Tony Joe White, Borderline, London

A man who has lugged a swamp box and a whomper stomper from the Bouef River Bayou of Louisiana to the backstreets of W1 doesn't want his amplifier to sound as if it has just been dragged out of a levee. Further still, if this is the man who wrote hits for Mr Elvis A Presley and can still crank out a songs such as "Do You Wear a Garter Belt?" - with a top lip that looks like it's being yanked upwards on the end of a fishing line - he don't want his amplifier being fixed by no chick.

"Ain't it nice have a girl come fix yo' equipment," quips Tony Joe White, the 61-year-old, part-Cherokee purveyor of what the French first termed "swamp rock", a dark Dixie gumbo of blues, soul, rock and country which emerged from the stable of songwriters at Nashville's Combine Music in the early 1970s - which included fellow Confederates Kris Kristofferson and Georgia's Larry Jon Wilson - and the music of artists such as Jerry Reed, Joe South, John Fogerty and Mac (Dr John) Rebennack of New Orleans. It would go on to inspire everyone from an Abbey Road-era Beatles to The Rolling Stones of Let It Bleed and Exile On Main Street.

Ink-black sunglasses in place and Stratocaster in his lap, White - bear-like, and the former Gram Parsons-like good looks now doughy - opens with the slow, breathy baritone of "Rich Woman Blues", before being joined by his drummer onstage and ploughing into a piledrivingly funky "Undercover Agent for the Blues", covered by Tina Turner. Thereafter, a reverential, mostly male crowd requested - and received - the likes of the inter-racial-marriage meditation "Willy Mae and Laura Jones" - covered by Dusty Springfield on Dusty in Memphis - the Cajun Gothic of "They Caught the Devil and Put Him in Jail in Eudora, Arkansas" and the corn-pone raunch of "Stud Spider", all punctuated with blasts of harmonica, and an edgy wah-wah that justified the manly sobriquets "swamp box" and "whomper stomper".

Then, the hits: "Rainy Night in Georgia", a smash for Brook Benton and covered by Ray Charles; then, Elvis's favourite ode to family dysfunction, "Polk Salad Annie". The former - the high point of the show - stood out in a machismo-heavy set like an early-morning rainbow. But it was nearly upstaged by the anti-vegan polemic of "The Organic Shuffle", taken from White's latest album, Snakey: "He was on aisle five, looking for sprouts/ When all of a sudden he just let it out.../ the Organic Shuffle." In the high chapel of the Swamp Fox, as his French fans call him, there ain't no call for sprouts - or chicks who can fix amplifiers.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones