Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Best Discography Sites - Part 4 of 5

See part 1 for an explanation of this series.  Today's test artist is 60s soul singer Joe Tex.  As a general rule, I find that 60s discographies are reliable for artists on Motown, Stax, or Atlantic, and spotty for anyone who recorded for other labels.  Joe Tex's career spanned multiple decades, but he definitely peaked artistically in the 60s.  I first encountered Joe Tex when I bought a record called "Ain't I a Mess" from Sam's Jam in Ferndale, Michigan.  Sam's Jams is long gone, but I did happen upon an interesting site with short blurbs about many different long-gone Michigan stores of all types.

"Ain't I a Mess" was released by Chess in 1984 and is totally lacking any useful information about the original source material.  I later determined that my favorite track on that record, "Sit Your Self Down", was from a 1964 album and single, but, if you look at his discography on Allmusic, it looks like he didn't get started until 1965.  Allmusic lists 16 60s and 70s original albums, an incredible 80+ collections, and 6 singles and EPs.  Really, why does allmusic both with the singles and EPs category if they aren't going to attend to it?

At 45cat, we start to get a real feel for Joe Tex's history.  He released over 100 singles from 1955 to 1981 on many different labels, including King, Dial, Ace, Anna, and Checker, including "Sit Yourself Down" in 1964.  Discogs also list more than 100 singles, and, while they don't include Sit Yourself Down, they do include the 1964 album on which it's featured, and their list of 21 60s and 70s albums suggests allmusic didn't really miss too many of the actual albums, and discogs list of compilations is about half the length of allmusic's.

Rateyourmusic has a nearly identical original album listing compared to discogs.  They list about 10 times as many singles as allmusic and about half as many as 45cat or discogs, and a few more collections than discogs.  Musicbrainz isn't very competitive here, listing only about half of the original albums and only 2 singles as well as a small selection of the collections.

Wikipedia has a special discography page for Joe Tex, as they do with more and more artists, as a companion to the main Joe Tex entry.  It's annoying that the album list doesn't distinguish original releases from collections, but they do include "Ain't I A Mess" from 1984 and "Hold On" from 1964, and the layout of the singles list with the chart positions is quite nice.

The winners of this round are 45cat, discogs, and wikipedia, but allmusic gets a special mention for exhaustive listings of collections.

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