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Tony Joe White

Deep Cuts

(Swamp; US: 10 Jun 2008; UK: 9 Jun 2008)

What’s that line Cat Stevens/Rod Stewart/Sheryl Crow used to sing, “The first cut is the deepest?” Well, that seems to be the case here. The first cut on Tony Joe White’s 21st album, Deep Cuts really slices the listener open with its gut bucket groove. The swamp funkified guitar licks of the appropriately entitled “Set the Hook” grab one’s insides with the promise of nasty good times to come. It’s the best track of the ten on the disc, and one of four stellar instrumentals. White’s accompanied by his son Jody who provides digital and analog beats, loops, and whatnot to update the sound.


The songs with lyrics are familiar tracks that have been recorded previously to a better effect, basically because their concerns have dated. For example, White’s splendid, understated composition about black and white poor folks in the South was timely back in the late ‘60s, but as White says himself, “that was another place and another time.” The same could be said of cuts like “Soul Francisco”, “High Sheriff of Calhoun County”, and “Roosevelt and Ira Lee”. The versions here aren’t bad, but somewhat superfluous.

Rating:

Steven Horowitz has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Iowa, where he continues to teach a three-credit online course on "Rock and Roll in America". He has written for many different popular and academic publications including American Music, Paste and the Icon. Horowitz is a firm believer in Paul Goodman's neofunctional perspective on culture and that Sam Cooke was right, a change is gonna come.


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12 Nov 2013
One cannot overstate the importance of that rhythm; makes one feel hongry, sexy and a little mean -- even when White’s singing about storms and kids, poverty and hard work and finding oneself hanging out in the graveyard.
6 Mar 2006
Austin, 1980 -- that was another place and another time, but here's evidence of Tony Joe White rocking down the television studio audience.
23 Jan 2005
Tony Joe White's music is generally described as swamp rock, and it is true that he was one of the first performers to have a hit record with that sound.
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