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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
8

on 30 July 2016
Good value on this 2cd of good old swamp pop.
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on 10 September 2013
An excellent buy.Been waiting ages for some of these tracks to be released on CD. Ten out of ten. Wow.
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on 12 February 2013
Great compilation covering some of the best sounds from the southern states.

A fine overview of the very best of well known and less familiar artists of Louisiana swamp music.
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on 9 February 2013
I enjoyed this album. There's some good unusual and obscure stuff on it, although it does get a bit samey. I think it would appeal to fans of older soul, real traditional r&b and rock and roll. If you like any of them it worth a try.
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on 28 April 2015
What the world had been waiting for? Maybe not the world, but me anyway, and, judging by the positive reviews, quite a few others. I first tuned in to this style of music way back in 1975 via the purchase of "The Other Song of the South: Louisiana Rock’n’Roll", a 16 track LP lovingly put together by Bill Millar, which introduced me to the likes of Opelousas hero Rod Bernard, the amazing Cookie & the Cupcakes, Jivin' Gene from Port Arthur and more. Since then, in spite of valiant efforts from Ace Records and the late Charlie Gillett, we've never had a definitive set of swamp pop goodies compiled on CD. Up to now, or up to 2012 when this set was released, that is.

Almost all the BIG records are here: Cookie & the Cupcakes with "Mathilda", the Guitar Gable/King Karl version of "This should go on forever", Jimmy Clanton's "Just a dream", Joe Barry's "I'm a fool to care", Jivin' Gene's "Breaking up is hard to do", Phil Phillips' immortal "Sea of love" and the title track (from Bobby Charles) of course. These are all classics of the genre. If you think you know rock'n'roll but you don't know these then give them a listen.

Dropping to a slightly more obscure level there are plenty of tracks which should be in every swamp pop collection: Buck Rogers' "Crazy baby", Elton Anderson's "The secret of love", Tibby Edwards bringing out something of a country flavour on "Forever is a long time", the tragic Jimmy Donley with the song that seemed to sum him up, "Born to be a loser", Jimmy Wilson's "Please accept my love", Guitar Jr's "Family Rules", the Warren Storm version of "Prisoner's song" (with a nod to Fats), Johnnie Allen's "Lonely days, lonely nights" and Jivin' Gene's "Going' out with the tide".

If I was going to be nit picking I'd say that I wish they had managed to find space for Dale & Grace's "I'm leaving it all up to you", T.K. Hulin's "Graduation Night" and Guitar Gable/King Karl's "Irene" but would suspect at least a couple of these were ruled out because of release dates. I am assuming that the tracks in this set were only available to the compiler via the 50 year PD ruling.

Everything I've mentioned so far fits most definitions of swamp pop to a tee - slow music combining the self pity of certain country laments with blues expressiveness, realised via hammered pianos and churning bass riffs very often featuring mournful saxes. And there are many, many more examples of the genre in this set from artists of even greater obscurity (if that is possible).

Perhaps as (relatively) light relief the compiler has included a minority of tracks which fall more in that much wider category of Louisiana Rock'n'roll. Some show aspects of other music popular in the SW Louisiana / SE Texas area - Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and R&B. These include some positively glorious tracks that just couldn't have come from anywhere else. Like Phil Bo's remarkable "She wears my ring", Guitar Jr's early rocker "The Crawl", Rockin' Sidney's stonking "You ain't nothin' but fine", the Boogie Ramblers' gently rolling "Cindy Lou" and Bobby Charles' fine version of "Let the four winds blow" (Mr Domino is never that far away in this set)

Swamp pop was (and still is) a rather strange form of music whereby the audience gain pleasure from a performer's expression of misery. Is this empathy or what? Earlier performers like Buddy Holly (and later, Del Shannon) had got a lot of traction from a combination of downer lyrics coupled with upbeat melody and performance. There's an example in this set. In Jivin' Gene's "I cried" there's a total disconnect between the brightness (brittleness?) of the performance and those words. But that's not swamp pop where the dolefulness is largely echoed in the music. I hear you say what about blues? Isn't this the same? Often it's not. So many blues offer wry comment or an ironic view on life. Rarely are they downright miserable. What both forms of music do share of course is a very restricted melodic and chordal format.

And for those who've stumbled into this and are wondering about the "samishness" of the songs, well that is something you could say about the blues, particularly from one artist or one region. After a time the differences start to show and often these have a charm of their own.

Enough ruminating. For the neophyte this set offers an overview of the Swamp Pop genre that's just not available elsewhere. For the converted there's still likely to be loads here that you haven't got. Like Shreveport rocking lady Margaret Lewis with a Jimmy Reed like "Goin' to St Louis", like a wholly unexpected "Slop and Stroll Jolie Blonde", like a recording in French from Joe Barry under his real name Josef Barrios, etc., etc.
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on 5 January 2013
This is a wonderful compilation. Louisiana swamp pop has a sound all its own, and one I love. I'll need a new copy soon, as I'm wearing this one out
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on 28 October 2012
this is simply wonderful.chock full of rare and well known gems of swamp pop with that great louisiana lilt and at a great price.absolute magic!
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on 23 November 2012
Swamp Pop started officially in 1955 but didn't have a name yet. This double disc has songs from 1955 to 1961 with the bulk in 1958-59.
Most of the artist were probably superstars in the five parishes that surrounded theirs. Some were lucky enough to be know in New Orleans or the neighbouring states of Texas or Mississippi.
A few(and only a few) went nationwide with one or two singles.
Clearly Swamp Pop was a local phenomenon.

Out of the 65 tracks here you will surely know a couple of names: Bobby Charles, Phil Phillips, Jimmy Clanton, Johnnie Allen, John Fred & his Playboy Band.
But! Do names like Guitar Jr, Jivin'Gene, Glenn Wells & the Blends,T.K.Hulin or Gabe Dean ring a bell? There's many more of these unknowns on these two discs.

The Music? There's lots of slows here but not all.
Most are in waltz time and that was de rigeur at the time. Lyrically most themes are about lost love, falling in love, betrayal...you get the picture.

This compilation covers only six years and a small part of the U.S.A.
But it's the same time where Bill Haley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison became household names.

The artists on Swamp Pop in fact deserved the same stardom. The music on these two discs is, in fact, just as good.

You can't leave this in the racks as it's under seven pounds.

You know what to do, don't you?
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