Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Unchain your inner Dogg - Outsider Art in a Mainstream Package

Get it today!  Earlier this year, Alive NaturalSound reissued Swamp Dogg's first two albums - Total Destruction to Your Mind and Rat On. This present from the swamp funk gods was reviewed by WYMA here.   Swamp Dogg is the product of early 60's songwriter, producer, Nixon enemies list member and musical iconoclast  Jerry Williams, Jr.  Swamp Dogg's eclectic taste is evident in the cover art for the first two albums.

For those of us who remember Swamp Dogg, these two reissues were not enough.  Something was missing. It's like Curly and Larry without Moe, Bosh and Wade without James or Billy and Frank without Dusty.  Alive Natural Sounds has reissued the third album in this holy trinity of Swamp Dogg's early 70's releases.  Gag a Maggott completes this musical triptych of swamp funk, country soul, and cross cultural irreverence.

Swamp's impeccable production values and musical arrangements recorded at Miami's TK Studios with the horns of the Swamp Dogg Band, Ivan "Breeze" Olander's drums and Willie "Little Beaver" Hale's guitar.  (Little Beaver is a musician's musician who inspired finger-picking god Leo Kottke to write an eponymous homage to Little Beaver's finger picking skills.)  The result is difficult to describe.  Swamp is the ultimate musical and lyrical shapeshifter.  He and his bandmates are whatever the listener wants them to be.   Check out the requisite Swamp Dogg love song - "I Couldn't Pay for What I got Last Night.".  As I listen it is alternately Memphis soul, Nashville Country or Texas R&B.  The horn arrangements can change in a measure from the Memphis Horns to Ides of March "Vehicle."  Swamp is a master while having fun with our ears.  He is constantly echoing The Contours famous lines....."Watch me now, oh......Do you love me?" How can love not love Doggbrother Number One?

The remastered album includes two bonus tracks recored live in 1972 at KSAN radio:  "Mama's Baby, Daddy's Maybe" and "Honky Tonk Woman".

1.  Wife Sitter
2. Choking To Death (From The Ties That Bind)
3.  I Couldn't Pay For What I Got Last Night
4.  Mighty Mighty Dollar Bill
5.  Midnight Hour
6.  Please Let Me Kiss You Goodbye
7.  T T
8.  Why Must We Fall (When We Fall In Love)
9.  Plastered To The Wall (Higher Than The Ceiling)
10.  Mama's Baby, Daddy's Maybe (Live) (CD & digital bonus track)
11.  Honky Tonk Woman (Live) (CD & digital bonus track)

This is not some raggedy-ass reissue music deserving to remain buried in the dust archives of soul impostors.  Swamp Dogg is the real thing.  The usual rating systems only scratch the surface of the man, the legend, the Doggfather.  5 stars or 10 out of 10 are deserved for his entire body of work.  Nobody has described Dogg better than himself:

“If your dog sleeps on the sofa, shits on the rug, pisses on the drapes, chews up your slippers, humps your mother-in-law’s leg, jumps on your new clothes, and licks your face, he’s never gotten out of character. You understand what he did, you curse while making allowances for him, but your love for him never diminishes. Commencing in 1970, I sung about sex, niggers, love, rednecks, war, peace, dead flies, home wreckers, Sly Stone, my daughters, politics, revolution, and blood transfusions (just to name a few), and never got out of character.”

So be the the first on your block to do it Swamp Doggystyle.  Make your parents or kids squirm.   Order it now as a digital download, cd, or the grandeur of a color vinyl pressing.


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