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Country - Released December 20, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
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Rock - Released December 20, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Country - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Tony Joe White's self-titled third album, Tony Joe White, finds the self-proclaimed swamp fox tempering his bluesy swamp rockers with a handful of introspective, soul-dripping ballads and introducing horn and string arrangements for the first time. The album -- White's 1971 debut for Warner Bros. -- was recorded over a two-week period in December 1970, in two different Memphis studios (one was Ardent Studios, where Big Star later recorded their influential power pop albums). His producer was none other than London-born Peter Asher, who had just produced James Taylor's early hits for the label (he would continue to produce hits for Taylor and Linda Ronstadt on his way to becoming one of the most successful producers of the '70s). One can surmise that Warner Bros. may have put White and Asher together as a way for the producer to work his magic with an artist who had much promise. White had already scored big with 1969's "Polk Salad Annie" for Monument, and he was having success as a songwriter too: "Rainy Night in Georgia" was a huge hit for Brook Benton in 1970. As you might expect, there aren't really too many surprises here, despite the addition of the Memphis Horns and other Muscle Shoals sessioners. The songs are fairly standard and straightforward, nothing too out of place or experimental, and White's husky southern warble remains the album's key focus. Many of the songs will remind the listener just how turbulent the cultural climate of the late '60s and early '70s was in the U.S. White's soulful southern-tinged spoken drawl introduces "The Change" (as in a "change is gonna come"), then a potent theme and oft-spoke clarion call that, indeed, the times they were a changin'. "Black Panther Swamps" and "I Just Walked Away" (the album's first single) are also successful at what they attempt. Meanwhile, over on the more sentimental side, "The Daddy" concerns itself with the generation gap between father and son, and mentions the son cutting his long hair ("a little respect will never hurt you"). The mawkish "Five Summers for Jimmy" will appeal to fans who liked Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey." On a more positive note, "A Night in the Life of a Swamp Fox" was White's somewhat-frustrating look at what was going on in his life, playing his sole hit for fans but wanting something more out of his career. Unfortunately, this album never did bring him the success he craved, although it deserves another listen. In 2002, Tony Joe White was reissued for the first time in the U.S. on CD by the Sepia Tone label. ~ Bryan Thomas
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Country - Released April 14, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Twenty tracks from 1969-1973, the period of Tony Joe White's greatest success, including "Polk Salad Annie" and White's own version of his composition "Rainy Night in Georgia." Most of this is quality swamp rock with pop-soul-conscious production; on cuts like "High Sheriff of Calhoun Parrish," it sounds very much like he was trying to achieve a groove in the mold of Bobbie Joe Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe." Sometimes he gets real down-home in a stomping backwoods blues style that makes him sound a little like a White counterpart to John Lee Hooker, as on "Stockholm Blues." If there's any criticism to be levied against this music, it's in its occasional lack of variety, White mining staple swamp rock boogie riffs for all they're worth. However, few, if any, performers and writers were as skilled as White in doing so, and he has a fine knack for sharp storytelling lyrics. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Country - Released December 27, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

Tony Joe White's second Warner Bros. album is an awesome, exquisite musical jewel and a departure from most of the attributes for which he is best known, from songs like "Polk Salad Annie." Acoustic textured for much of its length and built on a close, intimate sound overall, The Train I'm On is permeated with the dark side of White's usual swamp rock sound, filled with songs about unsettled loves and lives, and men caught amid insoluble situations. Betraying surprising vulnerability for much of its length, even on songs like "If I Ever Saw a Good Thing" and "300 Pounds of Hongry" (among the few full band numbers here, with a gorgeous sax solo by Charles Chalmers on the former), he shows off an emotional complexity that wasn't always obvious on his earlier work, only really cutting loose boldly on "Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll" and a tiny handful of other cuts. The rest is dark, pensive, soulful bluesy rock, highlighted by some bristling acoustic guitar work (check out "As the Crow Flies") and superb singing throughout ("The Migrant" is worth the price of admission by itself). [The album was reissued in 2002 by Sepia Tone with new annotation, in a beautifully remastered mid-price edition.] ~ Bruce Eder
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Country - Released May 21, 2013 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

This overstuffed box not only includes all three of Tony Joe White's initial albums for Monument, but adds dozens of extra songs and outtakes, most of which have never been heard before, and includes a fourth disc of previously unreleased live and studio tracks. It's a cornucopia of material, nearly all of it worth hearing, but due to its near obsessive vault clearing, the hefty list price, and its limited-edition status (only 5000 were pressed), it is clearly geared to the obsessive White enthusiast. Even though the singer/songwriter/guitarist was signed to Monument in 1966 (both sides of his rare debut single appear as extras on this set's version of Black and White), his first album was not recorded until 1969. By that time White had pretty much nailed the distinctive and ultimately trademark swamp sound that he mined for the rest of his career. The musky yet melodic songs, evocative lyrics and mid-tempo rhythms married to White's baritone voice reveled in his scrappy Louisiana roots. His first disc kicks off with "Willie and Laura Mae Jones," a steaming slice of the backwoods pop that, like most of his finest work, effortlessly combined blues, country and folk. While others had worked similar territory previously, in particular Bobbie Gentry (her "Ode to Billy Joe" was a major inspiration for White), he infused a rock and R&B sensibility that drove the music with gritty authenticity and his "whomper stomper" wah-wah pedal. Most impressive is the amount of material recorded during the period 1969-1971, the three years covered here. Of these 64 studio tracks and outtakes, all but approximately 20 are originals and most are well worth hearing. Billy Swan remained White's producer throughout these albums, and even though some critics find his strings and horns to be unnecessary embellishments, the sweetening seldom overwhelms the music. White rather reluctantly agrees in his interview available in the informative 36-page book that brings additional value to this compilation. The fourth disc features his entire seven-song performance at 1970s Isle of Wight concert. White is joined by Jeff Beck's drummer Cozy Powell, who he had first met earlier that day, and the duo burn through a sizzling set highlighted by a six-minute version of his biggest hit, "Polk Salad Annie." The compilers also unearth a previously unreleased, solo, ten track studio session recorded in Paris in March of 1969 where White covers Gentry's "Mississippi Delta" along with Bob Dylan, Don Covay and Joe Tex, along with a few originals. Not quite essential, it's still more than worthwhile and fans will enjoy experiencing White in his most stripped down format. It's a fitting coda for a long overdue and neatly packaged appreciation of Tony Joe White's significant influence on American roots music. ~ Hal Horowitz
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Country - Released November 20, 2007 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Country - Released December 20, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Country - Released September 10, 1993 | Warner Bros.

Twenty tracks from 1969-1973, the period of Tony Joe White's greatest success, including "Polk Salad Annie" and White's own version of his composition "Rainy Night in Georgia." Most of this is quality swamp rock with pop-soul-conscious production; on cuts like "High Sheriff of Calhoun Parrish," it sounds very much like he was trying to achieve a groove in the mold of Bobbie Joe Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe." Sometimes he gets real down-home in a stomping backwoods blues style that makes him sound a little like a White counterpart to John Lee Hooker, as on "Stockholm Blues." If there's any criticism to be levied against this music, it's in its occasional lack of variety, White mining staple swamp rock boogie riffs for all they're worth. However, few, if any, performers and writers were as skilled as White in doing so, and he has a fine knack for sharp storytelling lyrics. ~ Richie Unterberger

Blues - Released September 30, 2016 | Westmill

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Country - Released November 22, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Blues - Released November 23, 2018 | Sanctuary Records

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Rock - Released November 16, 2018 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Country - Released May 4, 2009 | Lucky Dog

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Rock - Released January 1, 1998 | Hip-O (PG Admin)

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Tony Joe White in the magazine
  • Tony Joe White dies at 75
    Tony Joe White dies at 75 There are some artists that just completely embody a genre, Tony Joe White was one of them. The king of swamp rock sadly left us this Wednesday at the age of 75. White will be remembered for hits s...