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Deep Cuts

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Album Review

Deep Cuts is Tony Joe White's 21st album, and after 40 some years of delivering a delightfully skewed, greasy, swamp-soaked Louisiana pop view to the world, it's amazing that more people don't know about this guy. Oh, he's well known and respected in some quarters, and his hit "Polk Salad Annie" from 1969 bubbles up from time to time on the oldies stations, but White has pretty much spent his whole career flying just beneath the commercial radar. It would be nice to say that this album, which updates White's sound with beats and loops provided by his son Jody White, will change all that, but the truth is, it won't. White's baritone voice, while still effective in spots, is a ragged, hoarse shell of its former self and nothing included in this set is going to bring the world to his doorstep. Not that there isn't a lot to like about Deep Cuts — White's funky, biting guitar work is all over it, and that's a good thing, particularly on the deep swell groove of "Swamp Water," which sounds thick enough to swim in forever. At the other end of the spectrum, "Homemade Ice Cream" is a joyous, summer-filled harmonica work out that seems as fresh and welcome as wind-dried laundry. White revisits two of his older songs, too, "Willie and Laura Mae Jones" from 1969's Black and White and "High Sheriff (Of Calhoun Parrish)" from 1970's Tony Joe, but unfortunately neither particularly benefits from a new approach, and Deep Cuts ends up being somehow less than it might have been because of it. But it's nice to hear that gritty, vital guitar tone of White's again. The world could never possibly get enough of that.


Born: 23 July 1943 in Goodwill, LA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Tony Joe White has parlayed his songwriting talent into a modestly successful country and rock career in Europe as well as America. Born July 23, 1943, in Goodwill, Louisiana, White was born into a part-Cherokee family. He began working clubs in Texas during the mid-'60s and moved to Nashville by 1968. White's 1969 debut album for Monument, Black and White, featured his Top Ten pop hit "Polk Salad Annie" and another charting single, "Roosevelt and Ira Lee (Night of the Moccasin)." That same year,...
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Deep Cuts, Tony Joe White
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