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by Jim Allen

May 23, 2013

Sounds of the Swamp

by Jim Allen  |  May 23, 2013

Most people's musical default option for evoking a sweaty, swampy vibe, especially one with a New Orleans address, is some combination of zydeco, Cajun, and N.O. R&B. But there's a whole other universe of swampy sounds out there, often with roots just as deep in bayou country. If you're after the kind of tunes that could make you swear you see an overgrown swamp sprouting up in the middle of a metropolis, skip the washboards and brass bands and head for the muddy ditches.

Your tour guides for the trip range from swamp-blues sultans like Lazy Lester and Slim Harpo to voodoo wizard Dr. John, first-generation New Orleans rock 'n' roller Bobby Charles, and the ol' Swamp Fox himself, the poet of the wetlands, country-soul king Tony Joe White. Along the way, you'll find the sonic stew peppered by swampophiles from other regions, like El Cerrito, Calif.'s would-be bayou boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival. But for the most part, the tales of snakes, alligators and pokeweed come straight from the folks who've been there, right up to the tops of their hip-waders.

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