Tony Joe White Hoodoo

Tony Joe White Hoodoo
7
Very few musicians have a sound so distinctive that you recognize it three seconds in. Tony Joe White is one such artist, and his signature swamp funk sound is reprised superbly on Hoodoo. His best known numbers — "Polk Salad Annie" and "Rainy Night in Georgia" — came way back in 1969, but, at 70, that signature down'n'dirty voice and bayou guitar groove remain in top shape. Recording live-to-tape (mostly keeping first takes) was a smart creative decision that helps frame his brand of hoodoo, to fine effect. Swirling organ, plaintive harmonica and a no-frills, tight rhythm section are all that are needed to flesh out his primal sound. The opening lyrics (on "The Gift") are, "I was sitting in a graveyard late one night and I didn't know why," while a mood of dread and impending disaster similarly permeates "The Flood" and "Storm Comin'." He gets autobiographical in simple yet eloquent fashion on "9 Foot Sack" ("daddy was a cotton farmer, seven kids to raise") and pulls out all the stops on moody seven-minute-plus epic "The Flood." Stylistically, White may be a one-trick alligator, but it's a damn pleasing one. Hopefully the YepRoc connection will help bring his sound to a new, young audience. (YepRoc)