John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival) and Tony Joe White (Polk Salad Annie) are probably the best known exponents of swamp rock, a form of rock that emerged in the 1960’s.
According to Wikipedia, swamp rock is characterised by
funky, soulful bass, twangy reverb guitar and songs that typically concerned themselves with matters of Southern American States folklore. There's a literary, Southern Gothic feel to most swamp rock. The lyrics of swamp rock songs often describe life in such locales as along the Mississippi River, in New Orleans or such rural areas as the bayou.
In 1973 Jim Stafford had his first chart success with the swamp rock song Swamp Witch but it only just managed to crack the Top 40. This was followed by a bigger success with Spiders and Snakes. He faded after the 1970’s but still performs to the present. His other claim to fame is that he was briefly married to Bobbie Gentry.
Swamp Witch is as good an example of swamp rock as you'all are gonna find and, like country and western music, succeeds in telling a story and giving a life lesson, all in 3 minutes. It has a spooky and eerie feel to it, with the last line chilling in its menace. I love it.
Listen to it at:
The lyrics also make a good story poem:
Black water Hattie lived back in the swampWhere the strange green reptiles crawlSnakes hang thick from the cypress treesLike sausage on a smokehouse wallWhere the swamp is alive with a thousand eyesAn' all of them watchin’ youStay off the track to Hattie's shack in the back of the Black Bayou
Way up the road from Hattie's shackLies a sleepy little Okeechobee townTalk of swamp witch HattieLock you in when the sun go downRumours of what she'd done, rumours of what she'd doKept folks off the track of Hattie's shackIn the back of the Black Bayou
One day brought the rain and the rain stayed onAnd the swamp water overflowedSkeeters and the fever grabbed the town like a fistDoctor Jackson was the first to goSome said the plague was brought by HattieThere was talk of a hang'n tooBut the talk got shackled by the howls and the cacklesFrom the bowels of the Black Bayou
Early one morn 'tween dark and dawn when shadows filled the skyThere came an unseen caller on a town where hope run dryIn the square there was found a big black roundVat full of gurgling brewWhispering sounds as the folks gathered round"It came from the Black Bayou"
There ain't much pride when you're trapped insideA slowly sink'n shipScooped up the liquid deep and greenAnd the whole town took a sipFever went away and the very next day the skies again were blue“Let's thank old Hattie for sav'n our townWe'll fetch her from the Black Bayou”
Party of ten of the town's best men headed for Hattie's shackSaid swamp witch magicWas useful and goodAnd they're gonna bring Hattie backNever found Hattie and they never found the shackAnd they never made the trip back inThere was a parchment note they found tacked to a stumpSaid “Don't come look'n agin”