Swamp Romp. Performed by Johnette Downing and Scott Billington. CD. Approx. 42 min. Produced by Johnette Downing and Scott Billington. 2019. $10.00.
Grades K and up
Johnette and Scott pull out all the stops with this homage to Louisiana roots music, with a different musical style for most of the 15 songs and 1 adapted traditional song. These musical styles include swamp pop, Dixieland jazz, zydeco, mambo, doo-wop, fife and drum band, jazz with bamboula beat, Caribbean folk, R&B, ragtime, a cappella with hand clapping and foot stomping, rock and roll a la Jerry Lee Lewis, Latin, and gospel. These songs are accompanied by exceptional vocals and instrumental stylings on guitar, bass, ukulele, fiddle, timple (a traditional instrument of Tenerife), piano, organ, clarinet, cane fife, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, sousaphone, harmonica, accordion, washboard, drums and percussion. An enthusiastic children’s chorus joins in on three songs. “Swamp Romp” is an animal party in the Black Lagoon. “Who Got the Baby in the King Cake” will have to host the next party. Listeners are invited to a line dance in the “Mudbug Boogie.” In “It Wasn’t Me (The Possum Song),” the family blames all the mess son the possum. The young girl who worries about everything is called “Poor Worry Anna.” The bilingual traditional “J’ai Vu Le Loup, Le Renard et le Belette (I saw the wolf, the fox and the weasel) encourages listeners to move to the music. Learn how to spell the state name “Mississippi.” One can hear the “Bamboula Rhythm” all over New Orleans, but especially in Congo Square. “Gather Something Sweet” includes gathering bananas, strawberries, and watermelons. Wear “Your Best Pair of Shoes” when you dress up to go out. “How to Dress a Po’ Boy” celebrates that sandwich and how it is put together. “Crawfish Etouffee” is a celebration of another famous Louisiana culinary treat. “Get Ready, Get Set, Let’s Groove” and dance the “Twist,” the “Pony,” the “Swim,” and the “Sprinkler.” When the farmers take their produce to market, they ride in “Our Oxcarts,” a song in Spanish and English. The energetic “Stand Up, Jump Up” will have listeners hopping all over the room. The album closes with the gentle “Star in My Sky.” This outstanding album is a great introduction to youngsters of the sounds and rhythms of Louisiana.