Singer / pianist / bandleader / songwriter / producer / arranger

Born Joseph Charles Jones, 12 August 1926, New Orleans, Louisiana
Died 27 November 2005, Sylmar, Los Angeles, California

He is remembered as a one-hit wonder, but Joe Jones had already been around for a long time on the New Orleans scene when he scored a major hit with “You Talk Too Much” in 1960.

Joe Jones was born in the 2nd Ward in New Orleans in 1926 and was educated at the Corpus Christi Catholic and Booker Washington high schools. During World War II he was drafted into the Navy ; when he came out in December 1945 he went back to New Orleans. After studying music theory at the Grunewald School of Music under the G.I. Bill, Joe formed his first band, which gave him an early chance to display his musical and leadership qualities. Jones has always had good bands ; over the years, members have included Melvin Lastie, Clarence Ford, Wilbur Hogan, Emery Thompson and Wallace Davenport, but not all at the same time.

In the early fifties Joe worked as pianist / valet / arranger for B.B. King. He cut his first record in 1954, for Capitol (“Will Call”/“Adam Bit the Apple”). It did nothing, but Jones continued to travel with his band throughout the nation. His second record was “When Your Hair Has Turned To Silver”/“You Done Me Wrong” (1957), with Earl Palmer as A&R man. In March 1958 Jones did two sessions for the New York- based Roulette label, resulting in two single releases. Particularly good was the second one, “To Prove My Love To You” (Roulette 4087), a driving number in the Fats Domino style, with exciting sax work.

The pianist in Jones’s band at that time was Reggie Hall, Fats Domino’s brother-in- law. Hall had written a song called “You Talk Too Much” and offered it to Fats, who turned it down. Hall then passed it on to Jones who performed it in his nightclub act for several months before he recorded it on May 26, 1959. However, Roulette boss Morris Levy declined to issue it. A year later, after his Roulette deal had ended, Joe Jones re-recorded the song (and its B-side, “I Love You Still”) for Joe Ruffino’s Ric label in New Orleans, under the supervision of Harold Battiste. This new version was considerably slower than the 1959 recording for Roulette. The record began to take off instantly and Ruffino sent Jones and Battiste out on the road to promote it. In due course, Morris Levy remembered all about “You Talk Too Much” and that Jones had been under contract to him. His “people” got in touch with Ruffino’s “people”. Given Levy’s reputation (of alleged Mob ties), the conversations can’t have been too pleasant. The end result was that Ric 972 became Roulette 4304, on the way to # 3 pop and # 9 R&B in the autumn of 1960. Roulette had purloined the master, the publishing and Jones’s contract. It was a bitter blow to Ruffino, who responded with an answer record on Ric, Martha Nelson’s “I Don’t Talk Too Much”.

Roulette rushed Jones into the studio in November 1960 to record enough material for an album (with old and new tracks), which was naturally called “You Talk Too Much”. Recorded during the same sessions, but not on the LP was “California Sun”, a single release in March 1961 that scraped the charts at # 89, Jones’s second and last chart entry. A remake by the group The Rivieras would peak at # 5 in 1964.

Jones’s second stint at Roulette was over within a year. Not that it bothered him much. After 15 years in the business as a bandleader, Joe decided to concentrate on publishing, artist management and production. He moved to New York City, but in 1963 he returned temporarily to New Orleans where he discovered the female vocal trio The Dixie Cups. He took them to New York to record for the Red Bird label and the result was a # 1 hit in 1964 with “Chapel Of Love”, followed by four lesser hits. Joe didn’t produce “Chapel of Love” (he did the arrangement, though), but he also had success as a producer, with “Something You Got” by Alvin Robinson (# 52 pop, 1964) for Leiber & Stoller’s Tiger label.

Blessed with the gift of the gab, Jones wheeled and dealed his way through the rest of the 60s and 70s. Later he moved to Los Angeles, promoting New Orleans musicians who were living in California. Joe Jones died of complications from quadruple bypass surgery in Los Angeles on November 27, 2005. He was 79.

More info :

Discography (singles only) :

CD : You Talk Too Much : The Best Of Joe Jones (Sequel NEM 672, 1994). 26 Roulette recordings, 1958-1961. Liner notes by John Broven.

Acknowledgements : John Broven, Tony Rounce, Jason Ankeny.

YouTube :
A-Tisket A-Tasket :
To Prove My Love To You :
One Big Mouth :
You Talk Too Much :
You Talk Too Much (fast) :
I Love You Still :
I Cried For You :
California Sun :
Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone :

Dik, August 2016

These pages were originally published as "This Is My Story" in the
Yahoo Group "Shakin' All Over". For comments or information
please contact Dik de Heer at

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