Tony Joe White: Uncovered (Swamp)

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Tony Joe White (with Eric Clapton): Did Somebody Make a Fool Out Of You
Tony Joe White: Uncovered (Swamp)

The man who single-handedly created swamp music, Tony Joe White, records and writes new material seldom these days and his last offering -- The Heroines with guests Shelby Lynne, Lucinda Williams, Michelle White, Emmylou Harris and Jesse Colter -- suggested the pace was slackening even further.

A glance at this new album might confirm that: he goes back to his '73 album Homemade Ice Cream for two tracks (including his classic Rainy Night in Georgia) and once again invites in supporting guests, among them this time Eric Clapton, JJ Cale and Mark Knopfler whose fluid and slow burning style owes much to this master of bayou blues.

But repeated listenings allows for the measured nuances to shine through: the genuinely weary tone he now brings to Georgia; the loss in Baby Don't Look Down (with singer Michael McDonald); the appropriately understated playing of the guests; the deft arrangements for organ and horns; his elementally lean guitar playing; the miserablism that saturates most songs . . .

White's always shaky vocals are even more wobbly now -- he's 63 -- but there is something emotionally engaging as he sings of loss and lost love. 

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