Swamp Dogg BAM R&B Festival
Metro Tech Brooklyn 7/14/11
Jerry Williams, Jr., AKA Swamp Dogg, is a musical genius.
It’s too bad most of the world doesn’t know who he is.
The 69 year old R&B cult hero has the usual horror stories and more about record deals gone bad, labels that went under, and hits that didn’t happen. You wouldn’t know about his industry struggles on this day, though. His outgoing and even eccentric personality was evident from the very beginning as he announced he was ugly, short, and that we must be wondering how he could sing of being a “lover man.” Nonetheless he was resplendent in his green suit and the fun-loving, dynamic vocalist proved to be a great showman as well. Constantly up from his keyboards, he conducted the band, danced, and interacted with the large, enthusiastic crowd throughout the 90 minute show.
In short, he held the noontime outdoor fans in the palm of his hands.
Mixing poignant ballads like Sam Stone about an addicted Vietnam Vet back home, with colorful up-tempo numbers like Total Destruction to Your Mind, as well as covers of various classics, Swamp Dogg turned this into a revival meeting of sorts. This was particularly the case during his twenty or so minute finale, I’ve Got to Get a Message to You in which he left the stage to sing among the fans who excitedly swarmed around him, took photos, videotaped, and hugged the tireless performer.
I wish he’d play NY more, because what Mr. Williams does is almost a lost art. This was only the second chance I’ve gotten to see him in spite of having many of his albums and CDs. And he’s recorded twenty or so; I also wish the world would finally discover them and the colorful Swamp Dogg.
A great show from a great artist, plain and simple.
Love great music by artists deserving wider recognition? Come down to my NO COVER shows at Gizzi's Cafe 16 W 8th St. NYC EVERY Monday, Tuesday, Friday and 2nd Sunday!