Tony Joe White

That On the Road Look

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Existing only as rumors for decades, Tony Joe White’s 1971 live album That on the Road Look finally surfaced as a Rhino Handmade release in the summer of 2010. Specifics about this performance are not known -- they were unable to pinpoint where it was recorded, although White maintains it could have come from an opening spot for Creedence Clearwater Revival at Royal Albert Hall -- but details don’t quite matter in this case because the music is excellent: thick, sweaty swamp-rock that digs deep and jams long -- “Polk Salad Annie” runs 10 minutes -- but remains compelling as White works his funky grooves. Sometimes he does this with no more than an acoustic guitar -- there’s a stretch in the middle where he performs “Lustful Earl and the Married Woman” and “Willi and Laura Mae Jones” on his own -- but the record really cooks when he’s supported by his entire band, turning in hotter performances than he got in the studio. To be sure, this is something of a subtle difference -- the arrangements are no different and those studio recordings are pretty funky in their own right -- but for those that can’t get enough of Tony Joe White at his peak, this is necessary.

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