A white man that Sounded Black!

By Gary:

I was listening to the Sixties on Six, on Sirius Fm Radio on the way home from the golf course and I heard a song from 1969 that I had forgotten about.  I’m talking about a 66 year old singer/songwriter from Oak Grove, Louisiana, who wrote Rainy Night in Georgia, Steamy Windows for Tina Turner and had one huge hit for himself.

Tony Joe White

(born July 23, 1943 – Died October 24, 2018)

Unique Video with Johnny Cash:


A Great new version of Polk Salad Annie

1980 / Austin Texas / Polk Salad Annie / 


Polk Salad Annie / Monument 1104/ July 1969/ #8

Tony Joe White was born July 23, 1943, in Goodwill, Louisianna, USA. He was born into a part-Cherokee family. He began working clubs in Texas during the mid-1960s and moved to Nashville by 1968.

His songwriting talent parlayed White into a modestly successful country and rock career in Europe as well as America.

In 1969, White recorded his debut album called Black and White on the Monument label, which featured his big Top Ten pop hit “Polk Salad Annie” * and another charting single, “Roosevelt and Ira Lee (Night of the Moccasin)“.

That same year Dusty Springfield reached the charts with White’s “Willie and Laura Mae Jones“.

Brook Benton recorded a version of White’s “Rainy Night in Georgia“, which rose to #4 by early in 1970. That song would become a near-standard with more than 100 credits.

White’s European success began in 1970 with his “Groupie Girl” with a short stay on the British charts.

In 1971, White moved from Monument to Warner Bros, but success eluded him on his next three albums: Tony Joe White, The Train I’m On, and Homemade Ice Cream.

Other stars, however, continued to keep his name on the charts during the 1970s: Elvis Presley charted with White’s “For Ol’ Times Sake” and “I’ve Got a Thing About You Baby” (Top Five on the country charts), and Hank Williams, Jr., took “Rainy Night in Georgia” to #13 on the country charts.

White himself recorded Eyes for 20th Century Fox in 1976, but then disappeared for four years. He signed to Casablanca for 1980’s The Real Thang but moved to Columbia in 1983 for Dangerous, which included the modest country hits “The Lady in My Life” and “We Belong Together.”

White was inactive through much of the ’80s, but worked with Tina Turner on her 1989 Foreign Affair album, writing four songs and playing guitar and harmonica. He released Closer to the Truth a year later for his own Swamp label and toured with Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker to very receptive French crowds (Closer to the Truth has sold 100,000 copies in that country alone).

His 1993 album Path of a Decent Groove was released only in France, though Warner’s The Best of Tony Joe White earned an American release the same year.

Lake Placid Blues (1995) and One Hot July (1998) were Europe-only efforts until 2000, when Hip-O Records brought out One Hot July in the U.S., giving White his first new major-label domestic release in 17 years. But White was just beginning to roll (or reroll, as the case may be). The critically acclaimed The Beginning appeared from Swamp Records in 2001, followed by Heroines, featuring several duets with female vocalists, 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. ~ John Bush, Rovi


* Lyrics: Polk Salad Annie

(Pokeweed: a.k.a. Poke (Polk) Salad: a coarse American perennial herb with racemose white flowers, dark purple juicy berries, a poisonous root, and young shoots sometimes used as potherbs).

If some of ya’ll never been down South too much…
I’m gonna tell you a little bit about this,
So that you’ll understand what I’m talking about
Down there we have a plant
That grows out in the woods and the fields,
Looks somethin’ like a turnip green.
Everybody calls it Poke salad. Poke salad.
Used to know a girl that lived down there and
she’d go out in the evenings and pick a mess of it…
Carry it home and cook it for supper,
‘Cause that’s about all they had to eat,
But they did all right.

Down in Louisiana
Where the alligators grow so mean
There lived a girl that I swear to the world
Made the alligators look tame

Poke salad Annie, poke salad Annie
Everybody said it was a shame
Cause her mama was working on the chain-gang
(A mean, vicious woman)

Everyday ‘fore supper time
She’d go down by the truck patch
And pick her a mess o’ polk salad
And carry it home in a tote sack

Poke salad Annie, ‘gators got you granny
Everybody said it was a shame
‘Cause her mama was aworkin’ on the chain-gang
(a wretched, spiteful, straight-razor totin’ woman,
Lord have mercy. Pick a mess of it)

Her daddy was lazy and no count
Claimed he had a bad back
All her brothers were fit for
Was stealin’ watermelons out of my truck patch

Poke salad Annie, the gators got your granny
Everybody said it was a shame
Cause her mama was a working’ on the chain gang
(Sock a little polk salad to me, you know I need a mess of it)


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