9 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like many other masters of American roots music, from Johnny Cash to Muddy Waters, Tony Joe White basically does one thing better than just about anyone else on the planet. The bulk of his discography is most effectively analyzed by how well he serves that singular sound, not how interestingly he can diverge from it. Since the late ‘60s, the Louisiana-born singer/guitarist has been hailed as an originator of a style alternately known as swamp rock or country soul, which blends deep blues, bayou R&B, and a touch of country-boy twang. White’s been refining and perfecting this rough-hewn, almost primal approach with a magnetically monomaniacal intensity, and Hoodoo keeps boiling down that sound to its essence. White’s husky, lowdown moan smolders as insinuatingly as ever. His lean, bluesy guitar riffs bear an inevitability that’s almost biblical, and his minimalist approach to both writing and record-making eschews crass concerns like commerciality in favor of the good ‘n’ greasy vibes on everything from the muscular, funk-flecked “The Gift” to the slow, swampy soul of “Gypsy Epilogue.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like many other masters of American roots music, from Johnny Cash to Muddy Waters, Tony Joe White basically does one thing better than just about anyone else on the planet. The bulk of his discography is most effectively analyzed by how well he serves that singular sound, not how interestingly he can diverge from it. Since the late ‘60s, the Louisiana-born singer/guitarist has been hailed as an originator of a style alternately known as swamp rock or country soul, which blends deep blues, bayou R&B, and a touch of country-boy twang. White’s been refining and perfecting this rough-hewn, almost primal approach with a magnetically monomaniacal intensity, and Hoodoo keeps boiling down that sound to its essence. White’s husky, lowdown moan smolders as insinuatingly as ever. His lean, bluesy guitar riffs bear an inevitability that’s almost biblical, and his minimalist approach to both writing and record-making eschews crass concerns like commerciality in favor of the good ‘n’ greasy vibes on everything from the muscular, funk-flecked “The Gift” to the slow, swampy soul of “Gypsy Epilogue.”

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