TONY JOE WHITE
Bad Mouthin’ YEp ROC 8/10 Skeletal and darker than midnight
Tony Joe White’s first dedicated blues lP looks back on his 52-year career by paring things down to their essence. While his early takes on the standards “Baby Please Don’t go” and “Boom Boom” howled with swampy ecstasy, here the 75-year-old artist exposes their sinew, where feel lives in muscle memory. White and his rhythm section open things up with a frisky run-through of “Bad Mouthin’”, the first song he ever wrote, but by closer “heartbreak hotel”, which Elvis released when White was 12, not a glimmer of hope remains on this haunting late-career contemplation.