Who was/is Joe Gaines ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Joe Gaines ( Little Joe Gaines)
Joe Gaines (born May 30, 1919) grew up in the Municipal Boys Home where Louis Armstrong had been raised. At 18 he joined a gospel quartet called the Humming Bees. Professor Longhair, of all people, tried to sing with the group. "He used to throw us off key a lot," swore Gaines. The group also sang as table serenaders in French Quarter clubs until a rift broke them up. Then Joe sang solo at the 'Famous Door,' imitating Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and the Ink Spots.
In the 1940s Joe went to work in the shipyards to support his family. He also joined a splinter group of the Humming Four gospel quartet.
While with the group Joe recorded his Mercury sides after an audition at the 'Club Desire.' The hilarious Snuff Dipper came from personal experience.
"I used to tell her all the time, 'You know, Louise, you oughta stop doin' that.' She was a country girl, a very attractive Creole girl. She had pretty hair and great-looking lips. Kissin' a person that dips snuff is just like a person that has hands without any ridges in 'em -- smooth and slick."
Released under the name Little Joe Gaines on May 8, 1950, the record got a so-so 'Billboard' review: "A good blues-shouter and above average material fail to make the grade because of uneven combo work and insufficient vocal presence."
In 1953 Dave Bartholomew discovered the Humming Four singing at radio station WMRY. Their fine R&B recordings as the Hawks were documented on a Pathe Marconi album. Joe adds that one reason the Hawks weren't more popular was that the elderly bass singer wouldn't do 'tuba' sounds because he feared his dentures would fall out!
In the late '50s Joe joined a band led by Alonzo 'Al' White. They recorded a good swampy effort – I Want To Go Home / Voodoo Lou on Arcadia as Joe Gaines & the Original Hi-Lites in 1959.
In the 1960s Joe rejoined the Humming Four for a time. After that he retired both from the shipyard and from singing. He kept in great shape and had an irrepressible spirit, expressed in his summary of his singing career. "It was disastrous."
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