As samplers go, this is one of the best. An excellent cross section of artists from the Stockfish catalog. I am especially taken by the cuts from Alan Taylor ("The Beat Hotel" in particualr) and Chris Jones. Sonics are clean, clear and crisp, with an exceptional sense of timbre. I've purchased a few of the CD's of the artists I've heard on this sampler, and I'm here to tell you, they sound great to - though they can't beat these SACD tracks.
A true icon of swamp rock, Tony Joe White parlayed his songwriting talent and idiosyncratic vocals into a modestly successful country and rock career in Europe as well as America. Born July 23, 1943, in Goodwill, Louisiana, White was born into a part-Cherokee family. He began working clubs in Texas during the mid-'60s and moved to Nashville by 1968.
This posthumous CD is novel because it features Joe Pass exclusively on acoustic guitar, and it is obvious that he enjoyed every minute of these sessions. "The Shadow of Your Smile" is no longer easy listening fodder, as Pass turns it into a miniature master class in swing. "Star Eyes" is accented by the soft squeaks of Pass' fingers gently weaving their intricate magic. Most of the works of Joe Pass tended to be improvised blues, so the title track is an exception – a simple yet elegant ballad written for his wife. "Blues for Angel" highlights his matchless mastery of slow blues. The boppish blues "Satellite Village" is a perfect closer. The good news is that there are several more unreleased sessions by Joe Pass that will follow this superb collection.
Tony Joe White's Hard to Handle album is built around a concert recording made in 1969 or 1970. It features White swaggering through a clutch of tough-as-rock blues and soul covers like Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go," Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle" and Jimmy Reed's "You Got Me Runnin'," as well as some originals. "I Want You" is a sludgy, nasty groover that has some truly scuzzy guitar solos and sounds like it could have come off a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion record, one of White's trademark swampy story songs "Roosevelt & Ira Lee (Night of the Moccasin)," and "When You Touch Me," a slight and uninteresting jam. Too bad the whole concert sounds like it was recorded through a wall of steel wool. The vocals are muffled at times; the sound cuts in and out and generally sounds no better than a hastily made bootleg. A couple of the songs ("I Want You" in particular) show White to be a dynamic performer with a lot more guts than one might imagine.
Revered as one of the originators of swamp rock, Tony Joe White has recast a number of his classic songs on Deep Cuts, proving that time has no jurisdiction over funky. His signature groove, starting from his 1969 hit "Polk Salad Annie," is what he uses to paint a vivid picture of the world he experienced growing up, where poverty provided unity between otherwise divided races and bad-news women were sometimes too good to pass up. Tony Joe cut the tracks with his son Jody providing a rich palette of beats and loops, utilizing both digital and live drums, strings, organs, and the unmistakable timbre of his guitar. White's time-worn baritone is positively haunting, like a restless spirit conjured by the funk that was always the core of his music.
You'll recognise the wonderful Steamy Windows (covered by good friend Tina Turner with TJW backing her) but the awesome opening track Tunica Motel which tells of Tony Joe's return to his blues roots sets the stage for the whole album. Tunica Motel has it all - strong hooks and TJW's strong songwriting which starts as a song about getting away from it all, and becomes, gradually, a gut-spilling account. "I'm so tired of fighting with myself…" confesses TJW. Later, when he's contemplating his musical direction, he "sees the ghost of Robert Johnson" and for me the line brings an involunatary tingle down my spine every time I hear it, which is often. Tony Joe is Back! In this album he reintroduces us to his warm Stratocaster blues in gorgeous tracks: Ain't Going Down This Time and You're Gonna Look in Blues. In some ways these marked a new sound that he'd develop on subsequent albums - moving us closer to his use of Spanish guitar.