This is my swamp

An old, bald black man, wearing a plain gold satin gown, the same colour as his glasses frames, sits on the edge of an empty swimming pool whose bottom is carpeted with dead leaves. Mug in hand, geta on his dangling feet, he is drinking coffee with the steely air of one who intends to top the first soul to visit him...

By Marc Zisman | Video of the Day | September 14, 2018

This excellent cover for Love, Loss and Auto-Tune is a reminder that Jerry Williams Jr. alias Swamp Dogg is still, at 76 years old, one of the hottest musicians around. Wild riffs, untameable lines, a chaotic discography, the Southerner has always been an excessive, cult artist, worshipped by the fans of obscure grooves, and little known to the masses. Now, the Virginian oddity has teamed up with Ryan Olson of Poliça (on production) and Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, who recommended that he sing through a vocoder.

Not a classic Auto Tune, but a Messina, a toy invented by Chris Messina, a friend of Vernon, who put it to use in 2016 on his album 22, A Million. Weird from end to end, the result is an inscrutable free radical, just like its author. Love, Loss and Auto-Tune has romantic melodramas of pure soul, mini-symphonies of electronic rhythm'n'blues, G-funk sequences and interludes that defy classification. Behind this mountain of coded eccentricities, this latest Swamp Dogg album has avoided falling into the trap of being nothing more than a plaything for hipsters: its success is that it is a great contemporary soul record which will shake the genre. Even as he covers an old saw like Answer Me, My Love, Swamp Dogg is bringing the dynamite and blasting away convention! The opposite of the respectable taxidermist's approach of Lee Fields, Charles Bradley or Sharon Jones... And what a sleeve!


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