Tony Joe White
Tony Joe White, “The Swamp Fox,” is what people mean when they call someone a legend. From his first album, 1969’s Black and White, which brought forth two classic songs (“Willie and Laura Mae Jones” and the stone groove funk of “Polk Salad Annie”), until this record, Hoodoo, White has stuck to his strengths. His bassy growl of a voice coupled with his spare, funky guitar have been his hallmarks, and when he’s on, there ain’t nobody better — or badder.
Hoodoo continues the magic of 2010’s The Shine with nine cuts of country soul/blues/funk that White is a master of. From “The Gift” to “Alligator, Mississippi” this is indeed swamp music — deep, humid stuff that gets into your skin and won’t let you go. White, backed by bassist Steve Forrest and drummer Bryan Owings, hits a mid-tempo groove that flows so naturally and easy, sorta like a Dixie beer on a hot day. His voice has rarely sounded better, and the record was recorded for the most part live, so the tunes have a fresh, new quality to them that works well.
Tony Joe White is indeed a legend, but one that doesn’t rest on his laurels, still producing his own brand of southern soul as only he can, and doing it for the love of it. The royalties from “Polk Salad Annie” or his ’70s monster hit “Rainy Night in Georgia” have probably set him up for life, so it’s the lure of songwriting and performing that drives him, and glad we are of that. Hoodoo is another winning record from the one, the only Swamp Fox, Tony Joe White. Ain’t nobody badder, nowhere.