Swamp Dogg “Total Destruction To Your Mind”

Total Destruction to your Mind

One of the best underground/unsung soul albums I know of.  Prior to Total Destruction To Your Mind, Swamp Dogg had been recording music and releasing 45s since the 50s, under the name Jerry Williams (or Little Jerry Williams).  Frustrated by the lack of commercial success, Williams changed his name and persona and in 1970, unleashed Total Destruction To Your Mind on an unsuspecting world.  While those early Calico 45s are a fine musical legacy, the above album saw Swamp Dogg hit on something totally new: a very original brew of R&B, funk and rock n roll that still sounds fresh today. Without doubt he delivered a true soul classic.

Total Destruction To Your Mind was originally released by Canyon.  Swamp Dogg’s eccentric nature, blunt lyrics, and gruff vocals make it stand out from the commercial soul of the day.  His style is really individual and authentic, which makes drawing comparisons so difficult.  Think of a more eccentric Curtis Mayfield or a less lysergic Sly Stone with the occasional Stax horn arrangement – but even this description does the man no favors.  The title cut is a classic, probably one of Dogg’s best known numbers.  This track opens the LP and is best described as psychedelic soul rock, featuring wah wah, loud horns, funky guitar riffs, piano, and cryptic lyrics.  Also of note are the fine contributions from guitarist Jesse Carr and drummer Johnny Sandlin; they provide structure and sanity on this great chuggin’ funk rock gem. “Redneck” (written by Joe South) and the excellent “Sal-A-Faster” are similar funk numbers that feature great beats, classic horn arrangements, and controversial lyrics.  Other goodies are the Bob Dylan influenced “Synthetic World,” notable for its cerebral organ and the soulful, psychedelic worldplay of “Dust Your Head Color Red.”  The album closes most unusually with “Mama’s Baby, Daddy’s Maybe,” a great blues number that took me by surprise.  Swamp Dogg wrote 9 of the 12 songs featured on this LP.  Regarding the 3 covers; there are two great Joe South numbers which Swamp Dogg interprets brilliantly and then there’s “The World Beyond,” a killer soul ballad with nostalgic lyrics (written by Bobby Goldsboro).

Again, Total Destruction to Your Mind never gained any commmercial notoriety or widespread acceptance but this should in no way discourage you from buying the 1996 cd reissue (which also adds the excellent Rat On LP from 1971) by Swamp Dogg’s very own S.D.E.G. Records.  Swamp Dogg always did things his own way and thats what makes Total Destruction to Your Mind such a special release.

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:D CD Reissue | 2fer | 1996 | SDEG | amazon ]
;) MP3 Album | 2fer | download ]
:) Original Vinyl |  1970 | Canyon | ebay ]

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  • dk

    Swamp Dogg has always reminded me of the nasty brashness of Funkadelic. Excellent music from a truly overlooked artist.

    My favorite Dogg LP is I’m Not Selling Out/I’m Buying In, which was his (unsuccessful) attempt to meet the mainstream halfway. Check my thoughts here: http://tinyurl.com/n7mvs8

  • jr

    …looks like your RSS feed is jacked up. I get an error trying to subscribe…

  • Brendan

    JR, thanks for letting us know. I think I have managed to fix the problem.

  • jr

    Yep, you fixed it. Subscribed and enjoying…! Thanks.

  • BigSteve

    This is one of the greatest albums OF ALL TIME. The follow-up, Rat On!, is almost as good.

  • carlos jennings

    yeah >> especially SYNTHETIC WORLD >this track shows the foresight of a man >>who is way WAY .beyond his time and its only now in this time the MESSAGE becomes CRYSTAL CLEAR>>>I have always wanted to express this>>as it impacted on me as a youth >> how the truth of the system >>have lost its appeal>>for those who can really SEE >>respect

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