Album Review: Pure Swamp-Pop Gold Vol. 10

The pre-Beatles South was an interesting place where a number of regional musical genres were spawned by the intersection of African-American rhythm and blues and white teenagers. The music that British musicologists ultimately dubbed “Swamp Pop” resulted from Cajun kids discovering Fats Domino and Little Richard, much like Beach Music elsewhere in the South sprang from R & B groups like the Tams and the Drifters. But swamp pop had little of the gaiety and joie-de-vivre of Beach Music. Indeed, there was something far darker, primal, even heart-breaking about it, for swamp pop was rooted as much in Cajun country music as rhythm-and-blues. With the release of Pure Swamp Pop Gold Vol. 10, Van Broussard’s CSP label gives old fans and newbies alike a 21-song journey through the world of contemporary swamp pop, which, like Beach Music, is a world where the 1950’s largely never ended. The heartbreak is there, of course, in songs like “Lord, I Need Somebody Bad Tonight”, but there are also love songs like Wayne Foret’s “That’s What I’ll Do”, covers of swamp pop standards, like Kenny Cornett’s take on Johnnie Allan’s “Promised Land”, and the odd oldie, like Van Broussard’s “Hold My Hand”. Of course the best place to check out swamp pop music is in a Louisiana dance hall, but for those unable to make the trip, Pure Swamp Pop Gold 10 will serve as a swamp pop fix until you can get down there. 

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