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Tony Joe White (born July 23, 1943, Oak Grove, Louisiana) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist best known for his 1969 hit "Polk Salad Annie", and for "Rainy Night in Georgia" which he wrote but was firstly made popular by Brook Benton, and "Steamy Windows" - a hit for Tina Turner in 1989. "Polk Salad Annie" was also recorded by Elvis Presley and Tom Jones.
Nicknamed "the Swamp Fox" in France (according to a European documentary), he is regarded as an original exponent of the sub-genre swamp rock. His songs have been recorded by at least 60 major artists.
He formed his first band, 'Tony White & His Combo', while still in
his teens. The three youngsters (Tony Joe White, 20, Robert McGuffey, 19
and Jim Griffith, 22) played a night club in Kingsville,Tx for an
uninterrupted engagement of eight months (six nights a week) in 1964.
'Tony White & His Combo' was followed by 'Tony Joe And The Mojos' and 'Tony's
Twilights' and for the next seven years White worked the small clubs of
the South before deciding to embark on a solo career singing his own
Over the next three years White released four singles with no commercial success stateside (although "Soul Francisco" was a hit in France). "Polk Salad Annie" had been released for nine months and written off as a failure by his record label when it finally entered the U.S. charts in July 1969. It climbed into the Top Ten by early August eventually reaching No. 8. It was the biggest hit Tony Joe White ever had.
White's first album, 1969's Black and White, was recorded with Muscle Shoals musicians David Briggs, Norbert Putnam, and Jerry Carrigan, and featured "Willie and Laura Mae Jones" and "Polk Salad Annie", along with covers of Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman".
Three more singles quickly followed, all minor hits, and White toured with Steppenwolf, Sly and the Family Stone, Creedence Clearwater Revival and other big rock acts of the 1970s, playing in France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and England.
In 1973 Tony Joe White appeared in the film Catch My Soul, a rock-opera adaption of Shakespeare's Othello. It was directed by Patrick McGoohan and produced in the UK by Richard Rosenbloom and Jack Good. The cast included Richie Havens, Season Hubley, Susan Tyrrell, Bonnie Bramlett, Lance LeGault, Delaney Bramlett and Family Lotus. Tony Joe White played and sang four and composed seven songs for the musical.
In late September 1973, White was recruited by record producer Huey Meaux to sit in on the legendary Memphis sessions that became the landmark Southern Roots album of Jerry Lee Lewis.
By all accounts , these sessions were a three-day,
around the clock party, which not only reunited the original MGs (Steve
Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn and Al Jackson Jr. of Booker T. and the MGs
fame) for the first time in three years, but also featured Carl Perkins,
Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere and the Raiders), and Wayne Jackson plus
The Memphis Horns.
One of his more recent performances was on 14 July 2006 in
Magny-Cours, France, as a warm-up act for Roger Waters' Dark Side of the
Moon concert. White's album entitled Uncovered was released in September
2006 and featured collaborations with Mark Knopfler, Michael McDonald,
Eric Clapton, Waylon Jennings and J. J. Cale.
In 2005 UK blues singer Elkie Brooks covered White's "Out Of The Rain", releasing it as a single and featuring it on her album Electric Lady. The version is now a staple of Elkie's repertoire . Coincidentally Brooks had recorded an old number of White's, "Aspen, Colorado" with her first rock band, 'Dada' in 1970.