Edward Funek | Cambridge Gardens, NSW Australia | 10/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After 30 years of artist soul/musical searching Tony Joe finds contentment.
Recorded at his home this solo album by Tony Joe presents him raw and honest. Many of the tunes were showcased by Tony Joe on his tour to Australia in April 2001 when I had the pleasure of seeing him perform 3 times including the prestigous Byron Bay Blues Festival
The Swamp Fox mixes themes of sexuality eg. "Ice Cream Man" & "Who You Gonna Hoo-Doo Now" with wry humour whilst encompassing his trademark blues.The two most powerful songs on the album are "More To This Than That" where Tony Joe reveals his values as a musician and again on "Rebellion" where he sings "I'm in this for life, I didn't come here for one song"
A distinct recording hiss can be heard on the album and rather than being a deterrent it reinforces the spontaneity, honesty and reveleation of the performances."
Lee Armstrong | Winterville, NC United States | 10/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tony Joe White's "The Beginning" is some of the rawest grittiest music you're likely to encounter. Most tracks are pared down with just Tony Joe & the soulful guitar, accompanied by nothing more than the thump of his foot. "Rich Woman Blues" is a hot breathy blues track. "Raining On My Life" is a melodic poor boy tune, "It was sometime in late September & the leaves were turing brown, & as near as I can remember, I was somewhere on the ground." Tony sounds like a whole band on the bouncy "Ice Cream Man," "She's a cool mamma jamma, but she don't like to wait; If you tell her you're coming, well you better not show up late." "Going Back to Bed" is a slow track where Tony's guitar sounds like weeping while "Drifter" is a similarly slow tune that regrets life on the road. Tony is at his funky best on "More to This Than That," "If this is the end of me just keep my guitars in the family; don't put 'em under glass & tune 'em flat, ought to be more to this than that." Spanish touches grace the ballad "Down By the Boarder." Tony goes into deep blues gear for "Wonder Why I Feel So Bad." "Clovis Green" is the song story of a wealthy man with a pregnant daughter. Tony Joe's guitar is fluid on his diatribe against the corporate music biz, "Rebellion." Tony gets funky with the closer, "Who You Gonna Hoo-Doo Now," "Coffee skin, a little bit of cream, golden eyes with a touch of green, high cheek bones, kind of tall, you won't think twice if you think at all." The music shines with these unplugged spare arrangements; raw grit makes it worth the trip. Enjoy!"