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!