Bobby Charles – swamp pop master

First things first – swamp rock and swamp pop are two different things. CCR’s “Born on the Bayou” is swamp rock played by a band from San Francisco. Swamp pop is rock ‘n’ roll played by Cajuns from southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas.

Years ago, when Kelli, Mike, and John all played in a zydeco band, they shared a bill with the Treater Band, real Cajuns playing real Louisiana music. This was genuine swamp pop – the rhythms of Fats Domino, vocals of country music, all tinged with French.

One of the biggest names in swamp pop is Bobby Charles, nee Robert Guidry. You likely know “Later Alligator”, a big hit for Bill Haley. But Bobby wrote lots of great tunes, not least among them “(I Don’t Know Why) But I Do”. Here’s a version from the one and only Frogman Henry:

There’s a cool album, “Small Town Talk” by Shannon McNally, featuring new versions of some Mr. Charles’s best tunes.

If you want to know what music people actually born on the bayou play, this is it.