As if this week weren't bad enough, via Crooks and Liars, I learned of the death of singer/songwriter Tony Joe White. I wrote a post running down several versions of my favorite song of his, Polk Salad Annie, and I have added pokeweed to my foraging repertoire. In my version of the Great American Songbook, 'Polk Salad Annie', the heroine of this darkly humorous song, occupies a place somewhere between the great ladies of rock and roll, such as Peggy Sue and Barbara Ann, and such protagonists of tall tales as Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. Here's Tony Joe White having a blast singing the song with Johnny Cash:
Besides having a great baritone, Tony Joe White's genius at songwriting is evident when one considers the artists who performed his songs. In a melancholy vein, Tony wrote Rainy Night in Georgia, which was memorably covered by soul crooner Brook Benton and legend Ray Charles:
The spicy Steamy Windows was covered by Tina Turner:
Tony released an album, Hoodoo, in 2013 and played live on TV with Jools Holland and the Foo Fighters:
In his Crooks and Liars post, Dale Merrill embedded a 1970 BBC concert by Mr White. Here's a 1992 concert by the man:
I'd eat a mess of poke to commemorate the man, but we've already had a frost this season, and as he warned Johnny Cash, "If you eat it after a frost, it'll MOlest ya." Thanks for the decades of great music, Tony Joe.