One of the most distinctive roots-music performers of the late 1960s and early '70s, Louisiana native Tony Joe White was one of the most successful "swamp rock" stars of the era. His funky-bluesy song, "Polk Salad Annie," was a Top 10 hit in 1969 and remained a staple of pop and freeform radio for years to come. It was also covered by several artists, including Elvis Presley and Tom Jones, even a version by French pop star Johnny Hallyday. White never repeated that level of success, but has maintained a cult following over the years, with an earthy, authentic, down-home style that's all his own. Here's a quick look at his work...
Tony Joe White "The Best Of Tony Joe White" (Warner, 1975) (LP)
Tony Joe White "The Best Of Tony Joe White" (Warner, 1993)
This single-disc best-of, which covers his early work on Monument and Warner between 1969-73, might be about as much of White's work as the average listener would need... There's some deeply funky stuff on here, and if you like what you hear, there's plenty more to explore on his other albums. Or, you can just play "Polk Salad Annie" a bunch of times, whenever the mood strikes. One hit wonder? Well, not quite, but it is one helluva hit.
Tony Joe White "Swamp Music: The Complete Monument Recordings" (Rhino Handmade, 2006)
This 4-CD box set covers all his Monument work -- three full albums and then some.
Tony Joe White "Dangerous Eyes" (Raven, 2003)
A twofer reissue of two albums, 1976's Eyes, and Dangerous, from 1983.
Tony Joe White "Collection" (Festival, 1998)
This draws on stuff recorded between 1991-95...
Tony Joe White "Black And White" (Monument, 1968)
Tony Joe White "Continued" (Monument, 1969)
Tony Joe White "Tony Joe" (Monument, 1970)
Tony Joe White "Tony Joe White" (Warner, 1971)
Tony Joe White "The Train I'm On" (Warner, 1972)
Tony Joe White "Home Made Ice Cream" (Warner, 1973)
(Produced by Tom Dowd & Tony Joe White)
Another fine, mellow, swampy set from Tony Joe... Even when he's crooning countrypolitan (sort of), he sounds so darn cool, what with that voice of his! This was his seventh album, and although it doesn't have any standout tracks along the lines of "Poke Salad Annie," it's a very solid offering. A bit on the slow side, but well-crafted and cool.
Tony Joe White "Catch My Soul" (Soundtrack) (Metromedia, 1973) (LP)
Tony Joe White "Eyes" (20th Century Fox, 1976)
Tony Joe White "The Real Thang" (Casablanca, 1980) (LP)
Tony Joe White "Dangerous" (Columbia, 1983)
Tony Joe White "Closer To The Truth" (Remark/Polydor, 1991)
Tony Joe White "The Path Of A Decent Groove" (Remark/Polydor, 1993)
Tony Joe White "Lake Placid Blues" (Remark/Polydor, 1995)
Tony Joe White "Live In Europe: 1971" (Delta, 1998)
Tony Joe White "One Hot July" (Mercury, 1999)
Tony Joe White "In Concert" (Brilliant, 2000)
Tony Joe White "The Beginning" (Audium, 2001)
Man... talk about a downer! The crown prince of swamp pop returns after a long hiatus with as morose and mumbly a set of blues tunes as you'll ever hear. The narrative are rambling, but the grooves are still good. A few tunes stand out, including "Drifter" and "Wonder Why I Feel So Bad." Speaking of which, we wonder that too -- what's up, Tony Joe?? Blues fans, take heed: this is a record worth checking out.
Tony Joe White "The Beginning" (Swamp Records, 2001)
Tony Joe White "Snakey" (Munich/Dock Records, 2003)
Tony Joe White "The Heroines" (Sanctuary, 2004)
Tony Joe White "Hard To Handle" (Fruit Tree, 2005)
More live material...
Tony Joe White "Live From Austin, Texas" (New West, 2006)
Tony Joe White "Live From Austin, Texas" (New West, 2006) (DVD)
Tony Joe White "Uncovered" (Swamp Records, 2006)
Tony Joe White "Deep Cuts" (Swamp, 2008)
Hick Music Index