Monday, 11 November 2013

Record Review - Tony Joe White

Published in the Shortlist section of the Sydney Morning Herald, Friday Nov 8 2013.

Tony Joe White
YepRoc Records

Tony Joe White has been playing music for over fifty years. His songs have been covered by the likes of Elvis and Waylon Jennings. He’s been there and done it and so has nothing left to prove.

As such, Tony Joe, now in his 70s, can do what he likes best – sitting in his studio, a beer close at hand, waiting on a song. “I just gotta wait on ‘em, and when one comes by, I take my guitar out and grab it,” he said to me last year. That’s just how he rolls.

Latest cut, Hoodoo, is a collection of the most recent songs he’s grabbed. A slew of lean, scuzzy blues grooves, his fuzzed out old Strat laconically leading the way over a bedrock of drums and bass, the odd Hammond stab, a little harmonica. His voice is hardly worth bottling, but it doesn’t matter, it suits the mood. ‘The Gift’ is pure sweat-drenched road song, the title track filth-encrusted blues boogie. Messy as hell, and all the better off for it.

Samuel J. Fell

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