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Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s second studio album Second Helping brought us some of the most popular songs in Southern rock history, including “Wokin’ For MCA” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” With so many incredible tracks on one album, there’s one song from Second Helping that often gets overlooked, called “Swamp Music.”
Written by lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Ed King, the song is a celebration of Skynyrd’s southern lifestyle in the swamps of Florida. The narrator rejects his lover’s passion for city life, singing about his preference for the swamps:
“Well, hey pretty mama
Lord, just take that city hike
Said go ahead pretty mama
Lord, just take your city hike
Well, I’d rather live with the hound dogs
For the rest of my natural born life”
“Swamp Music” wasn’t released as a single until 1988, after the band reunited following the plane crash of 1977. The song ended up making its way into the Top 20 on the charts, where it peaked at the 16th spot.
In 1991, Skynyrd put together a music video for “Swamp Music,” which features footage of a live performance of the song along with clips of swamp-related landscapes and creatures, such as alligators and hound dogs. The video opens with a clip of Ronnie fishing, as Johnny Van Zant‘s voice can be heard speaking about his brother’s love of the swamps.
“I know my brother loved to do this all the time,” Johnny said. “He liked to go down and catch fish and stuff like that. So we’re gonna take it back in the swamps of Florida on this one okay?”
With Johnny on lead vocals, Gary Rossington and Ed King on guitar, Leon Wilkeson on bass, and Billy Powell on piano, their performance is the ultimate southern-fried theme. Check it out in the video below!