singer from Louisiana who grew up listening to Hank Williams and started
out playing piano before his tenth birthday.
years of age, he was already laying down some demonstration tracks with
Merle Kilgore, a local disk jockey.
Although none of these songs ever translated into chart success, the
pair enjoyed regional popularity as members of The Uniques. (The name is not unique, as it is
shared by a Jamaican band and a doo-wop outfit.) The Uniques
recorded “All These Things” and “Not Too Long Ago”
which managed to capture the imagination of the American South. The group was pretty prolific,
cranking out about one album per year.
In 1970, The Uniques went their separate
Joe inked a
deal with Algee Music and Al Gallico
opened up some doors for him at Paramount Records. Some of his early hits include “If
You Touch Me You’ve Got to Love Me” and “Take Time to
Know Her”. He
label-hopped to ABC-Dot in 1971 and put out seven LPs in about four years,
cementing a reputation as a hit-maker.
His cover of “All These Things” raced to the top of the
Billboard country chart. Then
he moved to Epic Records, where he recorded a staggering thirteen LPs. During America’s bicentennial
year, he hit the charts eight times and Billboard
Magazine named him their “Single Artist of the Year”.
At the end of
the decade, he began an artistic collaboration with Moe Bandy that would
last for several years. In
1980, they were named “Vocal Duo of the Year” by the Country
Music Association. They enjoyed
the view from the top of the Billboard chart with good-natured ditties like
“Where’s the Dress” and “Just Good Ol’ Boys”. The video for the former was named “Video
of the Year” by the American Video Association in 1984.
Orwellian year, Joe released one more album and continued to chart,
although all of his singles sputtered in the bottom half of the Top
100. His latest album is
entitled Somewhere Under the Rainbow
and the title track has seen some airplay.
Joe made the
most of his incredible run in the 1970s and 1980s, charting sixty
times. For his efforts, he has
been enshrined in The Texas Country Music Association Hall of Fame and The Louisiana
Country Music Hall of Fame.
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