Johnette Downing | Swamp Romp

Go To Artist Page

Recommended if You Like
Laurie Berkner Okee Dokee Brothers Raffi

More Artists From
United States - Louisiana

Other Genres You Will Love
Kids/Family: General Children's Music Folk: Children's Folk Moods: Mood: Fun
Sell your music everywhere
There are no items in your wishlist.

Swamp Romp

by Johnette Downing

A Parents' Choice Silver Award and a NAPPA winner! A Louisiana dance party for children, these original songs are performed in a mélange of roots music styles from Cajun, zydeco, swamp pop, New Orleans rhythm and blues, gospel, jazz and brass band.
Genre: Kids/Family: General Children's Music
Release Date: 

We'll ship when it's back in stock

Order now and we'll ship when it's back in stock, or enter your email below to be notified when it's back in stock.
Continue Shopping
cd in stock order now
Share to Google +1

To listen to tracks you will need to update your browser to a recent version.

  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Swamp Romp (feat. Scott Billington)
2:04 $0.99
clip
2. Who Got the Baby in the King Cake? (feat. Scott Billington)
2:08 $0.99
clip
3. Mudbug Boogie (feat. Scott Billington)
3:47 $0.99
clip
4. It Wasn’t Me (The Possum Song) [feat. Scott Billington]
2:36 $0.99
clip
5. Poor Worry Anna (feat. Scott Billington)
3:02 $0.99
clip
6. J’ai vu le loup, le renard et la belette (feat. Scott Billington)
2:37 $0.99
clip
7. Mississippi River (feat. Scott Billington)
2:19 $0.99
clip
8. Bamboula Rhythm (feat. Scott Billington)
3:23 $0.99
clip
9. Gather Something Sweet (feat. Scott Billington)
2:00 $0.99
clip
10. Your Best Pair of Shoes (feat. Scott Billington)
2:47 $0.99
clip
11. How to Dress a Po’ Boy (feat. Scott Billington)
2:55 $0.99
clip
12. Crawfish Etouffée (feat. Scott Billington)
1:48 $0.99
clip
13. Get Ready, Get Set, Let’s Groove (feat. Scott Billington)
3:10 $0.99
clip
14. Our Oxcarts (feat. Scott Billington)
2:43 $0.99
clip
15. Stand Up, Jump Up (feat. Scott Billington)
2:42 $0.99
clip
16. Star in My Sky (feat. Scott Billington)
2:09 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
REVIEWS

“Its grooves and struts sound classically New Orleans ... a bunch of fun."~ Zooglobble

"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."~ GeekDad

"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

----------
Johnette Downing with Scott Billington
Swamp Romp

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.

Swamp Romp
A Louisiana Dance Party for Children

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.


Swamp Romp
(Johnette Downing and Scott Billington)
© 2017 Downing and Billington

Johnette Downing vocal, guitar and backing vocals
Scott Billington harmonica and backing vocals
C. R. Gruver Wurlitzer piano
James Singleton bass
Doug Belote drums

The song “Swamp Romp” was inspired by the South Louisiana Swamp Pop sound, a blend of Cajun dance hall music and New Orleans rhythm and blues. Louisiana roots music is most often made for dancing, and this style is no exception. In fact, a South Louisiana audience’s mark of appreciation for a song is often not applause, but a full dance floor. The common expression “laissez les bon temps rouler” or “let the good times roll,” is used in this song, as it is throughout the state, to kick off a party. Off we go!


Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?
(Johnette Downing)
© 2016 Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing vocal, ukulele, and backing vocals
Jake Eckert guitar
Kevin Clark trumpet
Craig Klein trombone
Tim Laughlin clarinet
James Singleton bass
Doug Belote drums

The king cake is a cherished Carnival tradition that was probably brought to New Orleans by French immigrants as the gateaux de roi. This ring-shaped pastry is made from rich brioche dough, which is frosted with white icing, and sprinkled with gold, green, and purple sugar—the colors of Mardi Gras. A plastic baby or a bean is hidden inside the cake, and the person who finds it in his or her serving is obliged to give the next party. Johnette’s “Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?” features a classic New Orleans groove—a variant of the bamboula rhythm—and a horn front line comprised of three of the city’s best Dixieland musicians: trumpet player Kevin Clark (the leader of the Dukes of Dixieland), trombonist Craig Klein, and clarinetist Tim Laughlin. This is the sound that Johnette heard as a young girl, when her parents took her and her siblings to the French Quarter to hear jazz. The bouncy, upbeat sound of Dixieland jazz is sure to bring a smile to your face and a tap in your toes. The song is also the book Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?, published by River Road Press, in fall 2018.


Mudbug Boogie
(Johnette Downing)
© 2001 Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing vocal, guitar, and backing vocals
Roddie Romero accordion
Joel Savoy fiddle
Lee Allen Zeno bass
Doug Belote drums

In many Louisiana dance halls, no musical set is complete without a line dance, and that’s what this mudbug—or crawfish—leads children to do. Bassist Lee Allen Zeno (who played in Buckwheat Zydeco’s band for many years) and drummer Doug Belote lock down a groove that will have everyone dancing, while Joel Savoy’s fiddle and Roddie Romero’s accordion add an inimitable dash of South Louisiana flavor. Come on decapods, let’s boogie!


It Wasn’t Me (The Possum Song)
(Johnette Downing and Scott Billington)

Johnette Downing vocal, ukulele, and backing vocals
Scott Billington harmonica and backing vocals
James Singleton bass
Doug Belote drums
River Eckert, Joe Morris, Mason Morris,
and Cassie Gunderman children’s voices

The mambo beat, brought to New Orleans from Cuba, can be found in jazz, rhythm and blues, and brass band music, and we have used it in this fun song about a possum who creates mischief around the house…or is it really him? A chorus of children is certainly not taking the blame for this sneaky possum.


Poor Worry Anna
(Johnette Downing)
© 1980 Johnette Downing

Duet with Irma Thomas
Johnette Downing vocal, ukulele, and backing vocals
Irma Thomas vocal
Scott Billington ukulele and backing vocals
James Singleton bass
Doug Belote drums

Just like grown-ups, children may sometimes be sad or anxious, and this song is about one of them. When Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, came to our Jazz Fest show, she asked if she could sing on our record. We knew that “Poor Worry Anna” would be perfect for her because it has a 1960s R&B ballad foundation, complete with doo-wop backing vocals. The vocal interplay between Irma and Johnette is magical.


J’ai Vu Le Loup, Le Renard Et La Belette (I Saw the Wolf, the Fox and the Weasel)
(Traditional, adapted and arranged by Johnette Downing)
© 2017 Johnette Downing

Duet with Joel Savoy
Johnette Downing vocal and ukulele
Joel Savoy vocal and fiddle
Scott Billington harmonica
Roddie Romero accordion and guitar

This jaunty traditional French tune has been played for decades by Cajun musicians, and it remains popular today. There are many versions, but here Johnette has adapted the original text to make it a bi-lingual, child-friendly dance song, with clapping, stomping, jumping, and singing encouraged. You can feel the push and pull of the classic Cajun sound as she teams up with two esteemed musicians: fiddler Joel Savoy and accordionist Roddie Romero. Around the time of the American Revolution, French Canadian exiles began to settle along the bayous and in the flat prairie land of South Louisiana. They created their own new music style, blending French ballads and fiddle music; the bluesy vocal inflections of Creoles; and the loud, propulsive sound of the accordion, which was brought to the area by Germans in the late 1800s. In true Louisiana fashion, we have thrown a ukulele and a harmonica into the mix to add a dash of sonic spice.


MISSISSIPPI River
(Johnette Downing)
© 2001 Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing vocal, guitar, and backing vocals
Scott Billington harmonica, backing vocals, and cane fife
Keith Frazier bass drum
Derrick Tabb snare drum

Originally a spoken spelling chant that was used for generations to teach children a challenging Native American word and State name, this song is written in the North Mississippi fife and drum band style, a unique blues subgenre that is thriving today in the hands of fife player Shardé Thomas and others. It is one of the most Afro-centric forms of American music, with its pentatonic scale and syncopated military drumming. Johnette learned the chant from her mother, but here Johnette expands the lyrics and adds music to teach children about the great river. Scott opens the song with a cane fife solo to set the mood. Our friends Derrick Tabb and Keith Frazier of the ReBirth Brass Band keep us in the groove as children enjoy making the shapes of the “crooked” and “hump back” letters into a funky dance.


Bamboula Rhythm
(Johnette Downing and Scott Billington)
© 2014 Johnette Downing and Scott Billington

Johnette Downing vocal, guitar, and backing vocals
Scott Billington harmonica, percussion, and backing vocal
Kevin Harris tenor sax
Roger Lewis baritone sax
Kirk Joseph sousaphone
Doug Belote drums
River Eckert, Joe Morris, Mason Morris,
and Cassie Gunderman children’s voices

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, free and enslaved Africans gathered on Sunday afternoons in Congo Square in New Orleans to socialize, speak their native languages, sell their wares, and play music. They brought instruments such as drums, bells, bones, and gourds as they sang and danced the calinda and the congo. The underlying rhythm called the bamboula inspired generations of musicians, and serves as the beat heard in many New Orleans jazz, second line, rhythm and blues, Mardi Gras Indian, parade and brass band songs today. Here, we pay tribute to that rhythm (“bam–bam–bam-boula”). Joining us are Roger Lewis, Kevin Harris, and Kirk Joseph of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, who were the progenitors of the modern New Orleans brass band sound.


Gather Something Sweet
(Johnette Downing)
© 2015 Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing vocal and ukulele
James Singleton bass
Doug Belote drums

Like swaying palm trees, this song has a Caribbean feel. With cultural and musical influences from Cuba, Haiti, and other island nations, New Orleans is often described as the northern coast of the Caribbean. New Orleans still maintains its Caribbean undercurrents, heard in traditional jazz and in R&B artists such as Professor Longhair, even if its presence is waning. Like the Caribbean, New Orleans abounds with subtropical plants. The black river soil is fertile ground for flower and vegetable gardens. Plantains and banana trees grow wild, so much so that there is plenty to share with family, friends, and neighbors. After making ten records with her rhythmic-style guitar playing, Johnette steps out for her first ukulele solo while James Singleton and Doug Belote offer a sweet rhythmic foundation.


Your Best Pair of Shoes
(Scott Billington and Johnette Downing)
© 2015 Billington and Downing

Johnette Downing vocal, guitar, and backing vocals
Scott Billington backing vocals
Jake Eckert guitar
Roger Lewis baritone sax
Kevin Harris tenor sax
C. R. Gruver piano
James Singleton bass
Doug Belote drums

In the early 1960s, between the era of classic Fats Domino-style rhythm and blues, and the emergence of Allen Toussaint’s hit-making reign, a quirky R&B style took shape in Cosimo Matassa’s New Orleans studio on Governor Nichols Street, exemplified by artists such as Shirley & Lee and Huey Smith & the Clowns. We salute this sound with a song that emphasizes the importance of wearing the proper shoes, and positive attitude, for each occasion! C. R. Gruver’s rolling piano lets you know you’re in New Orleans, while the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s Roger Lewis and Kevin Harris recall the sound of saxophonists Lee Allen and Scott’s old friend Alvin “Red” Tyler, who played on hundreds of New Orleans records.


How to Dress a Po’ Boy
(Johnette Downing)
© 2010 Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing vocal, guitar, and backing vocals
Scott Billington harmonica
Matt Perrine sousaphone
“Washboard Chaz” Leary washboard

With outstanding contributions by sousaphone player Matt Perrine and washboard player Chaz Leary, this performance has a loose ragtime feel, much like the street music one might find in the French Quarter. The po’ boy sandwich was invented in New Orleans by restaurant owners and former streetcar operators Benny and Clovis Martin, with the help of baker John Gendusa. When the Streetcar Union went on strike in 1929, the Martin brothers vowed to help their friends on the picket line by feeding them large sandwiches made from loaves of French bread, free of charge. During the strike, each time a picketer entered their restaurant, the Martin brothers would call out, “Here comes another poor boy.” The name, and its contraction, stuck. Today, when ordering a po’ boy, customers are asked if they want their sandwiches “dressed,” which means with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayonnaise, and maybe a dash of hot sauce. The sequence of ingredients, illustrated in Johnette’s picture book by the same title published by Pelican Publishing Company, encourages children to read, sing, and clap along.


Crawfish Etouffée
(Johnette Downing)
© 1994 Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing vocal, clapping, stomping, and backing vocals
Scott Billington backing vocals, clapping, and stomping
Roddie Romero, Joel Savoy, Wilson Savoy, and Lee Allen Zeno backing vocals

This a cappella song is performed in the Southwest Louisiana Creole style called
juré, meaning, “to testify.” This style evolved when people may have had no instruments to play, relying only on their polyrhythmic clapping and foot stomping to provide the music for their songs, with everyone participating in the call-and-response chorus. Some people believe that the roots of zydeco music can be found in juré. Here we are testifying about etouffée, a thick roux-based seafood stew served over rice that is one of Louisiana’s culinary treats. We urge all listeners to sing and clap along.


Get Ready Get Set, Let’s Groove
(Johnette Downing)
© 2015 Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing vocal, guitar, and backing vocals
Scott Billington harmonica and backing vocal
Wilson Savoy piano
Jake Eckert guitar
James Singleton bass
Doug Belote drums

Early rock and roll music is often associated with Memphis, at least until you look a little further downstream on the Mississippi River. Pianist Jerry Lee Lewis, from Ferriday, Louisiana, is one of the original rock and roll wild men, and this song might be looked upon as a tribute to him, with its raucous piano playing from Wilson Savoy. Johnette wrote and developed this song in performance, as she began incorporating the many and often completely goofy dances from the 1960s and 1970s, finding grown-ups as enthusiastic in participating as the children in her audience!


Our Oxcarts
(Johnette Downing and Scott Billington)
© 2014 Johnette Downing and Scott Billington

Johnette Downing vocal, timple, and backing vocals
Scott Billington harmonica and backing vocals
Matt Perrine bass
Doug Belote drums and percussion

This song celebrates the rich cultural contributions of the Spanish Canary Islanders (Isleños) who established four communities in New Spain (Louisiana) between 1778 and 1783. The Isleño farmers had a talent for training the oxen they relied upon to plough their land. According to legend, the oxen were so well trained that they could make the journey to the New Orleans market while their drivers slept in their wagons, leaving them well-rested for the singing and dancing that followed the successful delivery and sale of their vegetables. Johnette is a descendent of Isleño settlers, and here she plays the timple, a traditional five-stringed instrument that she brought back from her ancestral island of Tenerife. Johnette and Scott are joined by acoustic bassist Matt Perrine and drummer Doug Belote on this rollicking wagon ride sung in Spanish and English.


Stand Up, Jump Up
(Johnette Downing)
© 2014 Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing vocal, ukulele, and backing vocals
The McCrary Sisters (Alfreda, Ann, Deborah,
and Regina) backing vocals
Jake Eckert guitar
C. R. Gruver Hammond B3 organ
James Singleton bass
Doug Belote drums
River Eckert, Joe Morris, Mason Morris,
and Cassie Gunderman children’s voices
The McCrary Sisters were recorded by Rachael Moore at Sound Emporium, Nashville

At the church on the next corner from our house, we often hear one of the happiest sounds in the city—New Orleans gospel music. With its soaring voices, and full-band backing that often includes the city’s best musicians, gospel music makes us think about music that is made purely as part of community life, for the joy, inspiration, and diversion that it immediately brings. The same could be said about New Orleans brass band and Mardi Gras Indian music, and even the Cajun and zydeco music of South Louisiana, which is made by and for the people in the community. The daughter of a Baptist Minister father and a church choir soprano singing mother, Johnette honors her parents with a gospel tune like the ones she heard in her father’s church as a child.


Star in My Sky
(Johnette Downing)
© 2013 Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing guitar and ukulele
James Singleton bass

Our good friend Jon Hornyak gave us two tenor Kamoa ukuleles. After opening the box and holding hers for the first time, Johnette wrote the song, “Star in my Sky.” The song is about being in the moment and noticing the complex simplicity in life.
In keeping with the theme of the lyrics, the music features the minimalism of an upright bass and ukulele duet. Children may wish upon a star with the familiar “star light, star bright” chant that Johnette sets to music at the end of the song.


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

Read more...

Reviews


to write a review