Bayou Underground

Tracing the Mythical Roots of American Popular Music

By Dave Thompson
(ECW Press, Paperback, 9781550229622, 256pp.)

Publication Date: September 2010

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback

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Permeating the shadows and the darkness of the bayou—a world all its own that stretches from Houston, Texas, to Mobile, Alabama—this study of marsh music leaves New Orleans to discover secret legends and vivid mythology in the surrounding wilderness. The people and the cultures that have called the bayou home—such as Bob Dylan, Jerry Reed, Nick Cave, Bo Didley, and a one-armed Cajun backwoodsman and gator hunter named Amos Moses—are unearthed not only through their own words and lives but also through a study of their music and interviews with visitors to and residents from the region. The interviews with Jerry Reed and Bo Didley, who both died in 2008, are among the last, emphasizing the book’s importance as a piece of cultural preservation. Part social history, part epic travelogue, and partly a lament for a way of life that has now all but disappeared, this is the gripping story of American music’s forgotten childhood—and the parentage it barely even knows.

About the Author

Dave Thompson is the author of more than 100 books on rock, cinema, and pop culture, including I Hate New Music, London Burning, Never Fadeway, and Smoke on the Water. He lives in Newark, Delaware.

Praise For Bayou Underground

"In this part travelog, part music history, and part personal reminiscence, prolific rock writer Thompson . . . conjures up images of a mythical Louisiana. He uses 18 rock ’n’ roll songs as a backdrop to weave a tale of voodoo queens, riverboats, swamps, crocodiles, prostitutes, and pirates." —Library Journal

"A head-long dive into the music and culture of New Orleans and its environs . . . Bayou Underground unlocks secrets and back-stories worth savoring."  —Wall Street Journal Online

"Kind of like listening to a good album for the first time; the paths taken may surprise you." —

"An intriguing folklore travelogue . . . the focus is on the filter through which writers (sometimes thousands of miles away) view the southern states of the US. This neatly illustrates the far-reaching impact that New Orleans continues to have on the wider music community."  —Record Collector

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