Swamp Dogg - Total Destruction To Your Mind (Purple Vinyl)
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Jerry Williams, Jr. was a successful R&B and soul songwriter and producer who was relatively content with a behind-the-scenes career...until the end of the '60s. Williams decided he needed another outlet for his creativity, so he became Swamp Dogg, a gnarly alter-ego obsessed with sex, class, drugs, politics. All the various undercurrents of the counterculture of the late '60s and early '70s, at the time, but the twist on his 1970 debut Total Destruction to Your Mind is how he channels all these obsessions into the framework of deep southern soul.
Sure, there are elements of rock, funk, even country guitars whack away over hard four-on-the-floor beats, and he covers an inordinate number of Joe South songs. All this flair essentially functions as an accessory on hard, gritty, southern soul in the tradition of Muscle Shoals. Perhaps this allegiance to pure soul is the reason why Total Destruction to Your Mind didn't make many waves within the counterculture in 1970. All these horn-spiked grooves were just beginning to fade from fashion; it doesn't sound nearly as wild as, say, the Chambers Brothers of the time. Perhaps Dogg's obsession with drugs, sex, and cultural satire kept the album from being embraced by soul fans.
Swamp Dogg possesses an idiosyncratic view of the world, one rooted in tradition but fiercely engaged in the present, and if nobody else saw things quite the same way as he did that certainly doesn't diminish the power of his perspective, particularly on Total Destruction to Your Mind, where he wrote the blueprint for all the decades to come. He refined his attack, and made it funkier and stranger, but in terms of sheer imagination, he never bettered this debut.
Limited Edition PURPLE vinyl pressed by Natural Sound Records in 2020.