The Delightful Rebellions of Swamp Dogg’s ‘Blackgrass’

BIPOC
By
Lizzie No
June 12, 2024
The Bluegrass Situation
Article

He has known from the jump that the music industry doesn’t know what to do with him. Working as a singer and songwriter under the name Little Jerry Williams, Swamp enjoyed some success with his 1964 soul 7 inch, “I’m The Lover Man,” and was subsequently invited to perform at clubs in the Midwest. As Swamp remembers, “When I showed up they found out I was Black and the audience was lily white. They were good about it, they paid me and said I didn’t have to do a second show.” The small-mindedness of industry gatekeepers would follow him into his first musical steps as Swamp Dogg.

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A black and white diptych of Swamp Dogg a Black man in a white hat and fur coat, playing a banjo in the left frame and posing in the right frame, with the text "Swamp Dogg Blackgrass: From West Virginia to 125th St" overlaid.
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