Bayou Underground (Paperback)

Tracing the Mythical Roots of American Popular Music

By Dave Thompson

ECW Press, 9781550229622, 247pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2010

List Price: 17.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


?The Bayou is a world of its own - a marshy, sometimes treacherous, oft-times sinister land of creeping darkness and living shadows, secret legends and vivid mythology. It is that darkness and those shadows that permeate Bayou Underground, the first study of the Louisiana music scene ever to leave behind the bright lights of big city New Orleans, and plunge instead into the wilderness that not only surrounds the Big Easy, but which stretches for hundreds of miles on either side, from Houston, Texas, to Mobile, Alabama. Bayou Underground explores the music of the region from the House of the Rising Sun to gator hunting with Amos Moses (the one-armed Cajun backwoodsman created by country songwriter Jerry Reed) to artists like Bo Diddley, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, who were influenced by unsung heroes of the Bayou. In Bayou Underground, the people and the cultures that have called the bayou home are unearthed through their words and lives, but most of all through the music that has, over the last century, either arisen from the swamplands themselves, or been drawn from fellow visitors to the region, as they seek to set down for posterity the emotions, dreams, and enchantments that the area instilled in them. Part social history, part epic travelogue, and partly a lament for a way of life that has now all but disappeared, Bayou Underground is the gripping story of American music's forgotten childhood, and the parentage it barely even knows about. By comparison, the Big Easy had it easy.

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: Tracing the Mythical Roots of American Popular Music

"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