Swamp Dogg’s rare 1981 album, issued for the first time on CD. Features Esther Phillips on ‘The Love We Got Ain’t Worth Two Dead Flies’.
Maverick genius Swamp Dogg has been pushing the envelope for black American music for decades, as a performer, producer, songwriter and nurturer of great talent. Most of his tangible success has come in all those capacities, save for the first one, but his albums – of which there have been almost 20 – have earned the erstwhile Jerry Williams Jr a legion of admirers that many more commercially successful artists would be delighted to have.
This month Ace adds to its collection of Swamp-related projects with his “I’m Not Selling Out / I’m Buying In” album of 1980. A lot of people missed it at the time, possibly because it was issued on John Fahey’s Takoma label – an imprint not known for hosting iconic soul eccentrics. There were no singles issued to draw attention to it, and it quickly became something of a forgotten album. This is a shame, as it marked a return to top form after the disco-driven disappointment of 1979’s “Doing A Party Tonite”.
Reissued here for the first time on UK CD, the album includes some of the best Swamp Dogg songs you’ve rarely heard, including the ecologically-friendly ‘It’s Just A Little Time Left’, a fun anti-love duet with Esther Phillips on ‘The Love We Got Ain’t Worth Two Dead Flies’ and the typically pointed Swamp-style social commentary of ‘Low Friends In High Places’ and ‘California Is Drowning And I Live Down By the River’.
Swamp’s legion of fans will welcome the opportunity to get to know this excellent set better. It’s a valuable return to a catalogue that continues to grow, some 51 years after his alter ego Little Jerry first set foot in a recording studio. He may not be selling out, but that shouldn’t stop any soul fan from buying in.