Swamp Dogg - Rat On! - New LP
Essential set for fans, 2nd set 1971, recorded at Muscle Shoals.
Legendary eccentric soul man Swamp Dogg (aka Jerry Williams Jr.) has been celebrated as the inspired lunatic of old-school R&B.
The cover of this LP--Swamp Dogg riding a white rat, hands raised and fists clenched in triumph--lets you know that you're not in for any ol' R&B record, even before the needle hits the grooves. It's a satisfying continuation of the eclectic soul-singer-songwriter mix of his debut. Vocally, Swamp Dogg sounds like a cross between General Johnson (of Chairmen of the Board) and Van Morrison; as a songwriter, he's his own man. With the exception of Sly Stone, no other soul men of the period were investigating controversial topics with such infectious musicality and good humor. He takes on promiscuity with unbridled frankness in cuts like "Predicament #2," and bemoans the eternal delay of American justice for minorities in "Remember I Said Tomorrow," and twists Irving Berlin's "God Bless America" into a protest song (and also, bizarrely, covers the Bee Gees' "Got to Get a Message to You"). None of this endeared him to industry insiders, and Swamp Dogg was dropped by Elektra after the album's release. It's long been out of print.