Bayou Underground: Tracing the Mythical Roots of American Popular Music

Overview

The Bayou is a World of Its Own-a marshy, sometimes treacherous, oftentimes sinister land of creeping darkness and living shadows, secret legends and vivid mythology. It is that darkness and those shadows that permeate Bayou Underground, a headfirst plunge into the music, the mystery and the magic of life and lore away from the bright lights of big city New Orleans.

Bayou Underground explores the music of the region through the legends and rumors that created it in the first ...

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Overview

The Bayou is a World of Its Own-a marshy, sometimes treacherous, oftentimes sinister land of creeping darkness and living shadows, secret legends and vivid mythology. It is that darkness and those shadows that permeate Bayou Underground, a headfirst plunge into the music, the mystery and the magic of life and lore away from the bright lights of big city New Orleans.

Bayou Underground explores the music of the region through the legends and rumors that created it in the first place. From the House of the Rising Sun to the legend of Stagger Lee, from Marie Laveau to the axman who loved hot jazz, Bayou Underground unearths the people and the cultures that have called the bayou home, revisiting their words and lives through the music of so many rock outsiders. Bo Diddley, Nick Cave and Alice Cooper pass through the pages to document past history, or creat a new one. It is the world of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jerry Reed and Elvis Presley; it is the music of Dr. John, Joe Satriani and the Oak Grove Swamp Fox.

Part social history, part epic travelogue and partly a lament for a way of life that has now all but disappeared, Bayou Underground is the gripping story of American music's forgotten childhood and the parentage it barely even knows about, seen through the emotions, dreams and enchantments that the bayou instills in all of us.

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Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal Online
A head-long dive into the music and culture of New Orleans and its environs . . . Bayou Underground unlocks secrets and back-stories worth savoring.
Antimusic.com
Kind of like listening to a good album for the first time; the paths taken may surprise you but you'll be pleased with the destination, mythical or not.
From the Publisher

"In this part travelog, part music history, and part personal reminiscence, prolific rock writer Thompson . . . conjures up images of a mythical Louisiana. He uses 18 rock ’n’ roll songs as a backdrop to weave a tale of voodoo queens, riverboats, swamps, crocodiles, prostitutes, and pirates." —Library Journal

"A head-long dive into the music and culture of New Orleans and its environs . . . Bayou Underground unlocks secrets and back-stories worth savoring."  —Wall Street Journal Online

"Kind of like listening to a good album for the first time; the paths taken may surprise you." —antimusic.com

"An intriguing folklore travelogue . . . the focus is on the filter through which writers (sometimes thousands of miles away) view the southern states of the US. This neatly illustrates the far-reaching impact that New Orleans continues to have on the wider music community."  —Record Collector

Library Journal
In this part travelog, part music history, and part personal reminiscence, prolific rock writer Thompson (Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell: The Dangerous Glitter of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Lou Reed) conjures up images of a mythical Louisiana. He uses 18 rock 'n' roll songs as a backdrop to weave a tale of voodoo queens, riverboats, swamps, crocodiles, prostitutes, and pirates. To add flavor, he sprinkles food recipes, such as Alligator Broulettes and Hummingbird Cake, throughout. In some cases—e.g., Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited," the Animals' "The House of the Rising Sun," and Dr. John's "I Walk on Gilded Splinters"—the songs fit perfectly with Thompson's tales of lore. In many other instances, the songs he selects have little or no connection to the chapters and only tangentially illuminate the roots of rock. VERDICT Though Thompson clearly knows his music history, he seems to force his approach on the reader and adds little to the understanding of rock or Louisiana history.—Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781550229622
  • Publisher: ECW Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Dave Thompson is the author of more than 100 books on rock, cinema, and pop culture, including I Hate New Music, London Burning, Never Fadeway, and Smoke on the Water. He lives in Newark, Delaware.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Track 1 "Promised Land" Elvis Presley 11

Track 2 "Baron Samedi" 10cc 27

Track 3 "The Witch Queen of New Orleans" Redbone 37

Track 4 "Highway 61 Revisited" Bob Dylan 49

Track 5 "Big Bad Moon" Joe Satriani 63

Track 6 "Amos Moses" Alex Harvey Band 75

Track 7 "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" Dr. John 91

Track 8 "Who Do You Love" Juicy Lucy 107

Track 9 "Chateau Lafite'59 Boogie" Foghat 117

Track 10 "Bad Moon Rising" Creedence Clearwater Revival 125

Track 11 "Staggerlee" Prince Buster 135

Track 12 "Louisiana 1927" Marcia Ball 149

Track 13 "Sneaking Sally through the Alley" Robert Palmer 165

Track 14 "The House of the Rising Sun" by the Animals 185

Track 15 "The Carny"and the Bad Seeds Nick Cave 193

Track 16 "Black Juju" Alice Cooper 205

Track 17 "The Ripper" Judas Priest 213

Track 18 "Bad Things" Jace Everett 223

Epilogue 239

Acknowledgments 244

Bibliography 245

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