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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » White, Tony Joe - 1980 The Real Thang
White, Tony Joe - 1980 The Real Thang

ARTIST: White, Tony Joe
ALBUM: The Real Thang
LABEL: Casablanca
YEAR: 1980


LINEUP: Tony Joe White - vocals, guitar * Waylon Jennings - guitar * Steve Spear - bass * Jeff Hale - drums * Thomas Cain - organ

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Get Off On It * 02 Disco Blues * 03 Red Neck Women * 04 Polk Salad Annie * 05 Swamp Rap * 06 Grounded * 07 Mama Don't Let Your Cowboys Grow Up To Be Babies * 08 Even Trolls Love Rock N Roll


Known for his classic country sound, White had some major hits in the late 60's and early 70's and made a name for himself through hits like 'Polk Salad Annie' and touring alongside the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Steppenwolf. White referred to his music as 'swamp blues' but it appeared in the late 70's his style of rock wasn't in vogue so White did the only possible thing and turned to disco. The resulting album was a tough sell to his fans, but as far as 'country-disco' goes, you'd have to go a long way to top this. Being on Casablanca might have been an influence; just ask Kiss on 'Dynasty'.

The Songs
Quite simply this album has to be heard to be believed. White turns in one of the coolest vocal performances you're likely to hear and the result is a melodic, funky treat. 'I Get Off On It' is a disco extravaganza and the infusion of country is as smooth as possible. While not AOR, the melody is there and the vocals are first rate from White. The older country style isn't ignored, especially on tracks like 'Red Neck Women', tidy outlaw country helped by the addition of Jennings. 'Disco Blues' is a fine ZZ Top style romp and the disco remake of 'Polk Salad Annie' may have shocked hardcore fans, but it has an undeniable funk groove. White outdoes himself with the innovative 'Swamp Rap', putting Paul Sabu to shame vocally and I'm inclined to think The Clash ripped this track off with 'This Is Radio Clash'. There's a nice piece of smooth radio rock with 'Grounded' and 'Even Trolls Love Rock N Roll' is another disco remake of an earlier track from White some years earlier.

In Summary
This is absolutely worth seeking out. White copped some criticism for this, but the albums reputation seems to have increased over the years. White would go on to release 'Dangerous' in 1983, which looks like another interesting album. After that he would have success writing for Tina Turner before resuming his solo career in the 90's, which he continues to do today. But for ultra melodic disco with tasty country elements this is impossible to beat.

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#1 | gdazegod on December 19 2009 02:02:00
1983's 'Dangerous' is pretty good too. Quite laid back, still with that trademark vocal, he sounds like a white mans Barry White. He does a cover of 'Our Day Will Come' which has been done to death by many artists ( Interesting addition to GDAZE..
#2 | Eric on December 19 2009 04:15:31
Nice choice Alun. Did we coin a new term here- 'Melodic Disco'?
#3 | MUSCLE on December 19 2009 18:02:07
this classic shoulda been the soundtrack for the rude pacino flick cruising. i can just see maneater al in his leather jacket and cap prowling through central park whilst the funky dirty groove of 'i get off on it' plays as background music.hilarious
#4 | fenton on August 03 2016 18:38:23
'Dangerous' eats this album alive, that version of swamp rap and the title track are two of the best songs of all time.
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