Old Soul Tony Joe White Goes Back to His Blues Roots

A mix of covers and original songs casts a powerful spell.

Album Review

Tony Joe White
Bad Mouthin’
Yep Roc

Tony Joe White already sounded like an old soul half a century ago, when his hit “Polk Salad Annie” brought the sultry pleasures of swamp rock to the mainstream. Today, he really is an old soul, but White’s gritty authority is undiminished. The smoldering “Bad Mouthin'” is a bare-bones affair that takes him back to his deep blues roots, showcasing his low growl of a voice and spare guitar, with occasional touches of bass, drums, and harmonica. Mixing stark covers of classics by influences like Lightnin’ Hopkins (“Awful Dreams”) and John Lee Hooker (“Boom Boom”) and pithy originals, including some of his first compositions, White burns slow and sure, capable of inducing chills with a dagger-like chord or ominous moan. It’s a powerful spell he’s casting.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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