Joe Stampley was originally a rock musician, singing with a vocal group called The Uniques all through the 1960s; in 1970 he hit the new decade as a Nashviller, switching to country. He's probably best known for his late-'70s partnership with hard country honkytonker Moe Bandy, which made country "good ole boys" a household word during the disco era. On his own, Stampley's kind of a mixed bag -- he never shook his love of blue-eyed soul music, and depending on whether you want tremelo or twang, his early records are either a treat or a trial. His true-country hits include "Roll On, Big Mama," which remains an irresistible singalong '70s gem. Here's a quick look at his work...

Discography - Best-Ofs

Joe Stampley "Good Ol' Boy: His Greatest Hits" (Razor & Tie, 1995)
A strong collection, cherry-picking the hits from Stampley's long and sometimes iffy career... This Louisiana-born good old boy started out his career in the 'Fifties singing rock-pop tunes in teenbopper bands, then he settled on a country career in the early '70s. He had a lamentable penchant for singing blue-eyed soul, musical moments that often dragged down entire albums, but which are mostly, thankfully omitted from this collection. His best solo hit was 1975's "Roll On, Big Mama," which remains one of the best anthemic country tunes ever recorded... Stampley went on to specialize in sleaze-ish swinger songs, ballads for the '70s barfly crowd, such as "Do You Ever Fool Around," "Put Your Clothes Back On," and "If You've Got Five Minutes, Let's Fall In Love," with lyrics comprised almost entirely of lame, creepy pickup lines. Then, of course, he hooked up with honkytonker Moe Bandy, an indie artist who'd managed to liven things up in the 'Seventies with a series of hard country albums that gave Nashville a much needed shot in the arm. The two of them were a hot duet in the early '80s, with novelty numbers like, "Just Good Ol' Boys," "Hey Joe, Hey Moe," and "Tell Ole I Ain't Here He Better Get On Home." However, they also delved into lame homophobic numbers like "Honkytonk Queen" and "Where's The Dress" (where, having seen Boy George on MTV, Moe & Joe contemplate dragging up their act as a way of cashing in... Amusing in a lame, timecapsule redneck-relic kind of way, but not actually that funny...) Anyway, a few missteps aside, this disc is probably the best Stampley best-of you're likely to come across on CD. Recommended.

Joe Stampley & Moe Bandy "Greatest Hits" (Columbia-Epic, 1982)

Joe Stampley & The Uniques "Golden Hits" (Paula Records, 1991)
His olden goldies from the 'Sixties... Lots of strings and softened backbeats, but you can definitely make Stampley's voice out in the mix. Kinda cute, clean-cut pop.rock/soul.

Discography - Albums

Joe Stampley "If You Touch Me" (Dot, 1972) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Soul Song" (Dot, 1973) (LP)

Joe Stampley "I'm Still Loving You" (Dot, 1974) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Take Me Home To Somewhere" (ABC/Dot, 1974) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Greatest Hits, v.1" (ABC/Dot, 1975) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Joe Stampley" (Epic, 1975)

Joe Stampley "Billy, Get Me A Woman" (Epic, 1975) (LP)
Haw! The album art has the indelible appearance of an inadvertent kitsch classic: the slightly sleazy, trucker-themed T-shirt clad Stampley gazing vacantly out with a couple day's worth of stubble on his face, looking expectantly for his buddy to produce a babe for him to go swinging with. Yi-i-i-kes! you may understandably exclaim. The thing is, with its canny mix of jaunty string arrangements and driving hard-country rhythm, the jovial good-ole boy sexism and uncomplicated approach to life, this actually ain't that bad an album. Stampley holds the torturous white soul crooning down to a minimum, and keeps things country on this LP... It's definitely worth checking out, and has plenty of good tunes on it not collected on his meagre best-of albums. And hey, with raunchy tunes like "I Was Keeping Her Warm For You" and "Down Home Girl" on it... well, how can ya go wrong?

Joe Stampley "The Sheik Of Chicago" (Epic, 1976) (LP)

Joe Stampley "All These Things" (ABC/Dot, 1976) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Ten Songs About Her" (Epic, 1975) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Saturday Nite Dance" (Epic, 1976) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Red Wine And Blue Memories" (Epic, 1978) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Greatest Hits" (Epic, 1978) (LP)

Joe Stampley "I Don't Lie" (Epic, 1979) (LP)

Joe Stampley & Moe Bandy "Just Good Ol' Boys" (Columbia, 1979)

Joe Stampley "After Hours" (Epic, 1980) (LP)

Joe Stampley "I'm Gonna Love You Back To Loving Me Again" (Epic, 1981) (LP)

Joe Stampley & Moe Bandy "Hey Joe! Hey Moe!" (Columbia, 1981)
Once Bandy paired up with Joe Stampley and their "Good Old Boys" gimmick became a brand name, it was only a matter of time before the music started to suffer. Still, well into the early '80s his albums didn't completely suck... Uncomplicated, upbeat material with great arrangements and studio work -- well worth checking out, even with the redneck schtick.

Joe Stampley "I'm Gonna Love You Back To Loving Me Again" (Epic, 1981) (LP)
At the peak of his Moe & Joe fame, this is what Stampley was doing with his fifteen minutes in the limelight?? A gushy set of hillbilly soul, as only Stampley could do it (or as only he would want to!) Not my cup of tea, but it must be said, he really seemed to be into it.

Joe Stampley "I'm Goin' Hurtin' " (Epic, 1982) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Biggest Hits" (Epic, 1982) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Backslidin' " (Epic, 1982) (LP)

Joe Stampley "Memory Lane" (Epic, 1983) (LP)

Joe Stampley & Moe Bandy "Alive and Well" (Columbia-Epic, 1984)

Joe Stampley "I'll Still Be Loving You" (Epic, 1985) (LP)

Joe Stampley & Moe Bandy "Live From Bad Bob's, Memphis" (Columbia-Epic, 1985) (LP)

Joe Stampley & Moe Bandy "The Best" (Intersound, 1999)

Joe Stampley & Moe Bandy "Live At Billy Bob's Texas" (Smith Music, 2000)

Joe Stampley "Somewhere Under The Rainbow" (Critter, 2001)
(Produced by Joe Stampley)

Not great. The title track, which opens the album, is an adequate ode to the joys of being average and unglamorous, and just loving your partner for who they are. It's the album's highpoint, along with the closer, "If It Ain't One, It's Another," a thumpy novelty song that catalogs all the little things that can go wrong in life. In between, there's stuff that ranges from so-so to simply scary... The mediocre material includes a hamfisted cover of the rock'n'roll oldie, "Boney Maronie" and various ballads, the scariest song is a horrifying tune that makes light of domestic violence ("Knock Down, Drag Out") that's sort of like a musical adaptation of the Cops TV series. Joe... you can stop now... seriously!


Hick Music Index

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