Ponderosa Stomp 2013 has announced a rich line-up of artists including Maxine Brown, The Standells and a slew of other American music heroes; but Stomp organizers added even more star power to the already stellar mix of Soul, R&B, Rock n' Roll, Rockabilly and Garage artists. The incredible soul singer-songwriter/producer Swamp Dogg joins the line-up along with LA's Latino master of rock n' roll, Chris Montez! Both artists will perform at the Stomp Concert as well as taking part in the Music History Conference (exact schedules TBA).
Entertainment Weekly called soul/R&B singer and songwriter Swamp Dogg "a one of a kind musical genius." He's also been called a misfit, eccentric and a "rowdy outsider" of soul by the Washington Post. In a career spanning nearly 60 years Swamp Dogg has focused on songs about the struggles of the little guy, in pointed reflections on the ills of society. He cut his first singles under the name Little Jerry Williams in the mid-1950s and by the 1960s recorded his breakthrough hit, "You're My Everything." By the late-60s/early-70s as Jerry Williams, he was an in-demand songwriter and producer for artists like Gene Pitney, Gary "U.S." Bonds, The Drifters and Patti LaBelle & the Blue Belles. Shortly thereafter, his alter ego Swamp Dogg was born, writing what the Washington Post called, "Ragged, politically charged protest funk that matched the roughest edges of Sly and the Family Stone and early Parliament-Funkadelic." Swamp Dogg's first album of his own material, Total Destruction to Your Mind, included an early anti-consumerist statement, "Synthetic World." He continued to write social commentary in song, from "God Bless America for What?" "F**k the Bomb," "Call Me Ni**er," "We Need a Revolution" and "They Crowned an Idiot King."
Swamp Dogg is enjoying a pop cultural resurgence, with profiles in magazines like SPIN and his catalog re-issued by Alive Records. Total Destruction to Your Mind, Rat On!, Gag A Maggott and In Between Tears are out now. His productions of Raw Spitt & Memphis Slim on High & Low Down arrives June 25th; Wolfmoon & Sandra Phillips album Too Many People In One Bed will hit stores October 25th following this performance.
Chris Montez grew up in Hawthorne, California, influenced by the Latino-flavored music of his family and community and the success of Ritchie Valens. In 1962, he recorded the single "Let's Dance" on Monogram Records, which went to No.4 on the Billboard chart - now new listeners are getting turned on to the tune, currently in a DSW Shoes TV spot.
The follow-up, "Some Kinda Fun," was a lesser hit in the U.S., both records sold over one million copies, and were awarded gold discs. Montez toured with Clyde McPhatter, Sam Cooke, The Platters, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, The Beatles opened London, York and Northampton concerts for him while performing with Tommy Roe. Montez commented, "Who are these guys The Beatles? I try to keep up with the British scene, but I don't know their work."
Montez returned to the recording studio in 1965, this time at A&M Records. Montez was searching for the same rock and roll formula that would replicate the success of "Let's Dance." During a recording session, A&M co-founder and co-producer Herb Alpert suggested that Montez try a different approach: a middle of the road, soft ballad sound. Though reluctant at first, Montez agreed to go along with his mentor's suggestion. "Call Me" was the first single released from his 1966 A&M album, The More I See You. The title song became enormously popular and has been used in many movies, notably Frantic, starring Harrison Ford.
Montez continued recording a stream of hits outside the US, performing Chicano rock n' roll heavily influenced by black R&B, paving the way for acts like Los Lobos. His devoted fans have never waned, and highly respected label Norton Records re-issued two albums of his greatest songs.
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The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.