Swamp Dogg - Sorry You Couldn't Make It
Amazing new album! Who woulda thunk it! Swamp Dogg rules! Though this is called his "Country" record, I don't hear it! Sure there's country songs on it, but they're all dosed liberally with pure SWAMP DOGG SOUL!
[Joyful Noise Recordings]
Jerry Williams’—aka Swamp Dogg—first love was country music, listening to it as a Navy family kid growing up in Portsmouth, Virginia. “My granddaddy, he just bought country records out the asshole,” Swamp remembers. “Every Friday when he came home from the Navy yard he’d stop off and get his records, like ‘Mule Train’ by Frankie Laine, or ‘Riders in the Sky’ by Vaughn Monroe.” His first time performing on stage, in fact, was a country song at a talent show when he was six years old: “I did Red Foley’s version of ‘Peace in the Valley.’”
While the 77 year-old Williams’ most enduring persona is the psychedelic soul superhero Swamp Dogg—a musical vigilante upholding truths both personal and political since 1970’s immortal album, Total Destruction To Your Mind—he will tell anybody who will listen that he’s considered himself country this entire time. “If you notice I use a lot of horns,” Swamp says. “But actually, if you listen to my records before I start stacking shit on it, I’m country. I sound country.”
Sorry You Couldn’t Make It sees Swamp come full circle, and closes what has felt to him like unfinished business. “They didn’t have any blacks in country until Charlie Pride came along,” he says. “But in time, all things change and that's what has happened to country music.” Surveying today’s Nashville reality, Swamp sees opportunity: artists as divergent as Darius Rucker and Lil Nas X are converging in a genre that he once worried might never give him his shot. “I'm anxious because it's like I've taken all my money and put it on one horse,” he says. “But I believe in this horse.”