Another rock-solid album from Joe Tex, I've Got to Do a Little Better was his third full-length release of 1966, but Tex showed no signs of slowing down or losing his breath on these 12 songs. I've Got to Do a Little Bit Better revisits Tex's traditional themes, namely holding on to your man (or woman) ("A Woman Sees a Hard Time (When Her Man Is Gone)," " "S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song)"), playing fair with others (" "Lying's Just a Habit, John" and the title tune), and being true to yourself ("Papa Was, Too," which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Otis Redding/Carla Thomas hit "Tramp"), while "I Believe I'm Gonna Make It" is one of the strangest R&B tunes to surface concerning the war in Vietnam (in which Tex, after getting a letter from his baby, is so filled with love and patriotic fervor that he leaps from his foxhole to gun down several Vietnamese). Buddy Killen's production is admirably malleable, knowing when to go for subtlety and when to rave on, and Tex's rich and passionate tenor rings out clear and true on each and every tune. One of the very best albums of Tex's Southern soul period, I've Got to Do a Little Bit Better suggests the kind of care and careful thought that rarely went into LPs of the period, and it's well worth seeking out for fans. AMG.
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