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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.

Biography

Early Years
Tony Joe White was born one of seven children and raised on a cotton farm near the small town of Oak Grove, Louisiana.. When Tony Joe was 16, Charles, the oldest of the White children, brought home a Lightnin' Hopkins album and started teaching blues guitar to his younger brother. As a child he listened not only to local bluesmen and country singers but also to the distinctive cajun music of Louisiana, a hybrid of traditional musical styles introduced by French-Canadian settlers at the turn of the nineteenth century. White began performing at school dances, and after graduating, started playing in night clubs in Louisiana and Texas.

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 compositions.

bIn 1967 White signed to Monument Records which operated from a recording studio in the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville, Tennessee, and produced a variety of sounds, including Rock and Roll, Country and Western, and Rhythm and Blues. Billy Swan was his producer.

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.

1980's
Between 1976 and 1983 White released three more albums, each on a different label. Trying to combine his own swamp-rock sound with the at the time popular disco music, the results were disappointing and White gave up his career as a singer on concentrated on writing songs.

1990's Comeback
In 1989 Tony Joe White produced Tina Turner's "Foreign Affair album". Playing a variety of instruments on the album, he also wrote four songs, including the title song and the hit single Steamy Windows. As a result of this he became managed by Roger Davis, who was Tina Turner's Manager at the time, and he obtained a new contract with Polydor. The resulting album; 1991's "Closer to the Truth" was a commercial success and put White back in the spotlight. He released two more albums for Polydor; "The Path of a Decent Groove" and "Lake Placid Blues" which was co-produced by Roger Davis.

In the '90's White toured Germany and France with Joe Cocker and Eric Clapton and in 1992 he played the Montreux Festival.

2000's
In 2000, Hip-O Records released "One Hot July" in the U.S., giving White his first new major-label domestic release in 17 years. The critically acclaimed "The Beginning" appeared on Swamp Records in 2001, followed by "Heroines", featuring several duets with female vocalists including Jessi Colter, Shelby Lynne, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, and Michelle White, from Sanctuary in 2004, and a live Austin City Limits concert, "Live from Austin, TX", from New West Records in 2006. In 2007 White released another live recording, "Take Home the Swamp", as well as the compilation "Introduction to Tony Joe White".

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.

Tributes and Cover Versions
Freddie King did a cover of White's song "As The Crow Flies" on his live album, Irish Tour. Southern Culture On The Skids paid tribute to White in their 1996 song "Voodoo Cadillac" with the first stanza lyric: "Come on baby, take a ride with me / Up the Mississippi, down to New Orleans / Tuck and roll, FM stereo / Got some Tony Joe White on my radio."

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.