Tony Joe White: Backwoods Preacher Man

Tony Joe White, the man who wrote "Rainy Night in Georgia," passed away on Wednesday. He was a pivotal figure in the history of Americana and one of the greatest songwriters of the second half of the twentieth century. A chronicler of the true south he sang of the hardship and joy of poor folk and, above all, their dignity even when the rest of the world looked down on them. He sang about people who were blind to the colour of another's skin and also about love.

Tony Joe was highly respected by fans of swamp rock and American roots music throughout the world but he never fully received the acclaim due to him in his own land. I suspect that, like that other great troubadour outsider, Townes Van Zandt, his genius will be most fully recognised now that he is no longer with us.

May he rest in peace.


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