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In 1954, 12 year old Jerry Williams, then performing under the name Little Jerry Williams, made his first recording for Mechanic Records, a blues stomp with a shockingly mature vocal performance. Through the 60’s Williams’ career developed with a number of successful singles, including “I’m the Lover Man” and “Baby You’re My Everything”, as well as writing and producing hits for Dee Dee Warwick, Doris Duke, and Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles. It was in 1970, however, that the full extent of Williams’ eccentric creative genius was unleashed on the world for the first time, with the birth of his musical alter-ego, Swamp Dogg. Created to “occupy the body while the search party was out looking for Jerry Williams, who was mentally missing in action due to certain pressures, mal-treatments and failure to get paid royalties on over fifty single records,” the Swamp Dogg alias, still in use today, allowed Williams to create music that was bolder, raunchier, and more honest to his creative instincts.
The Dogg’s cult classic debut “Total Destruction to Your Mind” struck a powerful blend of Williams classic soulful sensibilities and the blooming psychedelia of the time. Infused in the swirling brew is Swamp’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it humor, a number of acid odes, and a heavy dose of sharp political insight. Though the psychedelic strangeness alienated R&B fans of the time, and the authentic R&B infrastructure prevented it from clicking with hippie audiences, it has retroactively received legendary status in cult music circles.