Joe Jones

Singer of 'You Talk Too Much'

Joe Jones, singer: born New Orleans 12 August 1926; married (four sons, three daughters, and one daughter deceased); died Los Angeles 4 December 2005.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and, in the early 1960s, Fats Domino kept on smiling when his style was copied by the southern performers Joe Jones, Joe Barry and Clarence "Frogman" Henry. Joe Jones's "You Talk Too Much" (1960), was an impersonation of which Rory Bremner would be proud and a superb record in its own right. By the time of his hit, Jones had spent more than a decade learning his trade.

Joe Jones was born and raised in New Orleans. Turning 16 in 1942, he joined the US Navy and he became one of the first black petty officers. He played piano for a navy band and, after the Second World War, returned to his studies and formed a modern jazz band, Joe Jones and his Atomic Rebops. His band was used by Roy Brown to record "Good Rockin' Tonight" (1947).

The Musicians Union in New Orleans was poorly run and Jones, in defiance of its rules, formed a rival group. His expulsion was originally for life, but he was reinstated after others interceded on his behalf.

Jones worked with B.B. King as his pianist and valet and cut his first solo single, "Adam Bit the Apple", for Capitol in 1954. He discovered Shirley and Lee and encouraged them to record "Let the Good Times Roll" (1956).

In 1958 he recorded "Every Night About Eight" for Roulette but a potential follow-up, "You Talk Too Much", was not released. It was an R&B novelty, taken way too fast, and the lyric could have applied to himself:

You talk too much,
You worry me to death.
You talk too much,
You even worry my pet.

Thinking that Roulette had forgotten about him, Jones recorded a slower version for Ric Records in 1960. "You Talk Too Much" had to beat off a cover version from another New Orleans musician, Frankie Ford. As it climbed the charts, Roulette was furious, securing a leasing agreement with Ric and taking over Jones's contract. Ric Records responded with "I Don't Talk Too Much" by Martha Nelson: Valerie Carr recorded "I Talked Too Much": and Jones's follow-up was the equally similar "One Big Mouth (Two Big Ears)".

His "California Sun" (1961) was revived very successfully by the Rivieras in 1964. Jones appeared in the zombie film, The Dead One (1961), which was set in a plantation outside New Orleans.

Like most Roulette artists, Jones failed to make anything from his million-seller and he moved into music publishing, discovering the Dixie Cups ("Chapel of Love") and Alvin Robinson ("Something You Got"). He formed a jingle company in Los Angeles in 1973 and encouraged black musicians to fight for their royalties. Jones also wrote a campaign song for Jimmy Carter.

Spencer Leigh

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power