In the swampier parts of East Texas, the ground holds pockets of gas that bubble to the surface and form iridescent clouds glowing in the wet night air. My grandfather called them "haints": vaguely supernatural creatures hovering at the edge of the tree line, beckoning folks -- impressionable young kids, in this case -- toward no damned good. They've got them in Louisiana, too, only they're called feufollet, and they're joined in the folklore by malevolent spirits like Couchemal and the werewolf Loup Garou, and Louisianan C.C. Adcock sings about them in "Couchemal," the lead cut off his eponymous Island Records debut. He also sings about "What I Like (Womens)," "Kissin' Kouzans," "Good Lovin'," and having, at the not-so-tender age of 24, "Done Most Everything."
"Swamp pop" is the tag that's been applied to young Charles Clinton Adcock, and what it means is that the boy's absorbed everything he learned on tour duty with Buckwheat Zydeco and Bo Diddley, every lesson he was ever taught in the rural dance halls of southwestern Louisiana and the nightclubs of Lafayette, and belched it all back out in a reverb and echo-drenched concoction that, in its most gloriously weird moments, makes you wonder what Hendrix might have sounded like if he'd outlived his jazz phase and gone on to dabble in zydeco.
Alongside Adcock's own gritty, tremolo-laden dance tunes, the disc features his take on Art Neville's "Fool to Care," the late Arthur Alexander's "Sally Sue Brown" and Gene Terry's "Cindy-Lou." It's all done with soulful, sometimes distorted vocals, over-the-top guitar tricks and a mix that spotlights the gut notes. The result has been an avalanche of hyperbolic press praise positioning Adcock as roots-rock's soul savior in the age of pre-processed integrity. Maybe. Maybe not. Roots-rock, after all, isn't about having hits, and it's not about turning yourself into a star. It's about taking the music you grew up on and stretching it out to accommodate having grown up. Adcock has done just that on his debut, and having grown up not very far from the same swampy influence of southwestern Louisiana, it's easy to call this music my own. Which likely makes Adcock -- after the publicity flurry dies down -- a regional phenomenon. Which is no insult. In fact, I think I'd call it high praise.
-- Brad Tyer
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C.C. Adcock plays at 9 p.m., Thursday, September 29 at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge. Tickets cost $5. Call 869-COOL for info.
*Hugh Moffatt at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, Thursday, September 29 and at the Brazos Bottom Bar & Grill, Friday, September 30
*Tom Paxton at Anderson Fair, Thursday, September 29 and Friday, September 30
*Aerosmith at the Summit, Friday, September 30
*Unsane at Harvey's, Friday, September 30
*Dave Alvin at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge, Friday, September 30
*Frank Sinatra at Jones Hall, Tuesday, October 4 and Wednesday, October 5
*Melissa Etheridge at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, Wednesday, October 5