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August 14, 2011 / John Sieger

Rock’n’Roll Swamp

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Perhaps my finest moment as a lyricist… “All the creatures in the swamp is high. They’re sniffin’ swamp gas, drinkin’ gin and rye.” The obvious candidate for The Stephen J. Sondheim Award for Excellence in Song Lyrics. High minded, but in a completely different sense of the word. Songs that celebrate moonshine, pills and other mind-altering substances have been with us a long time and that is one component in this story.  There are other things in this stew though, like my childhood love of Walt Kelly’s satirical comic strip Pogo. Of course, all the political satire sailed over my little noggin, but I loved the setting, the characters and the arcane language they spoke. Not long after that, swamp-rock started to ooze from radios around the country. From Slim Harpo to Creedence, guitars dripping with tremolo and greasy grooves in E were bending my brain. Tony Joe White sang Polk Salad Annie and that was it, I was around the bend. I may have been a yankee living in the land of cheese, but in my soul I was down in Loisianna on the bayou, setting traps and eating crawfish. This song basically drops Pogo and the gang into a more rockin’ wetland and then throws in some refreshments to make it interesting. Even yankees like The Subcontinentals can get swampy from time to time.

© John Sieger

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