Joe "Papoose" Fritz ©2002 JCMarion

Joe Fritz, known by the nickname of "Papoose" a tenor sax man and vocalist, first got noticed in the city of Houston, Texas in 1949. By early the next year he recorded a one-off for Modern Records. The released single was "Wrong Doing Woman" and "If I Be Lucky" on Modern #750. Later that year after an in person stint at the Bronze Peacock night club in that city, the club's owner Don Robey gave Fritz a shot on his local label. The result of that time in the recording studio was "Better Wake Up Girl" and "Real Fine Girl" on Peacock #1606. Neither side did much in the R & B world and Fritz looked elsewhere for a recording label.
Another opportunity came for Joe Fritz by way of Sittin' In With Records. Still based in Houston, Fritz had a jumping little combo which included Willie Johnson on piano, Donald Cooks on bass, and Ben Turner on drums. "I Love You My Darling" and "Please Get Off Of My Mind" was the first for the label on SIW #559. This time a Fritz record gets noticed. Starting in the Southwest, the song "Darling" began to sell eventually spreading to the East Coast. "Bad Woman Blues" and "Cool Baby Blues" was released on SIW #574 was released in April, and "I'm So Sorry" and "I Do Love You" on SIW #584 six weeks later. Even though these two records did not sell well, #559 continued to sell. It sells big in New York and Philadelphia. In fact this tune sold well into November and is a seven month hit for Fritz. "I Tried Not To Love You" and "Lady Bear Boogie" came out in the summer on SIW #594.
Sittin' In With kept the records coming. SIW #602 was released in July - "Please My Darling" and "They Were Right" by Joe Fritz and his quartet. In the middle of the summer of 1951, Sittin' In With Records was out of the picture and Don Robey's Peacock label was back in the business of recording Joe Fritz. "Summer's Coming On" and "I'm In Misery" is the first release for the second go-round with Peacock. In October of 1951 Peacock #1581 is issued - "Make Her See Things My Way" and "I'm Not Suspicious". The next recording for Joe Fritz was in late 1952 on Peacock #1606 "Better Wake Up Baby" and "Real Fine Girl". The next Peacock release by Joe Fritz is out in early 1954 with Fritz backed by the Johnny Otis band. "Honey Honey" and "Woman I Love" on #1627 . "Cerelle" and "If I Didn't Love You" was released on Peacock #1640 which features the first vocal efforts by Fritz.
Joe Fritz was a marginal performer who skirted the fringe of the R & B scene in the early fifties, and today is all but unknown to music historians and those interested in the foundations of American pop music. Joe Fritz could still be found recording in the mid sixties, still in Texas. He recorded for a small label in Pasadena, Texas, called Jet Stream Records, and is listed as recording "Good Doctor, Sweet Soul" and "She's A Stepper" on Jet Stream #732.
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