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Swamp Dogg – total destruction to your mind

Posted on: February 4, 2009


Jerry Williams, aka Swamp Dogg, the eccentric, multi-talented, seriously goofy and goofily serious songwriter, producer and singer without a doubt is one of soul music’s most flamboyant characters. As demonstrated by the bizarre cover photo (Dogg posing in his underwear on the back of a garbage truck, his second full length “rat on” has a similar weird cover artwork), all of those characteristics are showcased on his brilliant 1970 debut “Total Destruction To Your Mind”.

Swamp’s music is soul music dipped in acid. His voice has a high, pleading edge, he sparked reasonable comparisons to Jackie Wilson, Van Morrison, and Percy Sledge. He’s also blessed with an unbelievably off-kilter sense of humor, which he is entirely unafraid to display on wax. His lyrics didn´t fit in the classic soul patterns, in an interview Swamp Dogg said:

Most of the stuff I did in the early ’60’s, I wrote it in the late ’50’s. What I was writing in the ’60’s was a lot of songs about being gay. Now I’m not gay, although there ain’t shit wrong with being gay. But we would write a whole bunch of songs about gay people. I’ve still got one of them- “The Two of Us.” Gary U.S. Bonds and I wrote it. And we were writing several songs- we wrote about ten songs like that. It was like, we wrote a lot of songs that I guess we’d have to say was just for our own enjoyment. I hadn’t thought about recording them at that time. We would do songs like, we would do tributes to people who were alive, but we did ’em like they were dead. We thought this was funny, I know that it’s sick. But we were doing a lot of sick shit. But this was just for our own enjoyment.

Later in the ’60’s, we started writing some acid-type lyrics. But there was no call for it. People’d say, we don’t want this shit. What is this shit? I put one of them on my first album, Total Destruction, a thing called “Dust Your Head Color Red.” I had started writing some songs that nobody, nobody, wanted to record. Including Jerry Williams or Gary Bonds or anybody else in our little circle, or outside our circle. That was another reason Swamp Dogg was right on time when he arrived. ‘Cause he would sing any fucking thing! Swamp Dogg would give it a fucking try.

Williams made his first recording in 1954 under the moniker “Little Jerry”. In the 60s he began using  “Little Jerry Williams” and later he had dropped the “Little” to record as Jerry Williams. In 1970 Swamp Dogg entered the stage, but Williams wrote the songs for “Total Destruction” already in ’68.

And do you need another proof for his adorable character? From the liner notes:

I owe all my present success to a very dear person, someone who stuck by me when things were really bad, and has never made a motion to harm me or my talents in any way. A person whom I love, worship and admire beyond and shadow of a doubt – ME!!

This was not the reason why the US government placed him on the amed Nixon enemies list for a while, the obvious lyrics about taking drugs neither. The U.S. government was concerned enough about his anti-Vietnam War activities.

A frantic album. Over the top, crazy, harrowing… but so soulfully righteous and funked up. Mix yourself some Sal-a-Faster in our synthetic world!


3 Responses to "Swamp Dogg – total destruction to your mind"

Just read the review…sounds really interesting! Cheers!

hi perucho, did swamp dogg come up to your expectations?

Yep, really nice. Thanx!

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