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WITH JOE Simon's signature, Spring Records have gained their first real entry into the super-star league. Joe's first for the label, "Your Time To Cry", his own song, has already exceeded 800,000 in sales and is casually heading to the one million mark to give Joe his second Gold Disc — his first being for "The Chokin' Kind", a couple of years back when he was in his heyday with Sound Stage 7 Records.

Unfortunately, Britain has not to date been a happy hunting ground for Joe. In 1969 he made a short visit to London and appeared in a Jazz festival, which was totally irrelevant to the music Joe is involved in. However, he is philosophical about it now: "The main reason I came was to see Europe and I did just that. And I enjoyed it, too! Of course it was the wrong show to put me on but I didn't know it until I got there and then what could be done about it? I have to think reasonably about it and I'm not really upset about it except that I wasn't able to do justice to myself. But, I tell you, next time is gonna be different!"


And next time is likely to be next month when Joe is planning to make a lightning trip to London to promote his next single here, "Help Me Make It Through The Night". "It's such a beautiful song," explained Joe, "and I think it could be a better bet for your country. We're not planning to use it as our next single here because the song is already a hit for someone and there wouldn't be much point in that. I think the song is stronger in many ways than "Your Time To Cry" and I still love that song. It's actually another Country song and I love Country music. I think the thing I like best is the story line in the lyric; it's tellin' it like it is, just like in gospel music. It really is very close in its background to gospel."

In fact, Joe really made his name by singing Country songs. His biggest hits have all come out of Nashville — Waylon Jennings did the original on "Chokin' Kind", "Yours Love" and "You Keep Me Hangin' On" — which is not so surprising since Joe's producer, John Richbourg is a resident of the Country music capitol. Joe and John have been working together now for six years and they have been six very successful years dating back to when Joe signed with Sound Stage 7 Records.

Joe began his life 27 years ago in Simmesport, Louisiana, a small hamlet close to New Orleans, a region of America that is rich in musical heritage. In 1959, Joe and his family moved house to Oakland, California, which is when and where he first became seriously interested in entertaining as a career. He recorded in the following year for the local G. & B. label and enjoyed something of a local hit with the first record, "My Adorable One". He made enough noise to attract the talent scouts of Vee Jay Records, then based in Los Angeles. Joe then signed with Vee Jay and went to Muscle Shoals to record his next record, "Let's Do It Over". This was really in the dawn of the Muscle Shoals Sound. As Joe explains: "The basis for the sound was there then but the equipment was nothing compared with today. We cut "Let's Do It Over" on a four-track machine, whereas we used a sixteen-track facility for the album for Spring — and there are thirty-two-track studios now. But the important thing in Muscle Shoals was, is and always will be the 'Sound' and was there on that record."

In 1966, Joe made the step to Sound Stage 7 Records and began his partnership with John Richbourg and this is where he really started. At the end of his 5-year contract, he signed with Spring Records, a company that are going to become a big power in the future of our music. His first outing for the label was "Your Time To Cry" and it speaks for itself.

Joe will be making his debut on Polydor's Mojo label with his next single, the Kristofferson song, "Help Me Make It Through The Night"




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