Tony Joe White: review

I wrote a review on Tony Joe White for the Newcastle Herald. You can click here to see the awesome pictures which were taken by the fabulously talented Josh Bruce, or you can just read the text by scrolling below.

WHEN an American utters the contraction “y’all”, Australians respond like you’ve just handed them a lamington. When that American is blues legend Tony Joe White, Australian ladies go just a little bit crazy.

“How y’all doin?” he asked as his set began, to a welcoming crowd.

The 71-year-old charmed his audience with his accent, sunglasses, black hat, almost unbelievably deep voice and loud electric guitar riffs. He was completely relaxed sitting in a chair on stage, content to simply do what he does best and has been doing since the late 1960s.

Sometimes he was accompanied by his drummer from Mississippi, sometimes he played the harmonica. He didn’t play bass, but with his voice he didn’t need it. White did a few of his original crowd-pleasers, including Polk Salad Annie, Undercover Agent For The Blues, and Rainy Night In Georgia.

Almost every seat was taken, making the audience quite intimate.

No gators, bayous or mossies could be found in the theatre, but White got his wish when he said “I really want it to get swampy in here tonight”.

Perhaps his lyrics helped add to the boggy ambience, with songs like Holed Up, Do You Have A Garter Belt, and High Sheriff Of Calhoun Parish. The heavy blues sounds and the smoky room was complemented songs about sexy women in tight blue jeans, rural southern poverty, and a night in jail after a rendezvous with the sheriff’s daughter.

The old man’s been provoking audiences for a long time; he knows how to make the women wiggle in their seats. He knows what he’s doing.

He left the stage briefly, but of course he came back out for an encore that included Who You Gonna Hoodoo Now, a nice nightcap for everyone.
Thank y’all for stickin’ with us,” he told the crowd at the end. How could we
not?

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