Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gotcha again

Joe Tex had a number 1 Billboard R&B hit in 1972 with “I Gotcha”, a rambunctious
hunk of funky R&B if ever there was one. If 1972 was before your time then you may have come across it in Reservoir Dogs. If you are a regular visitor to the particular sector of the blogosphere that I guess this blog resides in – i.e. all things soulful and funky – then you will also have probably come across it. Larry over at Funky16Corners featured it last year for one.

So it’s a bit lame of me to feature “I Gotcha” here today isn’t it? Ah, but this is a different “I Gotcha”.

In 1977 girls the length and breadth (no pun intended) of the country were building handbag mountains at the local disco and dancing around to Joe’s “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More With No Big Fat Woman”, a track laced with Joe’s trademark humour (although in this instance written by Buddy Killen). The inevitable album followed – “Bumps & Bruises” to be followed by another in 1978 “Rub Down”. A copy of this album has languished, unloved, in our house for over 20 years now. My wife had bought the album originally and I had never listened to it,thinking that, as it came from the Bump No More era, it would be too light and commercial for my tastes.

I finally gave it a listen recently, and to a large extent my suspicions were correct. Many of the tracks on “Rub Down” sound like leftovers from the “Bumps & Bruises” sessions, following a now tired “Bump No More” template. And it contains a reworking of Joe’s ‘72 hit “I Gotcha”, I thought. Then, on playing that track, I realised it was a completely different song – and I really like it. It is sort of schmaltzy, but Joe is in fine voice and a feeling of real warmth and sincerity comes through. From what I’ve read about Joseph Arrington Jr (or Yusef Hazziez as he was privately known after becoming a Muslim around the time of his ’72 “I Gotcha” hit) he was a genuinely nice guy, and on this 1978 “I Gotcha” I think the feeling it exudes underlines that fact.

And anyone who writes songs with titles such as “You Might Be Digging The Garden (But Somebody’s Picking Your Plums)” and “Be Kind To Old People” is OK in my book.

You could visit Red Kelly over at the B-side for more on Joe Tex. In his piece he also links to more excellent pieces by Rob at Brown Eyed Handsome Man, and ends with a quote from Joe that also concludes the essential “Sweet Soul Music” by Peter Guralnick (You haven’t read that yet? You really should).

Joe Tex – I Gotcha 1978


Rob Whatman said...

Just what I needed to revitalise, after a hard day at work. Thanks, Darcy!

"Joe Tex For The Hall Of Fame!"

Kev Moore said...

The original "I Gotcha" is a funk classic, from the golden era of funk. Such a pity that he's best remembered in the public consciousness for "Aint gonna bump no more" which I personally find awful!