Tony Joe White
(Yep Roc Records)
The “swamp guitar” legend and writer of “Rainy Night in Georgia” Tony Joe White has a new album for us all, entitled Hoodoo.
The opening track, “The Gift,” is a mix of White and his cracker jack band. “Holed Up” follows with a slinky tight guitar menace of power chords and perfectly placed lead moments (White never overstays his welcome with his playing) and the positively swampy stomp of “Who You Gonna Hoodoo Now?” is actually a poppy read with organ from NC Thurman easing into the mix, Bryan Owings’ drumming about as perfect here as it is everywhere else on the disc and some great over-dubbed guitar playing from White.
For a man whose tunes have been covered by Tina Turner, Elvis and many others, a guy who sings with a growl of conviction only decades in the business can build and a man who sets a bunch of great players around him, it’s no wonder Hoodoo is as good as it is. Most of these tunes were recorded in one take actually, and the ease of playing matched with the songwriting and performance here should not be missed.
“Alligator, Mississippi” is a perfect story song with White offering harmonica as much as lead guitar and “Storm Comin’” again features drummer Owings plus the bass of Steve Forrest making another commercial track. “Sweet Tooth” ends it all with a sexy lyric-of-a-tune with once again White playing his heart out.