Tony Joe White’s 29th studio album, The Beginning, dropped back in 2001 exclusively on CD through White’s Swamp Records. Unfortunately, the album went out of print not long after release. As a result, not near enough people have experienced the power of the music captured in The Beginning. Thankfully, New West Records stepped up to re-issue the record.
Last year, New West released a limited edition color vinyl pressing of The Beginning for Record Store Day Black Friday. That pressing sold out immediately. Now, they’re set to release Tony Joe White’s most personal album in standard black vinyl for the first time ever. Additionally, they’ll release opaque blue vinyl pressings that will be available at independent record stores and the New West website. You’ll also be able to get the album on CD for the first time in nearly two decades. The Beginning makes its return to shelves everywhere on July 22nd. They’re available for preorder through New West starting today.
If you don’t want to wait until July to hear this rare Tony Joe White album, you’re in luck. The fully remastered and resequenced digital version of The Beginning is on streaming services everywhere. If you’re a fan of the blues, you need to give this record a spin.
The Beginning Is the Album Tony Joe White Dreamed of Making
Tony Joe White released 28 albums on various labels. However, it wasn’t until he was free of record label restrictions that he could cut his dream album. The Beginning is the result of White’s desire to record an unadorned and unaccompanied album. Throughout the record’s ten tracks you hear White’s voice over his guitar and harmonica with his stomping foot keeping time.
More than that, The Beginning was a family affair. Tony Joe White recorded the album at his own Church Street Studio with his son and manager Jody on the boards. The result is a collection of songs that is intensely intimate and stark.
What to Expect from The Beginning
Tony Joe White wanted to make an album with no frills and that’s just what he did. This is the kind of blues that you’ll hear coming from front porches in White’s home state of Louisiana. You can almost feel the swamp-bred humidity in his voice and guitar work. It’s dark, muddy, and at times sensual in a way that will conjure images of gators slipping into swamps and ghosts haunting the deepest reaches of the bayou.
If you don’t have time to check out the entire digital album right now, that’s fine. You can get a good idea of what to expect from the remastered reissue of The Beginning with “Who You Gonna Hoo-Doo Now.” Check out the official audio below.