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Author Archives: WSS News

Music Highlight: Soul Men, Joe Tex

joe-tex-come-in-this-house-the-19551962-recordings-cdBy Linden Beckford Jr.

When people speak about Soul Singers from the past, Joe Tex is seldom mentioned. This writer is hoping to help change that. Joe Tex was born Joseph Arrington Jr in Rogers, Texas on August 8, 1935. His mother moved to Baytown, Texas after she and Joe Sr. divorced. While growing up in Baytown, Joe Tex sang in a Pentecostal Church choir. This is very interesting to note. When one listens to the various songs of Joe Tex, you can clearly hear the church influence.

Joe performed at the Apollo Theatre as a result of winning $300 from a talent show in Houston, Texas. He won four weeks in a row. This led to him being discovered by Henry Glover, who offered him a contract with King Records. However, his mother wanted him to graduate high school first. Mr. Glover agreed to wait a year before signing him at age 19.

King Records was an American leading independent record company in Cincinnati, Ohio founded in the 1940s by Syd Nathan. Artists such as Hank Ballard, James Brown, and Etta James recorded for King Records. Joe Tex first started recording music in 1955. It has been said that James Brown would borrow microphone tricks from Joe.

While Joe Tex was at the height of his career, he was invited to a Nation of Islam temple in Miami, Florida in 1966. Troy X was the Minister of that temple at that time. Joe Tex accepted the teachings of Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad appoints him as Minister in the Nation of Islam in 1972. His name is changed to Yusef Hazziez. After Elijah Muhammad passed in February 1975, Joe Tex followed Warith Deen Muhammad (son of Elijah Muhammad) when he took the Nation of Islam in another direction. He went back to music with a band called 2nd Resurrection. Joe Tex had a smash hit in 1977 called, ”Aint Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman).”

Sadly, Joe Tex was in debt and very depressed. He passed away at his home in Navasta, Texas at age 47 from a heart attack. It will be important to remember this man as one of the great pioneers of Soul music! Long live the soul of Joe Tex!

Charles Owens, pioneering African American golfer, dies at 85

Charles Owens, inventor of the long putter, poses with one of the clubs that he designed and used on tour on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at Rogers Park Golf Course in Tampa, Fla. (Photo by Craig Litten)                              NYTCREDIT: Craig Litten for The New York Times

Charles Owens, inventor of the long putter, poses with one of the clubs that he designed and used on tour on Thursday, November 8, 2012 at Rogers Park Golf Course in Tampa, Fla. (Photo by Craig Litten) NYTCREDIT: Craig Litten for The New York Times

Charles L. Owens, a trailblazing African-American golfer and the first person to use the yip-reducing long “belly” putter in competition, died September 7, 2017, in his hometown of Winter Haven, Florida. He was 85.

“We are extremely proud of our father’s life-long dedication to the sport of golf,” Owens’ family said after his death. “His contributions to the sport helped open it to everyone regardless of age, race or disability.”

Born in 1932, Owens grew up in the Jim Crow South, the son of Fred Owens, a groundskeeper at the Winter Haven Golf Course. He took up golf as a child by hitting bottle caps in the street with broken pine branches. That’s when he develops his unique cross-handed grip – an attempt to imitate golfers he saw on the course — that he would use the rest of his life.

During paratrooper training at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 1956, Owens shattered his left knee when his parachute failed to deploy properly. The resulting injury left him with a fused knee and a distinctive limp. It was the first of several leg injuries that would cause his career to ebb and flow over the years. After working as an assistant golf pro at the South Shore Golf Club on Staten Island, N.Y., Owens joined the United Golf Association in 1967. He earned his PGA Tour card in 1969 along with a sponsorship by Wilson Sporting Goods.

In 1971, he won the Kemper Asheville Open before being sidelined by another leg injury. In 1977, he became the head pro at Tampa’s Rogers Park Golf Course and oversaw a major overhaul of the publicly owned course. Built in 1952, it was for decades the only place in Tampa where African American golfers could play. The course was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

Owens returned to the pro tour in 1986 and won the Seniors Tour twice that year. It was during one of those matches that he broke out his 52-inch-tall Slim Jim — his own version of the “belly” putter invented decades before but never used in competition. His version reached to his sternum, letting him putt despite a stiff back.

In 1987, he was inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame and received the Golf Writers Association’s Ben Hogan Award, given to a golfer who succeeds despite a physical handicap.

More recently, he was inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame in 2007; published his autobiography, “I Hate to Lose,” in 2008; and was featured in “Uneven Fairways,” a 2009 Golf Channel documentary about the contributions made by African American golfers.

Owens was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease within the past year, after which his health quickly deteriorated.

His funeral was on Saturday, September 16, in Winter Haven.

Hitting the Stage: “Paul Robeson – A One Man Show”

one man show

RIVERSIDE, CA- We hear about “one woman shows” quite often, but rarely we hear or see a One-Man Show. The Paul Robeson-One Man Show is the number one ‘One Man Show’ touring in the United States, the Caribbean and Central America. This is the most requested Multi-cultural educational show on the American and Caribbean Educational Circuit and the favorite on the topics of Diversity, Compassion, African pride, Social Justice and the music of the Harlem Renaissance.

This entertaining, laugh out loud, music filled show with audience participation, covering his friendships with Albert Einstein, Dubois, Langston Hughes, Cab Calloway, Jomo Kenyatta, Kwame Nkrumah and many others who contributed to the cultural movement known as the Harlem Renaissance.

The show will be premiering this Saturday, September 23 at 6 p.m. at the Heritage High School Theatre located at 26001 Briggs Road in Romoland. Tickets can be purchased through the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce at www.riversidecountybcc.org.