Swamp Rock

And I can remember the fourth of July,
Runnin’ through the backwood, bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin’,
Chasin’ down a hoodoo there.
Chasin’ down a hoodoo there.
–Creedence Clearwater Revival,
“Born on the Bayou”

Several years ago my father and I went to a CCR concert in Maine. When they sang, “Born on the Bayou,” I asked my dad about the “hoodoo man.” He told me it was slang for “Swampthing,” or the southern equivalent of Big Foot. I pictured a gentle, moss-covered giant, misunderstood, just like Harry from “Harry and the Hendersons.” Since that stormy night listening to CCR with my dad, I’ve been a little fond of Swampthing, and enamored of all things swampy. Right after Katrina hit, a lot of extra people showed up in Bar Harbor, where I was living at the time, and a friend of mine dated the lead musician in the group called the Frozen Swamp Choppers, who moved up from New Orleans. Eric Green and the Frozen Swamp Choppers have a distinct sound—swamp rock. Check it out: http://www.swampsound.com/ Green has been making swamp rock albums since the mid-‘80s. Here’s a video of one of his performances with the Eric Green Party. Some other classic swamp rock artists include Tony Joe White, Claw Boys Claw, The Almighty Defenders, John Fogerty, Beasts of Bourbon, Screamin’ Witch Doctors, Muddy Feet, the Cramps, Trailer Bride, Deja Voodoo. Swamp rock is a combo of Zydeco (Louisiana folk music—usually involving washboards or tubs as percussion), Cajun music, swamp blues and swamp pop. It showed up in American rock and became popular in the 1960s. The music is funky, soulful and reverberates with a twangy guitar. Song lyrics tell stories from southern folklore with a “southern gothic” feel. Songs often describe life along the Mississippi River, in the bayou and in New Orleans. For me, it makes me think of easy summer days spinnin’ around in a hot black inner tube in the river and ridin’ in the back of my dad’s jeep.

Swamp rock is not unique to the south, however, as there are swamp rock festivals in the Midwesthttp://www.swamprockbash.net/ and British swamp rock bands like Hipbone Slim and the Knee Tremblershttp://www.myspace.com/hipboneslim

Listen to CCR’s “Born on the Bayou” and watch the videohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJphgxTMkQc&feature=fvw

Swamp rock blues guitar http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIpAN-cCoFE

Black swamp blues http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVTAwYQGQt8&feature=related

Swampy ooze http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUCQ3K7S4Lk&feature=related

Aussie swamp rock band (blog) http://elblogdearchi.com/2009/08/beasts-of-bourbon-2/
Louisiana swamp rock band (blog) http://pixiepages.blogspot.com/2009/07/little-swamp-rock-dirty-water-dogs.html

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