When you look at the cover of Swamp Dogg’s album Rat On! now – on a black background, Swamp Dogg, in beret and fringed vest, sitting astride a white rat, Dogg’s arms held up in triumph – it just looks silly (and has indeed been called one of the worst album covers of all time). But at the time of its release in 1971, it managed to offend some people (evidence that people searching for things to be offended by is not a new development). While the photo was never intended as anything more than a visual component of the title’s play on words, Swamp Dogg hasn’t been one to back away from controversy, so he decided to stoke the fires of the offended by claiming the cover represented “the black man on top of the white man”1.
Clearly, what the cover does denote is an album from someone fond of clowning around. What you may miss from just looking at the cover, though, is that, beyond the silly cover and between some jokey … Continue reading