Tony Joe White

One Hot July

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Tony Joe's first U.S. release since 1983 finds the swamp-rocker in rare form. Produced by Roger Davies -- Tina Turner's manager/producer, and the one responsible for her '80s breakthrough -- this is the most cohesive album he's made since his early Monument LPs with Billy Swan. Tony Joe is kept tightly focused with a small combo (Hammond organ, bass, drums), and the rest of the space in the mix is occupied by the star's funky guitar, harmonica, and breathy vocals, recorded so close he sounds like he's two inches from the listener's face. It also helps that Tony Joe's songwriting skills have only sharpened over the years; the disc is simply loaded with great songs, including "Crack the Window Baby," "Gumbo John," "I Want My Fleetwood Back," and the moody "Cold Fingers," "I Believe I've Lost My Way," and "Across From Midnight." One of his very best, and as highly recommended as they come.

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