I am placing these lyrics on the web because no one else
seems to have done so and people often ask for accurate
transcriptions of good lyrics. Both songs can be found on
Rhino CD R2 72565, "The Very Best of Joe Tex."
HOLD ON TO WHAT YOU GOT written and performed by JOE TEX You had better hold on, hold on to what you got. You had better hold on, hold on to what you got, 'Cause if you think nobody wants it, Just throw it away and you will see, Someone will have it before you can count -- One, Two, Three. Yes, they will. Yes, they will. Listen, fellas -- You know it's not all the time That a man can have a good woman, A woman that he can call his very own, A woman who will stay right there at home And mind the children while he's gone to work, A woman who will have his dinner cooked when he comes home. Where some men make mistakes Is when they go out and stay, Because they feel that no other man wants his woman but him. But listen! If you think no other man wants her Just throw her away and you will see, Some man will have her before you can count -- One, Two, Three. Yes, they will. Yes, he will. Heh heh, listen girls, this goes for you too -- Because you know i've seen so many women Who've had so many good men in life, Men who would stand by 'em through thick and thin, Men who would go to work every day And bring home their hard-earned pay, Men who would give their women Anything that their little heart desire. Where some women make mistakes Is when their men go out and let 'em play, They would stay, Because they felt that no other women wanted him but her. Listen! If you think that no other woman wants him Just pitch him out in the streets and you will see, Some woman will have your man before you can count -- One, Two, Three. Yes, she will. Yes, she will. Dial single #4001 (11/1964) Billboard R&B #2, Billboard Hot 100 #5 --------------- BUYING A BOOK written and performed by JOE TEX I saw this old man with this young girl the other night. I walked over to him and pulled him off on the side, And I said, "Pops, what are you trying to prove?" I said, "I've seen you out here every night this week with a different young girl wrapped around your arm." I said, "You can't keep this pace up, uh, "Because these young girls, huh, oh! -- they'll certainly get you down." He said, "Son, sit down here. Lemme tell ya something." He said, "All my life I've worked hard. Huh, and I've saved up me a little money." He said, "But just about the time I got me a nest egg saved, I became a widow man." He says, "And I'm 72 going on 73 years old and don't have too many more years to live." Hah, he said, "I know that I should be ashamed of myself. Ha. "But --" he said, "Young girls is my weakness. Oh yes, they are." Huh. He said, "So would you plea-ea-ease leave this old gray-haired man alone. "Mind your business. Heh-heh. Let me and this young girl have us a little bit of fun." Ehuh. That's when I looked at him and I said, I said, "All right, Pops, you got her. "But listen, ha ha ha ha, here's all you're doing -- "Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh, you just -- "Buying -- buyin' a book." (Buying -- buying a book.) That's what I said to him, I said, "Listen to this, here's all you're doing." (Buying a book for some young man -- ) "That's what you're doing, heh, -- to read. "But don't do it. (Don't do it.) "Don't do it! (Don't do it!) "Oh, don't do it! (Don't do it!) "Send that young girl on home." Mmmm-mmmm-mmm. Then there was this middle-aged woman whose name I dare not call -- Simply because you out there listening just might know who this woman is. But I can tell you this much: The woman lives right here in your town. I know you didn't know that, did you? Huh. I saw this woman with this young man, in the broaden day time the other day. I say, "Miss Lady, you oughta be ashamed of yourself, Ridin' around with this young man all hugged up like this here." Heh huh. She said, "Son, oh Son, you're dippin' in my business. "But if you want to know why I fool with this young man, I'll tell you." She said, "I was married to a man 40 years older than I was." Says, "For a long time I was true and faithful to that one man." Says, "And last year he died and willed me a whole lotta money. "And I know that that young man sittin' in my car just wants me for my money. Uh-huh." She said, "But if that's what it takes to keep the young, fine thing -- oh ho! -- he can get every single dime. "Because it ain't nothin' an old man can do for me, but show me which way a young man went." Hah hah! Oh Lord! Oh! Oh! Here's what I said, huh I said, "You're just -- Buying -- (Buying-- ) That's all you're doin' -- (-- buying a book.) That's what I told her, huh "Listen, Miss Lady, here's all you're doin' -- uh! (Buying a book for some young girl --) "You oughta quit it, huh -- -- to read." (Don't do it.) I said, "That's your car, drive him home, (Don't do it.) Give him all your money! "I'm sorry I dipped in your business. "I won't do it no more. "Nooooo." Dial single #4090 (4/1969) Billboard R&B #10, Billboard Hot 100 #47 --------------------------------------- Commentary on "Hold On To What You Got" by catherine yronwode, 2005 in addition to its status as a cross-over hit, this song is innovative in many ways. Musically, although it is classified as "soul" because it is slow and is sung in a sincere manner, the framework for "Hold On To What You Got" falls well within the slightly earlier "Swamp Pop Ballad" genre of Louisiana Creole music exemplified by the Lake Charles band Cookie and the Cupcakes ("Mathilda," "Got You On My Mind"), the Baton Rouge harmonicist Slim Harpo ("Raining In My Heart"), the white Cajun singer Rod Bernard ("This Should Go On For Ever"), and the Jennings Creole singer Phil Phillips (Phillip Baptiste) who recorded the mega cross-over hit "Sea of Love" with a band billed as "The Twilights" who were actually Cookie and the Cupcakes playing backup with session producer George Khoury singing bass. The rolling piano riff is a dead giveaway that Tex (actually Joe Arrington, Jr. from Rogers, Texas) was influenced by the 1959 - 1963 regional hits of Cookie and the Cupcakes, none of which ever broke nationally, but all of which scored huge sales in Lousiana, Texas and, due to emigrants, in Oakland, California. But that is just the melodic under-line given out on the piano. The real importance of "Hold On To What You Got" lies in the lyrics and the eccentric way they are vocally counterpoised against the steady piano beats. Some authors consider this song to be the very first example of "soul rap" and claim that as such it paved the way for all subsequent rap and hip-hop. You actually can hear the genesis of full-blown rap in the way that certain lines are inflected and stressed -- Where some women make misTAKES Is when their men go out and let 'em PLAY, They would STAY, -- a seemingly haphazard skewing or displacement of the rhythm in favour of the rhyme which comes from the earlier black toasting tradition and which virtually characterizes rap and hip-hop to this day. Joe Tex was also quite a showman and he wore a rayon-silk shirt, pants, and cape as he performed his act, which was punctuated by extravagant gestures and "preacherly" appeals to the audience. Other authors therefore consider "Hold On To What You Got" to be the first great example of "secularized black preaching" that paved the way for later soul acts like James Brown. I agree with both viewpoints, and consider "Hold On To What You Got" to mark an important turning point in the history of African American popular music, as well as being a brilliant song performed with incredible grace and elegance in its own right.