Little Joe Hinton
Regular readers of thse page will know that I am a very enthusiastic supporter of West Coast soul and blues. One of the artists I've been wanting to write about for a long time has been Little Joe Hinton. But I have held my fire due to a lot of uncertainly about Hinton's possible relationship to Jay Lewis. (See UPDATE below).
Hinton was one of the most intense of all the LA blues singers and his gruff powerful style, which owed a debt to Bobby Bland's, is wild and uninhibited. Simply awesome. His Arvee 45s are both absolutely essential R & B despite the prices they now command. The first couples the hi octane "I Won't Be Your Fool" with the superb blues ballad My Love Is Real. This is typical West Coast fodder - a big fat horn section, fully comitted rhythm section and a cooing female chorus. If you like Jimmy Robbins you'll know just what sort of music we are talking about here. Just check out Hinton's screaming passion - singers dodn't come much harder than this.
The other release from his Arvee session features the lovely blues shuffle Let's Start A Romance which has gained quite a reputation on the R & B dance scene. And no wonder as it is a real beauty, easy paced and very well arranged. But the best part is undoubtedly the bridge when Hinton turns up the heat and lets rip. Hard not to rewind the disc and listen again after that bit.
Hinton had another session for Kent which only produced one 45. This was the upbeat "Tired Of Walking" which features more screaming vocals and some fine blues playing and the less good dancer "The Whip Twist". Happily P-Vine have released more cuts from the session including the fine beater "Get In The Car" and the excellent mid paced I Need Love So Bad with some fine blues guitar and a splendid Bland impersonation from Hinton. Love this one.
There must have been reasons why this highly talented singer didn't cut more records. Does anybody know what they were?
UPDATE ~ After considerable debate with interested parties I'm now going to stick my neck out and say that I am pretty sure that Little Joe Hinton and Jay Lewis are one and the same. My reasons are:-
1. They both used the same Joe Hinton name.
2. Both known to have recorded on the West Coast.
3. Could have reverted to his real name after the Back Beat Joe Hinton died - 1968.
4. Aurally very similar - share the same register, and some vocal mannerisms.
5. BMI records show that writer of one of LJH tracks is the same guy as the man who wrote for Motown - ie Jay Lewis.
6. Zilla Mays who sang with Jay Lewis for ABC was named as "Zilla Hinton" when she passed on.
Please mail me if you agree with this - or even if you don't!
1. Special thanks to Bob Eagle and Greg Burgess for entering into the debate and providing excellent info.
2. You can find " Tired of walking" on the UK Kent CD "New Breed R & B". This cut, "The whip twist", "Get in the car" and I need love so bad can be found on the Japanese P-Vine CD "West Coast Modern Blues Vol 2".