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Music Review: Various Artists – Swamp Gold – Volume 8

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If you were a teenager in the South in the 1950s or 1960s, you might think some of the music on this album is very familiar. If you grew up in South Louisiana, following the music and hitting the bayou dancehalls, it's almost a sure thing that you'll remember a lot of these songs. Swamp Gold – Volume 8, on the Jin Records label, has a rich trove of old tunes from those days but it also features some newer music, including some from current swamp pop stars.

The very fact that we're reviewing Volume 8 implies that there were 7 preceding volumes, and that is indeed the case. The series began in 1991, and all volumes follow the same formula as this one, which is mostly Southern-flavored honky-tonk ballads, with the addition of a couple of tunes from mainstream pop. Within that framework, the producers have put together an interesting listing of songs.

The very first cut, "You Got Me Whistling", was a big regional success back in the 1960s, and Johnnie Allan was probably one of the biggest stars in the South. True to it's name, the song begins with his whistling (and humming) but his strong voice soon takes over.

There are a number of other good vintage songs, including the bluesy "You Don't Have To Go" with Rockin' Sidney giving it a zydeco flavor. I also enjoyed Tommy McClain's "Am I That Easy To Forget", and a song that was a legitimate number one hit nationally, John Fred and the Playboys doing "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)".

Moving into tunes from the 1970s and 1980s, we're given some treats too. Clint West's very nice, driving version of "High Heel Sneakers" really rocks, and I also enjoyed "Haunted House", a quirky and bouncy tune by Rufus Jagneaux. (A Cajun name if I ever heard one.)

Newer tunes include modern swamp pop star Don Rich, whose solo album I reviewed recently, showing good form on "Give Me Just One More Chance", and I also enjoyed "Raised on Swamp Pop Music" by Willie Tee.

A nice combination of old and new, Southern country-pop with a added dollop of blues and zydeco, the perfect recipe for swamp-stompin' or just plain old listening fun.

1. You Got Me Whistling – Johnnie Allan
2. You're Mine Tonight – Glenn Wells
3. You Had Your Chance – Margo White
4. Give Me Just One More Chance – Don Rich

5. Shelter From The Storm – Warren Storm
6. Oh Mother Dear – Rod Bernard
7. Raised on Swamp Pop Music – Willie Tee
8. Am I That Easy to Forget – Tommy McLain
9. Judy in Disguise – John Fred & Playboys
10. Haunted House – Rufus Jagneaux
11. Wanting to Get Over You – Johnnie Allan
12. I Don't Want to Cry – Lil Bob & Lollipops
13. Our Last Goodbye – Kenny & Jokers
14. Lonely Hearts Club – Lee Martin
15. High Heel Sneakers – Clint West
16. You Don't Have to Go – Rockin' Sidney

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