Various Artists

Blame It on the Dogg: The Swamp Dogg Anthology 1968-1978

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Blame It on the Dogg: The Swamp Dogg Anthology 1968-1978 Review

by Mark Deming

Since 1970, Jerry Williams has been living a double life -- by day, he writes songs and produces records for some of the leading lights of soul and R&B, while by night he makes his own gloriously eccentric albums as Swamp Dogg, the man who promised and delivered Total Destruction to Your Mind. Blame It on the Dogg: The Swamp Dogg Anthology 1968-1978 is a compilation that for once honors both sides of this man's split personality, featuring a few of Williams' own recordings as Swamp Dogg alongside a healthy variety of selections he wrote and/or produced for other acts. There are also three of Williams' pre-Swamp Dogg cuts here, and while they may lack the weird quotient of "I've Never Been to Africa (And It's Your Fault)" and "The Love We Got Ain't Worth Two Dead Flies," they play to his knack for R&B classicism and show he already had a hell of a voice, especially on the pleading "Run Run Roadrunner." And the 19 numbers from people who aren't Swamp Dogg or Jerry Williams show that the guy is a valuable ally in the studio; there's fine and rollicking stuff from Gary U.S. Bonds ("I'm Glad You're Back"), Ruth Brown ("Stop Knocking"), and the Drifters ("Your Best Friend"), as well as some more contemplative moments from Z.Z. Hill ("Touch 'Em with Love") and Arthur Conley ("Complication #4"), and Gene Pitney of all people delivers one of the highlights with a frantic run through Williams' "You're a Heartbreaker." Actually, if this collection disappoints, it's because Swamp Dogg himself almost gets lost in the shuffle among Williams' other musical accomplishments, but with much of the Swamp Dogg catalog finally making its way to CD through Williams' own SDEG label, this is a more than welcome overview of Williams' work behind the scenes, and a fine collection of smart and gritty Southern soul from an unsung master of the form.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
C & The Shells 03:43 Amazon
2 Gene Pitney 03:16 Amazon
3 Jerry Williams, Jr. 02:50 Amazon
4 Patti Labelle & the Bluebelles 02:56 Amazon
5 Tommy Hunt 03:06 Amazon
6 Inez & Charlie Foxx 02:35 Amazon
7 The Drifters 02:30 Amazon
8
Jerry Williams, Jr. 03:33 Amazon
9 Gary "U.S." Bonds 02:29 Amazon
10 Little Charles & the Sidewinders 02:41 Amazon
11
Jerry Williams, Jr. 02:52 Amazon
12 Kenny Carter 02:27 Amazon
13 Slick 'N' The Family Brick 02:32 Amazon
14 Swamp Dogg 03:26 Amazon
15 Z.Z. Hill 01:48 Amazon
16 Obe Jessie & The Seeds Of Freedom 03:48 Amazon
17 Swamp Dogg 02:36 Amazon
18
Eleanor Grant 03:11 Amazon
19
Arthur Conley 03:33 Amazon
20 Helen Curry 02:56 Amazon
21
Eleanor Grant 03:10 Amazon
22 Ruth Brown 05:09 Amazon
23
Wolfmoon 03:39 Amazon
24
Eleanor Grant 05:05 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick