with some Abaco Dream, Little Sister, some remixes and live sides and I had quite a time. Who could ever forget Sly’s last tv appearance on the Grammys? There’s a YouTube moment. What a damn shame. What can you say? His legacy is so spectacular, we are still feeling his groove today, twice as strong. Very well done FunkyCorners, the hottest Blog on the blog.

  2. Vincent Says:

    Okay, you know I’m an Allman Brothers fan, so the only logical step is to ask you if both of those covers appear on the same disc, or if they’re still in print… I’m off to the mom and pop shop! Yet another outstanding post, good sir.

  3. Jimi Hazel Says:

    Dang, Larry! The mystery is solved! I always wondered why Buddy Miles named his instrumental Joe Tex! So here’s the lineage of the opening riff: Joe Tex :You’re Right, Ray Charles>>>Buddy Miles: Joe Tex>>>Funkadelic: Standing on The Verge of Getting It On! And to leave on a little known Buddy Miles note, he was the uncredited drummer on Funkadelic’s 1975 album “Let’s Take It To The Stage”, playing drums on the classic, Good To Your Earhole! I got that straight from George Clinton and Eddie Hazel! Have a super funky good weekend!

  4. Edward Uken Says:

    I’d love a mention or a link on your site. I host a weekly podcast dedicated to finding unsigned and indie label Soul, Jazz, Funk, R&B, Blues, and Electronic music. http://www.journeyintosoul.net

    Podcast only link: http://www.journeyintosoul.net/category/podcast/

    Could do a cross mention on our next podcasts maybe? If you’ve got a promo mp3 that I could play on mine that would be cool, or I’ll just say something nice about your site… up to you.

    Thanks,

    Edward Uken
    Host
    Journey Into Soul
    eddie@journeyintosoul.net

    http://www.journeyintosoul.net

  5. rikonick Says:

    great stuff

  6. Marvin J. Miller Says:

    Thank you, man. I’m just sitting here mourning the passing of Buddy Miles while listening to “The Best of Buddy Miles” as I surf the www for info and tributes to him when I come across your gloriously edifying blog about the tune “Joe Tex.” I used to play tenor sax in a soul/funk band in the early seventies and we opened our set with that song. Later I always wondered what the connection was to Parliament-Funkadelic’s “Standing on the Verge . . . And now, after reading your blog, I not only find out the the tune was originally a Joe Tex tune (which Buddy, in my opinion, didn’t change very much), but also that Buddy Miles played on P-Funk’s “Good to your Earhole” which I still listen to regularly to this day. Thanks again for the edification. Finally, if you will allow it, I’d like to cut and paste here a written tribute to Buddy Miles in letter form that I posted to all my musician friends when I heard of the passing of Buddy Miles;

    “Down by the ri–verrrrr, I shot my Baaaay-beeee!”
    Lyrics from Neil Young’s “Down By The River” as sung into a huge hit by Buddy Miles in 1970.

    “Well my mind’s been going thru them changes. . .”
    Another 1970 hit, written and performed by Buddy Miles .

    Dear Mr. Buddy Miles,
    Back in the day when I was a developing young musician, I was greatly influenced by you and your music. Really.

    Your rendition of “Joe Tex” with the big horn section opening is what our band opened with in the early 70’s. The lead-off tenor sax solo was played (and jammed delightedly every time) by yours truly. I think all in the band liked starting the set with that lively and powerful song -especially we horn players.

    I’ve never seen your show live, or met you in person. But I’ve seen all of your album jackets and many photos of you playing with Hendrix, too.

    The photo of you with the big ‘fro sitting at your Stars and Stripes drum set is an American classic.

    I’ve listened to a your music so much that I know your voice and your drumming. Man, as the rare singing drummer, you encouraged a whole army of wannbe lead-singer drummers to pursue the difficult task of singing lead while drumming. Wow! Both hands and both feet working in tandem/counter tandem to play the beat, control the tempo & the volume, add dynamics and accents while skillfully singing the right notes and telling the story at the same time, it’s no wonder why I and many, many others admire you.

    Mr. Buddy Miles, your bold and hip persona leaves a pleasant sensation in my mind.

    You had some deep mooded, lengthy, memorable, soul wrenching grooves too:

    “Be on my side I’ll be on your side . . .There is no reason for you to hide”
    (from Down By The River) was only one of them.

    Thank you, Buddy Miles.

    May You Rest In Peace Forever (and really funk up the Jam Sessions in musician’s heaven with that powerful drumming and soulful singing of yours.)

    Sincerely,
    Marvin J. Miller
    February 27, 2008

  7. funky16corners Says:

    Very cool Marvin. Thanks for posting that.
    L

  8. P-Shark Says:

    You could also hear that riff on the 2 seconds intro of Flash Light.

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