Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Swamp Dogg: Best of 25 Years: F*** the Bomb, Stop the Drugs [Pointblank, 1995]
The title cut is brand-new, and so is the vintage 1955 theme song for his wife Yolanda, "Pledging My Love." The rest aren't. But like most Jerry Williams fans, I go way back with the guy, and damned if I can find half these songs in my shelves. Just as a for instance, where the hell is "I've Never Been to Africa (And It's Your Fault)," which sums up his worldview if anything does? So I guess the point is that nothing does--he's not only sui generis but completely contradictory, like most people, few of whom would think of writing 400 songs about it. By now his daring soul-rock hybrid is a studio convention, his big piercing voice arguably monochromatic. But between his wild takes on the ins and outs of the monogamy he lives for and his classic and cockamamy mix of political radicalism and cultural conservatism, this Afrocentric integrationist has written more interesting songs cruising in his cab than most tunesmiths manage in their luxury suites. Consistent? Never. In print? For the moment. Scarf it up now. A-