Tony Joe White

Band members                             Related acts

- Tony Joe White (RIP 2018) -- vocals, guitar, harmonica


  backing musicians: (1972)

- Tippy Armstrong -- guitar 

- Ronnie Barron -- organ, electric piano, vibes, congas 

- Barry Beckett -- piano, clavinet, organ 

- Charles Chalmers -- sax, backing vocals

- Roger Hawkins -- drums, percussion

- David Hood -- bass 

- John Hughey -- pedal steel guitar 

 Jerry Masters -- backing vocals 

- Donna Rhodes -- backing vocals 

- Sandy Rhodes -- backing vocals 

- George Soulé -- backing vocals 

- Terry Woodford -- backing vocals  


  backing musicians: (1976)

- Don Chandler -- keyboards

- Rene Coopman -- vibes  

- Willie Hall -- drums, percussion

- Billy Wayne Herbert -- bass 

- James Govan -- drums, percussion

- Pias Johnson -- sax 



- Thomas Caine -- keyboards (1980)  

- Steve Cobb -- bass

- David Cochran -- bass

- Jeff Hale -- drums, percussion

- Shanne Keister -- keyboards

- Sam Levine -- sax

- Terry McMillian -- percussion

- Steve Spear -- bass (1980)

- Alan Steinberger -- keyboards

- Marvell Thomas -- keyboards


- none known




Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Train I'm On

Company: Warner Brothers

Catalog: BS 2850

Year: 1972

Country/State: Goodwill, Louisiana

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: cut lower right corner; minor ring and edge wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5276

Price: $20.00



Tony Joe White remains an ongoing mystery to me - I've always wondered how a longhaired, young, white guy managed to sound like a 70 year old blues icon ...   


Co-produced by White and the legendary Jerry Wexler, to my ears 1972's "The Train I'm On" was a minor departure from his earlier offerings.  Recorded in Muscles Shoals with the cream of the Swampers providing support (Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Berry Beckett, etc.), the voice remained instantly recognizable.  The lyrical themes were also going to be  familiar to anyone who had heard White's earlier catalog - poor folks getting poorer, loveless fools getting lonelier and heartbreak for everyone.  That said, this time around White largely dropped his patented swamp rock moves and the pop orchestration that characterized earlier LPs.  In its place tracks such as 'The Family', 'As the Crow Flies', 'The Migrant' and the title track opted for a rawer, stripped down country-blues sound.  While I liked the bluesy sound, I'll admit that the album's one out and out swamp rock number stands as a personal favorite.  Quirky and hysterical, 'Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll' was alone worth the price of admission.  The other standout was the sweet and bouncy opener 'I've Got a Thing About You Baby'.  Is it his most commercial album?  Nope. Is it his strongest album?  Nope.  Is it worth hearing?  Definitetly.


"The Train I'm On" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) I've Got a Thing About You Baby (Tony Joe White) - 2:30 rating: **** stars

While I love White's patented swamp rockers, there's something immensely appealing on the smooth and charming  I've Got a Thing About You Baby'. Not sure how to bin it - laidback country-funk?  The track's been covered by a slew of others ranging from Clarence Carter to Elvis Presley.  The Tony Joe White original is still the best.  Warner Brothers released it as the album's second single


- 1972's 'I've Got a Thing About You Baby' b/w 'The Gospel Singer' (Warner Brothers catalog number WB 7607)


Not sure when or where it was recorded, but YouTube has a clip of White lip-synching the song for some television program: Tony Joe White "I Got a thing about you Baby" 1972 - YouTube




2.) The Family (Jon Hurley - Ronnie Wilkins) - 3:27 rating: **** stars

He didn't write it, but 'The Family' was a great example of White's affection for poor folks heartbreaking story-teller material.  Other than Clarence Carter, I'm hard pressed to think of another practioner who is as good at the genre.

3.) If I Ever Saw a Good Thing (Tony Joe White) - 3:12 rating: *** stars

With a rollicking country-blues melody, 'If I Ever Saw a Good Thing' was pleasant. The song also served to showcase the limitations of White's voice.  As much as I love his voice, he wasn't the most versatile singer.  Nice Charles Chalmers sax work.

4.) The Train I'm On (Tony Joe White) - 3:08 rating: **** stars

The title track was a hardcore country-blues track.  Initially it didn't do much for me, but with a couple of spins the spare arrangement and White's vocals and harmonica proved charming.  I always imagine the late Solomon Burke covering this one.

5.) Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll (Tony Joe White) - 5:02 rating: **** stars

Tippy Armstrong's scratch guitar set the tone ... for those of you who didn't think White could get funky ...   oh my you were wrong.  Nice troll guitar solo.  Try to sit still through the hysterical 'Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll'.   How is it this one didn't chart?


- 1972's 'Even Trolls Love Rock and Roll' b/w 'If I Ever Saw a Good Thing' (Warner Brothers catalog number WB 7591)


YouTube has a live performance of the song from White's 6006 "Live From Austin, TX" album.  Have to admit I didn't realized what a capable guitarist White was.  Tony Joe White - "Even Trolls Love Rock N Roll" [Live from Austin, TX] - YouTube


(side 2)

1.) As the Crow Flies (Tony Joe White) - 3:45 rating: **** stars

Awesome slice of country-blues again showcasing White's guitar prowess.  Both The Animals and the legendary Rory Gallagher have covered the song.  BY the way, included on his "Irish Tour '74" ... album, Gallagher's version is very different.

2.) Take Time To Love (Tony Joe White - Donnie Fritts) - 2:58 rating: ** stars

Very different from his typical sound, 'Take Time To Love' was a piano powered ballad.  Pretty, but perhaps a tad too MOR for my tastes.

3.) 300 Pounds of Hongry (Tony Joe White - Donnie Fritts) - 2:41 rating: *** stars

I suspect that today White's lyrics would create a firestorm of controversy.  I'll limit myself to saying the song was funky.  YouTube has another clip from the "Live From Austin, TX" album: Tony Joe White-300 Pounds of Hongry.mp4 - YouTube

4.) The Migrant (Tony Joe White) - 3:53 rating: *** stars

Kind of sad that fifty years later the lyrics are still quite appropriate.  Docked a star for Arif Mardin's needless orhcestration.

5.) Sidewalk Hobo (Tony Joe White) - 4:08 rating: **** stars

Beautiful acoustic guitar opening ...  another one where White's social commentary remains painful on point.  The stark arrangement - just White, acoustic guitar and harmonica makes for a haunting sound.  There for the grace of God go I ...

6.) The Gospel Singer (Tony Joe White) - 3:26 rating: *** stars

'The Gospel Singer' was another great example of White's storyteller talents.  You charlatan, you ...





Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Eyes

Company: 20th Century Fox

Catalog: T-523

Year: 1976

Country/State: Goodwill, Louisiana

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG+

Comments: crease lower right corner

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD 5704

Price: SOLD $30.00


Released three years after his last album for Warner Brothers, the cover on 1976's "Eyes" gave you a clue that this was going to be a challenging 'transitional' album for Tony Joe White.  Silk shirt opened to his navel, gold chain, coiffed hair, yearning look, wine glasses, attractive young woman ... never good signs.  The man's voice certainly remained instantly recognizable, but forced to sing in a restrained mode and surrounded by pseudo-discofied material like 'You Taught Me How To Love' and 'We'll Live On Lone' you almost had to laugh at the results.  Exemplified by tracks like 'Soulful Eyes' and 'That Loving Feeling' the thought of turning White into a soulful Barry White, love ballad kinda' guy, complete with cooing female backing singers ('yeah', deep breath, 'yeah') and supper club sax solos was horribly wrong ...  bad, badder, baddest.  You certainly couldn't blame the guy for trying to make a living and for realizing that popular tastes had changed, but this sure wasn't the way to adapt to those changes.  So was there anything worth hearing on this one?  Yes, there were a couple of tracks where White at least partial reverted to his trademarked sound.  It was plagued by the dreadful background singers, but otherwise 'Rainy Day Lover' was a nice swamp rock number.  While I'm not normally a big blues fan, against the rest of this LP 'Texas Woman' sounded great.  Even better were 'Swamp Boogie' and  the slithery 'Hold On To Your Hiney' which I'd erroneously always thought was a Delbert McClinton number. Unfortunately those isolated tracks weren't enough to rescue that album, longtime fans apparently wanting nothing to do with this one.  Still, this was weird enough to be worth checking out.


Curiously the label tapped the album for a single 'Hold On To Your Hiney' b/w 'Texas Woman' (20th Century Fox catalog number 1209-2322), but it only seems to have been released in Canada and Europe.


"Eyes" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Soulful Eyes   (Tony Joe White) - 3:42

2.) You Taught Me How To Love   (Tony Joe White) - 3:10

3.) You Are Loved By Me   (Tony Joe White) - 3:34

4.) Rainy Day Lover   (Tony Joe White) - 3:25

5.) We'll Live On Love   (Tony Joe White) - 3:27


(side 2)

1.) Making Love Is Good for You   (Tony Joe White) - 3:12

2.) Texas Woman   (Tony Joe White) - 2:54

3.) Hold On To Your Hiney   (Tony Joe White) - 3:33

4.) Swamp Boogie   (Tony Joe White) - 3:15

5.) That Loving Feeling   (Tony Joe White) - 4:05



There's also at least one non-LP 20th Century Fox 45:



- 'Susie-Q' b/w 'It Must Be Love' (20th Century Fox catalog number )



Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  The Real Thang

Company: Casablanca

Catalog: NBLP-7233

Year: 1980

Country/State: Goodwill, Louisiana

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5275

Price: $10.00


I’m a big Tony Joe White fan and knew he’d recorded an early 1980s album for Casablanca.  It isn’t particularly rare, but for years I’d never seen or heard a copy of it.  When I finally stumbled across a copy I found myself overcome by a sense of trepidation – my favorite swamp rocker on a label best known for disco material …  the makings of a true disaster?

Hit first release in four years, 1980’s self-produced “The Real Thang” could have been far worse.  White’s instantly recognizable growl of a voice remained in good form throughout and with the exception of the Chic-styled ‘Swamp Rat’ the disco influences were kept to a relative minimum (though the bare chest back cover photo wasn’t a particularly brilliant marketed move). Interestingly White’s performance of the same song on an Austin City Limits segment is a greasy joy (see the YouTube link below).  In spite of a couple of disco nods (the poorly titled ‘Disco Blues’), the predominant sound remained divided between old fashioned swamp-rock (‘Even Trolls Love Rock & Roll’) and Willie Nelson-styled country (‘Red-Neck Women’).  Sure it wasn’t perfect.  Re-recording a largely rote version of his hit ‘Polk Salad Annie’ was unnecessary, coming off as little more than a desperate marketing move and when White tried to get too clever, tracks like the slightly risqué ‘I Get Off On It’ came off as flat and uninspired.  To be honest, were it not for the soft-focus cover photo and a couple of updated production touches, material like ‘Grounded’ and ‘Disco Blues’ wasn’t that much different that his early-1970s heyday which probably ensured instant sales oblivion.  Elsewhere, apparently penned as an answer record to Ed Bruce’s country hit ‘Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys’, Casablanca tapped ‘Mama Don’t Let Your Cowboys Grow Up To Be Babies’ as a single b/w ‘Disco Blues’ (Casablanca catalog number ).  Casablanca tapped the LP for two more singles:


- ‘Polk Salad Annie’ b/w ‘Grounded’ (Casablanca catalog number)

- ‘I Get Off On It’ b/w ‘Feeling Loose’ (Casablanca catalog number )


"The Real Thang" track listing:
(side 1) 

1.) I Get Off On It   (Tony Joe White – Leeann White) – 4:48

2.) Disco Blues   (Tony Joe White) – 4:10

3.) Red-Neck Women   (Tony Joe White - Leeann White) – 3:06

4.) Polk Salad Annie   (Tony Joe White) – 4:25


(side 2) 

1.) Swamp Rat   (Tony Joe White) – 5:40

2.) Grounded   (Tony Joe White) – 3:25

3.) Mama Don’t Let Your Cowboys Grow Up To Be Babies   (Tony Joe White - Leeann White) – 3:26

4.) Even Trolls Love Rock & Roll   (Tony Joe White) – 5:00




Genre: rock

Rating: * (1 star)

Title:  Dangerous

Company: Columbia

Catalog: FC 38817

Year: 1983

Country/State: Goodwill, Louisiana

Grade (cover/record): NM / NM

Comments: was sealed; opened to tape it on CDR

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4641

Price: $5.00

Cost: $66.00


1983's "Dangerous" found White continuing his corporate wanderings - this time recording for Columbia Records.  Recorded in Memphis with Ron Reynolds and White co-producing, with the exception of the totally goofy 'Swamp Rap' the set bore little resemblance to White's early 'swamp rocker' catalog.  To be perfectly honest, it took me a little while to even recognize this as a White's product.  Mind you, his unique voice is still there, but at least on this album it's largely covered up by a mixture of bland AOR tunes (the title track and 'Naughty Lady') and material such as 'If You're Gonna Love Somebody' and 'Down By The Border' that appeared geared to a country audience.  Both 'Lady In My Life' and ''We Belong Together proved to be minor country hits.  Elsewhere, 'Do You Have A Garter Belt' is simply kind of creepy ...  


"Dangerous" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Dangerous  (Steve Cobb)
2.) Naughty Lady   (Tony Joe White - White)
3.) Our Day Will Come   (Hilliard - Garson)
4.) If You're Gonna Love Somebody   (Tony Joe White)
5.) Swamp Rap   (Tony Joe White)


(side 2)

1.) Do You Have A Garter Belt   (Tony Joe White)
2.) Down By The Border   (Tony Joe White)
3.) Lady In My Life   (Tony Joe White)
4.) We Belong Together   (Tony Joe White)
5.) You Just Get Better All The Time   (Tony Joe White - Christopher)