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Listen to the Ape Call

Swamp Dogs (the)

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Swamp Dogs (the) – Teenage Werewolf

swamp dogs teenage werewolf

Crazy Love Records 64416
Side A: Hopeless Aimless – Three Wolfmen – Power of the Drums – Teenage Werewolf – I Dreamt – The Night The Banshees Cried – Bad Moon Rising
Side B: Hopeless Aimless – My True Story – I Dreamt – Ardath Bey – The Night The Banshees Cried – Be A caveman – Moonblood – Mind and Music


The late eighties were an exciting time for the teenager that I was. After the initial shock stirred by the Stray Cats, the Cramps, and the Meteors, I delved into this new music scene like there was no tomorrow. I was discovering and devouring with no distinction records by Hank Williams, Johnny Burnette, and the Frantic Flintstones. Each week I found a new band, thanks to a friend who had a much more extensive collection than me. One day he recorded me a cassette with the Swamp Dogs mini-lp. I was hooked. The Swamp Dogs were different from the rest of the Psychobilly bands. After much persuasion, I managed to buy the vinyl from him. I had to have it. In the following thirty years, my record collection grew up and changed. I sold some records, traded others, but the Swamp Dogs remained firmly in the “do-not-sell-at-any-price” category, even though I carefully transferred it onto a cd.
One year after pleasing all the Psychobilly fanatics by releasing the long lost and last album of the Krewmen, Crazy Love reiterates with the complete recordings of the Swamp Dogs.
The first four tracks of side one are the early studio recordings of the band. Roland Heinrich takes the lead on two tracks (including Three Wolfmen that sounds like a psychotic version of Crawdad Hole), and Screamin’ Stefan Schuster sings the threatening and bluesy Power of the Drums and Teenage Werewolf (an original song, not the Cramps tune.) Yes, the Swamp Dogs briefly had a second singer, that’s what you’ll learn with this album, and the extensive liner notes included.
Four months later, when the Swamp Dogs returned to the studio to record their next session (tracks A5 to A7 and B1 and B8), Schuster was gone, and the trio had developed its unique sound. Next to Roland’s unmistakable vocals and powerful slap bass, it is essential to mention Christian’s one-of-a-kind style. This guy created a sound of his own by mixing influences that, I suppose, went beyond the Psychobilly and Rockabilly genres. With the help of Attila’s sparse drumming, the trio slowly departed from the “rockabilly on speed” pattern that was often used to play Psychobilly and expanded their style with songs featuring unusual structures. Except for “Bad Moon Rising” and “Mind and Music,” the whole session, like the previous one, remained unissued and appears here for the first time.
At the end of 1987, the trio was back in the recording room to cut their mini-LP (THE famous mini LP.) Once again, they took their vision one step further. If “My True Story” and “The Night the Banshees Cried” bring the essential touch of fast Psychobilly, the new and improved version of “I Dreamt” is an eerie and hypnotic tune. Likewise, Ardath Bay keeps the Rockabilly ingredients to which they add an Oriental vibe as well as a quote of Swan Lake.” Moonblood” manages to be raw and melodic, and is another proof of Heinrich’s songwriter talent. The set is completed by a cover “Be A Caveman” from the Avengers (via Ug and the Cavemen.) that shows some garage influences.
Crazy Love didn’t cut corners: heavy cardboard, superb printing*, a lengthy history of the band, tons of pictures, and I repeat seven tracks released here for the first time.
Considering that the mini-LP is also hard to find, this reissue is sure to sell like glasses of water in the burning desert. But no need to write to me, even though I have this album, I keep my mini-LP too.

Available here.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis
*The preview doesn’t do justice to the print job since it’s been done using fluorescent Pantone inks.

V/A – Listen to the Ape Call

in Albums/Contemporary artists/Reviews/VARIOUS

Listen to the Ape Call (1988)
Listen to the Ape Call (1988)

Jungle Noise [1989]
1. Catfish Trio  – Chasin’ A Dog  – 2. Little Green Men – Please Don’t Leave Me – 3. Cruisin’ – Burnin’ Love   – 4. Pilgrim Breads – Runic Ryhme – 5. Rockabilly Mafia – I Don’t Want To Be A Tennis Playing Shitface – 6. Clear Rats – Night Train To London  – 7. Rockabilly Mafia – Is This Wrong, Baby?  – 8. Swamp Dogs – Ardath Bey – 9. Cruisin’ – Where Have You Been?  – 10. Clear Rats – Rockin’ Time – 11. Little Green Men – The Little Green Men – 12. Pilgrim Breads – Humdrum And Humbug

Listen to the Ape Call is an excellent compilation of neo-rockabilly with plenty of slap bass and light guitar like they used to play in the 80’s.
On the more traditional side stand the Little Green Men (ex Swamp Dogs) who add a touch of jazz and blues to their rockabilly. At the other end of the “billy” spectrum, you’ll find the psychobilly sound of the Pilgrim Breads or the Swamp Dogs (again!) that remains one of the most original band to emerge in that period. In between the Catfish trio, Clear Rats and Cruisin are pure neo-rockabilly the latter being the less convincing of the three, playing a weak cover of Elvis’ Burnin Love. Rockabilly Mafia, whose style is already in place, completes the set with two songs.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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