Everyone should listen to this album: Johnette Downing With Scott Billington, Swamp Romp (Wiggle Worm Records)

Here is David Kunian’s review of our Swamp Romp album. Pictured are the musicians from our session at SavoyFaire Studio in Eunice, Louisiana, with drummer Doug Belote, bass player Lee Allen Zeno and fiddler Joel Savoy.

The new record by nationally recognized children’s music maven Johnette Downing and harp player Scott Billington (whose second career as a music producer has been our reward) is entertaining for both adults and kids. For adults, the music is well recorded and features a great cast of stellar musicians including Irma Thomas (in a beautiful duet with Downing) bassist James Singleton, drummer Doug Belote, the Savoy brothers, and members of the Rebirth Brass Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Tin Men, and the New Orleans Suspects. It covers blues, second line, swamp pop, Cajun rock, and other hybrids that are so familiar to music fans in South Louisiana with a warm, friendly atmosphere. It also doesn’t fall into the trap of being too precious or cloying. The songs “Mudbug Boogie,” “Crawfish Etouffée” and “Bamboula Rhythm” would be regular adult songs if you heard them on any other record. Much of the music in this part of the world appeals to kids as well as adults anyway. And kids will especially like “It Wasn’t Me (The Possum Song)” and “Mississippi River.” But don’t take this critic’s word about that. When asked about the record, this critic’s daughter, nine-year-old ’Lil C. (a tough critic herself) reported, “It was good. There were songs for fourth graders, second graders and younger kids. It was funny too. Five stars.” Her sister, seven-year-old Double LL, quipped, “I liked it a lot. The Mississippi song helped a lot. All the songs had some education in them. Everyone should listen to this album.”

Johnette Downing