A 2019 National Parenting Product Award (NAPPA) Winner! A Louisiana dance party for children filled with songs that evoke a joie de vivre, a zest for life, this recording offers a mélange of many of the Louisiana roots music styles we love, from the Cajun, zydeco, and swamp pop of South Louisiana; to the rhythm & blues, gospel, jazz, brass band, and street music of New Orleans; to the rock’n’roll of North Louisiana; along with a small side trip to Mississippi. We asked our musician friends who represent the best in each genre to record with us. The result, we hope, is a record that will be enjoyed equally by children, parents, and educators, and maybe even music fans who simply enjoy a good Louisiana tune. From our food to our music to our diverse cultural heritage, we open our hearts, homes, and tables to friends, family, and visitors. So come on in and join the fun. Allons danser! Bailemos! Let’s dance!
Get ready for a Louisiana dance party with Swamp Romp. This wonderful collection is created by multi-award winning children’s musician and author Johnette Downing and her three-time Grammy Award winning husband Scott Billington. With Cajun, Dixieland jazz, New Orleans R&B, brass band and Isleño original tunes performed by an all-star cast of musicians, this recording is a tour of Louisiana roots music styles for the entire family. So move the furniture and roll up the rug, it’s time to Swamp Romp!
From our music judge:
“Swamp Rock succeeds on first listen as Downing and Billington serve up a feast of fun tunes, like “It Wasn’t Me (The Possum Song),” “Mudbug Boogie,” and the title track, for little ones to enjoy. What makes this CD something special is how it delivers a wonderful gumbo of the sounds of New Orleans. Downing and Billington have done a terrific job of involving many of the city’s talented musicians (including the legendary soul singer Irma Thomas) to make this album sound magnificent. Songs touch upon pretty familiar styles, such as Cajun, gospel, and early rock ‘n’ roll ala Fats Domino, but the CD also introduces listeners to lesser-known ones, like the bamboula rhythm and North Mississippi Fife and Drum music. Parents and kids will both want to read the CD’s excellent booklet that explains the songs’ backstories and the various musical styles, as well as telling the origin story of the Po’ Boy sandwich.”
-Nappa Awards Winner 2019
“Its grooves and struts sound classically New Orleans ... a bunch of fun."
Inspired by the music of New Orleans, Swamp Romp is a jubilant, original children's album, created to encapsulate the spirit of a Louisiana dance party. New Orleans native and award- winning musician Johnette Downing has combined her talent with veteran producer Scott Billington to craft a celebration that kids and adults will both enjoy! Highly recommended. The tracks are "Swamp Romp", "Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?", "Mudbug Boogie", "It Wasn't Me (The Possum Song)", "Poor Worry Anna", "J'ai Vu Le Loup, Le Renard et la Belette", "Mississippi River", "Bamboula Rhythm", "Gather Something Sweet", "Your Best Pair of Shoes", "How to Dress a Po' Boy", "Crawfish Etouffee", "Get Ready, Get Set, Let's Groove", "Our Oxcarts", "Stand Up, Jump Up", and "Star in my Sky".
— Children's Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review, Volume 29, Number 1, January 2019
"Swamp Romp is full of talent and intent. There are so many thoughtful details in the production and such a high level of musical ability, with so many great players. Every track has something special, with deep musicality throughout.” —John Snyder, Chair, Film and Music Industry Studies, Loyola University, and Grammy-winning producer
"(Johnette Downing) has made tremendous contributions to books and music that celebrate New Orleans and Louisiana." ~ NOLA Family magazine
"If you’re going down the bayou, you might as well bring along a bunch of top-notch supporting players."
"Created by Heather Stanley, the whimsy and joy of the cover art perfectly captures the Louisiana roots music featured on the album."
~ Kids Rhythm and Rock
Have some family-friendly Mardi Gras fun partying to the new kindie rock album SWAMP ROMP from the musical duo Johnette and Scott. Children's book author Johnette Downing and Grammy winner Scott Billington have teamed up to bring the music of Louisiana's bayous and share some New Orleans flair with children everywhere. Enjoy the laissez les bon temps roulez spirit of New Orleans through the tunes performed on SWAMP ROMP.
-A Geek Daddy
Swamp Romp, A Louisiana Dance Party for Children
Johnette Downing with Scott Billington
The past year marked several milestones for us: Johnette’s thirtieth anniversary performing Louisiana roots music and books for children, Scott’s forty-second year at Rounder Records, our fifth wedding anniversary and our first album together. When thinking about a concept for this recording, we naturally thought of a Louisiana dance party for children filled with songs that evoke the joie de vivre, or zest for life, that we live everyday in Louisiana. This recording offers a mélange of many of the Louisiana roots music styles we love, from the Cajun, zydeco, and swamp pop of South Louisiana; to the rhythm & blues, gospel, jazz, brass band, and street music of New Orleans; to the rock’n’roll of North Louisiana; along with a small side trip to Mississippi. We asked our musician friends who represent the best in each genre to record with us. The result, we hope, is a record that will be enjoyed equally by children, parents, and educators, and maybe even music fans who simply enjoy a good Louisiana tune. From our food to our music to our diverse cultural heritage, we open our hearts, homes, and tables to friends, family, and visitors. So come on in and join the fun. Allons danser! Bailemos! Let’s dance!
About Johnette and Scott
Johnette Downing developed a love of music at an early age. When she was a child in New Orleans, her tuba- and violin-playing father and her saxophone- and piano-playing mother took Johnette and her siblings to the French Quarter on the weekends. They would stand in the doorways of clubs listening to jazz and ragtime. Her passion for roots music and for sharing music with children, in the same way her parents shared it with her, led Johnette to become what the media have called the “Musical Ambassador to Children” and the “Pied Piper of Louisiana Music Traditions.” Over her thirty-year career, Johnette has performed on five continents and has received twenty-four international awards for her twenty-three children’s books and ten recordings. In 2017, Johnette received the Louisiana Writer Award, and a 59th Grammy® Awards Participation Certificate for co-writing and singing back-up vocals on the Grammy® Award-winning record Porcupine Meat by blues legend Bobby Rush, which was produced by Scott Billington.
Scott Billington's multifaceted career in the music business began when his mother traded a book of Green Stamps for a harmonica, which she gave the 11-year-old as a Christmas present. By the time he was 16, he was performing in New England coffeehouses and clubs. Pursuing his love of blues and roots music, Scott went to work for Rounder Records in the mid- 1970s. He has since produced over 100 albums of roots-oriented music for Rounder and other labels, which have won three Grammy® Awards and 12 Grammy® nominations. Other awards include the Sweet Soul Music Award (Italy), the Keepin' the Blues Alive Award (Memphis), the Offbeat Lifetime Achievement Award (New Orleans), and the Slim Harpo Award (Baton Rouge). In recognition of his work in Louisiana, Scott was appointed a Louisiana Colonel by Governor Edwin W. Edwards. His performances with Johnette as a family music duet again bring his harmonica skills to the fore.
Johnette and Scott met nearly twenty years ago at a New Orleans music conference, where they immediately recognized their mutual passion for Louisiana roots music. After a long friendship, they married in Italy in August 2013. Making family music as the duo “Johnette and Scott” came as naturally as breathing. Five years in the making, this record of fifteen original songs and one adapted traditional song is an homage to the place, people, music, and culture they both hold dear. So, take off your shoes and roll up the rug! It’s time to Swamp Romp! We hope you enjoy our Louisiana dance party for children.
Tracks and Times
1. Swamp Romp 2:02
2. Who Got the Baby in the King Cake? 2:07
3. Mudbug Boogie 3:45
4. It Wasn’t Me (The Possum Song) 2:35
5. Poor Worry Anna 3:01
6. J’ai Vu le Loup, le Renard et la Belette 2:35
7. Mississippi River 2:18
8. Bamboula Rhythm 3:21
9. Gather Something Sweet 1:57
10. Your Best Pair of Shoes 2:44
11. How to Dress a Po’ Boy 2:54
12. Crawfish Etouffée 1:46
13. Get Ready, Get Set, Let’s Groove 3:07
14. Our Oxcarts 2:41
15. Stand Up, Jump Up 2:40
16. Star in My Sky 2:08
JOHNETTE DOWNING with SCOTT BILLINGTON | SWAMP ROMP JD-11
℗ 2019 © 2019 Johnette Downing • www.johnettedowning.com • (504) 861-2682
All Rights Reserved. Duplication is strictly prohibited without prior written consent from Johnette Downing, Wiggle Worm Records. P.O. Box 13367, New Orleans, LA 70185, USA.
Produced by Scott Billington and Johnette Downing
Recorded by Steve Reynolds, Jake Eckert, and Joel Savoy
Mixed by Steve Reynolds
Mastered by Paul Blakemore
Recorded at The Rhythm Shack, New Orleans, Louisiana; Studio SavoyFaire, Eunice, Louisiana (David Livingston, second engineer); and NOCCA Studio, New Orleans, Louisiana
Design and Illustration by Heather Stanley
Photograph of Johnette and Scott by Rick Olivier
Studio photographs and liner notes by Johnette Downing and Scott Billington
Beth Blenz-Clucas, Sugar Mountain PR
For Beadle, the sweet Cajun prairie dog.
Johnette and Scott play Kamoa ukuleles.
Johnette’s songs are published by Wiggle Worm Records, ASCAP, administered by Concord Music Publishing.
Scott’s songs are published by Black Skillet Music, BMI, administered by Concord Music Publishing.
Special thanks to Steve Reynolds for his friendship, talent, and generosity.
The complete lyrics and liner notes are available at www.johnettedowning.com and www.johnetteandscott.com.