Swamp Dogg (who I wrote about previously here) played a free outdoor show Sunday night. Swamp Dogg came up as Little Jerry, spent some time producing and song-writing in the 60s, and adopted his Swamp Dogg persona in the 70s. His solid soul and funk albums and wild album artwork (example shown at left) earned him something of a cult following.
Swamp Dogg appeared wearing a nice lavender suit, and he made a lot of cute jokes about being old. He may not be able to dance much on stage, but his voice remains strong, and he’s still in full possession of that weird, highish quiver that makes him sound a little unconventional relative to a lot of soul singers — he sometimes sounds like a distant cousin of the Band’s Levon Helm. Mr. Dogg was accompanied by a seven piece band which included three smartly dressed female horn players. The set was enjoyable, with a number of songs from my favorite Swamp Dogg album, Total Destruction Of Your Mind. The band didn’t blow anything away, but they didn’t need to, they just needed to capture the simple effective melodies of songs like “Synthetic World,” which they did.
After Swamp Dogg, a young soul singer named Aloe Blacc performed. I don’t know much of his music, besides the modestly propulsive “I Need A Dollar” and his cover of the Velvet’s “Femme Fatale.” He had a smaller band, a lot of energy, and some dance moves, but his songs were unremarkable, his lyrics tended towards extremely cheesy, and he never knew how to end a song. He could learn a thing or two from a casual expert like Swamp Dogg.