For 40 years, Swamp Dogg has reigned unchallenged as soul music’s biggest weirdo; an R&B equivalent to Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart if you will.
On his new album, Love, Loss and Auto-Tune the 76-year-old cult hero (born Jerry Williams Jr.) uses new technologies to do what he’s been doing since the ’70s: making odd, often outlandish rhythm and blues that’s simultaneously absurd and sincere.
Producer Ryan Olson (Gayngs, Poliça) and an appearance by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon give the project a hyper-contemporary atmosphere of fuzzy, experimental electronics, but the rest is classic Swamp Dogg. “Sex With Your Ex,” in which he recommends reconnecting with your former loves, exemplifies his often ostentatious points of view, while tracks like “Answer Me, My Love” and “Star Dust” function as more elegant love songs.
Give the record a listen, and then do yourself a favor by diving headfirst into the freaky world of Swamp Dogg.
Ryan is a writer, editor and vinyl collector currently based in Los Angeles. He started Mini Music Critic in 2017.