Drawing of Joe E. by Robert Dayton
Joe E.- Love Got in My Way (CD, Eabla Records)
Kicking off on a hoot and a holler with swagger, the sweltering horns come in, a full band and not just guitar, bass and drums, but full- FULL! Like a buffet. All the trimmings. “Gimme that come-on sign, come on baby, now gimme that come on sign, light the candles and pour the wine…” That echo on his voice gives him room to move, he loves the echo. An extra button is undone, you know what’s happening here. It’s time for Joe E. Rather, it’s Joe E. time.
Shortly thereafter the mood turns maudlin with such songs as “Table For Two for One.” Described as “…a Pet Sounds for the middle aged melancholic” Joe E is a rugged sensitive. Winking baby blue-eyed soul and a heart that beats with honest emotion. The E is short for Entertainer. Last name Neubauer. In this era that is scarce with great entertainers, it is great to hear this great entertainer that few have heard of. I’d first heard about Joe E years ago through the folks at Eabla Records and now, finally, thanks to their noble efforts we can all hear him! Direct from Joe E.’s tapes, fully remastered with full colour 16 page booklet written by Brandan Kearney and Gregg Turkington, authors of the unique book “Warm Voices Rearranged: Anagram Record Reviews.’
The tag ‘vanity pressing’ has been shuttled about for many years but the naming now appears to have shifted to the in vogue tag ‘private pressing’ as collectors shuffle about, buying up as many relatively unknown records as possible in search of some inscrutable Holy Grail. Rare and unknown, rendered in small pressings, usually by the artists themselves to express their worldviews, at one point worthless, now shifting upwards in price depending on any buzz of note from so-called experts.
Vanity is involved with “Love Got In My Way.” Is it a Private pressing? No, it was recorded for all the world to hear. Joe E turns private feelings into rich, creamy, echo-laden servings for us all to relate to. Oh, he is vain and glorious so. We, the listeners, are all the stronger for it. Deep, manly evocations of a romantic nature. Yet the world never got to hear Joe E. Another tragic showbiz bad luck story. This time in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He pays the label 20 thou, they give him great, original songs, a crack studio band, studio time turned into a full album. Copies are pressed, promises are made, Joe E may be going to England! But what’s this? Joe E shows up at the studio and it’s all boarded up! They flew by night. And in the back dumpster sit the master tapes. With dreams crushed, he grabs them. Looks like it’s back to construction for Joe E.
We are living in a reissue world. Need anyone ever record another note? Hmmmm (a debate for another place- time gives us perspective- the greats of this year will be noted in a later era). Think of a year, any year. Focus on that year. Find all of the music that you can hear in that year. It is never ending, especially with the mass of vanity pressings. There is no such thing as a true music know-it-all. One can only be a music enthusiast. It is with such enthusiasm that we finally open the door for Joe E, Mr. Class and Charm of’75, and give him the acclaim that he has long deserved.
(review by Robert Dayton, 2009, from $2 Comes With Mix Tape magazine)
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