I USED TO WALK through marshes in South Carolina and Georgia, thinking about life in Lousiana's bayou. As time passed, those thoughts often involved my own personal experience as expressed in the lyrics of "Born in the Bayou" by Credence Clearwater Revival.
Friends from the Deep South will object to me claiming to have a bayou experience way north in the Carolinas because bayous actually come hand-in-glove with Louisiana back-waters--at swamp's edge. You go to Louisiana to get gators for dinner. And you enjoy bayou culture while swatting mosquitos off your neck. I've been there and done that.
In "Born on the Bayou", John Fogerty takes me into a Cajun Country Childhood, even though he never visited the swamps before he wrote the lyrics to the song. His lyrics imagine the bayou with supernatural forces and a revolutionary undertone (“My Poppa said son don't let the man get you, do what he done to me”). When I first heard CCR, the US was in the throes of counter-establishmentism and Deliverance was just one cinema visit away.
Then I felt the force straight-up when in Alabama. "You ain’t from aroun’ heeyah, are ya, Boy?”
I elevated "Born on the Bayou" to the soundtrack of my life because of the song's swampy character and cultural construct. It brings back memories of hoodoo traditions like decimated animal remains used by native Americans to mark the separation between two of their hunting grounds. You find Hoodoo Magic throughout the Deep South, my first main residence when starting out in an Air Force flight suit, flying above the muddy waters, howling wolves and mystical places of Hoodoo Magic.