Although he never quite attracted the same exalted level of critical acclaim that some of his peers have retroactively embraced, make no mistake: Joe Simon was one of soul music’s top stars during the 1960s and ‘70s. The Best Of Joe Simon is 3 CDs of 61 songs made up of album tracks, singles, and rare B-sides.
“The Mouth of the South,” as he was sometimes sub-billed, racked up a major, highly consistent string of R&B hits from 1965 to 1981, performing steadily until he voluntarily walked away from the secular arena in 1988 to devote his time to preaching the word of God.
Call Joe Simon the reluctant soul star. Despite his mountain of hits during the 1960s and '70s, his heart just wasn't into his work, aural evidence obviously to the contrary. You'd never know it from listening to the contents of this collection, culled from his fabulous hit-loaded 1966-1970 stint with producer Richbourg at the helm for Sound Stage 7 Records. His conviction sounds unshakable. Maybe that's a large part of the reason why Simon scored 16 R&B chart entries during that timeframe for SS7, including a #1 seller.
"I never wanted to sing rhythm and blues," said Simon, who until his untimely death in December 2021, was a bishop and leader of his own ministries in south suburban Chicago. "My heart was never in it, but yet I could sing rhythm and blues. John Richbourg was my producer. And he used to ask me, how could I sing these songs so great and never knew 'em? But I never had an interest to go in the studio and know a song. I just said, 'Man, I just sing 'em!'"
Sunset Blvd Records is proud to present the most comprehensive collection of Joe Simon's extraordinary work with Nashville Soul Label Sound stage 7.