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CD Review Tony Joe White

Tony Joe White - Uncovered

Swamp Records
Reviewed By Scott Homewood

Swamp rock god Tony Joe White has emerged from the water to put out yet another album as part of the renaissance his career has enjoyed since the late '90's. Yes, the enigmatic performer who has raised both his game and his profile has once again put the world on notice that he will not allow himself to be forgotten.
Since his late '90's comeback album One Hot July, White has been on a hell of a roll with his old '70's albums being re-released at a quick pace and his new albums coming out just as rapidly. It's almost as if White has realized that the rise in Americana music in the '90's would pave the way for his own career to be revived and reach new heights. Once again, he has proven himself to be ahead of his time. But let's be serious for a minute - I don't think the man has unrealistic hopes. He probably knows in today's youth-obsessed market he has very little chance of getting a hit on the scale of his legendary '69 hit song "Polk Salad Annie" but here's a guy who couldn't even find a label willing to let him cut an album for almost twenty years since his last major label release in 1979. Then, all of a sudden it's two decades later and he's popping out albums like the Beatles popped barbituates. In a flash, he's become a hero, an elder statesman who can't keep labels from wanting him. Really, it's a miraculous comeback for an artist who should've been treated like a god all along.
Like his last studio album, Heroines, this album has a gimmick. Unlike Heroines, however, it's not female singers he has chosen as guest stars this time around. For this outing, White has chosen artists like Mark Knopfler, Michael McDonald, J.J. Cale, Eric Clapton and the late Waylon Jennings to make music with. While some are re-cuts of his most famous songs, seven are completely new showing the Swamp Fox still has plenty of new songs and new inside of him waiting to bust loose. As usual, White's new disc is a sultry yet laid back affair where some serious backwoods shit is being thrown down, in a big way. Lowdown and growly, White's voice is how it always is and the fact he never really raises his voice above a whisper is some serious shit in itself. That whisper tells you everything you need to know anyway, and in a way that makes you feel his message is just for you. Spooky as hell! White's got his guitar and his whomper-stomper (a board he stomps on to create a backbest to his music) with him as well and he seemingly ain't afraid to use them them to conjure up his own special form of voodoo. The best song, in my opinion anyway, is the song he does with Jennings, "Shakin' The Blues." Full of the mystique these two immensely talented performers project, the song would be a hit in a better world.
This album will appeal to anyone who likes American music. Though that seems a wide berth, White's music represents the best of all genres. You can't listen to White's albums and not feel the country music bedrock underneath everything he does. The same with the blues - no matter what he does, the feeling's there. Rock and roll? Well, those who know White's work know that "Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll" and White is no different. His greasy, funky music epitomizes
what's great about rock and roll. I believe I just mentioned funk, that's there too, along with some old-fashioned R&B. And shit, if White's music doesn't make you dance, even the Bee Gee's won't be able to help you.
Pick this up and discover a true American original who everyone should know.




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