Swamp People, now in its fourth season on the History Channel, follows the wacky adventures of the modern day Landry family and their acquaintances as they travel the southern bayous in search of gators and adventure. Rounder Records has now released an album of music inspired by the series.
I have to admit that I have never watched a complete episode of the series but I have always been attracted to the music of the Southern Delta. From the early blues artists who established an American art form to the Cajun swamp rock of today, a lot of good music has emanated from the area.
The album is a compilation of 13 tracks that fits in with the culture of the region. Rounder was a good label for the release as their eclectic and deep catalogue contains an abundant amount of material that fits the style and sound of the Delta.
The famous meets the obscure throughout the 13 tracks. If you want to get to the heart of modern day swamp music, “Polk Salad Annie” by Tony Joe White is the place to start. This late-1960s classic oozes the ambiance of the Delta. The Neville Brothers are synonymous with the area and their “Fire on the Bayou” combines rhythms of the area with their soulful voices. If you have not been exposed to the music of Buckwheat Zydeco, his “Zydeco La Louisianne” is a good place to start. Throw in the country hits, “Amos Moses” by Jerry Reed and the eternal classic, “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” by Hank Williams and you have and the makings of an interesting album.
Possibly the best track is Bobby Charles singing his own composition “See You Later, Alligator.” While the song was made famous by Bill Haley and the Comets, it is Charles’ original and gritty 1955 version that sets the standard as a blues song.
Swamp People is a nice ride through the swampland music of the south. So sit back, put on the head phones, and enjoy happy dreams of gators and gumbo.