Live: Tony Joe White, Houston


Tony Joe White is probably the funkiest white dude on the planet.  It helps that he is from Louisiana, he’s 65 years old, and that he’s written songs like “Rainy Night In Georgia” and “Polk Salad Annie.”  He has a guitar strap made out of rattlesnake hide (complete with snake head baring its fangs) and he gets some of the weirdest sounds of out of his beat-up Fender that you’ll ever hear.

White made a stop at Houston’s Cactus Music and The Record Ranch Saturday (August 2) en route to his gig later that night at the Continental Club.  With his drummer tapping away on a cardboard box, Tony Joe served up some of the greasiest tunes I’ve heard in years.

He’s touring behind his new CD, Deep Cuts, which takes some old and some new and tosses it into a gumbo spiced with hip-hop beats and psychedelic guitar.  One slow song he did, “Cold Fingers,” got a last-minute edit by White, he said “for the little ones in the audience.”  He asked a little girl sitting at his feet if he was playing too loud, then muttered, “We’ll turn it up tonight.”

Tony Joe called out for requests, and his last three songs were the payoff: “Willie and Laura Mae Jones” (covered by Dusty Springfield), an excellent “Rainy Night In Georgia” and the finale, “Polk Salad Annie.”  About that last one, White said he played it for about a year before he recorded it (1969) and in a club in Corpus Christi, people actually did the “alligator” dance to it, wriggling around on the floor.  “That’s the only place they’ve ever done that,” he said.  “Can y’all do that now?”

MP3: “Willie and Laura Mae Jones” (from Deep Cuts)

MP3: “Polk Salad Annie” (from The Best of Tony Joe White)

YouTube: “Polk Salad Annie” with Johnny Cash (1970)

One Response to “Live: Tony Joe White, Houston”

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