Joe Tex – 1966 – I’ve Got To Do A Little Bit Better
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Rip and research by Mr.Moo
Review by Soulmakossa
Posting & additional info’s by Nikos
Another rock-solid album from Joe Tex, I’ve Got to Do a Little Better was his third full-length release of 1966, but Tex showed no signs of slowing down or losing his breath on these 12 songs.Tex’s rich and passionate tenor rings out clear and true on each and every tune. One of the very best albums of Tex’s Southern soul period, I’ve Got to Do a Little Bit Better suggests the kind of care and careful thought that rarely went into LPs of the period, and it’s well worth seeking out for fans. This album’s a perfect example of Joe at his best – nearly all original tunes recorded in close collaboration with producer Buddy Killen, whose unique talents really brought out the best in Joe’s honest apporach to soul music.
A1. Papa Was, Too 2:47
A2. What Me and My Baby Ain’t Got 2:27
A3. A Woman Sees a Hard Time (When her Man Is Gone) 3:01
A4. Watch the One (That Brings Bad News) 3:14
A5. Taking Care of a Woman (Is a Full Time Job) 2:58
A6. Lying’s Just a Habit John 2:48
B1. I’ve Got To Do a Little But Better 2:58
B2. The Truest Woman In the World 2:55
B3. I Believe I’m Gonna Make It 3:00
B4. Got You On My Mind 2:15
B5. Half a Mind 2:12
B6. S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song)2:48
Joe Tex’ second longplayer for 1966 kept up the momentum of its predecessor: raspily delivered sermons on love and relationships, set to big, fat soulful rhythms that also have a spark of dusty road country twang.
It starts off seriously funky with “Papa Was Too“; a fatback super stomper inspired by Lowell Fulsom’s “Tramp” and the equally popular cover duet by Stax stars Otis Redding and Carla Thomas. This is heavy duty funk, with low-end piano riffs, crashing tambourines, burping horn riffs and that incessant drum and bass interplay. Catchy whistling patterns typify the fingersnappin’ “What Me and My Baby Ain’t Got“, another good natured ode to the joys of a working relationship. Has a crazy brassy outro, as well.
Next up is the passionately sung country soul ballad “A Woman Sees a Hard Time (When Her Man Is Gone)“. This is Joe at his philosophical best, spitting his lyrics over a gently bouncing groove that features a delightfully intricate horn riff. Joe Tex’ inimitable ‘downhome-ness’ is even better displayed on the humorous blues romp “Watch the One (That Brings the Bad News)“, with piercing B.B. King-styled guitar licks throughout. Dig Tex going for some ebonic slanging here!
The tempo is sped up through the beater “Taking Care of a Woman (Is a Full Time Job)“, which despite its soulful horns and Joe’s gruffy vocal almost sounds like an early Beatles track, whereas there’s some unabashed uptown soul shakin’ on the fast-paced “Lying’s Just a Habit, John”, a hilariously zany tune smothered in busy brass charts.
“I’ve Got to Do a Little Bit Better” ranks as one of Tex’ most classic work-outs: contemplative and wistful like his earlier smashes “Hold What You’ve Got” and “The Love You Save“, this is a deep, deep soul ballad that is further distinguished by drooping cello licks. And while Tex was quiet and introspective on the title track, he’s soaring on the intense “The Truest Woman in the World“, another ace ballad featuring gorgeous guitar lines.
“I Believe I’m Gonna Make It” may well be Joe’s most legendary cut; a deep soul outing that has Tex singing to his baby from a foxhole in Vietnam: a letter from his lover even gives him the strength to take down two enemies on sight.
The rollicking “Got You on My Mind” is a pretty underrated original, and Joe sounds uncannily similar to Elvis Presley here. Less spectacular is Tex’ take on Roger Miller’s “Half a Mind” – a singer he must have admired quite a bit, as he often dipped into the Miller songbook. The album ends on a high note, however, with the all-out soul jam “S-Y-S-L-J-F-M (The Letter Song)“, a floorshaker set to Wilson’s Pickett’s “634-5789” groove, with the letters standing for ‘Save Your Sweet Loving Just for Me’.
Classic Joe Tex, an almost perfect platter of real soul.