Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Album Review: Tony Joe White -Hoodoo

Tony Joe White
**and1/2 out of *****

Tony Joe White has had a pretty amazing career, after becoming known on the national music scene for the semi hit "Polk Salad Annie" which was covered by everyone from Elvis to Tom Jones. He also recorded and wrote songs for greats like Jerry Lee Lewis and Tina Turner. His most recent release Hoodoo finds the songwriter stripping down to a swampy blues style that fits his restrained vocals and soulful playing.

The style is fairly simple and straight ahead but has enough deviation to keep things interesting, a good example is on "Holed Up" which plays predominately like a normal blues track, but has some textured guitar feedback that keeps you on your toes before a complete drum drop out leads to the closing of the tune. 

The production is excellent here, soft and warm as a summer night sky in the bayou as tracks "9 Foot Sack" and "Sweet Tooth" drip out like molasses. "Alligator, Mississippi"and "Storm Comin" both try to pick up the tempo but neither really takes off while "The Flood" takes things down a notch with vocals that barely scratch the surface feeling off the cuff.

"Who You Gonna Hoodoo Now" has classic written all over the track with its easy groove and rising chorus, but White keeps his singing in check where other vocalists would get their gospel shout on. It will be interesting to see if any current artists give this track a cover injecting it with some passion.

In the end it will be White's vocals that will either endear listeners to the album or turn them off. Billed as a "almost live, first take" album, Hoodoo would have benefited from more of focus on the vocal delivery, but the overall effort makes for a relaxing rollin' listen. 
Tony Joe White, has talent and blues fans should take note of this release that comes out on Tuesday.

Support the artist here, pick up the disk here and peep an interview with Tony Joe regarding the new album here:

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