Tony Joe White: Rain Crow album review

Thu, Jun 2, 2016, 22:30


Rain Crow

Tony Joe White

Yep Roc


There is an ominous, throbbing, raw rhythmic intensity to this latest collection by the original swamp rocker. Now 72, White has never lost touch with the primeval sense of his native Louisiana – the stories, the lore, the people, the mystery, the darkness and the light, the otherness.

These are channelled through his distinctive swamp-funk take on the blues in which scratchy guitars vie with wah-wah-pedal and moody licks, wailing harmonica and a stubborn rhythm section laying down a pounding war dance.

His voice, now deepened and seasoned with the years, still carries that innate storyteller’s ability to transform timing, sound, text and mood into another world. These include memories of childhood (Tell Me A Swamp Story); a vulnerable adult’s frustration (The Middle of Nowhere); the steaming opener (Hoochie Woman) and the title track’s brooding mystery.