Tony Joe White - his life




Disco-sound

After quitting Warner Bros. Tony Joe White released three albums between 1976 and 1983, each one on another label.

He tried to combine his own swamp-rock music with popular disco sounds. The results were disappointing, to say the least. None of the albums became very successful and finally he seemed to give up his career as a singer and concentrated on writing songs.




Comeback in the 90s

In 1989 Tony Joe White produced Tina Turner on "Foreign Affair". He also wrote four songs, including the titel-song, and played a variety of instruments on that album.

Thereby White got in contact with Tina Turner's Manager, Roger Davis. Eventually Davis became Tony Joe White's Manager, too. He finally got a new recording contract with Polydor.

In 1991 he released "Closer To The Truth", which would become a huge success and - finally - Tony Joe White's comeback.

The next album "The Path Of A Decent Groove" was a disappointment, but his third for Polydor "Lake Placid Blues" probably even better than "Closer To The Truth". Roger Davis worked as a co-producer on this record.

In the 90's Tony Joe White toured Germany with Joe Cocker and others. In 1992 he played in Montreux.

Death in 2018

Tony Joe White passed away on October 24, 2018 in his house in Nashville. He died as a result of a heart attack. According to Tony's son Jody, "there was no pain or suffering."

In his own words

"The characters in the songs are real. I kew most of 'em. 'Polk Salad Annie' - there were a couple of girls I knew that fit her to a T. I just changed their names. Old Man Roosevelt, Ira Lee, Willie, all those guys were real."

"I never cared to learn much about 'show business' - I'm still kind of green and crisp. I think if you spent too much time learning all that, there's no telling how many good songs you might cancel out."

"When I look back now, I guess it was pretty different to be doing what I was doing and sounding like I was sounding. I haven't changed a whole lot; I'm almost like a lone wolf out there. I just play my guitar and don't worry about it. They don't know if I'm black, white, country or rock."

"My job is to interpret what I put on paper. I don't go into the studio to sing bars, I go in to sing full-out songs."

"Swamp music is down to earth, a sort of earthy soul music. They are truthful songs sung by people who believe in them, people who've been there and know where it's at."












Tony Joe White - his life / Martin Doppelbauer / November 2000 / Martin.Doppelbauer@arcor.de