Today sees the publication of Ben Greenman’s excellent new novel, Please Step Back, which chronicles the rise and fall of a (very) Sly Stone-ish rock/soul pioneer named Rock Foxx. It’s gotten raves from the likes of Walter Mosley, Dave Eggers, and George Pelecanos, but even more thrillingly, it’s also resulted in a collaboration with a real-life rock/soul pioneer, Jerry “Swamp Dogg” Williams, who “covered” one of the Rock Foxx songs. (You can hear that here.)
Swamp Dogg is — I’ll just say it — a one-of-a-kind musical genius. Last month, even as I wondered aloud if Bobby Womack was “the world’s most underrated r&b artist,” I was hedging my bets. It’s not a knock against Womack, it’s just that he’s hardly an unknown. Swamp Dogg, on the other hand, is a too-well-kept secret, although he’s written and produced hit records over a five-decade span. As he wrote on liner notes 35 years ago, "Where else but in America could a person own a Rolls-Royce, an Eldorado Mark IV, a Mercedes limousine, an estate in Long Island, an apartment in Hollywood and still be considered a failure?"
So what’s the big deal with Swamp Dogg? Oh, I’m so glad you asked. After the jump, a look at what makes him so great.
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