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Swamp Dogg: Have You Heard This Story??

Album Notes

In 1975, disco was starting to take over the charts, and perhaps in hope that he might just sell a few records for a change, Jerry Williams (aka Swamp Dogg) kicked off his fifth album, Have You Heard This Story??, with a potent and funky dance groove called "The Mind Does the Dancing While the Body Pulls the Strings" that would have inspired plenty of booty-shaking if the lyrics hadn't been so weird -- which means we're talking about a fairly typical Swamp Dogg album. This time out, Williams delivers a super-sized portion of solid funk and soul with an equal share of eccentric philosophizing on the side as he discusses Jesus before He became a media phenomenon ("When He Was No One"), comes home to find his wife cheating on him with another woman ("Did I Come Back Too Soon [Or Stay Away Too Long]"), shares his experiences with an incompetent physician ("Dr. MLG [JA]"), and laments the sad state of our culture and our nation ("Chewed Up Grass" and "God Ain't Blessing America"). Swamp Dogg's experience as a studio hand is clearly evident; these songs are rooted in tough, sinewy rhythm beds that keep one foot on the dancefloor even as the lyrics head off into the twilight zone, and "I Want a Lifetime of Loving You" and "I Wouldn't Leave Here to Go to Heaven" demonstrate the man could write a straightforward R&B tune when he was of a mind. But as great as the music is, it's Williams' weird but wise broadsides on the world around him that set him apart, and if you've got a taste for his ranting, this will slake your thirst. ~ Mark Deming



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