Various Artists, Swamp People: No Guts, No Gator (Rounder)

This mes amies is a good example of what record corporations refer to as ‘working the catalog.’ Swamp People of course is a particularly annoying ‘reality’ television series that depicts Cajuns as butt-cratching, scab-picking, whiskey-swilling, wife-cheating, frog-eating, meth-cooking, LSU-cheering, gator-catching Neanderthals. The 12 tracks presented here are touted as “music inspired by the television series.” Well, that’s a considerable stretch considering some of these tracks were recorded at the dawn of television and certainly before cable TV came into our living rooms. Music-wise there really aren’t any real stinkers here and there’s plenty of familiar names—Bobby Charles, Neville Brothers, Buckwheat Zydeco, Tony Joe White, BeauSoleil, etc. (Several artists included at one time recorded for Rounder.) One name that isn’t familiar is ‘Steel Bill’ who is credited with the title track which was recorded earlier this year. Like the TV show, the lyrics are riddled with clichés which might annoy some listeners (like moi for example). Highlights—everybody likes Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses,” Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie,” Bobby Charles’ “See You Later Alligator” and Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya.” Buckwheat’s “Zydeco de Louisiane” is refreshing as it’s a reminder of what he sounded like before the major labels emasculated him. D. L. Menard’s “Cajun Saturday Night” is a strong reminder of what real Cajun soul is. Zachary Richard and Michael Doucet contribute entertaining tracks as does Johnny Sansone. Puzzling that Jimmy C. Newman’s “Alligator Man,” or Rockin’ Sidney’s “Alligator Waltz” didn’t make the cut here, since that seems to be the overriding theme. Decent enough collection, but you may have most of this already.