Swamp Romp at Eat the Marshmallow
Here’s a lovely review from Anouck Iyer of the website Eat the Marshmallow. Thank you, Anouck!
JOHNETTE DOWNING & SCOTT BILLINGTON, Swamp Romp
Straight out of New Orleans, Johnette Downing & Scott Billington are bringing the Mardi Gras season to your little ones with their new release Swamp Romp. Swamp Romp is a Louisiana-style dance party kids’ album that takes young listeners on a musical heritage tour of a region well-known for its music scene. This collection of original tracks (save one) is musically rooted in Delta Blues, Doo-wop, Cajun/ Zydeco, and Dixieland Jazz with simple lyrics for the pre-K set to sing along to while they shake their little crawdad tails!
The tone of the album, though festive, is not rowdy nor bombastic, so this record could viably be used in the classroom without risking losing control of the kiddos (with the possible exception of the second to last track, which has moments of some big energy). And like all good children’s records, Swamp Romp asks for listener participation beyond just dancing along with the infectious tunes. In tracks like Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?, It Wasn’t Me, Mississippi River, How to Dress a Po’ Boy, Crawfish Etoufee, and Stand Up Jump Up listeners can sing, clap, stomp along and even pretend to put together their very own Po’ Boy sandwich. For educators, the album’s liner notes (available on Johnette and Scott’s website and included with the physical CD) are chock full of interesting historical and cultural anecdotes which have influenced various aspects of each song.
The album is a lovely collaborative effort that speaks to the diversity that makes the region so compellingly rich. In the duet Poor Worry Anna, guest vocalist and Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, adds a beautiful warm, throaty tone to the harmonizing vocals while lyrics address the idea that children too succumb to worry. Stand Up Jump Up has a gospel foundation which perfectly frames its message of inclusivity and togetherness. Swamp Romp is musical shout-out to the region, made accessible for little, curious, party-ready ears! The record releases on Feb 15th.