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Swamp Dogg - I Need A Job​.​.​.​So I Can Buy More Auto​-​Tune Music Album Reviews

Swamp Dogg - I Need A Job​.​.​.​So I Can Buy More Auto​-​Tune Music Album Reviews
On the third album since his Justin Vernon-assisted 2018 comeback, the mischievous singer heaps on the Auto-Tune, but his songwriting has more in common with his Southern-fried soul of the 1970s.

Swamp Dogg was born after Jerry Williams Jr.’s first LSD trip. The Virginia native had come up on the 1960s soul circuit, writing songs and working as an in-house producer at New York’s Musicor label. But the psychedelics, combined with a newfound love of Frank Zappa, birthed Total Destruction to Your Mind, his wild 1970 debut under the new alias, where cranial expansions battle with dives into the gutter. Swamp Dogg got weirder as the ’70s rolled on. On the cover of Rat On! he’s depicted riding a rat as if it was bronco, an absurd image countered by the pointed protest “God Bless America for What.” He didn’t hesitate to title an album Gag a Maggott, where the lone love song was called “I Couldn’t Pay for What I Got Last Night.” In this trickster guise, he both celebrated and satirized soul music’s conventions—and America itself.

These records weren’t hits, but they were underground sensations, building a cult that sustained itself until 2018, when Joyful Noise released Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune, an album whose indie-rock pedigree (Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon plays throughout and sings on “I’ll Pretend”) and novel use of the pitch-correction software helped kick off a late-career comeback; he followed up with 2020’s Sorry You Couldn’t Make It, a country-soul excursion produced by Ryan Olson of Poliça, who also played on Love, Loss and Auto-Tune. I Need a Job...So I Can Buy More Auto-Tune is clearly meant to evoke his 2018 breakthrough, and it’s duly slathered with the titular effect. Yet rather than venturing further out, Williams retreats to familiar territory, playing the kind of Southern-fried soul he’s sung since he created his alter ego. 

He dedicates the album to the Flamingos’ Tommy Hunt, a longtime friend who once fronted him money to release Swamp Dogg’s 1989 album I Called for a Rope and They Threw Me a Rock, and the music likewise pays tribute to the R&B circuit they called home back in the ’60s and ’70s. The album is filled with fellow soul survivors, with Willie Clayton cheerfully duetting with the Dogg on “Cheating in the Daylight” and Guitar Shorty playing on the slow-burning “Soul to Blessed Soul.” Larry “Moogstar” Clemons, who has played in incarnations of the Zapp Band and Cameo (and produced a fair share of Love, Loss), and Norman Whitfield Jr., the son of the Motown legend of the same name, are behind the boards alongside Williams, creating a clean sheen for their tight, immaculate grooves. Strip away the vocals and I Need a Job slots squarely within the modern retro-soul wheelhouse, all traces of grit sanded away.

Vocals are the selling point—they’re referenced in the album title, after all—and Auto-Tune provides the distinctive, potent ingredient in the stew. Who knows why Swamp Dogg is drawn to the vocal pitch correction software. Maybe he likes the manipulated sound; maybe he realizes he has a bankable gimmick; maybe the computer helps disguise the wear on his aging voice. Whatever the reason, he loves Auto-Tune. He cranks the dial ’til his voice undulates like rubber, accentuates key phrases with hiccupping glitches, uses the extra-smooth textures to help sell his slow jams.

But where Love, Loss, and Auto-Tune could be audacious, I Need a Job is often conventional. Despite the prevalence of the effect, I Need a Job largely adheres to the rules of traditional R&B; in fact, it’s one of the straightest sets of songs Swamp Dogg has released. Having dampened his perversity, he offers few twists on genre tropes and winds up with a set of cheating and sex songs that feel merely reassuring in their familiarity. No wonder Willie Clayton and Guitar Shorty seem right at home; this is the kind of music they make.

A Swamp Dogg album that travels the straight and narrow still provides pleasures here and there; Dogg’s evident glee in playing with Auto-Tune does give the record a kick. Plus, it culminates with a freakazoid cover of Joe Tex’s classic 1967 “Show Me” that’s all frenzied rhythm, canned horn stabs, and unhinged altered vocals; it’s the one number here that ties together the past and present with flair. It’s hard not to wish the rest of I Need a Job...So I Can Buy More Auto-Tune was that imaginative. Even so, delivering a good old-fashioned soul record to a new audience of Bon Iver fans can’t help but feel like a good ol’ Swamp Dogg prank.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Swamp Dogg - I Need A Job​.​.​.​So I Can Buy More Auto​-​Tune Music Album Reviews Swamp Dogg - I Need A Job​.​.​.​So I Can Buy More Auto​-​Tune Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Monday, March 07, 2022 Rating: 5

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