Sharon Cathcart mentioned on her blog the other day that Tony Joe White, a singer, musician, and songwriter who wrote a couple of my favorite songs, “Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night In Georgia,” passed away on October 24 at the age of 75, apparently of a heart attack. So, let’s do a set on him.
- Brook Benton, “A Rainy Night In Georgia” The first time I heard this, I loved it, and regardless of who does it, I love it. Tony wrote this one here in Marietta, Georgia.
- Tina Turner, “Steamy Windows” Tony contributed heavily on Tina’s 1989 Foreign Affair album, writing four of its songs, producing one, and playing on several. This is one of those four songs he wrote, on which he also played guitar, harmonica and synthesizer.
- Tina Turner, “Foreign Affair” Tony also wrote the title track from Tina’s album and played guitar on it. The album did better in Europe than in the US.
- Joe Cocker, “Across From Midnight” Title track from Joe’s 1997 album, written by Tony and his wife Leann. The album did well on the European continent and reached #97 in the UK.
- Joe Cocker, “Let The Healing Begin” Written by Tony and originally recorded in 1994, it appeared on Joe’s 1998 Greatest Hits album.
- John Mayall, “Yo Yo Man” Tony wrote it and Belgian blues-rock band Blue Blot did it originally in 1994. Mayall recorded it for his 2001 album Along For The Ride. Backing musicians here include Mayall, Steve Miller, Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.
- Isaac Hayes, “That Loving Feeling” Isaac did this on the 1975 album Chocolate Chip.
- Etta James, “Out Of The Rain” Recorded in 1990 on her Stickin’ To My Guns LP, it’s been covered by Joe Cocker, Jessi Colter, and Gov’t Mule.
- Tony Joe White, “Willie and Laura Mae Jones” Wondering when I’d get to Tony singing his own stuff, weren’t you? This song was on his first album, 1969’s Black and White. This performance was recorded live in Austin, Texas and appears on his 2006 album, appropriately named Live from Austin, TX.
- Tony Joe White with Foo Fighters, “Polk Salad Annie” Recorded from his October 2014 appearance on Late Night With David Letterman. This was his one big hit, reaching #8 in 1969. Letterman’s comment at the end of this is totally appropriate.
There’s a list of Tony Joe White songs here which was helpful in putting this playlist together. There are plenty more songs I didn’t include here, and even more that aren’t included on the list. In some respects, Tony was a lot like JJ Cale, who also wrote a lot of songs done by other artists, the difference being that JJ tried to stay out of the limelight more than Tony did. Both were underrated as performers, I think.
Rest in peace, Tony Joe White, and thanks for all the songs.
That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for October 29, 2018.