Joseph Melvin Shamwell's songwriting career is documented by more than 110 titles logged with Broadcast Music Incorporated. His career began in his birthplace, Washington, D.C., in 1967 at Waxie Maxie's Record Store where he befriended Eddie Floyd. He moved to Memphis and collaborated with Floyd on many titles and also wrote with Isaac Hayes, David Porter, Tommy Tate, Steve Cropper, William Bell, Homer Banks, and others. Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Tommy Tate, the Bar Kays, William Bell, Con-Funk-Shun, Johnnie Taylor, and Booker T & the MG's all recorded Shamwell's songs.
He recorded a duet as Barbara & Joe on Respect Records and co-wrote "Just the Two of Us" for hometown buds Peaches & Herb. When Stax folded in the mid-'70s, Shamwell moved to Jackson, MS, and became the "Soul Ranger," a popular award-winning disk jockey; he held the gig through the '80s. In Jackson, Shamwell became a staff writer for Malaco Records and Publishing and had tunes cut by Bobby "Blue" Bland, Z. Z. Hill, Little Milton, Deniece LaSalle, and others.
Shamwell's songs have been lucky for him, while none were Top 20 smashes; many are being recorded by major stars like Janet Jackson, who redid "What'll Do for Satisfaction," an old Johnny Daye tune, on her Janet album in 1993. His songs have been featured on the following TV shows: Matlock, 21 Jump Street, and LA Law; the Broadway musical It Ain't Nothing But the Blues features his "I'm a Blues Man." He moved back home to D.C. and is working on new songs for a Peaches & Herbs album while working as the Director of Marketing Research for ABC Radio Washington.