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4.0 out of 5 stars Rod should go on forever, 26 July 2011
Dangerous Dave (Berkhamsted, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Swamp Rock 'n' Roller (Audio CD)
As the man who stormed the national charts with "This should go on forever", Rod Bernard is one of the biggest names in swamp pop. This album collects material from 1958 through to the late 1960's, recorded for Jin, where he cut "This should go on forever" and a number of even smaller Louisiana labels. About half the tracks are previously unissued and are the results of Ace's splendid digging into the vaults.

Slightly disappointingly there aren't many numbers present in the classic slow burning swamp pop vein. Only "This should go on", "Forgive", "I might as well", "Loneliness", and "Lover's Blues" really come in that category but all are good. However there are several more up-beat tracks which fit the rather wider definition of swamp music - "Fais do do", an excellent "Colinda", Doug Kershaw's "Diggy Diggy Lo", Warren Storm's "The Prisoner's song" and, of course, "Jambalaya".

The rest, well over half, are mainly rockers with many of them covers of well known material. Most stick pretty closely to the originals but there are some more inventive ones - Rod and the boys' version of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" is quite a treat. I would imagine these cover versions give a fair impression of what Rod Bernard and the Shondells would have sounded like in a dance hall in Opelousas back in those days. There are the usual traces of Fats Domino which you get with most swamp artists but these are more than balanced by an evident liking for Chuck Berry. Three of the latter's numbers are present plus a very Chuck influenced original in "Recorded in England". This is a self-written dig at the English invasion, particularly noting the Brits' liking for Mr Berry! Other good originals include "Pardon Mr Gordon" and "Gimme back my Cadillac".

I should also make mention of "Shake, Rattle and Roll" recorded with accordion maestro Clifton Chenier. This is from an album the twosome recorded together and it's an absolute delight.

The sleeve notes also deserve mention. They're from Rod's son Shane who has also written a book on swamp pop music. The notes are complemented by some great period photos and related ephemera.
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Swamp Rock 'n' Roller
Swamp Rock 'n' Roller by Rod Bernard (Audio CD - 1994)
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