The “Golden Hits Of The 60s” 

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(JOE JONES, Reggie Hall)

Roulette 4304

No. 3    November 14, 1960




“Joe had a big mouth–just like his song,” DR. JOHN told Blues & Soul writer  John  Broven.   “He talked his

way into deals, and talked his way out just as quick.   He had big ideas, and although Joe got his feet in the

door, he had no talent to stay there.”


Born on August 12, 1926 in New Orleans, Joe Jones attended the Corpus Christi Catholic and Booker

Washington High Schools.   He was drafted in 1942, and claims to have been the first black petty officer in

the Navy;  “handled mines, depth charges, that sort of thing,” he explained to Broven.   Joe played piano in

the US. Navy Band, and on his return to civilian life, he formed his own group, the Atomic Rebops.


When ROY BROWN came to New Orleans in1948 to record his “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” he used a good

portion of Jones’ band.   Next in town was B. B. King.   “He told me he needed a piano player right away, so I

played for him in New Orleans and I became his pianist, also his valet.    I was driving and playing, then I

became his assistant bandleader and was tuning his guitar up every night   … I was writing the charts.”


B. B.  and Joe separated in 1954, and Capitol Records issued Joes first single,  “Adam  Bit The Apple”  b/w

“Will Call.”   Three years would pass before his second single, “When Your  Hair as Turned To Silver”

b/w “You Done  Me Wrong,” came and went.   In between, Joe’s band toured or did studio work for Ruth

Brown, Jerry Butler, Dee Clark, and Shirley & Lee.


Things started to heat up when Sylvia Vanderpool of MICKEY & SYLVIA (and later, SYLVIA) fame, met

Joe.   “Sylvia was so impressed [with me] that when  her date in New Orleans was over she flew back to

record me on  ‘Every Night About Eight,’ which she cut her self on her own money.    She sang duet with

me on another song, ‘A Tisket, A Tasket’  and she got me a deal with Roulette, then  she was going to

represent me as my manager.”


The next recording session, produced by Harold Battiste, would yield “You Talk Too Much,” or was it the

next three sessions?    Some confusion still exists.   It seems that while under contract to Roulette, Joe

recorded the tune for them, and that they rejected  it, filing it in their vaults.   Believing that the tune

would be a sure hit, Joe recorded the same number for Ric Records and possibly Flame Records.


Ric  Records chief Joe Ruffino gave Jones $600 to hit the road and promote the disk.   It     all paid off–

“You Talk  Too Much” was a huge hit, in spite of the stiff compition provided by FRANKIE FORD’s cover version.   But

heated discussions developed between Ric and Roulette Records as to just who

owned the rights to the master recording.     Roulette secured the rights, so  Ruffino rushed home to cut an

answer record,  “I Don’t Talk Too Much,” with the very same band and Martha Nelson’s voice.    It failed to

fly, as did the few Joe Jones 45s that followed:  “One Big Mouth,” “California Sun” (#89, 1961)–which THE

RIVIERA’s covered and took to number 5 in 1964–and a dance number called “The Big Mule.”


Joe Jones moved on to production work for Red Bird Records in the mid ’60, most notable for Alvin

Robinson (“Something You Got”) and the Dixie Cups (“Chapel Of Love”).