Swamp Cabbage - Squeal (Music CD)

Release Date: 05 March 2012
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Like many displaced Southerners, Swamp Cabbage guitarist/vocalist Walter Parks is a conflicted soul. Raised in a religious environment that he seems uncomfortable with, the now N.Y.C.-based Parks combines spirituality and sexuality with urban and rural landscapes and soaks them all in the murky, swampy waters of the Mississippi. It's natural to point at obvious touchstones of old (pre-sequencers) ZZ Top, North Mississippi Allstars, and Mofro as musical influences for this trio, but there is also a funky undercurrent of the Meters and Memphis R&B mixed with the raw, often soulful rhythms. The band's second album, recorded between Parks' commitments to his full-time gig as Richie Havens' lead guitarist, is a low-down, high-spirited trawl down the back roads of Dixieland. Parks, bassist Matt Lindsey, and a drummer who goes by Jagoda take equal credit for the ten originals (three of which are instrumentals), but it's the singer/guitarist's deep dark growling Billy Gibbons/Tom Waits/Frank Zappa snarl and slinky six-string lines that drive this music. Occasional organ washes and female backing vocalists bring the gospel edge that references, reinforces, and ultimately highlights the dryly ironic lyrical slant. Parks loves him some poontang, enough to use that as a title to the disc's longest cut. It's probably the only song you'll hear that mentions it and Jesus in the chorus. Jesus also looms large in the proceedings from the first track, "Jesus Tone," but not in the stereotypical fashion. The title relates to Parks' guitar as he explains, "I say to hell with the Devil and black cat bone, I just need my guitar and my Jesus Tone." Parks is, perhaps not surprisingly, infatuated with breasts, too, in particular on the slyly humorous "Feedbag." Fully half the vocal tunes are concerned with matters of the flesh vs. religion, with the former usually holding the upper hand. But it's the throbbing music that'll chase you out of the chapel and into the red-light district. The grinding, riff-based licks wind around a tight, in-the-pocket rhythm section that's as comfortable with country picking on "Softshoe" as with the funky, church-infused, twangy rave-up of "Delegation." The latter is another backhanded compliment to the good Lord, who the singer is convinced will take care of his rent and pay his credit cards, all to a hopped-up New Orleans beat. Swamp Cabbage's music balances the books by combining sharp lyrics with sharper playing on an album that pays off on a variety of levels. ~ Hal Horowitz
Release Date: 05 March 2012

1. Jesus Tone
2. Dixieland
3. Feedbag
4. Sopchoppy
5. Necktie Man
6. Purdy Mouth
7. Poontang
8. New Voodoo Boogaloo
9. Softshoe
10. Delegation

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Catalogue No: ZM200802