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The Excellent Sides of Swamp Dogg, Vol. 3

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Album Review

Since Swamp Dogg's short-lived associations with a remarkable number of different record labels has made collecting his back catalog a formidable challenge, it's great news for fans that the artist sometime known as Jerry Williams has been reissuing a number of his albums on two-fer CDs with his Excellent Sides of Swamp Dogg series, and the third volume features 1975's Have You Heard This Story? and 1989's I Called for a Rope and They Threw Me a Rock. Unfortunately, Williams plays historical revisionist on this set and Have You Heard This Story? appears in remixed and re-sequenced form with some of the vocal tracks re-recorded; the album was a more pleasing and soulful listen in its original form, and the new mix sounds a bit tinny and distorted on this disc. Still, the songs are fine (especially "The Mind Does the Dancing While the Body Pulls the Strings" and "Chewed Up Grass"), and the session players lay out some superb Southern funk and soul on these sessions. I Called for a Rope was the first album from Williams' own Swamp Dogg Entertainment Group label, and recording on his own dime, he relies on synthesizers and drum machines rather than a full studio band, so the album has an unfortunately cheesy sound that doesn't flatter the material. But Swamp Dogg's vocals are potent and forceful, and the songs solidly hit their mark, particularly the sly "I'd Lie to You for Your Love" and the urgent "We Need a Revolution." While the fidelity of this disc isn't as good as one might hope and Have You Heard This Story? is better heard in its original form, at least this makes two albums worth owning available again, and who knows, maybe this time Williams will actually make some money off this stuff.

Biography

Born: 12 July 1942 in Portsmouth, VA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '10s

Raunchy, satirical, political, and profane, Swamp Dogg is one of the great cult figures of 20th century American music. The creation of Jerry Williams, Jr., an R&B producer and songwriter of the '60s, Swamp Dogg fit no tidy category. In sheer musical terms, Swamp Dogg is pure Southern soul, anchored on tight grooves and accentuated by horns, but the Dogg is as much about message as music. Williams incorporated all the mind-bending psychedelic ideas of '60s counterculture -- drugs, sex, radical politics,...
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