Joe Tex & Buddy Miles
“Listen – Joe Tex – You’re Right, Ray Charles MP3″
“Listen – Buddy Miles – Joe Tex MP3″
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’.
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.